MotoAmerica has never held their motorcycle races at The Ridge Motorsports Park located an hour and half west of Seattle, Washington. There were a lot of racers who had never been there, including Blake. He loved the track layout and said, “There’s no corner on the track like any corner at any other track.” The last sector, turns 13-16, was the hardest part of the track for him to master but, he can’t wait to go back next year and ride again.
Dunlop Motorcyce Tire Test
Because MotoAmerica had never been to this track, Dunlop hosted a tire test on Thursday, which allowed Blake to get to know the track. He went out for his first session and was excited about how technical the it was. With the three subsequent sessions, he kept shaving a little more off of his lap times.
Friday’s Motorcycle Practice & Qualifying
Friday morning it was foggy, misty, and cool. Being that the track conditions would be totally different for qualifying, Blake didn’t spend much time on the track during morning practice. During qualifying Blake came in to ask for some adjustments to be made; he told Mike he couldn’t get his motorcycle to turn well. After a few minutes he was back out but was disappointed that he qualified 9th. He knew Saturday morning’s qualifying session would be cool and damp making it difficult to get any faster.
Saturday’s Motorcycle Qualifying & Race
However, he did do better than he expected. Even with the track cold and wet during qualifying he got a lap time two tenths faster than Qualifying 1. It wasn’t enough to bump him up; he would be ninth on the starting grid.
Although no big gains were made off the start of race #1 Saturday afternoon, Blake was able to out brake a few motorcycles into turn 1 and went up the inside of another motorcycle in 2. He was making his way through the pack and got up to 5th but lost his position, going back and forth with 4 other racers. On the last lap he was all the way back in 10th place. Blake made a pass going into the long left-hander, got up side by side to the next guy through one of the fast sections and beat him on the brakes, now he was in 8th. With a half of lap to go til the checkered flag he was on the tail of the 7th place motorcycle but, couldn’t find a place to pass. On the last corner, 7th place had a little slip and Blake got close enough to draft, pulled out beside him but it wasn’t enough Blake was 5 hundredths of a second behind and finished in 8th place. If nothing else, you can say that Blake is consistent. I don’t know how in the world you can get 8th place so many times!
Sunday’s Motorcycle Practice & Race
Sunday’s practice session is always a short one. Blake went out to get loose and get ready for the race. Sadly, Gus Rodio and Alexis Olivera crashed their motorcycles pretty badly. They both had broken bones requiring surgery, Blake said, “It was a big bummer for both of them. I hope they heal up soon.”
The race came and Blake passed a few people off the start and was in that pack of motorcycles again. Mostly, it was Roach and Kolstead he was battling with this time. Kolstead ran off the chicane at one point, Blake passed by and got around Roach too. Once Kolstead re-entered behind them Blake saw they were catching Gloddy so, Blake tapped his tail for them to get in his draft. The Ridge is local for Kolstead, so once he drafted by Blake and Roach and they caught his tow, they were flying! Blake was watching how Kolstead and Roach were battling and knew trouble was coming. Banging into each other and one being better on the brakes Blake waited for his opportunity. Sure enough, Roach ran wide?????? We caught up to Ben the last few corners and David drafted by him on the straight away and I finished right behind him. So, I ended up 6th that day which was my best MA finish so far.
Blake will be racing with MotoAmerica September 11th at New Jersey Motorsports Park and September 18th at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. It will be a busy couple of weeks. Come catch a race. It’s a fun atmosphere with a lot of action! And then, of course, you can cheer Blake on to the finish line!