LOTS of Fun at LITTLE Talley
Well, we are back at the Talladega Gran Prix Raceway aka “Little Talley”. This time, though, Blake rode his “back up bike”. It’s actually his 2015 Yamaha R3 that he competed on last year. The Yamaha R3 he normally races is having some work done to it and was not ready for this race. So the, just-in-case-something-happens-to-my-motorcycle, motorcycle is the one he had to race.
Saturday Motorcycle Practice
Saturday morning Blake went out for his first practice. When entering corners that required hard braking, the front suspension would compress too much making the rear start fish tailing. After his session he came in to have Mike make adjustments. Even though the motorcycle wasn’t handling the best Blake still rode it well with a fastest lap of 1:08:8. Mike went ahead and made adjustments to the pre-load and compression on the front forks and adjusted the rebound on the rear shock. Blake said it all felt good after his second practice session and was ready to race.
E-Super Stock Motorcycle Race
Blake gridded first, got the hole shot, and had the lead for most of the E-SuperStock motorcycle race. However, with each lap Isaiah Debusk was creeping up a little closer to Blake. With about 4 laps to go that he went for it and made a pass on Blake but Blake didn’t let up and passed him back. Debusk was not in Blake’s class, but they began to battle like they were. Blake was on the gas faster, coming out of turns and Debusk was able to out-brake Blake on a few key turns. Blake was paying attention to the his competitor’s style and tendencies and decided that he was going to be able to out-brake him in the “farm house” turn; the last turn before the final stretch to the finish line. Coming in to that pivotal turn, Blake went to down shift and his foot slipped off the shifter and he missed the second down shift he wanted. Now he was going too fast to make the turn, he ran wide, and went off the track. He kept the motorcycle on two-wheels but lost his speed and finished second overall. Blake did take first in his class, and that’s what counts for points, but Blake said that was some of his favorite few laps on the track ever.
D-Super Stock Motorcycle Race
D-SuperStock was next, this motorcycle race gave Blake the chance to battle back and forth with Debusk again. He and Blake were doing a little of the back and forth passing again and on the last lap caught up to a lapped rider. I was so nervous that this is where Blake might lose his 1st place position because a lot of times Blake is too nice and gently passes the slower riders. This time he wasn’t so nice (It’s a race anyway, right?) and blew by the lapped rider but Debusk got stuck and Blake won the race!
Clubman Motorcycle Race
The Clubman race was not nearly as exciting. Usually this motorcycle class is a hard one for Blake; many of the motorcycles are bigger and faster and his motorcycle just isn’t comparable. I don’t know where everyone was or what the deal was but, as Blake put it, “he started, he rode, and he finished”. That was about it. He pulled a significant gap, rode by himself and finished first.
Sunday Motorcycle Practice
We had been following the weather reports the entire week before going down to Alabama for this race. The forecast never changed: 90% chance of rain all day Sunday. The rain is a huge factor when you’re racing because you have to decide what type of tires you will use on your motorcycle. Although, the skies were dark and gloomy there was no rain for Blake’s two practice sessions and it was still dry through the lunch break but after the first race, the rain started. We kept checking the radar, there was a small break in the rain, then it was going to down pour. Blake was going to be in the fourth race was it going to be wet or dry? Mike left the decision up to Blake and he chose rain tires. Thankfully, Stickboy with Bridgestone Tires was at the track to put rain tires on Blake’s wheels very quickly, giving Mike enough time to get them back on Blake’s motorcycle before the race started.
300 SuperStock Motorcycle Race
Every race weekend so far has had rain and boy it scares off so many racers. Saturday, WERA had to split some of the races because the number of motorcycles entered was too many to be safe. Sunday, WERA had to combine races because the number of motorcycles entered was so low. They combined Blake’s class, the 300 SuperStock with the Lightweight Twins SuperStock. And guess what? The rain had stopped. We hoped the pavement was going to stay wet enough to not destroy the soft compound of the rain tires.
Blake got on grid thinking he would take it easy to get a feel for how good or bad his tires would grip. Then he was going to race at whatever possible level he could. After the first lap he had the feel for things but now was stuck behind several other motorcycles. He managed to shorten his times with each lap and move through the crowd. He had a short battle with one racer but got by and finished first in his class.
Four races and four wins and some of his favorite laps ever should make the wait until his next race bearable. He’s off this last weekend in April so maybe I’ll be able to get him and the rest of the family in the yard for some Spring clean-up. Then, we’ll be at Virginia International Raceway May 4-6 for the MotoAmerica races. Our whole family is excited about that race. For one, it’s Blake’s “home track” so we will have lots of friends and family in attendance. Second of all, MotoAmerica and Maxim magazine are hosting a Tailgate Campout with several sup and coming country music acts (High Valley, Chase Bryant, Larkin Poe, Annie Bosko). Thirdly, Blake will be doing demonstrations in the Fan Zone where there are lots of fun things to see and do. So, if you’re near by, come and have some fun with us and of course see some great racing