Race #2 brings us to the Strickland Ranch just outside Daytona. this is a new piece of land with a Sat loop of 8 miles and a Sunday loop of 11. The terrain is flat as usual with a sand/topsoil mix and several miles cut through palmettos and light woods.
Haley and I did our usual practice lap to get a feel for it and talk about any riding issues. I noticed she wasn't covering the clutch in the slow stuff so the bike was deciding her speed through the corner. A suggestion to feather the clutch in the really tight corners, use corner speed to roll on through then release the clutch on the way out was met with the usual resistance, but after getting back in she admitted that I might be onto something( Not that I know what I'm doing, but for now it's more than she does)
1/2 before her 10:30 race the skies open up. Funny sight as all the experienced parents whip out their rain gear as my wife and I realize we never thought about racing/spectating in the rain. A quick trip to a vendor for a KTM umbrella and we're off to the start line, soaked but excited. Haley gets her bike on the line and readies for the uncertainty of a mud race. We've never ridden in real mud, period, much less raced in it, so this ought to be interesting. I gave her an old set of goggles with the instruction that at any point she can't see pitch the goggles and keep her head down. This advice was wrong I'm sure, but at the time we didn't have goggles with tear-offs, so I thought she'd get hurt worse wrecking from lack of vision verses getting roosted in the face with mud.
"15 seconds"......"Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep"...Haley gets the bike fired, dumps the clutch...and stalls it. A few kicks later and she's off, soon to be ran into by another rider and knocked over at the first corner. Undaunted she gets the bike up, started, and heads down the trail in 2nd to last. Nothing like having a challenge laid out in front of you.
We hustle over to the first viewing spot before they head further out and the goggles are already gone, which seems to be what most of the kids did based upon the muddy faces passing by. It's still raining, and now the water has formed puddles on top of the black oozing mud. From our viewing position of what only amounts to 100 yds of track we saw 4 wrecks, which compounded over a 8 mile course means carnage must be taking place out in those woods. One rider dumps it in right in front of Haley, so she had to make a detour into the bushes. She didn't hesitate in wicking up the throttle and screaming right on through as I saw a look in her eyes i had not seen yet this year......determination. You see we had a talk about the subject of racing after the last race.
It seemed she had went into "Trail Ride" mode early on in her last race. I told her afterwords that if we wanted to trail ride we could go to Croom, save the 50$ entry fee for tap dance lessons, and realize that racing just wasn't for her. Her mom and I talked with her about being aggressive, not to the racer's but to the course. We always ride respectfully towards others we said, but the course gives us opportunities to make moves on riders, so use them! Let faster people by, but don't come to a stop to do it. Always keep those wheels rolling! 13 yo girls don't generally get exposed to competing against their peers, mush less such a solo/physical sport like dirt bike racing, so I hoped we hadn't been to hard on her, yet made our point.
Seems it might have sunk in. She's in 2nd place in her class! Now granted there are only 3 girls in her class, but she ahead of #14G who had beaten her in her first 2 races. Haley told the story afterwords of whole lakes that had formed on the course and seeing 6-7 kids all backed up and using a different line to get by. She fell many times it seems, but she had a point to make, to prove to me and her mom that she really wanted to race, and it worked...
2nd place !!!
As she came through the finish at the end there wasn't a part of her that wasn't covered in black mud. The joy on her face wasn't one I'll soon forget, as I think we night have a racer in the family. (never mind Lori's affinity to awkward pics
) Haley did say our talk really helped, so we'll get this parenting thing figured one way or another
Looks like she might have even beaten some of the boys that started on the same row.
Place # Name AMA # Brand City, State Point Adv Laps Elapsed
1 153G Alyssa 284498 Honda Palm Springs, FL 50 0 2 1:04:40
2 169G Haley Schell Honda Odessa, FL 47 0 2 1:16:47
3 14G India McDonald Honda Newberry, FL 45 0 2 1:21:55
Place # Name AMA # Brand City, State Point Adv Laps Elapsed
1 144C Billy Cassidy 882855 KTM Sarasota, FL 50 10 3 1:15:59
2 33C Ty Thompson KTM Hawthorn, FL 47 5 3 1:19:22
3 15C Tyler Boris KTM Lake City, FL 45 4 3 1:22:28
4 48C Dylan Davis KTM Lake City, FL 43 3 3 1:23:08
5 12C Jack Frey Hansen Yamaha Big Pine Key, FL 41 2 3 1:25:37
6 444C Cory Nocera 897435 Suzuki Palmetto, FL 40 0 3 1:26:41
7 121C Ethan Dickson 691205 KTM Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 39 0 3 1:29:10
8 142C Kye Jacobsen 855185 Kawasaki Daytona Beach, FL 38 0 2 0:56:56
9 16C Jacob Ogden 215757 Honda Umatilla, FL 37 0 2 0:57:37
10 709C Jack Langford Suzuki Ft Lauderdale, FL 36 0 2 1:01:12
11 181C Clay James 213246 KTM Auburndale, FL 35 0 2 1:04:58
12 18C Alec Hermans 865858 KTM W Palm Beach, FL 34 0 2 1:08:47
13 31C Jake Alsup KTM North Port, FL 33 0 2 1:10:28
14 408C William Edgar 953806 Honda Sebring, FL 32 0 2 1:15:12
15 410C Mitchell Edgar 953805 Yamaha Sebring, FL 31 0 2 1:23:27
16 6C Kyle Blum 903804 Kawasaki Altamonte Springs, FL 30 0 2 1:25:55
17 1C Dakota Nix Honda Inverness, FL 29 0 2 1:29:42
18 188C Jonathan Gow 216180 Honda Sarasota, FL 9 0 1 0:33:34
19 78C Logan Branton Honda Mount Dora, FL 9 0 1 0:36:54
20 4C Beau Smith Kawasaki Ft. Lauderdale, FL 9 0 1 0:38:05
Most importantly she received a plaque ! Which was shown to anyone that would care to hear the story, and was clutched tightly in her hands as she fell asleep on the way home.
