Well I'm off to another race, but this one is a lot different than any I've done in quite a while. I haven't raced an outdoor national since 2001, and I was never really happy with the way they went. So this year I decided to give it a try again, before I get to old and regret not doing it. To be honest I feel really good and I know the bike is working great, but I'm still a little nervous. I think I'm more worried about the qualifying lap time then anything, since it's so new to me. I'm really not the fastest starter, and now I have to go out there in the first practice and put in my fastest lap time of the day. The weather looks like it's going to be on the hot and humid side, but I still think it's going to be a blast.Saturday's Qualifying / Practice 1:
Jonny and I showed up a little early to watch the first moto of the WMA, then it was time to walk the track and get ready. I was in the unseeded practice, and this is the last practice after both lite motos and the top 40 seeded mx class. I watched the MX class practice and was pretty excited about getting out there and riding. The track looked premo, and I knew I needed to put in my fastest lap time during the first practice to make sure I was going to be in the top 40 (and into the main event). The first lap was pretty good, and then on the second lap I jumped everything I wanted to and figured the third one would be my first hot lap. It was going great, but about 1/3 of the way through I was trying to pass a slower rider when he came over on me going over a jump. To avoid him I had to jump a little bit to the side on this down hill, but I landed on the edge of the track. I hit a soft spot and it sent me over the bars and the worst part was it was a high speed one. I got up right away and was fine, but I couldn't find my bike. It landed off the track and a ways down the hill. I picked it up and quickly straightened a few things. I thought I was good, but one of the course workers told me I had ruined my muffler and sub-frame. I looked back and the muffler was completely under the rear fender (The fender was broke too). I putted back to the pit area and Jonny and Ryan Clark tried to straighten everything out the best they could. The only thing that was bad was a crushed mid pipe, which didn't allow a lot of air to go through it. I still went out there and put in a decent lap (I only had three laps left), but it was tough with the way the bike was. After the session was up I knew there was no way I made it, but I was surprised to see I was only two seconds off of qualifying (I had a high 2:09).Practice 2:
After Jonny fixed everything, besides the bent sub-frame, it was time to get back out there. I knew I had put myself in a tight spot and it was going to be tough to qualify now. I watched the MX (top 40 guys) practice and I saw most riders' times were slower then the first session. The track was getting rougher, and it was going to be hard to put in a low 2:07 to qualify. I went out there, and was feeling a lot better then the first session. The track was definitely getting rougher and harder packed, but I still thought it was really good. I was a lot looser, and by the 6th lap I really started to give it everything I had. By the time our 20-minute session was up I felt I'd rode a lot better, but at the same time I was pretty sure I missed the cut. I found out I was actually faster in my second session (2:08) and missed the cut my 1-second. I was happy to see I went faster, but I really needed to do this in the first practice. My biggest problem is the fact that I'm a slow starter, and it's really hard to go out there without riding and put in the fastest lap you can. A lot of these guys can just go out there and pin it like there's no tomorrow, but I really don't like taking the chances and wadding it up (Then again I did that in my first practice, but it wasn't my faultJ). Now it's time to get ready for tomorrow's consolation race, and hopefully that goes well. Time to get some sleep!Race Day (Consolation Race LCQ):
We showed up to the track really early, because I wasn't sure how bad the traffic would be. After watching the lites and mx practice a couple times, it was our turn for the 20-minute +2 laps moto. I had a good spot on the gate, and had a great jump. I was around fifth into the first 90 degree turn and thought this was going to be great, and then someone in front of me slid out and went down. I hit him and had to stop, so everyone went by. Jonny said I was second-to-last taking off (out of 37 riders). Now I just started to pick off guys one by one, but it was really hard to pass since there were a lot of off-camber corners and it was one-lined. By the halfway point, I made it up to 16th and still kept my head down. I felt really good and was just riding a good pace. I wasn't pushing as hard as I was in the practices before, and I just made sure I hit my lines. By the time the two lap board came out, I was in 10th and had a pack of riders just ahead of me. I passed a couple more guys, and then finished right behind three other riders. I finished 8th and felt it was a pretty good effort. The best part of the race was all the people cheering me on! I know they must've been off-road riders, but it sure meant a lot to me. Jacob Saylor went on to win the race and would've been hard to beat, but it would've been nice to try.Overall Summary:
The weekend didn't go quite as planned, but I can say I learned a lot and it was a great experience. I'll be a lot better prepared for the next round too. I felt my speed was a lot better towards the end of the weekend, but I need to bring that out for the first practice next time. Maybe I'll just race around the pits for a little bitJ.Other Notes:
I have next weekend off and then I have another outdoor race the following weekend. (Red Bud).I think the new qualifying format is pretty cool and you don't have to worry about getting a good start in the qualifiers like you used to. The part I'm not a big fan of (and I know other riders aren't) was there's no time to go and learn the track. It would be cool if they actually had a practice before the time qualifiers.In the WORCS series we get to start out in the gate, but I actually haven't raced a real MX race in two or three years. I probably should've gone and raced some local MX races first, but my schedule has been way to busy to do that.That was some of the best racing I've seen in a long time. The second moto of the mx class has to be a classic. It's truly amazing to see how fast RC and JS are going and some of the obstacles they do (Ricky got his 100th win). Then the second moto of the lites class was great (for third place). RV and Ben Townley were on the gas and that left, Lawrence, Dungey, and Grant to battle for third.The guys over at Acerbis were great and hooked me up with a new rear fender after the first practice. Towards the end of the first practice the rear fender finally broke off and I could feel all the dirt just hitting my butt and back (not a good feeling).My race bike (KX450) was the same one I used at the last two AMA H&H;'s, where I finished 1st and 2nd. We changed the suspension, gearing, stock tank and that was about it. The bike worked great too.I'd like to give Ryan Clark and all the guys at Team Solitaire a huge thanks for transporting my race bike to the next few outdoors I'm going to do. Ryan even let me park at the end of his semi and I put up a little ez-up with fellow Arizona rider Steven Stultz. We were the B team! J. I know Ryan had a little bad luck, but his speed was really good and he easily should've been top 15. His teammate Ricky Renner put in a solid ride in the lites class and went 20th and 19th. Ricky is going to be a rider to watch out for here soon.I want to give a huge thanks to Penny Cyrus and her brother George for taking my bike back east for me. Penny races the WMA series and usually does really well. Thanks!Best Wishes,Destrywww.destryabbott.com2007 Sponsors:
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