This weekend we traveled to a small track in Munford, Alabama for the second round of the 2016 WERA National Series.
Saturday held the WERA Regional races, where I signed up for Lightweight Twin Superstock, Lightweight Twin Superbike, and F2 Expert. By signing up for three classes I aimed to get up to speed by tucking in behind the faster and more experienced lightweight racers, both in practice and my races to prepare for my points championship races in the Sunday National classes.
I quickly learned a very important lesson as practice kicked off Saturday morning - Practice is an absolute cluster in the lightweight division. Between slower riders on SV650s (Arguably the fastest bike in the lightweight classes) and the faster riders on 250s it was extremely difficult to tuck in behind the fast SV650 riders and get in a clean practice. The practices felt extremely short, and I was never able to get in a solid lap that felt "fast". The highlight of practice was watching Mr. Chris Parrish, riding his Ghetto Customs backed SV650 pass five different people in the cooldown lap of practice throwin' out a leg dangle before we exited the track. Definitely looking forward to repaying the favor in future rounds, Parrish!
Saturday's races went well, and I was able to learn a little more about wrestling the SV650 around the small Talladega track each time I went out. In my first race in Lightweight Twin Superstock, Expert, I set my starting point time of the weekend with a fastest lap of a 1:07.793 and a sixth place finish. In my second race of the day I picked up some time in the Lightweight Twin Superbike, Expert, race and had a new fastest lap time of 1:05.629. While I was still several seconds off of a winning pace, it was exciting to be finding places where I could make up time. Towards the end of the race I began to fade off, partly which to I blame severe arm pump. Once back in the pits, Ed Eberhart and Jason McCrary, my friends and teammates, helped me adjust the controls on the bike to help with the ergonomics of the bike. In the final regional race on Saturday, F2 Expert, the lap times were slightly slower but I was able to feel a little bit more comfortable on the bike and go the entire race without feeling like my hand was going to cramp up. I finished fourth in the final two races of the day, and had a good base of what I needed to improve heading into Sunday's National rounds.
After a night of stuffing my face with pizza and stout beer at the local Mellow Mushroom, I woke up fresh and ready to rock for the national rounds.
Sunday kicked off with quite a few less riders in practice, and I was able to tuck in behind extremely fast guys such as Parrish, and another quick SV650 rider, Chris Bays. By following these faster riders I was able to get down to a 1:05.873 in practice. While still a couple of seconds off of a winning pace, it was nice being able to start the day strong and learn even more before the races began.
The first class, Lightweight Twin Superstock National, started strong and I was able to stick with the lead pack for the first laps before they eventually pulled away. While I was only able to bring home a third place finish in class, the highlight was being able to run my fastest lap of the
race in the final lap. Not sure if the tires were beginning to lose their traction, or if the track was greasier than normal but I spent the entire race pushing both the front and rear tires through several corners.
The second and final race of the weekend was F2 Expert National. Going into this race I knew that I expanded too much energy in the previous races, and in turn three on the second lap it was apparent how sloppy I was riding. Compounded by the lack of grip it looked like it was my first weekend out at Tally. Blowing the exits of turns, and pushing the front through fast turns such as "The Bowl" I was doing everything I could to finish the race safely while keeping the bike shiny. At one point of the race I attempted to pass two lapped riders around the outside of turn three which resulted in an exciting trip off the race track and into the grass. Fortunately the bike stayed up and I was able to finish the race in fourth place.
Overall I couldn't have asked for a much better weekend. The bike rode well, and I know what adjustments I need to the bike, along as what adjustments I need to make as a rider before my next race at Tally in several weeks for my first CCS Event.
Without the help of those in my pits, such as Ed Eberhart, Jason McCrary, Clyde Dixon, fast racers such as Chris Parrish and Chris Bays, and the help of my friends, family and sponsors I would not have been able to make so much progress while having so much fun.
Huge thanks to Proline Motorsports, Spencer East, Jim East, Amsoil Synthetics, Pure Attitude Wraps and Designs, Eberhart Creative, MX4Nam Photography, Hawk Security, and Lee's Collision for their continued support.
See you all at the next race weekend!
WERA Season Opener - Little Talladega 2/21/2015
February 22, 2015
Brad Kline's CAMMRA Video - November 30th/December 1st