MotoAmerica – Pitt Race

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This past weekend MotoAmerica was racing motorcycles at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. It’s a 2.8 mile track with 19 turns. Most of the fans watch the races from “Spectator Hill”. From there you can see a majority of the race track and hang out with a lot of other race fans. It was fun seeing so many fans cheering for Blake under the BEAST canopy and having the BEAST girls in the crowd. Then, Sportbike Track Gear joined us again as Blake’s title sponsor with Fleet Relief offering support as well. How blessed we are!

BEAST Girls

Motorcycle Qualifying Sessions

Friday, the motorcycle racers got one practice session and then had their first qualifying session. Blake qualified 6th. He was hoping for better on Saturday and it certainly started better. He was 2nd in qualifying for a little bit then a red flag threw him off his game, he dropped back to 4th and by the end of the session was down to 9th. In Atlanta, he raced in a pack for both races and in Pittsburgh’s qualifying was still hung up with those racers. But, for perspective, there was only one tenth of a second separating the 5th place qualifier and Blake, crazy!

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MotoAmerica Debut

Michelin Raceway/Road Atlanta – July 31-August 2

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We just got home from Blake’s first MotoAmerica race. What an experience! We got to Michelin Raceway/Road Atlanta Thursday. Blake had to see the award-winning Brian Nelson, to have his “official” MotoAmerica picture taken. Then, we headed into downtown Gainesville, Georgia with MotoAmerica to do a meet and greet. They had corn-hole, giveaways, motorcycles, and umbrella girls to entertain the crowd. There was an emcee who introduced and interviewed the racers who all signed posters for those in the crowd. The emcee pointed out that Blake’s sister, Abby, was there and asked Blake if she was a supporter. The crowd laughed when Blake said, “No” and again when he explained, “She’s just more like a cheerleader.” Later he explained to me that she wasn’t a supporter because she’s not a sponsor; I was sure to clear that up with him. All in all, it was a good opportunity to introduce motorcycle road racing to more people.

Friday’s Practice & Qualifying 1

Friday the LiquiMoly Junior Cup kids (14-28 year olds) got a 30-minute practice. Blake did not like how the motorcycle was handling. Some adjustments were made before the first qualifying where Blake was 5th fastest. He, and all the other racers got faster Saturday and he qualified 8th in that session.
Each weekend the LiquiMoly Junior Cup has one motorcycle race on Saturday and one on Sunday. The grid position is based on everyone’s fastest lap time from that weekends two qualifying sessions. This weekend Blake started his races in eighth.

Looking Good – Why is Blake #22? Why the BEAST?

When it comes to “image” Blake is totally unaware. He doesn’t care what a motorcycle looks like or if his Shoei matches his Taichi leathers; Blake just wants to ride.

With respect for his country and having 2 uncles that serve with the US Marines Blake is drawn to anything “American”. So, his motorcycle color schemes often are red, white, and/or blue. Where does all the green come from? That’s to meet Kawasaki’s eligibility requirements for contingency funds. And we want those funds!

Motorcycle #22

A change you will see this year is his competition number. The 122 came about on the way to his first race. Mike asked Blake what number he wanted on his motorcycle. He told Mike that Psalm 122:1 was his favorite Bible verse, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord”, and he chose 122 as his number and has used it ever since. However, the Junior Cup series allows only 2 digit numbers so Blake chose to drop the 1 and race as #22.

Why BEAST?

Now how about that BEAST? As many of us have experienced, our siblings can simultaneously traumatize and encourage us. Blake has 2 older sisters and an older brother, and they’ve all played the roles as giver and receiver of such trauma and encouragement! And that is where the story of his nickname “BEAST” begins.

As you know Blake started racing motorcycles young, I mean, younger than he is now. Once he started participating in Supermoto events at Virginia International Raceway’s kart track, he was getting high-5’s and “way to go’s” from a lot of adults. His oldest sister saw all the excitement and how well Blake was doing and started calling him “Sexy Beast”. He did NOT like it AT ALL. So, as all loving brothers and sisters would do, they kept calling him that. It was a family joke until some of our moto-family travelled with us to a race and got wind of the nickname. It was a secret no more.

Fast-forward a few years and we started working with Brand Supply Company to develop Blake’s brand. They asked if Blake had any nicknames. I talked to Blake first and we decided to tell them he had been called BEAST and left it at that. The designer called and talked to Blake to get an idea of what Blake had in mind. Blake didn’t like my idea of the cute Disney cartoon beast and told the designer he wanted a mean looking beast.

Brand Supply Company got back to us saying they had a difficult time designing a mean BEAST to represent Blake. They said, “Blake is too nice; he’s not a mean BEAST.” So, an ambiguous or reversible image was designed; looking at the BEAST one way he looks angry but flip him upside down and he becomes a happy BEAST! Blake loved the idea and the BEAST was born!

Upcoming Races

This weekend Blake will make his MotoAmerica debut at Michelin Raceway-Road Atlanta. You can watch at MotoAmericaLive. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook to get the latest news. We will see you at the track!

