Motorcycle Race Report
Talladega Gran Prix was the place, WERA was the series, motorcycles were the vehicles, and Blake was the racer. The skies were clear, the sun was hot (very hot; the heat index was 111 degrees); everything was set in place for a good race weekend.
Saturday’s Grom Race
The Grom race was really uneventful. The first two racers had a big lead on Blake and so he pretty much just rode by himself around the track. In fact, afterwards a few different people questioned Blake about whether his Grom was running okay or not. It was fine. The Grom class is a stock class and Blake’s motorcycle was just not able to keep up with the others.
Saturday’s Yamaha R3 Race
Blake did great in the Lightweight Solo race which is a 20 lap race on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle. Throughout the entire race he was consistently getting faster and faster. He finished in third place. The neat thing about this race was noticing how much Blake was learning the whole time he was racing. You witnessed it in watching him the last 6 laps; they were his strongest and fastest laps.
Sunday’s Grom Race
And then there was Sunday. The first race of the day was the Grom class. Blake got a good start and was able to keep Hunter Barnett behind him for a bit. But as Hunter came around Blake he crashed, Blake went through the grass trying to avoid him and almost made it when the crashing motorcycle hit Blake’s rear tire. Blake highsided (that’s when the rear wheel loses traction then suddenly regains it tossing the rider head first over the motorcycle) fortunately he just hit ground and slid. That was not the case for his motorcycle, it tumbled quite a bit. The Honda Grom will be out of commission for a while. The race was red-flagged, Barnett was hurt but Blake and his Grom came back to the pits on the crash truck. He assured the officials he was okay.
Then, as the crash truck pulled away Blake told Mike his left thumb hurt and started feeling really weak. Mark Jovi, the dad to racer Josh Jovi, had come over to check on Blake and noticed he wasn’t feeling well. He basically caught Blake and along with Mike walked him to Jovi’s pit. Jovi put a fan on Blake and got him water. Mike double checked Blake’s helmet to make sure he had not hit his head and it was pristine. He and Blake were both certain that he was just overheated. Blake then asked Mike to take him for a ride on the scooter to cool him off some more. Blake said he wanted to continue racing but Mike made the scooter ride a little long so he could talk to, and feel Blake out to be sure he was well enough to race. Mike thought he was.
Yamaha R3 Races
So, Blake went out on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle for the E-SuperStock Class. Mike took water, a fan, and a wet towel to hot pit and told Blake to go out, take it easy for a few laps, and not to worry about the race. Mike stood at hot pit waiting for Blake to come in but Blake was too busy racing. The race was cut short under a red flag but Blake was able to finish in 4th place.
He only had a one race break, so once again, Mike was questioning Blake and discussing whether he should race it or not. Blake admitted his thumb hurt but he wanted to race. And he did. He ran the whole D-SuperStock race on his Yamaha R3 motorcycle and finished third. Woo-hoo; what a trooper!
Honda RS125 Races
Blake’s next class was on the Honda RS125 in Formula 3 Expert. There was only one other racer in Blake’s class. Therefore, WERA combined them with the Clubman class for the race. Blake gridded in the very back. He was able to catch up to the 4th place racer about half way through the last lap. You would think that would be about where he was going to finish. Then, all of a sudden as Blake and four riders in front of him are at the end of the back straight going into the last turn Blake passed 4th place , 3rd, and then 2nd all on the brakes into what’s known as the Farmhouse turn. After making it through the turn he still had enough drive to pass 1st place in the kink before the straight to the finish line. Blake took first overall! Oh my goodness! Who would have thought? It really doesn’t matter because when it comes down to it, he officially finished 1st only in his class, but boy that sure was fun!
I’ve mentioned before that the Formula 2 class is a bit fast for Blake’s motorcycle but you are allowed to race up and for extra seat time he enters the race. So, when I tell you he got 1st it sounds phenomenal. But, I must tell you there were a lot of races that were red flagged because there were a lot of crashes. You’d think those high temperatures would make for some sticky tires which, it may have, but the heat also made the track very slick. Unfortunately, a lot of Blake’s competitors had fallen victim to that misfortune and he was the only expert rider and so took first place.
Update on the ol’ Thumb
I’m still impressed that after his accident Blake pushed through and squished his swollen thumb back into his glove and went on to get on the podium 3 more times. I did take him Monday morning to a walk-in clinic for x-ray’s. His thumb was not broken; thank goodness. The first day of school was Wednesday and we didn’t want him starting school with a broken thumb. It is still swollen so we are continuing to ice it but if it’s not better after this weekend I may call the doctor back to find out what else I should do.
Thank you to all the friends and moto-family that helped him when he wrecked, cheered him on the rest of the day, and called or messaged to check on him.
Speaking of the weekend…Blake is heading up to Pittsburgh International Raceway to do demonstrations at the MotoAmerica race. He’s excited to watch some races and hang out with friends. He likes meeting the people that stop to watch the demo’s, so stop by and say hello. You might see him over at the MotoLiberty tent some also. They’ll be there with the RS Taichi leathers Blake wears. Praise God he had them on for his crash! He also likes to stop by and see the Shoei guys. He’s on his 3rd helmet this season…that’s 2 hard licks to his head and not one concussion!
Blake is one blessed kid to have so much support on and off the track. Until next time…