2019 WERA GNF – Rain, Racing & a Surprise Award


N-2 Track Days Endurance Race

Blake’s race season culminated this weekend at WERA’s Grand National Finals held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a weekend of ups and downs.

Thursday was the final 4 hour endurance race hosted by N2 Track Days along with WERA. Greg Reisinger of Chief’s Racing invited Blake to join their team for the final round. They had a Suzuki 650 with an endurance tank on the motorcycle. Mike wasn’t sure if Blake was even going to be able to reach the clip-ons (aka handlebars) because of his size but, he could. But, would he be able to throw the motorcycle side to side around the track for over an hour?
The race got underway and Kevin Boda took the first stint getting the team to the fourth position before he came in and handed the motorcycle off to Blake. Soon after Blake got on the track, there was a red flag. The racers restarted from the position they were in at the time of the red flag. Third place was a lap ahead of the Chief’s Racing Team at that point but Blake was able to get ahead of them before he came in for fuel, ending his turn. The team had some “flubs” like: a missing rider, an extra pit stop so found rider could take over, and loose motorcycle parts caused another unplanned pit stop. Chief’s Racing Team finished in fourth; which wasn’t too shabby after all of that commotion!

WERA’s Sportsman & Grand Champion Motorcycle Races

Teammate Josh Booth “Parting Water”

Friday and Saturday were crazy. It rained and it poured and rained, and poured some more. Racers said there was 5” of water sitting on the pavement in the Charlotte’s Web turn and puddles that extended across the entire track, one that they rode through for twenty feet! Needless to say, just staying on two wheels, made it a successful day.
Friday Blake’s Lucas Oil Kawasaki Ninja 400 got him on the podium and take home a third in D-SuperBike and a 1st place in D-SuperStock and a 3rd in Formula 2. Saturday, he wasn’t so lucky; he just couldn’t catch all of those SV650’s. He came in 4th in Formula 2 and in the AMA LightWeight Twins he came in fifth.

Proud Brothers Post

Finally, Sunday, the rain stopped. Blake’s Nana and Papa came to cheer him on for the Championship. His Papa and I stood at the wall to watch the Lightweight Twins SuperStock race and I couldn’t believe that twice Blake waved at us. He is always so focused and never goofs off during a race. He finished 6th. When he came into the pits frantic that his clutch was “fried”, I figured out he wasn’t goofing off, he was motioning about his trouble! What does mom know? Mike and Ross (Blake’s brother) were able to get the clutch replaced in less than 2 races and Blake was on the grid for his last race of the weekend, the Formula 2 Nationals. It looked promising as he took the hole shot but not so much when 4 SV 650’s passed him on one straight away; he finished 5th.

Each evening there was award presentations. The racers were given their podium awards and awards for those who won the points championships. Blake won 3 National Points Championships, woo hoo! The American Motorcycle Association was there as well to give trophies for their National races.

Nicky Hayden

Then, Sunday evening the AMA awarded some of their top honors. Blake’s friends took home all of them. Will Ray took home the AMA Novice of Year Award, Chuck Ivey was awarded Veteran Racer of the Year, and his buddy Eli Bannish received the Youth Road Racer of the Year Award (he’s 10, the same age Blake was when he first started road racing)…AND….drumroll please…Blake was awarded the AMA Nicky Hayden Horizon Award!!!! This award was renamed for Nicky Hayden, a world champion, after his death. It is awarded to an amateur road racer who “is poised for greatness” and exemplifies good character and sportsmanship on and off the track. What an honor!!! It was funny to see Blake shocked and speechless. Every time he tried to talk he was stumbling over his words.

After some photos and interviews, the 2019 GNF came to an end, a GNF that Blake will never forget.