Rd. 3 was a great weekend of racing as always, but there was a little something extra for me. Larry Hughes was going to be on the gate.
Saturday practice was going to be a short one, due to the Mud Run that was going on there until about 4:00 p.m. It was also going to be my first time there on the Day Track since the changes, and my first time there on a 4- stroke in about 7 years, so I was anxious, excited, but anxious. Oh, and the changes were great too.
After getting camp set up that afternoon, I managed to get in quite a bit of seat time on the 350. I felt good riding, but it is so much quicker, it had me paying attention to everything, and thinking, instead of just naturally rolling like on my Sx. After practice, I cleaned and rearranged the tables under the pavilion as I was bored. Later that evening everyone settled in under the pavilion for some final round Sx action, and action and drama it was. It is rare I stay awake for the entire race, but I was on the edge on my seat until the checker. Jason Peirce, J.P, and Keith Lynch were all 3 yakking on and on about something, and I was sitting in the middle of all 3 of them. Danny was out cold, and looked at piece.
By the time the race and interviews were over, me getting lost trying to find the motel, and finding something to eat, it was 1:15 before I laid down, and was unable to sleep. 5:30 came earlier than usual it seemed, but off to the track my wife and I went. Pre race practice was really good because it was thick and heavy. You could roll on all the throttle you wanted with a lot of bike lean, and a whole lot of front brake too.
Now my plan of bringing a pen and paper to write down the weekend events, well, epic fail. So as per usual, I'll recall as best I can the names, numbers, and events of the day.
I figured since the track changes and the bike were all new to me, I would at least start on the far left outside as usual, so as to have some sense of familiarity. It worked out ok, as I had some pretty good starts. One of my motos Clement, Herman, and Marek, got out front on the start, and I fell in behind them. I stayed very close, but mostly because they were battling for the lead. Once they all fell into position, everyone just followed.
I managed a second on one start behind Clement, with Tiemann allover my rear fender and number plates, but I managed to keep him out bay to the checker. With the way I was riding, I'm sure he was scared to try and make a pass.
Between moto's, me and my buddy Jason had a good laugh. I had came in after one of my not so stellar rides, and decided to adjust my suspension. Not that I would no a good suspension or adjustment if it landed in my lap, but it was more for the mental side of racing than anything. So I decided I'm going to adjust every clicker, knob and spanner on my bike. It may not make a difference, but it will make me fell warm and fuzzy. So I'm clicking, turning, and pumping air into forks and tires, when Jason just stares at me with a thousand yard stare (mind you he's been watching and yakking at me the entire time) and says: "Is that my bike?" Well imagine that, two new 17's setting side by side with duct tape numbers, and I wrenched on the wrong one. They could have been 10 years apart, and different brands, I still could have pulled that off. We both rolled for a while, then he realized, he didn't have a clue where he's setting were, so he went to the owners manual for basic settings. I offered to help, but he told me I should go swimming or hiking. We're still laughing too.
Ok, I did get a hole-shot in moto, but it was close. But don't recall what class or my finish. But the highlight of my day was being on the gate with the great Larry Hughes. I've had the pleasure of knowing Larry for about 10 years, but never the pleasure of being on the gate with him. I've always known of Larry's riding history and ability, and have seen him ride. To watch him ride will fool you, because he's very smooth, calculated and doesn't panic.
I think it may have been the last moto of the day, they made me line up on the right side of the shack. So I gated up right next to the shack. I knew Larry had the hole-shot and win in the first moto, and he could have the win again, but I wanted to wrestle with him if possible before he did. Well, oh Dave pointed at everyone, headed to the shack, and stomped the mechanism. When the gate fell, I had an unexpected start. My bike absolutely went straight forward instantly. In fact it surprised me and got me on the back of the seat a bit. For just a second I froze, but then twisted second gear for all it had.
Suddenly, I'm out front with a with a big lead, then it happened; 5 conversations at once, and none of them sounded good. But immediately I push them all aside and went with the "stay low and drag race" conversation. I knew Larry would be coming, and it wasn't long before I heard his 125 squealing like a sissy pig. I knew I had the horsepower advantage though, so I figured I could wobble through the corners and out drag him to the next. Well, that worked for a while, but Larry is very patient, and observant. He knew I was struggling in the long left hand sweeper before the camel hump step down thing. We dropped into the woods, and the drag race was on to the long sweeper. We were side by side when both our bikes dropped into a slight depression, and both of our bikes tried to stand straight up. Larry recovered quickly, and mine darn near put me on my back side, and that gave him the edge approaching the camel hump. I dove back to the inside as we landed, but he didn't give it up. He slowly, methodically eased on out for the win. I had second garnered, but with the checker waving in the last corner, I stuffed the front wheel and laid it over. I think it was Hermann and Good that went on around me. But that's ok, the whole day was worth that one moto with Larry. He will race you close and hard, but clean, and that's what I like is the battle.
We had a good laugh afterwards, and I would like to gate up with him again. I think with a little more seat time, and the right frame of mind, I may be able to give him a little more action.
Hope everyone had all the fun they could stand. Behind the scenes, it takes a lot to put on an event, and keep it going throughout the day. Thanks to Danny, Mike, Drew, Vernon, score keepers, and everyone involved.
Where there is to much, something is missing.
It was a fun day indeed Monte. My son Ethan and I came out for some gate drops and rut practice. We are trying to get ready for the Loretta Lynn Regional at Freestone in June.
One thing that was really cool for us was we where in the same moto. Ethan in 450 C and me in Over 55. Earlier in the day Ethan convinced Dave to let us have one gate drop. It would have been cool for me and Ethan to come off the gate together, but really not a good idea for C riders and Over 55 riders all heading to the first turn together.
First moto for me was a bit rough. I know I needed to come off the gate quick to have any chance of a good start on the 125. Then I left a tad too early and got caught in the gate. Ended up having to come through the pack of 7 riders. I'm one of those guys that only wears a jersey and I paid the price. Those 450's and 250's throw a mean roost at Rio. Finally got in the lead at the end of the second lap.
Second moto was more to my liking. Second off the start behind Monte's 350 and in the lead a few turns later.
Larry, you'll do well on the lil smoker at L.L. The 450 is ok for the start, but not really needed after that. Easy to manuever around, and staying up is the key on a rough track .
When you mentioned about riding with your son, that reminded me of me and our son. He and I had some great battles and just fun riding together.
Where there is to much, something is missing.