Herrin Compound – Final Frostbite Round

March 25, 2018

This weekend’s motorcycle racing was at The Herrin Compound on Blake’s KTM65 and Honda100. Being that he was still on Spring Break they were able to get there and train all day on Friday. Blake went back and forth between both motorcycles, pushing himself to the limit. There were several teen racers there early as well. It was great because they all are competitive and want to get faster and faster so when they ride together they challenge themselves and each other. All the while having a blast.

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Saturday Practice

Saturday Mike spent a lot of time working on Blake’s KTM65. He’s thinking it needs a new transmission. That KTM has been an incredible motorcycle. Blake could hardly reach the ground when he started riding it. It was the first motorcycle Blake rode with a manual clutch. It has helped grow Blake into a better racer. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I almost understand why guys talk about their motorcycles like they’re friends. Read more “Herrin Compound – Final Frostbite Round”

WERA – Roebling, March 2018

Goal Setting

Motorcycle racing helped Blake to get an early start on his Spring Break. He left school Thursday afternoon to get down to Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Georgia for a full day of practice on Friday. Before practice Blake and Mike talked about Blake’s need to get his speed up earlier on in his race weekends. His last race at ”Little Talley” his fastest lap was in his last race. It sure would be nice for that to happen earlier in the weekend so he could have better results. With four practice sessions on Friday, Blake worked to push himself harder earlier. In the first session his fastest lap time was 1:28. In the next session, he got down to a 1:26 and in the last two his fastest laps were 1:24. So, it seemed he was pushing himself.motorcycle

Saturday Practice

However, when Blake came in from his first practice session on Saturday he was really upset with himself. I asked why and he said he didn’t get a clean lap; he was having to work through a lot of traffic instead of getting to push his speed. I had to tell him to relax and not be so hard on himself and hopefully his next practice would be better. And it was, not a whole lot better but, he did get one clean lap and his time was down into the low 1:24’s. He was feeling good going into his first race. Read more “WERA – Roebling, March 2018”

WERA – Little Talley, February 2018

First Race of the Season!

The Back Story

Last year was Blake’s first year in WERA’s expert class, and he really focused on racing his Honda RS125. We never intended on him racing his dad’s motorcycle, a Yamaha R3. Blake, being a 76 pound 10 year old, wanted to race the too-big-for-him motorcycle. Mike, knowing that Blake was a safe rider and knew Blake realizes his limits, figured the more seat time the better. Even though Blake did great on the Honda RS125, even winning a National Championship, he did not do so great on the Yamaha R3. At least as far as where he finished, which was usually towards the back of the pack. Throughout the entire season he kept improving all the way up to the Grand National Finals where he put on quite a show battling with his competitors.

This year, Blake received a sponsorship from Track Day Winner for the 2018 season and will be focusing on the Yamaha R3. I’m thinking a lot of that decision came from Mike being so stressed from wrenching on the Honda RS 125 all the time (apparently 2 strokes are a little finicky and take a lot of finesse). Mike, with the help of Fast Bike Industries, Triangle Cycles, and Lucas Oil worked through the off season to get the new Yamaha R3 ready for racing.

Saturday Practice

Last weekend, WERA hosted their inaugural race of the 2018 season held at the Talladega Gran Prix Raceway in Alabama. Blake rode the motorcycle one weekend before this race, but by the second practice on Saturday he was down to his fastest lap time last year. We were excited, anticipating how the races would go.

Saturday Races

Blake gridded up for the E-SuperStock race and had a great start! Which, if you followed him last year, you know, his starts weren’t always the greatest. There was a wreck off the start somewhere behind Blake, and the race was red-flagged. Blake came in and, sadly, the racer was fatally inured delaying the re-start for quite a while. Of course, we weren’t sure how Blake was going to handle the situation and how he would do for the re-start. But, he gridded back up in the middle of the front row and got another good start. Two racers were able to get around him and Hunter Dunham was right behind him, pushing Blake to go faster. Dunham showed his front tire to Blake a few times but never got around him. Blake got down to a 1:09 and took third place.

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Mike’s strategy for helping Blake to become a good racer is to make Blake learn how he, as the pilot of the motorcycle, can get the most out of the motorcycle he is on. Racing up into faster classes will help achieve this. Blake will be racing up this season in the D-SuperStock class and the Clubman class.

Blake and Dunham were each other’s competition all weekend. In the D-SuperStock race Dunham was able to get by Blake, but Blake made it back around him and pulled a gap, finishing fourth.

