2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap – danger in practice injures and aggravates

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap – apologies

Before I start the 2023 Roebling WERA Race Recap, I should let you know I am dictating this using Windows 10 voice to text, so please excuse any misspellings, typos or other weirdness. Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the reasons why!

I was excited for this weekend’s race. We had a longer break between races and I was really missing it. I also made some changes to the motorcycle that I thought would be improvements, and was looking forward to testing them at Roebling, where I have good data.

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap – interesting pit neighbor

Before I get into the actual motorcycle race recap, I’d like to introduce you to my pit neighbor, who I named Tinkerbell. My paddock buddies called them Tony. No matter what you call the tortoise, it was pretty cool to see them living in one of the sand berms, as long as they stay off the track!

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap is sponsored by a tortoise
2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap is sponsored by this tortoise who was living in the berm next to the track

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap – practice

Back to our regularly scheduled program. I had an early practice. First practice I felt pretty rusty – not terribly surprising, since I hadn’t ridden the race bike for several weeks. By the end of the first practice session, I was starting to feel good, and was sort of surprised when the checkered flag came out. It seemed like a short session. I didn’t look at my lap times because I was pretty sure they sucked, and the front end felt a little bouncy coming out of turn 9. Overall, I felt optimistic.

I got a little water and rested for my next practice session. I dialed in two more clicks of preload on the front forks to see if I could solve the bouncing issue. I was looking forward to the next practice session, because I was going to try to set a good lap time after a couple laps.

I heard the call for my practice session and went out. First couple corners felt really good. I was headed into turn six, a left-hander, and just about at the apex somebody hit me from the inside! Why he was there I have no idea! This was practice! Aggressive passing is just dumb in practice. He knocked my bike onto the right side and high sided me into the air. I went tumbling off the track.

When I came to rest I had a lot of pain in my right shoulder. I had injured it before, so initially I thought I might have just aggravated that injury. I waved to the corner worker to let her know that I felt OK. She came out after the session and asked me if I needed the crash truck, which I did. When the crash truck showed up, I realized that I was in worse shape than I thought. I couldn’t help pick up the bike. I was pretty sure I had broken my collarbone.

I got back into the paddock, and Paul Pendergrass from Purple Haze Racing helped the crash truck driver unload my bike. I sat down and assessed my condition. A few people came to see if I was OK, and I told most of them I was.

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap – ambulance ride

About 10 minutes later I decided that I wasn’t. Lindsey Hall asked me if she could do anything for me, and I asked her to get the ambulance to come see me. A few minutes later the ambulance showed up, I told them that I was pretty sure I had broken my collarbone, and they asked me what I wanted to do. I hesitated for a few minutes just because I knew that going to the hospital was going to be a pain in the ass, but eventually I decided to do it.

On the ambulance ride, the tech noticed that I had significant bruising on the side of my head, and went through the concussion protocol. While the side of my head looks pretty bad, I passed concussion protocol with flying colors.

2023 Roebling WERA Race 10 Recap - injuries to the side of my head

The doc at the hospital confirmed that I had done exactly what I thought. Kudos to Memorial Health, I was in and out of there super fast. They stuck my arm in a sling, gave me some prescriptions to fill, and sent me on my merry way. I took an Uber back to the racetrack, and got some people to help me load up, mainly Matt Hall and Dan Bocook’s kids. I decided to drive home one-handed, because the other option was for Suzanne to try to get a ride to Savannah and then drive me back. That was gonna be 8 hours minimum, and I figured I could manage it.

I’m now in a sling for two weeks, followed by light use of my right arm for two more weeks. Did I mention that I’m right-handed? This is wildly inconvenient. I also need a new lid, and some seams re-sewn on my leathers. The bike isn’t in bad shape, mainly body work.

That takes me out from the weekend at Barber. All told, I’m going to have no points from four races in a row, since I decided not to run in the rain at CMP. I doubt that my lead in three regions in my class is going to withstand that. Tune in when we go back to Tally.

One final thing. I’m really pissed off at the guy that hit me, not only for making a bonehead move in practice, but also for not coming to find me afterwards. It’s good form when that sort of thing happens. I’ve had other racers make close passes and come to apologize, nonetheless taking somebody out. I honestly wouldn’t be mad if it had happened during the race. At that point we’re racing for something. In practice I find it inexcusable.

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