I wanted to shoot everyone an update regarding the races I competed at before and during Daytona Bike Week. Sorry I wasn’t able to update sooner, but I have almost been racing/riding every single day since I left a week and a half ago. Here’s my story:
All of the Savanna races
Savannah All-Star Half-Mile Race
Savannah is one of my favorite tracks that we race on all season and the “unofficial” kick-off event for the year. A lot of fast guys come to this race and I was eager to see where I stacked up after a long off-season. I felt good all day on both my Kawasaki 750 and Honda 450. I rode my 450 in the Super Singles class which is open to any size engine as long as it only has one cylinder. I didn’t get the best start, but I passed a couple of guys and chased down the leader who was riding a super-fast big bore 450. I was close, but no cigar and finished 2nd. In the Expert Twins class main event, I pulled the holeshot and put in some solid laps the first half of the race. When I saw I had a large gap over the rest of the field, I put it on cruise control and sailed her home for the win. I have won a couple of races here in the fall, but this was the first spring All-Star main event I have won here.
Super Singles: 2nd
Expert Twins: 1st
Volusia All-Star Half Mile:
I typically do well at this track, so I was looking forward to competing. I rode the same classes as Savannah, Super Singles and Expert Twins. This track is extremely tough to pass on and a good start is crucial. Unfortunately in the Expert Twins heat race, I had a terrible jump and found myself in third place. I was trying all I could to make a pass for second, but the bike wasn’t working the way I wanted it to. I ended up getting passed on the last lap and finished 4th in my heat race. In the Super Singles class, I again got a terrible start, but I wasn’t going to be denied twice, so I ended up five riders in my heat race to take the win. We made some changes to my Kawasaki Twin and I was really eager to redeem myself in the main event, but mother nature decided she wanted it to rain and we were scored by the heat races. I ended up 7th on twin, but I had the fastest heat race time on the 450 and won the Super Singles class. I was bummed with the final result on the twin and not being able to try the changes we made to the bike for the main event, but it felt good to get a win on my 450.
Super Singles: 1st
Expert Twins: 7th
American Flat Track Series Round 1 – Daytona TT:
I have never been to a race in my life where there were more unknowns than the Daytona TT. I prepared myself and my bikes as best I could with the budget I had, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect. The track was basic, but fast and technical. To be honest, I have only raced a couple of TT events over the past few years. I ride a lot of motocross, but it’s still a different animal. I qualified 21st, which I wasn’t pleased with. The bike worked OK, but there were still a lot of things I didn’t like about the set-up for this track. There were a few things we could change and a few things we couldn’t, but I put my head down and rode the best I could with what we had.
We have a new race format this year. It’s a knockout format. There are three heat races. You have to finish top-8 in your heat race to make the semi (9th and back go to the LCQ, where you have to finish top-4 to make the semi). There are two semis and you have to finish top-9 to make the main. We had a tough semi, but I battled hard and finished in 8th, which was good enough for a transfer to the main. I train hard and I was really looking forward to a hard, long 25 laps.
One of the biggest issues I was having all day was with my shifter. My bike was missing shifts all night long. After the semi, we noticed my shifter was loose, so we swapped in a new shifter. Unfortunately on lap five in the main event, my shifter came off completely causing me to DNF. I was credited with 17th. I was bummed about the whole deal because I was confident I could have had a solid finish, but a mechanical like that is out of my control, so it’s something I can’t dwell on. We learned a lot of things that will better us for the additional TT races on the schedule. On the positive, I kept it on two wheels and came out of there with a couple of points heading into a couple of race tracks I am really excited for.
AFT Twins: 17th (DNF)
Clash of the Concrete Indoor:
The day after the national, Harley-Davidson and IV League Flat Track put on an indoor race in downtown Daytona Beach. I was tired from the national the night before, but racing motorcycles is my job, so I got my bike ready and went to work. There were some good riders in attendance with a good purse on the line. Harley-Davidson broadcasted the whole event on their FB page, which was pretty neat. I do well on these concrete indoors. I ended up winning my heat race and the main event. Although it wasn’t a Grand National, it felt good to redeem myself from the night before and grab another win for my sponsors during Daytona Bike Week.
I am spending a few more days in Daytona with my wife before we make the trip up to Atlanta for Round 2 of the American Flat Track Series. Thanks to all of my sponsors for all of the support this season. I know that is a cliche statement, but without all of the support, I wouldn’t be able to call this my job and I am truly blessed to have a great group of supporters behind me this year.
All the best,