Great thing about doubleheader weekends – you get to skip registration and tech on day 2. We decided to sleep in and show up to Talladega GP around 8AM so I’d make the rider’s meeting and practice starting at 8:30AM. Now for the actual motorcycle race recap.
These early season races are tough in the mornings. It’s so cold. Another freezing night and frosty morning, about the same as Saturday. When they called my first practice session around 8:45AM, I decided it was too cold, and I wanted to not be rushed, so I skipped it. I lubed the chain, checked the coolant, and did a couple minor things around the paddock. When they announced practice session 10, I decided to gear up, since my 2nd practice would be coming around shortly. Took my time gearing up, warmed up the motorcycle, and generally approached the whole thing pretty relaxed. When they announced 2nd call for my practice, I went out.
My goal for practice was to work on a few different lines in a couple turns where I thought I should have been able to pass yesterday. It was actually hard to tell how I did, since I was working on different lines, and there were bikes from three or four different classes out there, so I got passed a fair bit. I didn’t find out until writing this blog post that I set a personal best lap time in practice, a 1:14.988! Guess I was feeling pretty good from the day before.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful until race time. Major thing of note was that my daughter showed up to see me race! She drove 2 hours from college for 15 minutes of racing and to hang out for a bit. That meant a lot to me.
They announce my race, and today I wait until 2nd call to go out. I’m still too early, and end up sitting in hot pit again waiting for the prior race to end. The prior race ends, and we go out for warm up. I manage not to miss my grid slot this time. Today’s grid was a 3/2/3 setup, and I was in the row with two people on the right, so I had clear track in front of me to get a good start.
Motorcycle race recap – 1
Green flag goes down, and I pass the row in front of me, but they get me back in turn 1. Sarah Crowell, who was gridded next to me, passed me on the straight between turns 1 and 2, and disappeared! The lap times in those first couple laps showed it, too, I was a good 2 seconds off my practice pace.
I ended up behind Kyle Wagner on his R3 and started to pull him in. Surprising to both of us, we caught Sarah. I passed both of them, but Kyle got me back pretty quickly. We spent the next 5 laps trading positions. I wanted to get by him so badly! I was throwing everything I had into it. On the 7th or 8th lap, I felt the front starting to slide as I was exiting turn 1, and that spooked me pretty hard, especially considering what happened to Emily the day before.
On the 9th lap on the last corner before the straight, I straightened out the curve there with a little off-road action. I hit the curbing and then cut through about a foot of dirt and then back onto the track. I truly was throwing everything I had at catching Kyle, but he just had my number and rolled across the finish line about a bike length in front of me. Our best lap times for that session were within .001 seconds. (Mine was faster!)
Another fourth place for the weekend! And I set another personal best for this track on this bike, a 1:14.533.