If this weekend was going to be remembered for anything it was that it was so hot rubber melted. Yep, the motorcycle tires seemed to literally be melting when Blake came off the racetrack.
Saturday’s Motorcycle Practice
Blake went out for his first practice on Saturday with the tires from his last race weekend. For the second practice he and Mike decided to put on new tires. When he came in from that practice the tires were destroyed! Roebling Road Raceway is known for having a rougher surface, that is hard on tires. So, you expect to go through tires a little faster, but this seemed crazy. But, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Formula 2 & D-SuperBike Motorcycle Races – Saturday
The first race Blake entered his Kawasaki Ninja in was the Formula 2 class. After a pretty uneventful motorcycle race, he got third place.
For D-Superbike, Mike told Blake to be careful because the tires didn’t look the greatest. He took first place even though he felt like he didn’t have any grip; the tires were just too wore out. The tires felt good but didn’t make for a very exciting motorcycle race.
D-SuperStock Motorcycle Race – Saturday
D-Superstock was his last race of the day, Mike put a new rear tire on for this race. Another racer, competing on a SV650 motorcycle, got a better start than Blake, and was able to put a gap between them. Slowly Blake was catching up and about halfway through the race was able to pass him. However, that motorcycle having so much more power would get by Blake on the straight. They played cat and mouse this way for a bit, until Blake was able to get through the corners faster and faster, getting too far ahead for the SV650 to get by him on the straight. Blake took 1st place in his class and first overall also which made it super exciting.
Saturday night, Blake hung out and feasted for dinner with his Black Hawk teammates and the Force Race Team. The heat had exhausted everyone, and it was a quiet, early-to-bed kind of night.
Sunday’s Motorcycle Practice
After Blake’s first Sunday morning practice, Mike thought he would try to beat the heat with a new approach on Blake’s motorcycle tires. He had a new front and a harder compound tire put on the rear wheel. Blake tried it during the second practice and wasn’t too crazy about it.
Sunday’s Motorcycle Races
That hard compound tire is what Blake had on his motorcycle for the Formula 2 race and he got a third place finish but, said, “No more.” Mike then switched the rear back to an old one and made some adjustments he thought would help with tire wear.
That seemed to help how Blake felt on the motorcycle, as far as his tires grip. For his last two races of the weekend, D-SuperStock and D-SuperBike, he finished in first place in both of those. But, they could see the tires literally melting against all that heat in the pavement. Georgia is known for its peaches but there was nothing “peachy” about the heat this weekend. Mike said he would have brought a bunch of old tires and used a rear for each motorcycle race Blake had this weekend had he known how the heat would mess things up. Oh well, I’m sure just the experience benefited both Blake as a motorcycle racer and Mike as a crew chief.
Wrap Up & Upcoming Events
Two 1st place finishes both Saturday and Sunday in D-SuperBike and D-SuperStock and 2 thirds in Formula 2 means he was on the podium all weekend. Not too shabby. His podium speeches are a work in progress. He’s always really good about thanking his sponsors but we are working on not starting every speech with, “It was a good race.” But, hey, it’s true!
WERA has no motorcycle races scheduled until August 17th and 18th. Those will be at the Talladega Gran Prix Raceway. Until next time…