WERA – Pitt Race July 2017

Motorcycle Race Report

Crashing out of one motorcycle race, starting at the back of the grid in another, racing on fresh pavement; this weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex was “ a lot of fun” (according to Blake). With fresh pavement and cooler weather, we’ve been melting in the heat and humidity here in Virginia, it certainly was perfect for motorcycle racing.

Friday with N2 Track Days

Before heading north to the races. Mike and Blake had checked the weather reports: Rain Friday and no rain Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, Mike had decided they would not attend the track day hosted by N2 Track Days on Friday. However, Blake went to Mike on Wednesday and asked to go ahead and be at the track on Friday “just in case it didn’t rain”. Mike gave in and they headed out Thursday afternoon, and wouldn’t you know it, no rain on Friday. So, after lunch Blake joined N2 track days and rode a couple sessions on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle.

Yamaha R3 Motorcycle Endurance Race

Saturday N2 Track Days in conjunction with WERA held a couple of endurance races. Initially Blake was going to enter and ride by himself for the 2-hour lightweight motorcycle race. But, after being asked by Anthony Mazziato about teaming up Blake was stoked to see how the two of them could do as a team. Blake started the race from the back (grid was based solely on the order of registration entries). He made it up towards the front battling for quite a while with two other racers for the 5th place position. Around the halfway point of the race pit lane was pretty busy so, Blake and Maziatto’s crew decided that since Blake was laying down consistent lap times on the motorcycle, they would let him keep racing until pit lane wasn’t so crowded. Maziatto got his turn on the motorcycle and was able to gain another position and he and Blake finished 4th. Blake looks up to the older kids and Maziatto is no exception he was thrilled to be asked to be his teammate.

Honda RS125 Motorcycle Races

Blake went out on his Honda RS125 motorcycle for both of his practice sessions on Sunday sine he hadn’t ridden on it all weekend. He and his buddy Tyler went out together for practice they are tough competitors and both got faster and faster the longer they rode together. Blake was able to get his times down to 1:56:3. He felt good gridding up for his first race.

This was the Formula 2 race; by choice Blake started in the last row, behind 24 other motorcycles. The entire race he was in traffic, he was making good clean passes and moved up into 12th place on lap 5, then the race was red flagged. There had been a crash somewhere on the track that ended the race. Because the race was more than half over  they took the standings from the last completed lap. Blake was in 13th at that point. It was too bad it would have been fun to see where Blake could have finished given the chance to keep passing the way he was.

Next, was the Formula 3 race and considering Blake was on the Honda RS125 motorcycle, he got a great start. His friend Tyler Scott that he had practiced with earlier in the day was on a 250 and pulled away right off the start. However, on the first lap Blake was able to catch him and they were going back and forth 2 and 3 times a lap taking the lead. It was so exciting to watch. Blake got a handle on the lead when they came up on a lapped rider and Scott pulled back ahead. Blake was pushing, getting his lap time down to 1:55:3. Coming down to the last lap of the race Blake had picked the spot he thought he could out ride Scott to get by him for the win. Blake was trying to be patient, waiting for his chance to take the checkered flag when…the race was red flagged, another crash. Again, the race was considered complete at the last completed lap, Blake got second place. Oh it was such an adrenaline let down for Blake as he felt the win was just a pass away.

Yamaha R3 Motorcycle Races

Blake hopped on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle for the E-SuperStock race, took off with a good start got into turn four on the first lap, tucked the front, slid through the grass. Mike heard from officials Blake was okay and asked if for the D-SuperStock race (which was next for him) could Blake ride his Honda RS125. He was told the GP chassis made the motorcycle ineligible for that class. So, once the crash truck brought the Yamaha R3 into the pits Mike quickly worked on it, putting parts on, checking the mechanics and got Blake back on the motorcycle in time for the next race.

Blake got on grid for the D-SuperStock race and took off. After one lap he came in to the pits saying the motorcycle was all over the place and he could not make it turn the way it needed to. After further inspection they found the exhaust and been pushed over into the swing arm making it unable to move. Basically, it caused him to have no suspension. Coming in was a smart decision.

Lessons Learned

On the ride home, I asked Blake what he took away from the weekend. He said, “I had a learning curve.” Obviously he was not using the cliché correctly so with further questioning this is what I understood from him. Apparently, Travis Wyman a former pro racer, had talked to Blake and Blake watched his riding after that. He saw Travis and another rider racing together the other guy was in front and turned in earlier than Travis.  Blake saw the drive Travis had coming out of the turn enabling him to pass that racer. One of Blake’s racing strengths is how late and hard he brakes coming into the turns. But, there is a time and a place for everything. Blake said he learned not to rush all of the corners because sometimes he was killing his drive coming out of the turns. I asked if that tip helped when he raced.  With a grin he said, “I THOUGHT about it when I went out.” I guess it takes some time to do what your head wants you to do instead of just going with the adrenaline.

I didn’t make it to this race. Two of Blake’s siblings left for a missions trip and I wanted to be sure to help them get ready. But, as always the racing family filled in any gaps. Friday and Saturday night Mike and Blake went to dinner with a big group of racers and their families. Blake was encouraged by other racers and spectators, had friends travel to watch and help, received pointers and even a can of fuel. Another good weekend in the books.

Coming Soon…

July 23 is Blake’s 11th birthday and he will be racing at the Herrin Compound that day. Then, the first weekend in August he will be racing here in Virginia at VIR hopefully he will have a big home crowd to come watch. Every other weekend is August is booked as well: another Herrin Compound race, one at Talladega GP Raceway and he will be doing demo’s with MotoAmerica at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. So, click here or on the schedule tab at the top of his website and see where you can come watch some good motorcycle racing. See you at the track!