Date: May 3, 2009
Location: Lafayette, TN
Series: GNCC Series Round 6/ Eastern National Hare Scrambles Round 1
After the National Enduro race in Tennessee the weekend before, I was excited about doing another race in Tennessee that was located north of Nashville. The race was a new venue for the GNCC series and everyone is always excited when we get a chance to race somewhere new.
But this weekend wasn’t going to be your typical debut for a new track. The weather was calling for a chance of rain all weekend (40%) but I think the weather man messed up…..he should have predicted a 100% chance of rain with no likelihood of stopping all weekend, because that was what it did.
It was brutal conditions just trying to get down the road to the pits. Everyone was having to be towed in and out of the parking area! It made for a long weekend for the track crew, but they where determined to do the best they could with the conditions they had been dealt.
They where thinking of combining the morning and afternoon bike programs because of the lack of riders and also to give us the best track possible. They wound up not combining the races but what they did do was run the morning race for 1hour (instead of 2hours) and our race would be shortened form 3hours to 2 hours. I know my best time during a race is towards the end when I make a big push, but with these conditions I wasn’t complaining a bit!
The track was a mix of shale and rock, I didn’t think it would get rutted too bad, but boy was I wrong, after 2 hours of racing and even with a limited amount of riders on it the track got really bad!
My Yamaha fired on the first kick and I was off to my best start in 3 years!! I rounded the first corner in 2nd place and went into the second corner in 3rd place behind Jarrett and Whibley.
The first 1/2 mile before the woods there where a lot of off-camber grass turns, I lost 2 more positions to Hawk and Mullins before we entered the woods.
Once we got into the woods, I was able to get back around Hawk and Mullins and caught up to Whibley in Jarrett. I was feeling really good and the conditions at this point where soft, but no ruts had formed yet. Us 3 went back and forth a few times during the lap and I was having a lot of fun. It has been a long time since I have been battling for the lead!
I kept pace with the leaders and we pulled away a little from the rest of the pack (12 seconds). I finished the first lap in 3rd place in a train with Jarrett and Whibley.
On the second lap, we where still going pretty good but then Strange caught us and within a mile was in the lead and pushing hard. Once he got into the lead the pace quickened a lot. I was in tow and we where all moving along and then I made a mistake and high-sided in a rut. When I re-mounted my gloves where covered in mud and I took off after them. I pushed hard to try and catch back up (I could hear them just ahead) and then I fell again. The I stopped for gloves in the pits and when I did, Thad got around me. I finished the 2nd lap in 5th place.
On the third lap, the track was starting to get really rutted and the mud we where churning up was getting really sticky. I tried to keep a good pace but kept making little mistakes and tipping over. Each time I would tip over, my gloves would get muddier and then I would try to ride harder only to make a mistake again. I lost 2 more positions on this lap and fell to 7th place.
On the fourth lap lap, I tried to just stay smooth and stop crashing, but I just couldn’t make up any time. I was weaving around the ruts trying to stay out of them but just wasn’t flowing. Towards the end of the lap me and Casselli got together hard and I fell again into the mud. I finished the lap in 7th.
On the fifth and final lap I was just trying to survive, the track had gotten really bad and there where lines and people stuck around every turn. I just didn’t want to crash or get stuck, so I rode really conservative just so I didn’t make any more mistakes. At the end of the race, I crossed the finish line a lonely 7th place.
I was not really happy with my finish considering how good it was going until I started making mistakes, but I have never been know as a great mud rider. I know, I am from Washington and should excel in the mud, but it has never been that way my entire career. I have no idea why, but mud has always been my worst enemy.
I am really excited for the next race in PA, it is in the rocks and close to where I used to live in the area. I hope it is dry and I can get another good start and redeem myself of all the mistakes I made!!
Results (XC1 Class):
Thank you for all your support, see you at the races!
Go to www.gnccracing.com and click on “Photo Report: Titan Bikes” to see pictures from the race.