WERA @ NJ Motorsports Park – 10/9/2018

Enduring to the End

It’s been a week since Blake was in New Jersey racing his motorcycle with WERA and now we are at Barber Motorsports Park so he can do a track day with Sportbike Track Time. This week went by fast!

N2 Track Day Motorcycle Event

This year Blake has really been pushing and getting his lap times faster. Surprisingly, he hasn’t had any crashes…then, there was last week at New Jersey Motorsports Park. During N2 Track Days track day event on Friday. The first half of the day went well but after lunch as Blake went into a corner he felt the front end make some movement, he managed to get it under control but as soon as he did, the back end slid out. Blake came off the motorcycle and was sliding across the pavement for quite a while, adjusting his gloves, taking in the sights, and watching his motorcycle slide. But, when he saw his motorcycle starting to lift up he was saying, “No, no, no.” but the motorcycle wasn’t listening and it started tumbling. Ugh, now there was going to be some work for Mike. Thankfully, after the crash truck brought the motorcycle in, the damage wasn’t too bad. There were no brake levers and the plastic was all beat up but after Mike did some “sewing” on the plastic he got it looking pretty good.

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N2 Track Days & WERA‘s Two-Hour Endurance Motorcycle Race

N2 Track Days partners with WERA to host endurance races periodically throughout the season. This was the final endurance race for Blake. This time he partnered with Tyler Whistle to split the 2 hour race. They chose not to go out in the morning practice because it was raining and they had had the day before to get to know the track. By not going out it meant that they would have to start in the last row.

It was still raining at the start of the 2-hour endurance race so they put rain tires on the motorcycle. Blake took his turn first, starting the race for their team, Herrin’s Hooligans. Off the start he got into third place and by the end of the first lap had moved into first. By lap three he had a pulled a pretty big gap on those behind him when he saw that the team’s pit board was telling him to come in, he didn’t think that could be right, so he shook his head no and kept racing. However, when he came around again and the pit board still said to come in, he tapped his helmet acknowledging he saw the board and came into hot pit. As he was coming to a stop he saw Mike holding the transponder, they had forgotten to put it on! What a bummer! When he got back out on the track he was in last position but was able to get back up into fourth.

As he was riding the track was drying out and at the half way mark when he came in to let Whistle finish the race, they took off the rain tires and put on his normal tire. BUT, as soon as Whistle went out it started to rain; things got slippery and he crashed. He came in and had only lost a clip-on (for us who don’t know motorcycle lingo, that’s basically one side of the handlebars). The dads got it fixed, Whistle went back out, rode a while, then high-sided. This time when he came in another clip-on , a rear set (the pegs for your feet), the wind screen and a clutch lever needed fixing. The dad’s managed to fix it all and Whistle was able to get another 15 minutes or so back in the race before the time was up. Herrin’s Hooligans finished last but, hey, at one point it didn’t look like they were going to be able to finish at all.

WERA‘s National Challenge Motorcycle Series

Sunday were the races for WERA’s National Challenge Series. Blake entered three races. But, first there was practice. Blake was on top of his game, he was one second faster than the day before. Things were looking good going into his races.

The first race was E-SuperStock Blake was chasing SV 650’s and got TWO seconds faster and finished first in his class! After about half way through the D-SuperStock race Blake was able to get out of the traffic he had been in and take the lead to the finish. Clubman was the last race. Blake was third off the start but was able to pass up to first and pull a gap. Again, he rode his race, maintaining his first place position.

After Friday and Saturday’s luck I was starting to get worried about how the motorcycle races would go. But, everything turned out pretty good. Three races, three wins!

Upcoming Motorcycle Races

Like I said earlier, we are at Barber Motorsports Park down in Birmingham, Alabama for a track day with Sportbike Track Time. There is a ton of motorcycles out here. I wish more of these people would come race, they would get hooked, and how awesome would that be for the sport? We had not planned coming this weekend but it certainly doesn’t hurt for Blake to get some more seat time here since WERA’s Grand National Finals will be here in two weeks. Hopefully, Blake can come home with some Championships for the season!

