Are we having fun yet?
Ask yourself that the next time you go racing… am I having fun at the races? That’s something I had to ask myself as I traveled to the Man Cup race in Rockingham last month. You can get a lot of thinking done on an 8 hour road trip. Of course, the reason I was “thinking” so much is because I was trying to figure out why I was in a ‘slump’. I know some would argue that there was no way I was in a racing ‘slump’, but I sure felt like I was.
But it all came down to not having fun, or at least that’s what I attribute it to. I decided I had been biting off more than I could chew as I drove to one of my favorite tracks for a weekend of racing. My foray into the Real Street class has been a lot of fun, but it has also taken a lot of work and caused me to lose some focus on my other classes. So I decided to leave that bike parked in the trailer for the weekend (unless of course I needed it as a backup bike). I had one clear goal going into the weekend and that was simply to HAVE FUN!
I only entered three classes for the weekend (3 is a lot to most racers, but pretty laid back for me as I usually race 4 or 5 classes) and I packed a cooler full of adult beverages. Saturday went well and I made it a few rounds in Street ET and made my qualifying passes for Crazy 8s and Super Comp. I also had a great conversation with one of my sponsors and a great friend who has supported me from the beginning…. I was explaining how I hadn’t been having as much fun this year and we talked for a while on this subject. It was great to talk with someone as knowledgeable as him and to confirm what I was thinking, sometimes you just need to have FUN and maybe drink a beer or two! So that’s what I did the remainder of Saturday night. I had some beers and cheered on my teammates as they kept on winning rounds.
Sunday dawned and I began to prepare for the long day of racing. As the day wore on I found myself still in all three classes and racing well. Somewhere along the way I lost in Street ET, but I kept forging ahead in Super Comp and Crazy 8s. In what has traditionally been a “bar bike” class, I got down to three bikes in Super Comp and we were all on street bikes. In a very close race I lost to the talented Richard Gadson but had no time to reflect on that race as I had made it to the Crazy 8s final as well. In an anti-climatic final I won over my good friend and legendary racer Boo Brown as he fought a monster wheelie from the start and couldn’t quite recover.
At the end of the weekend I was back in winners circle holding a trophy, but as much as I like to win that wasn’t the highlight of the weekend…. No matter what happened on the track that weekend I made damn sure I had fun and enjoyed the event and the company of my friends/family. After all, if we’re going to spend the money, lose the sleep, burn vacation days, etc., etc., we better at least enjoy it!
Fast forward to the IDBL U.S. Nationals at Atco a few weeks later and I was in a somewhat frantic rush to make it to the event in time. I drove all night and arrived to welcoming arms from my racing family. It’s a great feeling to get to the track and see your racing family (as my fellow racers know) and they were willing to do whatever it took to get me there. A rain speckled weekend gave us ample time to ‘bench race’ and that we did! Special thanks to legendary racer Boo Brown and his awesome family for keeping us fed and full of laughter.
I decided to practice a different way of staging for the ET classes and was happy to have great results and made it deep into eliminations both days. I also have to thank the Dunigan’s for having a rare bolt and helping me out with it late Saturday night as my air shifter broke during one pass. But, the goal of the weekend was to do well in Crazy 8’s and keep my points lead. I focused hard and steadily won round after round (And got my lucky round at four bikes). Down to the final I found myself up against my DRR teammate Dustin Lee, who for anyone who’s halfway followed motorcycle drag racing this year knows is the man to beat. Just as expected, it was an incredibly close race and I was able to edge him out by breaking out less (my 8.87 to his 8.85). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I came to do well in Crazy 8’s and won the race which gave me a little breathing room on Robert Parker…. Robert is a close second and between the two of us we have won all 4 races this year.
Due to the late arrival to the track and lack of Friday testing, I admittedly struggled with my Real Street bike, but I continue to learn every time out on this bike. It’s a very tough class and I’m humbled to be able to race with some of the very best racers in our sport. We are steadily making progress though and look forward to closing out the season strong!
My apologies for the delayed race report, but it feels like I’ve been 200mph for the last month! Thank you to my wonderful friends and family, along with the VERY BEST sponsors a racer could have.
Knight Communications, Rob Bush Motorsports, Vanson Leathers, The FBR Shop, Quantum Motorsports, WorldWide Bearings, Brock’s Performance, Montgomery Motorsports, McIntosh Machine & Fabrication, Schnitz Racing, HTP Racing, Web-Cam, Robinson Industries, Heads Up Performance, Micro Blue Racing, Daytona Sensors, Blackstone Tek, D.C.P. Tool & Mfg., Dragbike.com, Alisyn Lubricants, FoxFire Coatings, Hays Machine Works, MPS, Fun For All Motorsports, and Pro-Coat Custom Powder Coating.