Motorcycle Racing @ Road Atlanta 2023- Georgia
PRACTICE & QUALIFYING
We always refer to Road Atlanta has Hotlanta because usually when we are there it is so stinking hot, but not this weekend. In fact, for the first practice Blake pitted in twice because the motorcycle was too cold. Which was fine, practice is to get a feel for the track. He still had his qualifying sessions. However, when he went out for Qualifying 1, on Friday, we knew that was going to be the session that would set the grid. The weather forecast was showing rain that evening and cold temperatures for Saturday morning.
Blake did not have a good pace at first, I was wondering what was going on, he was floating around 12th place. Then, on one lap he jumped up towards the top of, he said that he started feeling better, figured some things out and suddenly he was second with just a little time left in the session, when Jody Barry had a fast lap and bumped Blake back to third.
Saturday morning the track was wet and cold. The pace was very slow compared to Q1 times; Blake
went out at the end of the session to loosen up for the race. His time from Friday stuck; he would be
starting in 3rd on the grid, behind Rocco Landers and Jody Barry.
For race 1, Blake knew he had to get in front of Landers because he had good pace around the track. The lights went out, starting the race, and Blake got the hole shot and got out front. Woo hoo! (That run to the first turn always makes me hold my breath!)
Landers and another rider could get by him here and there, but Blake could out brake them. Which was allowing him to stay in front and not letting anyone pull away. Landers blew his motor, so Blake battled with just one rider the remainder of the race. They kept going back and forth when Blake decided to just follow the racer for a few laps to see where that guy was faster and what Blake needed to work on. Coming onto the final lap Blake was back in front and knew the other racer’s plan would be to try and draft past Blake on the back straight.
So, Blake went really wide through the kink at 9, doing as much blocking as he could, Blake waited really late on the brakes into 10a, keeping the lead and WINNING THE RACE!!!
The team headed to the podium for the celebration and had cookie cake with dinner that night to celebrate! Blake’s comment about the podium celebration was, “That trophy is huge and my head went blank when I had to talk.”
Sunday morning Blake didn’t go out for the warm-up session. He and Shiloh, his crew chief, decided he’d just be circulating since the track was so cold. So, they went and watched at a spot on the track he thought he needed to do better. In race 2 he was second off the start and then 2 more racers came by him. He got around one and caught up to the second place guy. Going into 10a that racer made a little mistake, so Blake went to pass him on the inside, but tucked the front end of his motorcycle and went sliding through the gravel trap. Before the dust had settled, Blake had the motorcycle back up and was trying to get it started. The corner workers were threatening to pull him off when the bike fired up. He got back on track in 17th position and was to salvage an 11th place finish, which gave him a few points towards the championship.
I tell you what, Blake has awesome fans/friends/supporters. Of course, lots of people were celebrating at the podium when he won race 1, but there were also a lot of people rallying around him after he finished 11th . Many of you were part of those people and we appreciate it. There are good days and bad days and hopefully he learns from the bad ones and is kind and gracious for the good ones.
With winning Race 1 and getting 11 th in Race 2, Blake is currently 3rd in points for the Championship.
May 19-21 MotoAmerica is at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL.