This past weekend MotoAmerica was racing motorcycles at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. It’s a 2.8 mile track with 19 turns. Most of the fans watch the races from “Spectator Hill”. From there you can see a majority of the race track and hang out with a lot of other race fans. It was fun seeing so many fans cheering for Blake under the BEAST canopy and having the BEAST girls in the crowd. Then, Sportbike Track Gear joined us again as Blake’s title sponsor with Fleet Relief offering support as well. How blessed we are!
Motorcycle Qualifying Sessions
Friday, the motorcycle racers got one practice session and then had their first qualifying session. Blake qualified 6th. He was hoping for better on Saturday and it certainly started better. He was 2nd in qualifying for a little bit then a red flag threw him off his game, he dropped back to 4th and by the end of the session was down to 9th. In Atlanta, he raced in a pack for both races and in Pittsburgh’s qualifying was still hung up with those racers. But, for perspective, there was only one tenth of a second separating the 5th place qualifier and Blake, crazy!
Race #1 – Saturday
The first race was Saturday afternoon. Early on in lap one a racer ran off the track, Blake realized he was going to try and come back on the track in the next turn so, Blake slowed down. Meanwhile two other racers took the opportunity to pass Blake on the inside but ended up getting crashed into when the one racer re-entered the track. Others motorcycles ran into them, and there ended up being a good-sized pile up on the middle of the track.
The race was totally re-started and in the same turn another racer lost the brakes on his motorcycle and hit Blake’s rear tire, kicking Blake up over his fuel tank. That racer crashed but, Blake hung on and got control of his motorcycle as he went through the grass headed towards an air fence. Blake decided to hit the air fence sideways, hoping he’d hit and be able to keep racing. It worked. Sort of. The air-fence bounced the motorcycle out of his hands and onto the ground. The crashed racer ran over, helped Blake get his motorcycle up and Blake got back on track.
Unfortunately, he was now a lap down and at the back of the pack when he got back on track. Blake was aware that he had cold tires and a bent clip-on (or handlebar) and a bent rear-set (or foot peg) but couldn’t figure out why the motorcycle was riding so bad. He was able to finish the race and once he got back into the pits realized his rear set was bent into his swing arm not allowing it to move which was why he was wide in all the corners. Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to try again Sunday.
Race #2 – Sunday
In Sunday’s warm-up Blake dropped a half second off of his lap time and got a good launch off the start of Race #2. Things were looking promising. However, he caught a false neutral going into turn 1 allowing a couple motorcycle racers get by and then at 2 different incidents racers in front of him were bucked up off their motorcycles and miraculously stayed on but, Blake checked up putting him back in the pack of motorcycles he battled with in Atlanta. So, here he went again battling through the pack, getting shuffled back, working his way back up and then ANOTHER crash up ahead. The race was red-flagged and with 2 laps left MotoAmerica called it a race. Blake finished 8th. Blake says he’s learned a thing or two and knows he’ll be ready for the next one.
Where is the next one? Well, this weekend (August 15-16) the race will be hosted by CCS at Summit Point in West Virginia. He will be competing on the, Bobblehead Moto’s, Yamaha R6. Ten days later he will be on a plane to Seattle, Washington where he’ll race with MotoAmerica at the Ridge Motorsports Park. Can’t wait!