November 3-5, 2017
It seemed like we had to wait forever for WERA’s Grand National Motorcycle Finals to get here. There was a pretty long break between their last motorcycle race and the finals. Blake was so glad to finally get to go down to Barber Motorsports Park and race his motorcycles.
Thursday’s Motorcycle Practice
Thursday was practice day and Blake was able to go out on his Honda RS125 & Yamaha R3 two times each. Blake said he felt good on the RS but not on his R3. His times were good and he got them down lower as practices went on.
Friday’s Sportsman Series Finals
By the time Blake’s race came on Friday it had just stopped raining. Mike did not have rain tires for Blake’s Yamaha R3 but Blake wanted to race anyway. He told Mike he would take it easy. So, out he went out for the E SuperStock race. He told of a pass he made on another racer on the outside of a turn and dragging his knee (so much for taking it easy). A few turns later coming into the top of museum, the back stepped out but he was able to keep it up, running into the grass. As he came back on to the track at speed the front end tucked and he crashed. It took so long to get back in to the pits, get the motorcycle fixed, and have the officials tech the motorcycle again that he missed his second race (D SuperStock).
Formula 2 was Blake’s first race on Saturday. This is the class he uses for seat time. He came in 9th out of 17; not too shabby.
Next, was Formula 3 this was for the regional points. Blake was 2nd off the start which was incredible for him being on his Honda RS, they have no bottom end speed. Most times the majority of the grid goes by him before the motorcycle has picked enough speed. When I mentioned to Blake how great it was that he was ahead of other racers off the start he laughed and said, “Mom, the other motorcycles were RS’ also.” Oh well, it was good anyway. Tyler Scott on his NSF 250R was ahead of Blake and Blake was pushing to catch up to him. Blake passed him going down and to the left, Blake’s shoulder touched Scott’s body work and as they were switching back to go right and up the hill Blake passed him on the outside. The rest of the race they were back and forth, it was so exciting, you had no idea who was going to win. Coming down the final straight to the finish line Blake was able to get ahead and take the win.
AMA Motorcycle Road Race Championship
Blake entered the AMA Formula 3 Championship. Blake’s start wasn’t bad but another Honda RS was able to get around him. Through the turns Blake would pass him and he’d pass Blake back on the straights. Blake could not get away from him and when they came up on traffic things were even worse. Blake ended up 4th in that race. He was really disappointed; he knew he needed to have done better passing.
Sunday Blake had 2 practices on the Yamaha R3 his lap times were decent around 1:46. He was feeling good going into the Yamaha R3 Cup. Yamaha was giving a Yamaha R6 to the winner. Early in the day I told Blake I wanted to see him on the podium. He asked me if I had seen the grid; almost everyone but Blake had raced with MotoAmerica. When it was time for the motorcycle race Blake said with a huge grin, “Mom, I’m going to be on top of the podium.” I’m glad he’s so confident but…he came in 10th. No R6 this year.
Sunday’s National Challenge Motorcycle Finals
The points for the National Series in Formula 3 were so close between Blake and Tyler Scott that whoever was in front of the other would win the points for the year. The race started and Tyler and another racer were able to get ahead of Blake. Again, no big surprise with Blake being on the Honda RS however they were able to pull a gap on their NSF 250’s. Blake was not giving up though is lap times were consistently getting faster and faster down into the 1:39’s but it was not enough; he finished 3rd.
Formula 2 in the National Series was his last race of the weekend; he gridded in the back. He got a good start, going into turn 2 he saw a racer friend go down, then going up the hill a motorcycle stalled sending bikes braking and swerving all different directions trying to get around him. Blake ducked in behind a racer to barely miss the stalled motorcycle and as he was passing that guy he glanced over to see that racer look at him, they both shook their heads with a shiver not believing they made it through so clean. A few laps later Blake saw another motorcycle sliding out and realized it was the points leader. It was a crazy race; Blake finished eighth.
2018 WERA Motorcycle Overview
Racers earn points based on where they finished in their race. Blake raced in several regions throughout the 2018 season in five different classes on three different motorcycles. He raced 65 races with WERA this year and was on the podium 35 times. I would say that his first year racing in the expert class was very successful. (To read more about his WERA points click here http://www.wera.com/racers/racerprofile.asp?x=1098&rid=30576937134912.)
Those 65 races include some that he crashed out of we are very thankful to Shoei, RS Taichi and MotoLiberty for sponsoring him this year; because of them Blake was not hurt. Safety gear is so important. I am thankful that Mike learned his lessons the hard way earlier in life and therefore insisted that Blake always be in proper gear.
Then, there was Stickboy Racing who helped Blake with some sticky Bridgestone tires throughout the season. Our local motorcycle shop Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, VA bent over backwards all season to help us get whatever parts we needed for the motorcycles. Triangle Cycles in Danville, VA did awesome motor work you know the Honda RS needed lots of tweaking all season long.
Then there was Pilot/Flying J who jumped on board to help motorcycle “Pilot”, Blake, achieve his goals. Harris Tire is a local tire/service station and has helped keep Blake’s travel trailers and vehicles on the road. Friends from United Welding have stuck with Blake and Commercial Steel Erectors is a huge crane company that could see the “heights” Blake would be going in his motorcycle career.
What an incredible season: the experiences, the friends, the school teachers, the motorcycle coaches, the sponsors, the road trips, the photographers, the wins, the losses, the supporters, the competitors, it all helped to mold Blake a little more into the person and racer he is. For it all and to you all, we say thank you.
Upcoming Motorcycle Races
Throughout the winter months Blake will be racing in the Frostbite Series at the Herrin Compound down in Dublin, Georgia. Round #2 will be this coming weekend, November 12, 2017. Keep following Blake through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see how he is doing and to cheer him on. Look for a big announcement for 2018. See you at the track!