WERA National Challenge @ VIR

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Motorcycle Race Report August 2017

This weekend was Blake’s motorcycle racing debut at his “home track” Virginia International Raceway. He has raced Supermoto on the kart track at VIR for 4 years but this was his first race on the big track. Being that the race was an hour and a half from home many friends and family came out to support Blake. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and Blake showed off pretty well for them also.

 

N2 Track Day

Friday N2 Track Days held a fun and helpful track day. Blake was able to ride both his Yamaha R3 and Honda RS125 motorcycles and get a feel for the track. Blake told Mike that he was unable to turn the Yamaha R3 fast enough in the turns. Mike made a call to Fast Bike Industries, who do phenomenal suspension work, to get some advice. They told Mike what adjustments needed to be made to Blake’s motorcycle and with a few tweaks Blake felt confident.

 

Yamaha R3 Endurance Race

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Saturday was the final endurance race of the series that N2 Track Days and WERA were hosting together. Blake and Anthony Mazziatto were teaming up once again to ride Blake’s Yamaha R3 motorcycle in the 2-Hour Ultra-Lightweight Endurance race. The plan was for Blake to start the race, ride for an hour, come in, top off the gas, and have Anthony finish the race. All went as planned. Blake started and when he came in after an hour he was in 4th place. Anthony got on and was a lap behind third place until they made their pit stop. Then, Anthony was only a half of a lap behind. With a few minutes left in the race Anthony was able to catch and pass them and finished in 3rd place!

Endurance Series Awards

Blake and Anthony went to the podium to receive their award. Both boys were taking care to represent their sponsors well; they had their leathers on, helmets in hand. However, Blake didn’t look as put together as everyone else on the podium with his leathers unzipped. I motioned to Blake to zip-up but while holding his helmet he was having a hard time. Then, Anthony reached over and helped him. I thought how much I enjoy seeing the older guys be such an example to Blake both on and off the track. The podium presentation wrapped up. Then, to their surprise the announcer started the presentation for the overall series awards and they found out they finished 2nd in the whole N2 Track Days/WERA endurance series, just a couple points behind first.

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Afterwards, our family and some friends from back home went to dinner to a fun little burger joint in Danville, Virginia called Me’s Burgers & Brews. We had some good laughs, great burgers, and Blake was ready to hit the sack when he got back to the track.

Honda RS125 Races

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Sunday, another group of family and friends came to watch Blake race in four sprint races. The first one was Formula 2-Expert on his Honda RS125 motorcycle. This is the one he races “up” in. All but one other motorcycle were SV650’s. He chose to start on the back of the grid, in 17th, for this race. He made some good passes, finishing in the thirteenth position.

The Formula 3 race was combined with Clubman. Having to start behind the Clubman racers Blake was able to get by them all once the race began. The only racer ahead of Blake was another Formula 3 racer who had pulled a significant gap. So, Blake’s race was by himself making it not real exciting the rest of the time; he finished in second place.

Yamaha R3 Races

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Blake had a pretty decent start in the D-SuperStock Expert class on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle. But, his times were not very good. He was 3 seconds off of his race pace. He finished in third place but came into the pits shaking his head in disappointment. Blake and Mike discussed some things. But, with his final race coming up there wasn’t much time.

Frustrated, Blake continued trying to think about what he was doing differently from Saturday. Again on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle Blake went back out for the E-SuperStock Expert race. He ran 2 seconds faster this time finishing in 4th place. However, he still was not pleased.

Lessons Learned & Learning

Knowing Geoff May had another race left, Blake asked Mike to go watch that race from one of the turns Blake was having trouble with. They did, and Blake saw what he needed to be doing differently. While packing up the pits to go home it just so happened that Geoff May rode by on his bicycle and stopped to talk. Mike told him that Blake had wanted to watch him race for some help. Geoff took time with Blake and gave him some pointers. Blake said he was glad he did because it was helpful.

Blake realizes he is having a hard time transitioning between the Honda RS and the Yamaha R3 motorcycles. On the RS he can just throw the motorcycle into the turns making it do what he wants. However, with the R3 being so much heavier he has to think ahead, and be prepared to maneuver the motorcycle the way he needs before he gets to the turns. If not, he ends up turning in too late, putting him on the wrong line, losing drive out of the turns.

Mike had only planned for Blake to race the Honda RS this year but racing the Yamaha R3 has given Blake more seat time and experience. The goal for Blake’s motorcycle racing has always been to be a versatile rider; one who can get on any motorcycle and ride the heck out of it. I guess this situation Blake has found himself in just helps him meet that goal.

Coming Soon…

Wow! Wow! Wow! We just got news that someone has offered to sponsor Blake for 2 track days with Track Day Winner AND a spot in Ed Bargy’s Race School!  It is this weekend in Kentucky at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  What an amazing gift Blake has received!  We appreciate all the fist bumps, support, “follows”, “likes”, and “shares”. It’s encouraging and helps promote Blake and his sponsors. As Blake always says, “Have fun, go fast, and be safe!”