Until next time…have fun and be safe!

WERA @ Road Atlanta – Sept. 9th & 10th

The Double-Edged Sword

You’ve heard of a double-edged sword, right? One thing that has both a good and bad consequence. Well, Blake had 6 motorcycle races this weekend and won all of them, that’s the good side of things. The bad? Blake and I trying to do the race report. At the risk of sounding like an ego-maniac, things just aren’t as interesting when he keeps winning. It’s nice to have to sweat it out and work really hard for it. Blake certainly has races like that, but lately, he has been on a roll and doing well. And the race reports just sound repetitive. I hope I can keep you interested…

Saturday’s Practice

This weekend’s WERA motorcycle race was at Road Atlanta down in Georgia. It was sunny and humid just as you would expect. Blake went out for the first practice on Saturday feeling motorcycleout both his Yamaha R3 and the track. Mike has started giving Blake a list of questions when he comes in from practice to fill out, so Mike can look it over and see if any adjustments need to be made to the motorcycle. It helps them both to think things through and check all the possible ways to make the motorcycle work at its best.

One of the questions has to do with the motorcycle’s chassis. Blake said that the right clip-on felt like it was turned in too much. Mike took some measurements and was flabbergasted to find that indeed the left clip-on (or handlebar for us non-motorcycle people) was off by 3 millimeters. MILLIMETERS people!! From what I hear, racers are OCD about their motorcycles. I guess you can count Blake in on that. And sure enough after the second practice Blake got his lap times down to 1:48:0.

Saturday’s Motorcycle Races

In both the E-SuperStock and D-SuperStock races he got good starts and stayed out in front of his class and most everyone else also. Of course, there were faster motorcycles competing from other classes in front of him and in his mind, he was going to catch them, but the checkered flag just didn’t allow enough time. He took first in both of those races.

The Clubman race was about the same. He got a good start on his motorcycle, he did see his friend Isaiah DeBusk come close a few times, but Blake went ahead and took first in that race as well.

Saturday Night Fun

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Saturday night we went with friends who found a fun place to get ice-cream. They use a stainless-steel top cooled with nitrogen and pour the milk mixture on top, then when the mixture freezes they scrape it up with a spatula making it roll up real pretty. Abby, Blake’s sister, was thrilled because she had seen pictures but had never had any. Blake ordered a dessert called Dragon’s Breath. It was a cup with liquid Nitrogen in the bottom and wafer pieces on top. Then, when you put a wafer in your mouth you could “blow smoke” just like a dragon! We all had fun with that.

Sunday Practice

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Blake was excited to see both Josh Jovi and Draik Beauchamp at the track this weekend. Both are older guys (I think they’re 18 or 19) that Blake has always tried chasing down at motorcycle races/track days. The responsibilities of adulthood have kept Jovi away from motorcycles this season and Beauchamp who has been competing in MotoAmerica’s Junior Cup had some time to be there this weekend.

In Sunday’s practice Blake, Jovi, and Beauchamp all kind of ran together on their motorcycles and had a good time. When Blake came in from that practice I asked him how it went, he said it was good, and had no complaints.

Sunday’s Motorcycle Races

Beauchamp competed against Blake in the E-SuperStock race. Blake got him off the start but by turn 6 Beauchamp passed him. Then, Blake got him back coming out of turn 7, Beauchamp wasn’t having it and drafted by Blake on the back stretch. Blake did the same on the front. The rest of the race Blake drafted Beauchamp on the front and he drafted Blake on the back. Except the final lap, once Blake saw the white flag wave he chose not to draft Beauchamp until the back straight. Blake drafted him and coming down the hill into turn 10 they were side by side. Blake wanted to brake but was trying to wait until Beauchamp did. He kept waiting and was afraid he was going to blow the turn. Finally, he saw Beauchamp sit up so, Blake quickly braked and got by Beauchamp managing to stay in front of him until the finish line. Woo-hoo, Blake took the win!!