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Then, in the Clubman race, Dunham started in front of Blake. By the second lap, Blake took a chance and passed Dunham, it wasn’t smooth though, Blake ran wide and Dunham got by him. They came up on lapped traffic and Blake lost a lot of time behind Dunham. He kept trying to catch him driving his lap time down to 1:08:6 but not soon enough, he came in fourth place.

Sunday Practice

Thinking it was going to rain at the race track all weekend, I didn’t go with Mike and Blake for this motorcycle race. So, I called and talked to Blake Sunday morning to wish him luck, and I asked him what his goal was for the day’s motorcycle races. Besides “winning” he also said to get his lap time down to 1:07.

He went out on his motorcycle for two practices it was cold and damp,

he rode by himself a lot and was at a steady 1:09 lap time. So, he was going to have to push a lot harder in the races. His races were in the same order as Saturday’s.

Sunday Races

He got another good start in the E-SuperStock race but let himself get pushed back on an outside line allowing a lot of racers to get by him. He passed a few and could see Dunham up ahead and wanted to catch him, so much so he laid down a 1:07:8! However, Blake got caught up in lapped traffic and with a few laps left the rain started. Fourth place is where he finished.

Mike brought the Yamaha R3 motorcycle that Blake rode last year to use as a back-up motorcycle in case Blake wrecks or blows an engine he will have another motorcycle to race. Instead of chancing a crash in the first race of the year on his Track Day Winner motorcycle, that has all the nicer parts on it, Mike wanted Blake to get on the back-up motorcycle for the last two races.

With only one race in between the E- and D-SuperStock race, Mike had to get busy getting rain tires put on the motorcycle and get it to tech inspection. So, in moto-family style, Tony Paul jumped in and made sure Blake was ready and got him up to meet Mike at the start. I don’t know if it was the rain or being on a different motorcycle or the combination of both, but that race didn’t go so well. Not looking too smooth, Blake finished fifth.

After the race Blake told Mike some things the motorcycle was doing, they made some adjustments, and Blake looked better in the Clubman race. It was still raining, everybody was soaked, there had been crashes everywhere all day, and a lot of red flags. There were puddles all over the track, and Blake found one that wasn’t too kind. He was trying to catch the racer in front of him by out-braking him into the farmhouse turn, Blake started slipping and sliding a little too much, had to back off and didn’t make it around the guy, finishing in fourth place.

Track Day Winner Track Day Weekend

March 24-25, 2018

This weekend Blake was back at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway for a track day being hosted by Track Day Winner. He had a blast. He was deemed “Coach” so he could help his friend Owen, whom he rides with at the Herrin Compound, which also allowed him to get extra track time.

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Saturday’s Track Day

Blake told me about how Opie Caylor has been the “fast guy” for a long time and that Saturday he got to ride with him and how fun it was. This weekend was Fairbairn’s first track day on a sport bike. Blake worked with him trying to help him learn the track and give him some pointers. Here is the moto-family at work again; one racer riding with another passing on his knowledge and then the “apprentice” passing his knowledge on to the next one. Blake has had many people help foster his love of motorcycle racing. Boy, the motorcycle community is awesome!

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Sunday’s Track Day

Sunday brought rain, lots of it, just like the Sunday before at the races. However, this time Blake had a rain suit to go over his leathers. A R.S. Taichi rain suit to go over his R.S. Taichi leathers! Owen Fairbairn and his family gave it to Blake; how nice are they? The rain suit fit like a glove; there was no drag while on the motorcycle and Blake rode with dry leathers that weren’t weighted down by the rain.

Mike was watching Blake on the track and noticed he was going really deep into turn two. That could be a problem by possibly allowing a competitor to pass. But, when Blake came out of the turn he got on the gas a lot faster. When he came into the pits, Blake told Mike he was trying some new lines trying to get faster in the rain. Well, it worked. Blake got his lap times down to the fastest they had been in the rain that day; a 1:13:4. So, Blake will have to strategize for his rain races when that sort of line and braking will be beneficial and when it would be more detrimental.

Track Day Winner put on a great event; it was a good weekend. Track days are great for all types of motorcycle racers. They help new motorcycle riders to get more comfortable on their motorcycle in a controlled, safe environment. Track days help new motorcycle racers to gain more confidence in testing not only their motorcycles limits but their limits as a rider as well. For Blake, track days are a place for all of that and working to realize his dreams of a professional motorcycle racing career. He certainly has fun but he also is focused and determined and works very hard at his track days to become a better racer.

