ENDURANCE RACE @ Barber Motorsports Park
VIRGINIA, ALABAMA, FLORIDA OH MY! October 2023
With motorcycle racing comes a lot of travel time. However, this weekend we took it to another level. We left our home in Virginia Wednesday afternoon, arrived in Birmingham, AL in the wee hours of Thursday morning (for the final round of the endurance series) and pulled out Friday evening to get to Daytona International Speedway for ASRA races on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t know how Mike can do all that driving and still function.
N2/WERA ENDURANCE RACE by DUNLOP
Thursday, Mike and Blake headed to Barber Motorsports Park to meet up with the Alpha Omega team to practice, go over their Yamaha R6 again, and prepare for the 4-hour race on Friday. With the most important role of pit-board girl, I felt my day was better spent “resting” and “preparing” in the peace and quiet of the hotel room so I didn’t meet up with the team until dinner. Dinner was nice. We had a good time and talked about plans for another season of racing together in 2024.
Friday was qualifying and just as Eziah Davis (no relation to us) was about to go out for qualifying, the motorcycle decided not to start. The crew quickly got to work, found the issue, and did a temporary fix. It was important to get Eziah on track and secure a good spot on the starting grid. However, after just a lap or two he came back into the pits telling the crew fuel was leaking. Once again, the crew was able to fix the issue and Blake jumped on the bike and qualified the team first in class.
After lunch, it was time to race. Anthony Mazziotto took the first stint while Steven Roth took the second. Then, the crew filled the fuel and put on a fresh set of Dunlop tires and Blake got his turn. He went out for a few laps but came back into the pits saying the bike was sputtering. The team worked some of their magic and sent him back out. He only did a few more laps and passed the motorcycle off to Eziah who rode the motorcycle to the checkered flag. Alpha Omega won the Middleweight class endurance race and sealed their win as the Middleweight Champion for the year!
Anyone will tell you that speed isn’t the most important thing in endurance racing. You want to be quick however if you push too hard and crash, you are very likely to kill your chances at winning,. making consistency and attention integral parts of endurance racing as well. Alpha Omega consistently performed well, won all 6 rounds of the N2/WERA Endurance Series by Dunlop and was the only team other than Army of Darkness (a heavyweight team) to win an overall! A big shout out goes to Patrick Edenfield for putting the team together and of course to Alpha Omega, Roller Die, Pit Lane Moto, and Dunlop.
After the awards ceremony, we jumped in the truck and headed to Daytona, Florida. We were pulling our trailer because we had Blake’s Yamaha R6 with us and we were headed to the famous Daytona International Speedway. We drove through the night and arrived just in time to get warmers on his tires and get Blake on track for his first race.
ASRA’S RACE OF CHAMPIONS
ASRA's Daytona event started on Thursday, so Blake had missed out on qualifying for his races. Therefore, he had to start from the back of the grid each time. In the first race, right off the start, Blake went into turn one too fast and ran off track. He got himself together, found an okay pace and was able to pick off the racers one by one. On the last lap, he had caught up and picked off fourth and that’s where he finished in the GTU Expert class. I’m sure part of that run–off was a combination of excitement from us arriving and rushing to be ready and just not having any practice time; thankfully it all worked out.
The only other race he had Saturday was the Heavyweight Supersport class, it was the kind of race Blake loves; he was one in a group of four, battling together, swapping positions; putting on a pretty good show for the spectators. In the middle of all that, one racer in front of him crashed. Blake had to check up in an effort to avoid hitting the rider giving the others the opportunity to pull ahead, leaving Blake in a lonely race to a third place finish.
We were pitted in the garages at Daytona International Speedway just a few stalls down from team YART Yamaha. They are the WORLD endurance team who won the 20023 championship! Apparently, they convinced their team owner to enter them in the 2024 Daytona 200 if they were able to win the championship and there they were, checking out the track and getting in some practice. That was the very same reason we were there. Blake did get to race against a couple of them and had fun. I wish I had thought to get a picture of them together.
He was registered for 3 races on Sunday all of which he’d be starting from the back again since he had no qualifying times. In Heavyweight Superbike Blake went from row 6 to second place in lap one, but first was already gone, Blake tried but wasn’t able to catch up to him. The second race, ASRA Sportbike, went the same way.
Then we had to wait until the end of the day for the Middleweight GP race. There had been so many red flags that the officials were worried they wouldn’t be done by 5:00pm so they cut his last race down to 5 laps. The gentleman commentating the races talked Blake up for this race, telling the spectators Blake was the Twins Cup champion and that in the last race he had passed twelve riders on the outside of turn one and then the race started…and none of that happened. Blake had a mechanical issue and was out of the race. Thankfully, he realized there was an issue with the motorcycle and drove off track before anything bad happened to him or the motorcycle. I guess he and Mike will look at it and get it all fixed.
A Middleweight Championship title in the N2/WERA Endurance Series by Dunlop was awesome. Then track time at Daytona International Speedway meant racing in another amateur series where Blake collected two 2nd place finishes, one 3rd, a fourth and then didn’t finish one race after a mechanical.
We are blessed with all the people Blake has in his corner. His Alpha Omega endurance team was high-fiving him as he was leaving the track, wishing him good luck at Daytona. Once we got there, he had people from his Biothermal/Blake Davis Racing Daytona 200 team and his crew chief, Shiloh Salopek, from his N2/BobbleHeadMoto MotoAmerica team all ready to help anyway they could. The same was true with Tony Romo and his Dunlop crew. They were so attentive to the Dunlop riders at both events Blake raced at this weekend. They helped Mike and Blake decide which tire compounds Blake should run and listened to his feedback. It’s just great, I sure hope you all know how much we appreciate you.
I suppose NOW it is officially the “off season” since the endurance season is over as well. However, Blake has no plans to take time off. He’s planning on spending time with Coach Aaron at Cornerspin, doing a J4orce Training, continuing his training at The Edge (in our hometown) and spending some time on the kart track at Virginia International Raceway. Gotta work hard, right?
Y’all take care and hope that your “off season” is productive and joy filled!