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Brainerd 2023- Minnesota

MOTOAMERICA MOTORCYCLE RACING @ BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - 2023


This weekend's races were held at Brainerd International Raceway in Wisconsin. In conjunction with the motorcycle races, the track hosted drag racing (cars and motorcycles), helicopter rides, snowmobile races on the water and in the evenings there were local bands playing. They really set out to bring a variety of entertainment to the fans.


Blake watched some of the drag racing in the evening, but he takes his racing seriously. During the day you will see him marking up a track map, working on his reaction time, stretching his body, providing feedback to the team, etc. Race days are often hot and always busy, you’d think that when his “work day” is done, he’d be ready to get to a hotel room and relax. At least that’s what I’d like to do, but not Blake, he’s ready to go visiting.


In the evenings he heads over to other racers’ pits talking about the day's events or strategizing for the next race. He’ll eventually meander over to the camping areas to talk to campers; some he’s met in years previous, others he meets for the first time. His outgoing personality has allowed him to meet some interesting people and have some unique experiences. His “visiting” often ends abruptly when he realizes the time and quickly gets back to the rig to get cleaned up and in bed by 10:00 pm so he’s fresh for the next day.


This was one of the weekends MotoAmerica did not host a Twins Cup class, so instead of having Blake sit out the weekend, the N2/BobbleHeadMoto Racing Team put Blake on their Yamaha R6, and entered him in the Supersport class. Blake has enjoyed these weekends of being on a faster motorcycle.


PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

motorcycles on race track
Photo Credit: Brian J Photography

The first practice session was Friday; Blake felt good so was disappointed to learn he was only the 11th fastest. It was an uneventful session. However, Qualifying 1 proved to be different. Coming out of the chicane, Blake hit a false neutral.


While on the curb, at full lean angle, the motorcycle popped out of gear and high-sided him. He said he was basically doing a handstand on his handlebars and tried for as long as he could to get his butt back down in the seat, but eventually the motorcycle tossed him off. He got the bike up, came back into the pits, and the team was able to fix things good enough for him to get back out there and complete the session. He was the twelfth fastest in that session, though later he was disqualified. His motorcycle had some part that met the rules, but since it wasn’t from an approved company, it was an “illegal” part, disqualifying his lap times for that session.


For Qualiftying 2, the team had replaced the part with a homologated one and now Blake had to do his part to go faster and boy did he! He went out and dropped a second and a half which was great, but not good enough. It still only put him the 12th fastest and that was where he would be starting in his races.


RACE 1 & 2


Race 1 came and Blake got a decent start, passing two people. Unfortunately, he made a mistake on the first lap and dropped back several positions. He worked his way back up and the last few laps had a fun little battle with another racer; finishing in eleventh place.


In Sunday’s morning warm-up, Blake set his fastest lap time of the weekend and felt really strong going into Race 2. Off the start, he got by two people and was running in 10th with a racer right on his tail. The racer got by him and Blake was having a hard time hanging on to him when the race was stopped by a red flag.


At the restart, the racers were gridded by their position at the time of the red flag. So, Blake started in 11th off the grid and was able to get to 9th. After a few laps, the racer in front of him made a mistake and Blake got by him, then the racer passed him back, but couldn’t hold it and ran off track. Blake was in 8th for the majority of the race. His pit-board crew was telling him that he had two motorcycles right behind him. On the last lap, one got by him but Blake was keeping up and on the last corner the other rider got by Blake. Blake tried squaring the corner to get back under him, but didn’t have enough speed and Blake finished tenth.


Josh Hayes won the race aboard the Squid Hunter's Yamaha R6. It was his 87th MotoAmerica/AMA win; making him the most winningest racer. Last year he was Blake's trackside coach and we were able to get to know him a little better. He's a great guy, who always encourages Blake. Kudos to him for a record-breaking win!


2023 SUPERSPORT REFLECTIONS


Blake Davis on motorcycle race track
Photo Credit: Brian J Photography

After both races, Blake returned to our pit and I could tell he was upset with himself. I am ALWAYS careful in what I say to Blake about racing and I NEVER talk about racing during his “work day.” I wouldn’t want anything I said to affect his focus. However, I saw how disappointed he was in himself after each of his races, so AFTER the weekend was over, I reminded him that the motorcycle he was racing doesn't have everything allowed for the Supersport class. He was obviously out-powered by the other motorcycles, so he shouldn’t be so disappointed in himself. His only reply, “But the racer can always do better and go faster.” And you know what? He’s right. There was nothing more that needed to be said.


RESULTS


Of course, a tenth and eleventh place finish is not the goal. We would have loved to be coming home with podium finishes, but you’ve heard the old saying, experience is the best teacher. The experience he had of racing in two of the Supersport weekends this year is invaluable. Blake hopes to complete a full season in MotoAmerica’s Supersport class next year and said, “I got a lot of experience (from these two Supersport weekends). I’m not starting a brand new thing next year. I know what I need to do and how to race a different race.”


We are forever grateful for the N2/BobbleHeadMoto Racing team (crew and owners) along with the sponsors that enthusiastically jumped in to make this possible; they are the best!


WHAT’S NEXT


Next on the calendar is the August 12th N2/WERA Endurance Races by Dunlop at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Blake will be there with his Alpha Omega team taking a turn on their Yamaha R6 in the 4-hour endurance race. He really likes endurance racing and was happy to be asked by Alpha Omega to join their team for the rest of the year.


The kids and I will likely stay up that way for the week since we need to be back Thursday morning for the MotoAmerica races on August 11-13th. That weekend Blake will be back on his N2/BobbleHeadMoto Racing Yamaha R7 for the Twins Cup races. He is in the battle for the championship with some talented riders; it will be an exciting weekend for sure!



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