WERA Motorcycle Races @ Talladega GP Raceway April 2017

motorcycle

What a weekend!!!!

We left Lynchburg Thursday morning stopped at Southern Powersports in Chattanooga, TN; it’s the largest Honda powersports dealer in the U.S. The Honda 100cc motorcycle that Blake has been riding in the stock class at the Herrin Compound is pretty ragged out; bent frame and all. So, Mike found that this dealership had several 2013 left (the last year they were made). He got one for us and also picked up one for Owen Fairbairn. We were in and out and arrived at Talladega GP Raceway in time to get our pit set up and get to bed at a decent time.

Motorcycle

“TRACK DAY WINNER” PRACTICE

After Blake’s last WERA race Mike decided to send the Yamaha R3’s suspension to Fast Bike Industries to have it dialed in for Blake’s weight (it was set-up for a 160lb person). So, when the boys heard that Track Day Winner was hosting a track day before the WERA race at Talladega GP Raceway they thought Blake should participate to get acclimated to the changes in the motorcycle.motorcycle

Blake went out for his first session, said the R3 was perfect and not to touch it. He and Mike spent the rest of the day trying to dial in the suspension on Blake’s RS125. In the middle of one of Blake’s sessions on the RS he came in early and said, “I have to get my breath after that one!” I asked him, “What happened?” and he said, “I almost lost the front end so I got on the gas and had to counter steer because I was going to run into the corner worker’s canopy. Then, it almost high sided me and my helmet smacked the windscreen and then it did it all over one more time.” Later when he was re-telling the incident again Blake said, “I saw my life flash before my eyes.” That “flash” couldn’t have been that long being he’s only 10!!! He’s so funny. They finally did get the Honda RS125 feeling good. So, Blake went out on the Yamaha R3 again, made a few minor adjustments and felt ready for the races Saturday.

WERA Sportsman Series – Race Day

During one of of Saturday’s practices on the Yamaha R3 motorcycle Garrett Parker pulled Blake 2 seconds faster from what he had been riding. Parker showed Blake some different lines to take around the track. Blake said, “I really needed that.”

Honda Grom Race

His first race of the day was on the Honda Grom. As always the Grom race was a blast to watch. The top 3 riders were back and forth throughout the race. This time it was Blake, Kayala Yaakov, and Josh King on the last lap coming into the Farm House turn Blake drafted Yaakov who was holding a tight line then dipped onto the inside curb after the turn for the pass. Out of nowhere fourth place rider, Hunter Barnett, had a double draft and was now in contention for the win. Crossing the finish line they were four bikes wide and all within 1/10 of a second from the winning time. Who won? Blake did by a wheel, whew! That was some good racing!

Yamaha R3 Races

The next race was E-SuperStock it is a stacked class with some awesome racers. They were all on Yamaha R3’s; Josh Jovi, Nathan McDonald, Joseph Blasius, Garrett Parker, Ashton Yates, and Bobby Evans were all ahead of Blake. Blake caught up to Bobby Evans, they were racing side by side down the back straight, once they got to the Farm House turn they both braked at the same time but Blake got the inside which put him ahead of Evans. With one last attempt to get by Blake, Evans went around the flagger at the finish line but Blake still got him; putting Blake in 6th place.

The D-SuperStock class race wasn’t very exciting it was small; 4 motorcycles. Blake was on his Yamaha R3 again. After the start two motorcycles got a huge gap on Blake and they all just sort of rode around the track. Blake finished third.

Honda RS125 Races

The last two races of the day Blake was on his Honda RS125 motorcycle. Formula 3 was first, Blake pulled a quick gap on the other F3 competitors. Blake said of this race that he had “fun battling with the Clubman guys” (another class his race was combined with), more specifically, Josh Jovi. Jovi had pulled a good distance away from Blake and Blake was really pushing, trying to catch him and ended up running his fastest lap time up to that point and was able to pass Jovi. Which really didn’t matter since they weren’t in the same class but it just made the racing fun, I’d say for both of them! Blake finished 1st in his class.

Formula 2 is the class where Blake is racing up into a bigger motorcycle class. Most of the motorcycles in this class are SV650 Superbikes. Blake had fun racing with James East and was able to pass him then kept pushing it, ended up running a 1:04:00 lap time to catch and pass Jeri Blackwood! He pulled ahead just a little and finished in third. Blake came into the pits grinning ear to ear; excited about getting on podium in this fast class! A great way to end the day.

That evening the rain came in and rained through the practice sessions on Sunday. Blake only went out for one practice. Meanwhile Mike was trying to figure out how to make some sort of air box for the Honda RS125 it isn’t made with one but with how hard it was raining he was concerned the motorcycle would run poorly. So, he made one from a milk carton…and it seemed to work.

   

WERA National Challenge Series – Race Day

During lunch break the rain stopped and the sun started to break through. Which was good and bad. It calls tire choice into question. If the track is too dry rain tires won’t last a whole race. If the track is too wet race tires will be too slick.

Honda Grom Race

However, for Blake’s first race on the Honda Grom none of that mattered because he only had race tires. Several times before the race started Mike told Blake to take it easy, that the track was wet, this race wasn’t worth getting hurt in, he could even go so slow and let people lap him. Oh, Blake did not like that at all. He told Mike he would take it easy but he could NOT let people lap him. The race started and Kayla Yaakov pulled a huge lead (the benefit of rain tires) and so the battle was between 2nd and 3rd, Blake and Hunter Barnett. Blake beat him by only .007 of a second; taking 2nd place.

Honda RS125 Races

The rain ran many racers off so Sunday’s grids were much smaller and the Formula 3 race was affected. It was not an exciting race pretty much Blake, Kayla Yaakov, and another racer just rode around the track; they were nowhere near each other. Anyway, Blake finished first.

Blake thought his most improved racing of the weekend was in the Formula 2 class. During lunch I had asked Blake what was his goal for the day’s races. He said he wanted to get down to a lap time of 1:03 and he didn’t care if it was a 1:03:999 he just wanted to get below 1:04. Well, he got a good start, got around James East but Jeri Blackwood pulled a huge gap. Blake kept working to catch him and by about ½ way through the race he caught him getting down to a lap time of 1:03:9!! He did it; he met his goal! AND, after he got by Blackwood he continued consistent 1:04’s. Blake finished that race in 2nd place.

When preparing for this race season we knew Blake would be racing in the expert classes. So, we had talked to him about how he would probably not podium this season because of the stiffer competition and though that is true, Blake has stepped up his game and has become stiffer competition. Way to go Blake!

COMING SOONG…

April 28-30th, Blake will be doing motorcycle demonstrations in the Fan Zone at the MotoAmerica Race at Road Atlanta.

One thought on “WERA Motorcycle Races @ Talladega GP Raceway April 2017”

  1. A great read! Great job Blake! I look forward to future episodes of #122! AND, Thank you guys so much for picking up Owen’s bike!! You’re the best!

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