“WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, Inc is one of the oldest and largest national sanctioning bodies conducting motorcycle races at road courses across the United States.” , according to their website. And they held their first race of 2017 this weekend at Talladega GP Raceway. Blake was there ready to compete.
We arrived to the track late Friday night. Tracakapalooza had a track day Friday and the paddock was full of racers, family, and friends. We found a spot, got a good night sleep, and woke early Saturday morning to register for the races. Mike has tasked me with registering Blake for his races; that day we registered for 4 races. WERA offers track time for people to get some practice in before their races.
Blake got a practice session in on his Honda RS 125 motorcycle. Last season I believe he raced two races on that motorcycle so it’s a pretty new bike for him. He went out on the track and had a terrible time with the motorcycle. He came in after just one lap saying something was wrong with the bike. He and Mike decided he was shifting wrong.
Blake’s first motorcycle race of the day was on the Honda Grom. I don’t know how many were in the class but Blake, Kayla Yaakov, & Damian Jigalov made it worth the days ticket; what a show they put on! Jigalov led the pack off the line and after that he, Blake, and Yaakov kept switching positions. One would make a great pass then another would out-brake them all and take the lead. Another would come right up and show their front tire, getting the crowd excited for the pass and then not be able to make it. It was awesome racing! Coming around the last turn the 3 were grouped tightly together. Jigalov and Blake were slightly in front of Yaakov as they crossed line. Shew, the race was over; wait who won? Thank goodness for transponders it was that close, you just couldn’t tell. But, Blake finished 0.003 seconds ahead of Jigalov. HE WON!!!!
Now, it was time for Blake to get on the Yamaha R3. This is not a big motorcycle but compared to Blake it is. He held the bike on the grid and even got a decent start. I’m watching the race intently trying to be sure that he is handling that bike okay. Then, I realize he is moving pretty good through the pack of other racers. And, wow! He’s finished in the top half of the group. Remember, I can’t always tell get whats going on but, I was filled in and Blake finished 6th overall and FIRST in his class with a fastest lap of 1:10! Ah-mazing.
His Honda RS 125 was the next motorcycle Blake would compete on for race #9. When, they call your class to race they have all the riders go around the track one time to line up correctly behind the start/finish line. I was watching the race from the middle of the track and was unable to see the start of the race. I’m looking at all of the racers and can’t tell which one is Blake, not unusual for me. But, after the 3rd lap I was pretty sure he was not out there. I go back to our pit to find Mike and Blake frantically taking the motorcycle apart. I’m told they think it “blew a head gasket”. Blake’s next race was #13 there was no way they were going to get this fixed and put back together. Fortunately, for us, race #12 was red-flagged for a long time which gave Mike, Blake, and multiple moto-friends time to find parts and get the RS125 back together in time for the last race of the day!
So, we are all waiting to see how the RS 125 will perform after all the work they just put in. Mike explained to Blake that they did this really quickly and even though he feels like it’s all good, be careful, take it easy just in case the bike is still not right. Blake finished that race in 2nd place with his fastest lap being a 1:05.
Did you catch what I said at the beginning of this story. We slept at the track. That means I camped; I don’t camp. Well, I did camp. It was not as bad as it could have been. But, I did it!
So, Sunday when we crawled out of the van, Blake and I registered him for four more races. Blake went out on the Honda RS125 motorcycle for practice and he and Jackson Blackmon had fun running together. After all that work Mike had put in on the motorcycle Saturday things seemed to still be working well for Blake; he got his time down to 1:05 a lap. He also had a chance to practice on the Grom and it looked like the race would end up being a nail biter again.
Sure enough, the Grom’s were the first class to race and Yaakov, Jigalov, and Blake went at it again. It wasn’t quite as tight as Saturday’s race but it was still fun to watch. This time Yaakov would take the win, Jigalov would get 2nd again, and Blake took the 3rd place position.
Sunday, I felt much more comfortable with Blake on the Yamaha R3 motorcycle. Although, he looked like Superman sprawled out reaching for the handlebars, the gas tank in his gut, and his chin practically resting on the tank. He had no problems handling it and battled for quite a while with bike #111. His fastest lap was a 1:09; Blake ended up getting by him and won the race!
We were excited for the Formula 3 race because we knew the Honda RS 125 was running well. However, Blake didn’t seem to be doing so well. His fastest lap time this session was a 1:07. He finished in 2nd, went and checked his last time to find he was 2 whole seconds slower than in practice. After telling Mike what the bike was doing Mike figured out the motorcycle needed to be re-jetted. The temperature and humidity and changed Mike did some calculations and adjustments and hoped the last race of the weekend would go smoother.
Once race #12 finally rolled around I felt like we had all been on a roller coaster ride with that Honda RS125. At the beginning of the weekend we were excited to see how Blake would do on his new bike, and was disappointed because it didn’t go so well, then we were excited because we fixed the problem and had a good practice, just to be disappointed because the first race didn’t go so well, made some adjustments and held our breath for this final race of the weekend.
The racers were called to the starting line…and it was only Blake and Yaakov. They weren’t even combined with another class. So, now even if the bike ran well what a boring race this was going to be. Boy oh boy was I wrong. The green flag dropped Yaakov was first into turn one on her Honda NSF 250R she held the lead for a long time. Blake would get up beside her and right when you thought he was going to pass she would pull away from him again. Blake would close the gap just to have it widen a little again. Then on lap 8 Blake got by her on the brakes going into the last turn (aka Farm House turn). But, with how he had such a hard time passing her I was afraid two laps would be too long to hold her off. He had the hammer down and did a lap in 1:04. The next two laps seemed so long she gave it all she had but just couldn’t quite get by Blake and he took the checkered flag! Wow!
It was fun being able to see our WERA friends this weekend and meet some new people as well. Our family time traveling is always awesome. Yes, we have fights and debates but tons of laughs and fun. I just love our crazy family.
Coming Up Races
Next weekend we will be traveling to the Herrin Compound in Georgia for Round #5 of the Frostbite Series! Maybe we will see some of you there!