The short answer, A LOT! But first, let’s do a little re-cap of last year.
Re-Cap 2020 Motorcycle Race Season
We all know Corona threw a wrench into everything and so it did for the MotoAmerica season as well. Some races were canceled, some postponed and all had to be overhauled to meet various locale’s mandates. By the time Blake’s 14th birthday rolled around (making him eligible for the Junior Cup), there had already been 4 races. But, that didn’t stop his friends and fans from giving him a huge welcome at his first race in Atlanta. In addition to that, N2 Racing and SWG Motorsports allowed Blake to pit under the N2 Racing canopy. Blake not only had moral and technical support but, he also looked like he belonged in a pro paddock and could really show off his sponsors. Blake finished 9th in the 2020 Junior Cup Championship.
MotoAmerica has never held their motorcycle races at The Ridge Motorsports Park located an hour and half west of Seattle, Washington. There were a lot of racers who had never been there, including Blake. He loved the track layout and said, “There’s no corner on the track like any corner at any other track.” The last sector, turns 13-16, was the hardest part of the track for him to master but, he can’t wait to go back next year and ride again.
We just got home from Blake’s first MotoAmerica race. What an experience! We got to Michelin Raceway/Road Atlanta Thursday. Blake had to see the award-winning Brian Nelson, to have his “official” MotoAmerica picture taken. Then, we headed into downtown Gainesville, Georgia with MotoAmerica to do a meet and greet. They had corn-hole, giveaways, motorcycles, and umbrella girls to entertain the crowd. There was an emcee who introduced and interviewed the racers who all signed posters for those in the crowd. The emcee pointed out that Blake’s sister, Abby, was there and asked Blake if she was a supporter. The crowd laughed when Blake said, “No” and again when he explained, “She’s just more like a cheerleader.” Later he explained to me that she wasn’t a supporter because she’s not a sponsor; I was sure to clear that up with him. All in all, it was a good opportunity to introduce motorcycle road racing to more people.
Friday’s Practice & Qualifying 1
Friday the LiquiMoly Junior Cup kids (14-28 year olds) got a 30-minute practice. Blake did not like how the motorcycle was handling. Some adjustments were made before the first qualifying where Blake was 5th fastest. He, and all the other racers got faster Saturday and he qualified 8th in that session. Each weekend the LiquiMoly Junior Cup has one motorcycle race on Saturday and one on Sunday. The grid position is based on everyone’s fastest lap time from that weekends two qualifying sessions. This weekend Blake started his races in eighth.
Well, well, it has been a while. This year the “off-season” was a lot longer than any of us expected thanks to the Corona Virus. Thankfully, it didn’t keep Blake off of motorcycles all together. He started training at Cornerspin with his coach, Aaron Stevenson, and was able to ride his dirt bike at home.
This is a long race report. A track day, an endurance race, and four sprint races…nothing like jumping in with two feet! If you ask me his top 3 races were the endurance race, Formula 2 and Light Weight Super Stock. So, hang on here we go.
Blake was super excited to get to Summit Point Raceway on Friday where N2 Track Days was hosting a track day. Blake had never been there and wanted to see how quickly he could get his times down. Since there are several MotoAmerica tracks he’s never been to he’ll have to figure out how to get his lap times down quickly. He won’t have the luxury of time to “get comfortable” before he needs to be going his fastest. So, this weekend would be good practice for that.
During session one his lap times were as high as 1:28 a lap. Blake said the tight turns made it tricky to learn. He did two more sessions, pushed to find a rhythm and went a good bit faster in his third session running 1:22’s. Unfortunately, lightning struck, the skies opened up, ending the day.