Unfortunately, Beauchamp wasn’t in Blake’s next race, D-SuperStock. Blake got on his motorcycle started, finished, and won without any excitement.

To work on his passing, by choice, Blake started on row 22 in the Clubman race. Off the start he got his motorcycle up close to the front by turn six. By the time he got the first lap finished he was in fourth. However, the first 3 motorcycles still had a gap on him. Coming out of turn 7 on the second lap he passed for the lead and pulled a gap on them. After four laps left he was ahead by the length of the straight. He took his 6th win of the weekend.

Self-Improvement

On the way home, when Blake was recapping the weekend he said he wanted to learn how to “manage the gap”. Meaning, that when he is in the lead he can figure out how hard he needs to keep pushing to keep the lead. It isn’t smart to take unnecessary risks if no one is threatening your position. However, you don’t want to slow down too much and have someone pressure you at the last minute. He also said he wants to start using his back brake more. The back brake isn’t used a whole lot but can be an advantage to the racer if he manipulates it correctly.

Upcoming Races

This weekend Hurricane Florence is expected to hit the east coast around Virginia and North Carolina. If that is the case Blake will head down to the Herrin Compound to do some training and racing on his Honda CRF100. If not, he may just stay home. The whole idea of being-stuck-in-the-house-because-of-a-ton-of -rain-from-a-hurricane drives both Blake and his dad crazy being that they can’t sit still. So, I’m thinking they’ll head south if things there don’t get cancelled.

Go fast, have fun, be safe. Until next time…

WERA @ VIR – Aug 5, 2018

Hometown Crowd

N2 Track Days Motorcycle Track Day Event

Friday N2 Track Days held a track day event at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). This worked out perfect for Blake since WERA was hosting their races there for the weekend. Although the N2 Track Day staff worked hard to give everyone time on the track the weather wasn’t as cooperative. It rained off and on all day. Some of Blake’s sessions the track was dry in places then other sessions the track had water all over it. Rain doesn’t deter Blake from getting on the track, just as long as he gets to ride. In fact, when I asked what went well he said, “I got good rain practice in and was reminded how the track went.” Despite Mike trying to nonchalantly encourage Blake to park it for the day, Blake rode through to his last session.

N2 Track Days/WERA Endurance Race

Saturday N2 co-hosted the 2nd Endurance race of the season along with WERA. Blake and Owen Fairbairn teamed up once again as “Herrin’s Hooligans” (a nod to their time spent training on motorcycles at the Herrin Compound) for the 2-Hour Ultra-Lightweight competition. After finishing 2nd at the first event, their hopes were high for another podium finish.

Owen started on the motorcycle first, the race got red flagged and we learned Owen had crashed. Another racer had crashed in front of him, he had nowhere to go, hit that guy’s motorcycle, landed in wet grass and crashed pretty hard into a tire wall. Thankfully, Owen was okay and was even able to drive the motorcycle back to hot pit. The only fix on the motorcycle was to straighten a clip-on (one side of the handlebar). Owen got back on the motorcycle and was only one lap down at that point. This time while Owen was racing he was just too wore out, his lap times started to drop and he crashed again. This time both clip-on’s along with another one or two minor fixes had to be made before Blake could begin his stint on the motorcycle.

Once Blake got on the track “Herrin’s Hooligans” were 2 laps down. With only 20 or 30 minutes left in the race Blake managed to pass 8 racers; finishing 11th. It wasn’t podium but it sure was a valiant effort. Fortunately, Owen had no major injuries and will be back on a motorcycle in time for the next WERA race. UN-fortunately after going over the motorcycle better the frame and forks were bent so it will need some work before it gets back on the track.

Saturday night, we, along with some friends went over to VIR’s kart track and rode go-karts. Man, those things will fly. The only time I’ve ever ridden the karts all the guys we were with, including both of my sons and husband, gave me a hard time about driving like a granny. So, this time I had to show them what I was made of and…I got the 3rd fastest lap time in my group. Maybe Blake got his speed from his momma…ok, maybe not. We had a great time. Patrick Eagen runs great programs out at VIR’s kart track including go-kart and Supermoto races.

