2016 Summer Break Update – Race Reports
May 14th – GNCC Round 6 – Limestone 100 – Springville, IN
This race was once again a crazy mudder. About halfway through the first lap, I started to feel really good. I lived up off the seat, floating over stuff, the bike was fantastic, and everything was flowing really well. Unfortunately, early in the second lap, I got stuck pretty bad. It wasn’t the end of the world, and reverse would have saved me, but someone else got stuck directly behind me. So I wound up trying to lift the quad over the roots it was hung up on in the rut for several minutes.
Eventually I got going again, having lost a lot of time but noticed pretty immediately that I had pulled something in my back. I tried to stay off the seat but eventually that hurt too bad to do. Really, I would have liked to quit on the last lap when I came in for fuel, but I was in 7th, and with as bad as my year started, I needed the points, so I soldiered on. On the last lap, it got pretty hard to hit stuff as fast as I needed to, which wound up getting me stuck a couple times in some really stupid places.
When I got back to the truck, I literally couldn’t stand up to get off the quad. But, I got out of there with decent points and up until I got stuck on the second lap, I was finding a groove and starting to work my way forward, so there were still some positives to take away.
May 28th – GNCC Round 7 – Wiseco John Penton – Millfield, OH
Millfield was the kind of day where a bunch of little things went wrong and it all added up to a bad finish. Throughout the course of the day, something hit my key switch disabling my electric start, I had to push the quad backwards off a log and in doing so, I pushed it into a tree, apparently bumping the banjo bolt on the rear caliper hard enough to loosen it and cost me my rear brakes, and then with no rear brakes, I slid sideways into a large stick which went into the center of my rear wheel and ripped the valve stem clean off, causing a flat rear tire. The hedstrom balls held it up for a while but eventually started to fade, at which point the flat became a pretty severe detriment to handling.
Overall, it was a very strange day and a 10th in class and 79th overall was not what I needed or was hoping for, but once again, the bike was good until it all went wrong, so I left Millfield hoping for better things in New York.
June 11th – GNCC Round 8 – Dunlop Tomahawk – Alpine, NY
The Tomahawk GNCC was a pretty interesting experience. 12th place out of 22 ties for my worst finish of the year, and yet, somehow, it was about the most fun I’ve had all year! I had a rough go right off the start. I was completely blinded by the dust coming into the 4th corner, went outside the rider ahead of me and when I could finally see through the dust, I found myself up against the banners in the super deep powder on outside of the berm. I spun in 2nd gear at the rev limiter there for what felt like forever, before finally getting out of it and going into the woods dead last. Somewhere early on, I cut a right rear tire, but the hedstrom balls minimized the damage as I came forward from 22nd to 14th.
On the third lap, I started to find the flow. The quad was fantastic and did an amazing job of smoothing out what everyone told me was a crazy rough track. I distinctly remember saying out loud to myself “smooth is fast” and feeling both, about 15 seconds before a snagged a tree with the right front tire and stalling the bike. I didn’t think it was a bad hit, but I appear to have twisted the steering flag and I went into damage control mode and finished that lap in 12th after losing a position or 2.
I came into the pits and adjusted tie rods quickly to get the quad to track closer to straight, not knowing at this point, that the balls in my rear tire had started to pop and that was starting to become a part of the problem I had with steering. I lost a bit of time with my rough alignment and rejoined the track around 15th. I got as far forward as 11th on the last lap before giving up a position towards the end when just about all of the balls in the right rear were gone and I found myself unable to keep the pace up on one of the long off-camber sections that sloped away towards what was now a very flat rear tire. I settled for 12th, right behind Kevin Patterson and headed back to the truck.
Overall, I was super pumped on my riding as well as how well the bike smoothed out that track! The finish may not show it, but I said a long time ago that I don’t need the scoreboard to tell me if I had a good ride or not. This was a good ride. A big thanks goes out to all of my sponsors for making this possible. Considering where I was after the first 2 rounds, we’re making some huge strides towards getting back to actually belonging in this class. Gotta keep pushing! 5 rounds to go!
June 25th – GNCC Round 9 – AMSOIL Snowshoe – Snowshoe, WV
It started off reasonably well. The bike was great! The track was much nastier and more technical than I remember it being last year, so I was pretty excited right from the get-go and having a great time! Unfortunately, I did what I always seem to do in muddy races anymore… Rode 4 flawless laps only to get so stuck on the 5th lap that I had to wait for the track crew to come get me out.
There was another rider stuck in the race line. The guy ahead of me went around him through some deep ruts and got his rear tires kicked up in the air pretty badly, but he made it through. I guess he pulled up a big rock or something in the rut on the right side because when I hit it, it stopped me so hart that I wound up over the bars! By the time I got back on the seat, my day was over. I got logs and pushed them under my tires, tried rocking the bike for forever, and lifted and pulled like crazy to no avail. Jared Bolton happened by and even the 2 of us couldn’t move the thing an inch. So, I spent the rest of my time helping others when they got hopelessly stuck, and waiting for a tow, which probably came about an hour after the initial incident.
To be honest, it was still a fun weekend, it was just not much of a race for me. Hopefully the last few rounds go better as this season has been pretty rough! I’m very glad to be on the Summer break now, and hopefully I can get back to a serious training program over the next couple of months and try to hit the last few rounds hard! Big thanks to everyone who makes it possible! I’m still nothing but thankful to be able to be out there doing what I love.
Thanks to all of my sponsors for continuing to stand behind me as I’ve worked through the issues I’ve had this year and for their help in remedying them! I promise to continue to put forth the effort to continue to improve week in and week out and hopefully we can get back up into top 5 form by the end of the year!
A HUGE thanks goes out to: Rocket Ron Racing for the amazing suspension work, Walsh Race Craft for the top notch suspension components, FMF Racing for the gorgeous blue Ti pipe, Rath Racingfor the sweet and durable nerf bars and bumper, Motorex USA for every fluid I use in my shop, GBC Motorsports for the awesome tires that hook like nothing else I’ve ridden, IMS Products for the quick-fill tank that gets me in and out of the pits in a hurry, KLIM Technical riding gear for making the only gear I’ve found that holds up to XC racing use, Twin Air High Performance Airfilter Products for protecting the engine, Hinson Clutch Components for the AMAZING BTL slipper clutch, Fasst Company Flexx Handlebars for saving my wrists, ktm-parts.com for getting me parts cheap and in a hurry since 2008, Powersport Grafx for making everything I own look amazing, Streamline Brakes for the awesome colored stainless steel braided lines to complete the look, Leatt Protectives for keeping me safe, Towne and Country Real Estate for the backing, and Schumacher Race Works LLC for the engine work and wiring harnesses.