If bad luck is a thing, Blake had a lot of it this weekend. It rained off and on all weekend, his motorcycles rode in on crash trucks three times, two motors were blown, one chain lost, and to top it all off he was penalized with a fine.
N2 Track Days
Friday N2 Track Days hosted a track day at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Mike was watching Blake ride his Honda RS125 and saw Blake come off the bike with no fee on the pegs. Once Blake got back to the pits he said the rear tire locked up all of a sudden throwing him around. But, it was ok because he was able to pull the clutch in and ride the bike off the track. That was the first time the crash truck came to our pit. Mike had an extra motor and even though he didn’t know anything about it he went ahead and put it in the bike and had it all ready for Saturday.
WERA & N2 Track Days Endurance Race
WERA along with N2 sponsored Saturday’s practice and a 2 hour and 4 hour endurance race. We did not arrive in New Jersey intending on Blake participating in the 2 hour endurance. With nudging of friends in the paddock Blake asked, “Can I ‘Iron Man’ the 2 hour endurance?” Meaning he wanted to race it on his own for the entire two hours. We got him registered and he was excited to ride his Yamaha R3 motorcycle for 2 hours by himself and podium. I included Mike on the registration also just in case Blake did not have the stamina to, as he said, “Iron Man” it. This boy definitely believes in himself!
The weather caused so much trouble this weekend and Blake got “caught in it”. Saturday morning was sunny with no rain but, according to radar, rain was on its way. It looked like it might start in the middle of Blake’s motorcycle endurance race so at the last minute Blake and Mike decided to switch his motorcycle to rain tires. They were not able to get it done before the rain started so, Blake started about 6 laps behind everyone else. It was a good decision because the rain started as Blake got onto the track. Jay Kliger, with SuperMoto East Coast, came out to the races to help pit for Blake and boy did he get soaked during the endurance race keeping watch of Blake’s time out on the track and keeping the pit board updated. About half way through the race a WERA official told me Blake was okay but that he had crashed out of the race. This was the crash truck’s second time to our pit, this time dropping off the Yamaha R3. Then, Blake filled us in on what happened. He came out of turn 2, changed gears but felt like he was in neutral. He kept trying to change the gear but nothing would happen. He looked and saw the chain hanging so he pulled off the track. Because he can barely touch the ground, once the motorcycle came to a stop he toppled over. Good. No wreck!
WERA National Challenge Races
Sunday was race day for WERA‘s National Challenge Series. Blake had entered four races for the weekend. He registered for Formula 2 & 3 classes on his Honda RS125 motorcycle and for the D & E SuperStock classes on his Yamaha R3. Blake went out on his Honda Rs125 motorcycle with the replacement motor. During his first practice session, on the first lap, coming out of turn 10, about to go under the bridge the rear tire locked up and threw Blake off of the motorcycle. His rear end was under the motorcycle with his feet in the air as they slid across the track. Blake jumped up and ran off to the side of the track and started waving his arms to the other riders because his motorcycle was still in the track. Another bad motor and the third motorcycle delivery to the pit by the crash truck.
As Blake came back into the paddock an official pulled him off and fined him for entering the track in the wrong place. Blake did enter incorrectly and doing so can be dangerous. However, in Blake’s defense that is how they had you enter the track on Friday. He entered that way on Saturday and was not told differently, he did check for clear entry, and the riders’ meeting had not happened yet. Oh well, the silver lining is that the fine went to the Air Fence Fund, so at least it went to a good cause!
Without the Honda RS125 motorcycle to race Blake and Mike discussed strategy and decided to go ahead and race in the Formula 2 and Formula 3 classes but on the Yamaha R3. Although the motorcycle does not have enough power to be competitive in those classes it is allowed. Blake thought it would be better to race and finish to at least earn a few points in each class.
I suppose all the rain we had on Friday and Saturday sent a lot of people home. Once Sunday came, the grids were much smaller. But, that’s okay on to the racing…and hopefully no more problems! In both the Formula 2 and Formula 3 races the most he could but with much faster motorcycles out there, there wasn’t much he could do. He ended up with a tenth and a third.
The E-SuperStock race came and this was the class his Yamaha R3 motorcycle was competitive in. Blake had a clean race finishing in third. However, Mike did not think he was doing his best and questioned Blake and they did some more strategizing. He challenged Blake telling him he thought he could get his lap times down. Now, it was time for the D-SuperStock race. The race began and Blake looked so much better out on the track there were other classes racing at the same time. Watching Blake race those motorcycles also and seeing him push himself harder made it a fun race to watch. He got his lap time down to a 1:45. Way to Blake; he finished in second place!
This was Blake’s first time at New Jersey Motorsports Park. WERA and N2 Track Days chose a great time to race with an air show going on at the airport next door all weekend. We got to see all sorts of planes push to their limits and watch the Blue Angels perform. A great tribute to our military on Memorial Day weekend!
With the help of Rising Sun Cycles, KTM Cup racer Jackson Blackmon and his dad, and Triangle Cycles in Danville, Virginia Mike is hoping to have the Honda RS125 ready to race in time to race WERA‘s National Challenge round in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend. Blake is looking forward to a nice clean slate and maybe even some GOOD luck this time!