The weekend started off with arriving to the track nine minutes after the scheduled time the staff of Talladega Gran Prix locked the entrance gate. As I saw flashlights and propane heaters dancing in the distance, I was locked outside of the track, forced to spend a lonely night van camping in the freezing rain and sleet.
Saturday morning proved to continue providing less than stellar weather as it continued to rain and mist leading up to the lightweight practices. I decided to skip the first practice to allow the track to warm up and hopefully dry off. As I wandered the pits trying to stay warm and away from the elements Dave Harmon, instructor of the WERA novice school, came up and offered me the chance to lead the newest group of aspiring WERA racers around the track for their practice.
“Are you sure their bikes can go that slow?” I asked Dave, not knowing if he forgot that race pace on my Ninja 250 would be equal to a slow practice pace of the school participants riding liter bikes. Practice with the school went reasonably well as I spent most of the session timidly scuffing in my DOT tires on the wet and cold surface.
As the practice sessions progressed the track began to develop a nice dry line, and before I knew it I was gridding up as an expert for the first time in my very short racing career. As soon as the green flag dropped, I quickly found myself struggling how to twist throttle. My braking points were off, I wasn't on the throttle all the way through one, and my friends were destroying me as they entered “The 90's” - two back to back ninety degree turns located in the infield. I had become pussified in the of season. Struggling to stay behind my friend, Ed Eberhart, I finished in second place.
Race number two resulted in a similar finish – after struggling the entire race to keep my competitors in sight I managed a third place finish in FSS Expert. Not exactly the stunning performance I was hoping for, however the two riders to place in front of me are the same friends who have been coaching me since my road racing career started.
It means a lot to me to be gridding up against those who have helped to get me where I'm at. While I am by no means fast on a race track I feel as if I have rapidly grown into a faster and safer racer. Without the help of guys like Ed Eberhart and Kurt Kesler I would still be at the back of the pack racing in novice.
Thanks to my sponsors for their support this year!
Amsoil Synthetic Oils
Team Goon Squad
Team Boom 4 Tripp
Saturday Results – 2/21/2015
E Superstock Expert - 2nd Place
F Superstock Expert - 3rd Place
WERA Season Opener - Little Talladega 2/21/2015
February 22, 2015
Brad Kline's CAMMRA Video - November 30th/December 1st