Unlike June, racing in Phoenix in November is just
about perfect. Some of my family seemed to think so as well. My Mom, Sister,
and Stepmom all decided to take a flight over from Albuquerque for their
first motorcycle racing experience. Needless to say, the pressure was on,
and I wanted to put on a good showing for them. The weather remained perfect
for the weekend even though my racing was not. Changes to the bike were limited
to an oil change and a once over.
I volunteered my sister, Stacey, to come out early to the track and help
me set up. She's a good sport and came along with minimal complaints. We
got the pit set up with no problems (once I decided on the spot to set up)
and went out for practice. Practice was uneventful and my times were down
in the 1:18's. I new I would need to do a lot better than that to be competitive
for the weekend. Jess was supposed to pick up my Mom's at the hotel on her
way down from Prescott but a drunk driver ran a red light and she T-Boned
him and was delayed in getting down to the track. (She and the other driver
were O.K. but her truck was not)
I got a decent start and fell into 2nd behind Bob for the first turn. Jack
passed me by mid lap and I stayed in third for a couple of laps, trying
to hang on to Jack. In New Mexico and Vegas, I had put a few seconds between
me and Doc. In between Arroyo and this weekend he found some extra speed.
He was on my tail the whole race and finally got by me on the straight.
I wasn't able to repass him and I finished the race in 4th, with a fast
lap of 1:16.455.
There were 6 bikes registered for the race, but only 3 gridded for the
race. Wayne, Jack, and Me. Aaron had severely messed up his finger in an
accident in the Supersport race and he was done for the weekend. I'm not
sure where the other guys were. As usual, Wayne got the holeshot and I fell
in behind him for the first couple of laps. He slowly pulled out a gap on
me. I could feel Jack right behind me the first half of the race. Just after
the midway point Jack passed me and I used the rest of the race as an extended
practice session. I was working on braking markers, looking through my turns,
and being smooth. It seemed to pay off as I ran a 1:15.422 and finished the
race in 3rd.
After getting in so many laps in GT Lights I was feeling confident in the
morning. I was feeling even better after lookin at my practice times and
seeing that I was running consistent 1:15's. I figured if I could run 1:15's
in practice I could find another second during the race.
Wayne got the hole shot, but this time I was right on him. I didn't feel
like I was pushing to stay with him, but coming out of Turn 12 I got on
the gas too hard and the rear end stepped out. I made the rookie mistake
of letting of the gas and the rear hooked back up and spit me on the ground
right in the middle of the track. I got up and just kneeled right
in front of my bike as the other 10 bikes came accelerating by. I got up
completely pissed off at myself.
I wasn't the only one down however. I saw Ed's bike one turn back on its
side, but I didn't see Ed. I looked up in the stands and my family was frantically
pointing towards Ed's bike. I started over to the bike and then saw Ed lying
on the ground, not moving. I was at a full sprint now and as I was running
over I saw Ed's bike still running with gas pouring out the tank. I quickly
hit the kill switch and then kneeled down by Ed. I was yelling his name
but with no response. I could see him breathing so I didn't do anything
else. The first rule of a first responder is to do no harm, and since I
couldn't help him, I just waited until the cornerworkers got there.
The race was red flagged and my bike was now spilling gas on the track.
I went back to my bike and started pushing it back into the pits. I managed
to get it the rest of the way around the track and as soon as I was off
the track Tim thankfully took over and got it back to the pit. Tim and Paul
(Ryan's dad), got to work fixing the broken left hand clip on and left hand
footpeg. By this time my thumb hurt like hell and was twice as big as it
should have been. I drank some water, took some Ibuprofen and got ready
to race. Tim (dubbed "The Magic Man" by my sister) got the bike back together
in record time and we actually made the restart of the race.
I was really hesitant the first couple of laps and my thumb really hurt
under braking. About halfway the pain started to subside and I put my head
down. I managed to pass 3 or 4 bikes and was working on catching Doc. I pulled
within a couple of bike lengths, but needed one more lap to make a pass.
All in all, it felt good to get back out there and put in some good laps.
I finished 5th with a fast lap of 1:16.346.
Ed didn't make it out for the next race, as he was taken to the hospital
for a concussion and possible broken bones. Aaron was also absent from his
accident the day before. It also turns out that Wayne had dislocated his
shoulder earlier, but he was able to fight through the pain and make it out
for the race. My thumb hurt even more than before and I was just trying to
circulate at a decent pace. On the 5th lap I went to upshift on straight
and there was nothing there. My bent shift lever had broken off. I figured
this was a sign and I pulled into the pits.
It was a rough weekend for the Lightweight crew. I didn't get the results
I wanted. But, it was great having the support of my family out there for
the weekend, and they seemed to have a good time. (Except when I was crashing).
My sister (Stacey Boyne Photography) is a professional photographer
and she took some FANTASTIC pictures: Enjoy!