N2 Track Days/WERA

June 2020 Motorcycle Races @ Summit Point Raceway

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Well, well, it has been a while. This year the “off-season” was a lot longer than any of us expected thanks to the Corona Virus. Thankfully, it didn’t keep Blake off of motorcycles all together. He started training at Cornerspin with his coach, Aaron Stevenson, and was able to ride his dirt bike at home.

This is a long race report. A track day, an endurance race, and four sprint races…nothing like jumping in with two feet! If you ask me his top 3 races were the endurance race, Formula 2 and Light Weight Super Stock. So, hang on here we go.

N2 Track Days Motorcycle Event

Blake was super excited to get to Summit Point Raceway on Friday where N2 Track Days was hosting a track day. Blake had never been there and wanted to see how quickly he could get his times down. Since there are several MotoAmerica tracks he’s never been to he’ll have to figure out how to get his lap times down quickly. He won’t have the luxury of time to “get comfortable” before he needs to be going his fastest. So, this weekend would be good practice for that.

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Praying Before the Race

During session one his lap times were as high as 1:28 a lap. Blake said the tight turns made it tricky to learn. He did two more sessions, pushed to find a rhythm and went a good bit faster in his third session running 1:22’s. Unfortunately, lightning struck, the skies opened up, ending the day.

2019 WERA GNF – Rain, Racing & a Surprise Award

N-2 Track Days Endurance Race

Blake’s race season culminated this weekend at WERA’s Grand National Finals held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a weekend of ups and downs.

Thursday was the final 4 hour endurance race hosted by N2 Track Days along with WERA. Greg Reisinger of Chief’s Racing invited Blake to join their team for the final round. They had a Suzuki 650 with an endurance tank on the motorcycle. Mike wasn’t sure if Blake was even going to be able to reach the clip-ons (aka handlebars) because of his size but, he could. But, would he be able to throw the motorcycle side to side around the track for over an hour?
The race got underway and Kevin Boda took the first stint getting the team to the fourth position before he came in and handed the motorcycle off to Blake. Soon after Blake got on the track, there was a red flag. The racers restarted from the position they were in at the time of the red flag. Third place was a lap ahead of the Chief’s Racing Team at that point but Blake was able to get ahead of them before he came in for fuel, ending his turn. The team had some “flubs” like: a missing rider, an extra pit stop so found rider could take over, and loose motorcycle parts caused another unplanned pit stop. Chief’s Racing Team finished in fourth; which wasn’t too shabby after all of that commotion!

WERA’s Sportsman & Grand Champion Motorcycle Races

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Teammate Josh Booth “Parting Water”

Friday and Saturday were crazy. It rained and it poured and rained, and poured some more. Racers said there was 5” of water sitting on the pavement in the Charlotte’s Web turn and puddles that extended across the entire track, one that they rode through for twenty feet! Needless to say, just staying on two wheels, made it a successful day.
Friday Blake’s Lucas Oil Kawasaki Ninja 400 got him on the podium and take home a third in D-SuperBike and a 1st place in D-SuperStock and a 3rd in Formula 2. Saturday, he wasn’t so lucky; he just couldn’t catch all of those SV650’s. He came in 4th in Formula 2 and in the AMA LightWeight Twins he came in fifth.

Proud Brothers Post

Finally, Sunday, the rain stopped. Blake’s Nana and Papa came to cheer him on for the Championship. His Papa and I stood at the wall to watch the Lightweight Twins SuperStock race and I couldn’t believe that twice Blake waved at us. He is always so focused and never goofs off during a race. He finished 6th. When he came into the pits frantic that his clutch was “fried”, I figured out he wasn’t goofing off, he was motioning about his trouble! What does mom know? Mike and Ross (Blake’s brother) were able to get the clutch replaced in less than 2 races and Blake was on the grid for his last race of the weekend, the Formula 2 Nationals. It looked promising as he took the hole shot but not so much when 4 SV 650’s passed him on one straight away; he finished 5th.

Each evening there was award presentations. The racers were given their podium awards and awards for those who won the points championships. Blake won 3 National Points Championships, woo hoo! The American Motorcycle Association was there as well to give trophies for their National races.

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Nicky Hayden

Then, Sunday evening the AMA awarded some of their top honors. Blake’s friends took home all of them. Will Ray took home the AMA Novice of Year Award, Chuck Ivey was awarded Veteran Racer of the Year, and his buddy Eli Bannish received the Youth Road Racer of the Year Award (he’s 10, the same age Blake was when he first started road racing)…AND….drumroll please…Blake was awarded the AMA Nicky Hayden Horizon Award!!!! This award was renamed for Nicky Hayden, a world champion, after his death. It is awarded to an amateur road racer who “is poised for greatness” and exemplifies good character and sportsmanship on and off the track. What an honor!!! It was funny to see Blake shocked and speechless. Every time he tried to talk he was stumbling over his words.

After some photos and interviews, the 2019 GNF came to an end, a GNF that Blake will never forget.