ENDURING THE CHAOS
This weekend we were down in Bloomingdale, Georgia at Roebling Road Raceway for the N2/WERA Motorcycle Endurance Races. All weekend the mornings and evenings were cool but the days were warm and sunny. It was wonderful! Blake didn’t have school Friday so; we could do Friday’s practice guilt free! Of course, I have an idea I would have been the only one feeling guilty.
Pretty much Friday was about getting the 3 motorcycles Blake would be racing set up for the weekend. The Yamaha R3 and the Robem Engineering/Lucas Oil sponsored, Suzuki 650 were the motorcycles for the endurance races. Then, he’d use the Yamaha R6 and R3 for WERA’s sprint races.
N2/WERA 2-HR MOTORCYCLE ENDURANCE RACE
Fifty teams, yes 5-0, gridded up for the endurance races this weekend! It was a lot of fun; there was so much busy-ness and excitement amongst the riders and crew beforehand and during the races.
Jack Roach, who races the Westby motorcycle in MotoAmerica’s Sportbike Track Gear Junior Cup, was Blake’s teammate in the 2-hour endurance race on the Yamaha R3. The practice for the endurance races is also the qualifying session; Blake and Jack qualified first.
Starting P1, Jack got the boys off to a great start. At about the 30-minute mark he was battling for first, when he came in for a mechanical issue. After checking things out, the team felt good about sending Jack back out on the motorcycle. Unfortunately, that put the team a lap down and in 5th place. He was able to gain a position before handing the motorcycle off to Blake, 30 minutes later.
N2/WERA 4-HR MOTORCYCLE ENDURANCE RACE
Again, the practice for the 4-hour endurance race was also the qualifying. Each rider took a turn on the Robem Engineering/Lucas Oil Suzuki 650 motorcycle to get a feel for it but, the transponder was not recording their laps. This meant they would start the race in the back.
Apparently, that didn’t phase Damian. He got a great start, passing a ton of motorcycles and by the time he came into the pits, he had gotten the team up to third place.
Their team, Going the Distance, was originally made up of Damian Jigalov, Jackson Blackmon, and Blake. However, before the season got underway, Jackson broke his arm and has had sub’s for the first 2 rounds.
This time, Brian Land filled in for him and did amazing! He took the second stint and rode for a while and only came in because the motorcycle needed gas. He alerted the team and they were ready for him to pit in but, he never came back around. Officials notified us that he had run out of gas and that the crash truck would bring him back to the pits.
As soon as the motorcycle was unloaded, the team filled the tank and Blake took off for his turn. When he got on the track, they were down by 9 laps. He gained one lap while he was out, came in, and passed the motorcycle back off to Damian.
He too, was able to gain another lap, getting the team excited. It seemed we had a chance for third place. Damian started the team off well and finished us out well. There just wasn’t enough time to catch third. Team, Going the Distance, finished fourth in the 4-hour ultra-lightweight class. With all the chaos of the day, that was a great showing!
WERA MOTORCYCLE SPRINT RACES
C Superstock on his Yamaha R6 was his first race of the day. He started on row 7 and didn’t get the greatest start but got up to 5th place, hoping to catch the lead group. With a lapped motorcycle in between them, it allowed the leaders to break away. Blake didn’t give up and eventually had 3rd place in his sights. Coming out of the last turn onto the front straight towards the checkered flag, Blake got a great drive, started to draft up beside third but got beat at the line by .01, finishing fourth. That was a fun race for Blake and us watching!
Blake started in the 2nd row for the C Superbike race and jumped off the start well but didn’t go very far…his Yamaha R6 got stuck in first gear and went all the way to the back of the field. He got the motorcycle to shift and made his way up through 15 or so riders. With two laps to go, he started running down 6th place and got by him before the end and finished fifth.
The Clubman race was Blake’s only race on his Yamaha R3. As he was preparing to go out, he noticed the front tire warmer had come unplugged. Aww man, a cold front tire is how he’d start the race! He dropped back a little the first half of the race but as his motorcycle’s tires got hotter, he got faster and was able to get up to the lead group but that was a far as he’d get. Blake finished third.
The last race of the day was A Superbike. It’s a grid full of 1000cc motorcycles but, Blake gridded up on the 5th row on his Yamaha R6 (for those of you that don’t know, that 6 is for 600cc). The green flag signaled the start of the race, and again Blake could not get the motorcycle to shift. This time he was stuck in 2nd gear and dropped to the back of the pack. This kid doesn’t know what it is to give up because once again, he kept working through the pack and on the last lap, passed the 6th place motorcycle into turn 9 but just didn’t have enough motor and was passed back on the straight putting him in sixth place.
WEEKEND WRAP UP
Blake said the N2/WERA 2-hr Motorcycle Endurance Race was his favorite race of the weekend because he had a challenge, a goal, and did it. I hope he always remembers to set goals and work hard! We had lots of help from all of the team riders and
Next week, Blake will be at the MotoAmerica race taking place at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Virginia to compete in the Sportbike Track Gear Junior Cup. We are super excited to see our hometown crowd. Though, the track is close to us, Blake has only been there 2 or 3 times. But, with new motors, goal setting and hard work he’s hoping to get his N2 Yamaha R3 in the front.
Come out, catch a race…see you soon!