Leather is not what you would call a breathable material. The suit motorcycle racers wear as protection is made of leather and does NOT fit loosely. Then, they put on leather gloves, a helmet, and heavy boots. Contrary to what you might think the racers get quite a workout while riding; they have to use their arms and legs to push and pull the motorcycle through the turns as they need. Blake will be all sweaty on a cool day. But this weekend, at the Herrin Compound in Dublin, Georgia, the heat index pushed the temperature for Saturday and Sunday up to 104 degrees. Did that slow Blake down? Nope, not at all. To me just more proof of his passion.
Saturday was just a practice day and Blake was on the track a lot. He rode his KTM65 for only one session; trying to save his tires for race day. He rode his Honda 100 quite a bit, working on rushing the corners. When he was be conscious of what he was doing, he got better drives and faster lap times but you could see when he’d get distracted and revert. It’s something to keep working on. The tires on his Honda Grom were finished after practicing on them all day.
That evening Kim Herrin invited everyone into her home once again to watch races and have dinner. After Blake was finished she called him to the kitchen and surprised him with a cake and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He blew out his candles just to have them re-light, he kept blowing and finally got them all out. Those tricky candles!
Sunday’s weather report promised the same heat. “Trainer Trina” with AXcess Racing LLC has taught Blake the effects of hydration on performance. Lots of water, foods to refuel the body, fans and wet towels to stay cool were all ways Mike and Blake prepared for the day. I didn’t go to this race because Ross and Abby (Blake’s siblings) were returning from a missions trip on Saturday AND Saturday was Abby’s 13th birthday. So, the boys did a great job.
Honda Grom Races
The Honda Grom race was first, Blake scrubbed in new tires during qualifying and qualified 2nd. During the race he didn’t feel like he was doing well, and his lap times were not as fast as normal, but was able to finish 0.09 seconds behind first.
As tires get hotter from use the air pressure gets higher; racers plan for that. After the race Blake talked to Mike, they checked his tire pressure and it was a lot higher than they had anticipated, they made adjustments. Mike also talked to Blake about his start off the line; he had a good launch but his reaction time to the flag needed some work.
Going into the Formula 3 race they were hoping Blake would have a better start and feel better on the Honda Grom’s tires. The green flag waved and Blake reacted and launched well. Blake said, “A cool thing happened. Coming out of a turn I was sliding, the handle bars were going side ways, I held the gas, sliding to the edge of the track…” He needed to flip the motorcycle in the opposite direction for the next turn which is common. But, the Grom doesn’t handle quite as well. With excitement he finishes, “…and it flipped to the left!” He was prepared to crash and was shocked when the motorcycle turned. I guess the tire pressure was juuust right!
Honda 100 Race
Blake had poll for the Stock 100 race and got the hole shot. For a good part of the race Owen Fairbairn was right behind Blake even showing his front tire to him a few times. Blake has been trying new tires on the Honda 100 and said they were slippery for the race. His lap times were about a half a second slower than the morning practice sessions (with cooler temperatures) but he was consistent. With how hot it was at race time, any tire may have been slippery. He was able to hold that top spot and finished first.
On the KTM65 Blake was on poll for the MiddleWeight Advanced class. That lesson about his starts had seemed to have sunk in; he got the hole shot and pulled 8-10 motorcycle lengths ahead. Throughout the race he was consistently pulling away. The last few laps he continued doing what he needed to to keep the lead but rode safely. Meaning, he wasn’t pushing hard, he was racing in the next race and didn’t want to take any chances. The first place trophy was his!
Mike had the Yeti cooler on pit lane with water and a wet towel staying cool. Blake came down pit lane after the MiddleWeight race, got off his motorcycle, Mike wiped him down with the cool towel as Blake drank some water. A new medic was on site this weekend, seeing what Mike and Blake were doing made him concerned that Blake was getting over heated. The medic told Blake he had seen him on the motorcycle quite a bit today and wanted to be sure he was okay. Blake thanked him and assured him he was fine. Other racers heard the medics concerns. They laughed and pretty much said, “This kid is on the track all the time; he’ll be fine.”
The SuperMini race was Blake’s last of the day. He was on the KTM65 motorcycle again. He qualified 3rd, the race was uneventful and he finished it in third place as well.
While discussing what needed to go in the race report Blake said, “Make sure you say: ‘It was a good weekend and thank everybody for the birthday stuff and Happy Birthday to my sister Abby too.’” (Abby’s birthday is the 22nd, Blake’s is the 23rd.) Well, I guess that sums it up.
This coming weekend is an off weekend; we will have some well deserved family time. His next race will be August 5 & 6 at Virginia International Raceway. Many local friends and family will have their chance to see Blake in action. Until next time…