ENDURANCE MOTORCYCLE RACE @ PITT RACE
WERA/N2 Track Day Endurance Series by Dunlop - August 2023
Blake went to Pitt Race to join the Alpha Omega team as they competed in the N2/WERA Endurance Race by Dunlop. In Friday’s practice each rider had the chance to get some laps on the Alpha Omega Yamaha R6, providing input to the team, so the motorcycle was all set for Saturday’s six hour endurance race.
The Alpha Omega crew and racers make a pretty solid team. The racers have all competed on the MotoAmerica grid and the crew is made up of multiple motorcycle professionals, including Mike and Shiloh (his dad and MotoAmerica crew chief). They were also fortunate enough to have me on their pit board. I’m totally kidding about the fortunate part, but with the help of Kreece Elliott (a MotoAmerica Junior Cup racer) I think we both did a good job keeping the racers and the pit crew up to date as the race progressed.
THE RACE BEGINS
Blake was going to be starting the race for the team. On the warm-up lap, as Blake was going to the starting grid, he realized something was not right with the brakes. While on the starting grid the team saw him signaling something about the brakes, but he still took off at the green flag. In Blake fashion, he got a great start, taking the hole shot into turn one. Once he came onto the front straight instead of completing lap one, he entered pit lane. The team knew the brake pads were new and told Blake to bed the brakes (for us non-motorcycle people that’s pretty much just breaking them in like a new pair of shoes).
Blake went back out, re-entering the race in last place and rode until the motorcycle needed fuel. He did as the team told him, but still didn’t have much front brake to work with. You wouldn’t have known that by watching him race. He went from last on track to first in class and 3rd overall before he had to pit-in for fuel.
At the rider switch, the crew changed the rear tire to a fresh Dunlop, refueled the motorcycle and Emerson Amaya took over. Emerson being the oldest on the team, is a great asset because of his years of experience. He rode the motorcycle for as long as his nerves could take it with such little brakes and pitted-in. BUT, he knew what was wrong and told the team how to fix the brakes. The crew took care of it quickly and got Anthony Mazziatto out on track, still in first position in class.
IN COMES THE RAIN
Anthony held onto the first place position his entire stint. The team called in him to refuel and put a new Dunlop tire on and Eziah Davis took over. While he was on track it started to rain, the team called him in, changed both tires to Dunlop’s rain tires and Blake went back out.
In the rain, you don’t want to be on race tires and in the dry you don’t want to be on rain tires; they both get slick quickly and the rain didn’t last long. Knowing more rain was coming, the team tried to hold off and see if it would start again, but it wasn’t coming and they knew the tires wouldn’t hold up. They told me to put “PIT IN” on the pit board and as Blake topped the hill he was already tapping his helmet (meaning he wants to pit in); it was perfect timing.
He came into the pits. Tires were switched and so did the riders; Eziah went back out. It was incredible but once the racers got the team to first place, they never fell back even with the pit stops.
As expected, it began to rain once again. At this point the race had been going for over 4 hours. Eziah had to slow down as it was getting slippery on his race tires, but held onto first place. The officials saw lightning and followed protocol for that which is stopping the race and waiting for 30 minutes with no lightning before beginning again. Eventually, it became clear that the lightning was not going to stop and the race was officially ended. Alpha Omega was the Middleweight winner!
Eighty-seven teams competed in the race across 5 classes. Alpha Omega went home as a winner, finished 2nd overall, and had the fastest lap time in their class. It was another great weekend for the team!
Blake and I have stayed at the track with the BobbleHeadMoto crew. Saving us from having to travel home and back to be here Thursday morning for MotoAmerica’s move-in day. Mike still had to make the trek back home to work, but he and Abby (Blake’s sister) will join us Thursday morning back here at Pitt Race. Meanwhile, Blake has been working on school work, hanging out with some others who are waiting for the MotoAmerica races and got to do some motorcycle riding on the kart track.
Friday will be the Twins Cup qualifier for MotoAmerica; Blake will be aboard the N2/BobbleHeadMoto’s Yamaha R7. Heading into this weekend, there’s a 3-way battle for the championship points. It’s going to be a tough weekend, but he’s worked hard, has some God-given talent and a good team behind him. On top of all that, Pitt Race is the team’s home track, so Blake will have some extra folks cheering him on from Spectator Hill. We can’t wait to get racing!