Sunday Funday

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VIR is right near Danville, Virginia, about an hour and a half from our house. Various friends and family asked for details so they could come see Blake race. Boy oh boy, the hometown crowd sure did show up. Besides our immediate family there were 40 people that came to support Blake; at an amateur race, that is a lot! After everyone going to the Raceline Chapel Service with us, we had lunch. Hotdogs, watermelon, and fans (it was so hot I pulled 3 electric fans outside) at our campsite with anyone who wanted to join in to try and thank friends and family for coming and to show them a good time at the race track.

Sunday’s Motorcycle Races

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Off the start in the E-SuperStock race Jared Trees got in front of Blake but not for long. Going into turn 1 Blake was able to get by him. As he was coming up on a lapped rider, Isaiah Debusk was catching up to Blake. He and Isaiah split the lapped rider going into a turn and Isaiah got in front of Blake coming out of the turn. Blake managed to get in his draft and pass Debusk going into turn 1. From that point Blake was able to stay up front the rest of the race and win!

Blake got a good start in the D-SuperStock race and passed a bunch of motorcycles in front of him. For a good part of the race Blake could see a Suzuki SV a short distance ahead of him. Blake was slowly gaining on him; on the final lap Blake kept coming up beside the SV in the turns. But when there was a short shoot (a small straight section in the track) or a straight the racer would pull ahead of Blake. Even though Blake had his sights set on beating that racer and was unable to he did get 1st in his class.motorcycle

Blake took off at the start of the Clubman race and Heather Syzmanic got up beside Blake left her behind once he got by her going into turn 1. The rest of the race he was up front and brought home a 1st in that race as well.

Food, Family & Fun

Cornhole, grilling, go-karting, camping, tailgating, and watching motorcycle races with friends and family made the race weekend even better than normal. I’m so thankful that God has given us a church family, moto-family, biological family, and friends that are family who are supportive and happy for Blake and his motorcycle racing.

Upcoming Races

This weekend, August 11th & 12th, the professionals are racing at Sonoma Raceway in California. Mike is their as a crew chief for Tuned Racing. Then, Talladega Gran Prix Raceway will be where WERA hosts Blake’s next motorcycle race on August 18th & 19th. It’s a busy time of year. School will start for Blake and his siblings August 22nd. Until next time…

WERA @ Roebling Road Raceway 07/14-07/15

Sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat”…

is a chorus sung by Luke Bryan that completely explains the week Blake and I had sandwiched in between two motorcycle race weekends. After the Herrin Compound races last weekend he and I went to Melbourne Beach, Florida to visit friends. Blake enjoyed the sun and surf. We left the beach and headed to Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Georgia for a weekend of racing on the Yamaha R3.

Saturday Practice

Mike along with Blake’s siblings, Ross and Abby, met us at the race track with Blake’s motorcyclemotorcycle and helped him get ready for his practice. Blake went out on his Bridgestone tires that he was on for a full race weekend at Barber. Mike asked Blake how they were and Blake said they were fine. Read more “WERA @ Roebling Road Raceway 07/14-07/15”

Herrin Compound – Scorcher Series 7/8/18

Moto-Fun, Moto-Family, & Motorcycles

Blake was at the Herrin Compound this weekend training and racing. Saturday was a practice day where Blake took a pretty hard hit. The rider in front of him crashed, unable to go anywhere Blake hit the motorcycle. He went over his handle bars and landed on his stomach, on top of the motorcycle. Blake’s motorcycle went flipping, caught up to Blake and landed on him. He got the wind knocked out of him and was pretty sore but all in all was okay. Thank goodness for his RS Taichi leathers he didn’t have a scrape on him. Later we noticed that his Shoei helmet had rubber marks from where the rear tire of his own motorcycle had hit him in the head. Praise God he was wearing all of his safety gear! Read more “Herrin Compound – Scorcher Series 7/8/18”