Upcoming Races

Blake’s next race will be March 18 at Roebling Road outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The following weekend he will be at the Herrin Compound racing SuperMoto. I am excited to watch him get better and better like he did last year. The sky is the limit! Or, rather, MotoGP is the limit!

Television Interview

February 5, 2018

A news reporter, Samantha Varek, from an ABC affiliate contacted us wanting to do an interview with Blake about his motorcycle racing. She’s a motorsports fan, seemed genuinely interested, and made Blake feel comfortable; it was a good time. Blake’s school, Liberty Christian Academy, was great also. They cleared out a conference room for us to use for the interview so Blake wouldn’t have to miss as much school.

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Samantha met us at Blake’s school and like proud parents Mike and I brought Blake’s gear and Yamaha R3 motorcycle and anything else we thought might be beneficial for the interview. I gave Blake a pep talk beforehand, told him there was nothing to be nervous about, think before he speaks, don’t say “um”, look at the reporter, yes, probably did more harm than good. Oops. Once Samantha was done with Blake she looked at Mike and I and asked if we would answer a few questions. Well, guess what I did? I didn’t think before I spoke and after rambling on forever forgot what she had asked me, said “um” a bunch, and kept looking at that giant camera lens staring at me. I guess I don’t have a future in front of the camera. Mike had his turn and was able to explain all of the motorcycle things a lot better.

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The Interview

Anyway, there I go rambling again, here is the link to the interview. A big thank you to Samantha Varek, WCYB, and WSET for putting on the air.

Be sure to check back to see when and where Blake will be racing this season. It is sure to be an exciting year!

Reflecting on 2017

As it is with life there are ups and downs, good times and bad in motorcycle racing as well; Oh what a waste it would be to go through life not learning from our experiences. With the close of one year and the start of another, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2017. Making sure to learn from what has already happened. So here it goes:

 The Good:

Blake competed in and won the 2017 Frostbite Series Championship at the Herrin Compound, he received a letter from WERA saying he would be in the expert class for 2017, he was given the opportunity to train with Danny Walker at American SuperCamp. Blake traveled with MotoAmerica again this year to do demo’s on his motorcycle in the Fan Zone, he got a new scooter for using in the pits, for the first time he had suspension designed for his weight on his motorcycles, he made goals and met them, he and Anthony Maziatto won the N2 Endurance series. Blake had help from great motorcycle racers like Miles Thorton, Travis Wyman, Geoff May, Josh Herrin, James Stroud, and others. He won the F3 National Championship along with multiple regional championships, saw himself in Roadracing World magazine, was invited to the AMA riders banquet, and received his largest sponsorship ever from Track Day Winner. To say 2017 was a good year for his motorcycle racing is an understatement.

The Bad & The Ugly:

With all the good there were some hard times in his motorcycle world. Blake missed most motorcycleof his peers’ birthday parties because of his traveling, went through three motorcycle helmets because of hard crashes, had a ton of make-up work because of the weeks missed from school. With all the goals set and met there were plenty that were were missed. He learned that not everyone leaves battles on the track. Learned of Nicky Hayden’s death, Blake was told no 10 times more than yes when soliciting sponsors, he totaled his Grom motorcycle, learned some people will lie without remorse, and that life isn’t fair.

The Truth:

But you know what? I’ve watched the hard times grow and stretch Blake. I’ve seen him depend on his heavenly Father, appreciate his brother and sisters along with other family and friends for the sacrifices they make for his motorcycle racing. He’s humbled himself to make things right with others. Of course, as his mom I don’t want him to hurt but I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned and watching how God is molding him.

Hope for 2018:

As any parent would, I want Blake to grow spiritually, physically, emotionally, and professionally. He has been blessed with great Sunday School teachers and pastors. A Dad who helps him exercise and train (with help from the folks at AXcess Racing, LLC). Family and friends who are encouraging through the good and the bad times. Sponsors like Track Day Winner, RS Taichi, Shoei, Lucas Oil, Pilot/FlyingJ, Fast Bike Industries, Racer Design, and others, giving Blake a world of opportunities on the race track.

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Blake couldn’t be better prepared for a good 2018 motorcycle racing season. We are excited to see what is in store and are glad you, our supporters, are behind him. We would love for you to come to a race, ride a motorcycle, watch a professional race on TV, buy products from our sponsors, or spread the word on social media. All of which will help will grow the sport of motorcycle road racing. Here’s to a great 2018 for Blake and for you! Cheers!