Whew, Sunday dawns and now I have to live up this kind of pressure from my teammate...
The dirt is perfect from the rain the day before so with excitement I wait.."Beeeeeeeeeep"..one kick, no start. 2nd kick and I get a response from the bike but by now the damage is done.(I'm #117 in the middle/back)
16th(out of 19) going into the first turn. Oh well, let's see how this plays out. See my friend Chris Tolken (#40) up ahead and I do a over/under move on him by the gas stop , yelling as I go by,to get one spot closer. I'm doing my time, trying to get in a rhythm. Racer 818 is up ahead and I shout at him as I pass by (He's kicking a hot/stalled 4 stroke...lucky him
) 818 had passed me on the last lap of the prior race, plus he has a Mohawk on his helmet, so I tend to notice him when I see him. After a while we get into the Sunday only section I hadn't seen yet (Only ran 3 miles of the practice lap). It costs me some by not knowing when a corner might dump onto a straightaway, but the extra energy I hope to have later should be worth it. I hear 818 back behind me after a while (his rear brakes squeal, so I know it's him
). I let him go as I felt like I wanted to follow him for a while. I pass through the scoring chicane and look up...14th place. I'm disappointed, especially after getting an 8th place last race, but it's a long race so let's see what the next lap brings us.
1/2 mile in and I pass a racer picking his bike up (12th now) Dump out on a straightaway and pass another one on the gas (11th). I get passed by a Master C friend of mine (Jack Hatfield) who I follow for quite a while hoping to get pulled to the next guy. 818 appears in front of me picking his bike up after losing the front, so I get by until a bit later when i give it back. I come to a rider in my class who had fallen over trying to get between two palms trees. Another rider was sitting unsure whether or not to try and get by or wait for the fellow to pick his bike up. I yelled "Goooooooo !" as this is the last lap and I'm losing time. He nervously attempts to fit, and falls over onto the first guy...no way I'm getting through this gap now
2nd gets his bike up and pushes it by (10th). I see 818 up ahead and the race is on ! He swings wide on a left hander as I follow another rider through on a tighter line...I pass 818 (9th) , but the slower rider who was in front of me was weaving left and right so I yelled "pick a side!" and he obliged so I could some distance between myself and my pursuers.
I'm really having fun at this point. I've never raced where I was catching and passing people. Usually It's the other way around
I'm seeing helmets up ahead and hoping they might be guys in my cl;ass coming back to me. I see 26C ahead and wait for a place to try and pass. We get dumped onto a straight and drag race to the entry back into the woods. I'm hoping this guy let's up soon as I'm getting nervous how fast the single track entry ahead is coming at me
. Thankfully he relents and i merge in front to push towards to the end (8th)
One minor tip-over and I'm there....8th!!! Same place as last race, but much more rewarding. First time I've been stronger the last lap vs. the first. I can only think this must be due to the 20 lbs I lost (Acid reflux. I'd like to thank my sponsor Nexium
) and just riding more.
Until the next race, go riding would ya !
Master C video of Sunday course http://blip.tv/file/4204891
1 21C Jorge Colon 105354 KTM Orlando, FL 50 10 3 1:55:29
2 8C David Jensen 893182 KTM Orange City, FL 47 5 3 1:57:05
3 757C Jorge Castillo KTM Hialeah, FL 45 4 3 1:57:11
4 18C Vernon Hackett 223505 KTM Port St Lucie, FL 43 3 2 1:19:24
5 34C Ryan Turner KTM Casselberry, FL 41 2 2 1:20:09
6 828C Mike Hunter 744142 Honda Middleburg, FL 40 0 2 1:21:18
7 48C David Davis 854296 KTM Lake City, FL 39 0 2 1:22:45
8 117C Troy Stainbrook KTM Odessa, FL 38 0 2 1:23:25
9 26C Robert Ryan 941623 Yamaha Lake Mary, FL 37 0 2 1:23:42
10 818C Irvin Kelly 942897 Honda Kissimmee, FL 36 0 2 1:23:44
11 716C Jerry Bentley 108764 Yamaha Tallahassee, FL 35 0 2 1:25:05
12 15C Kevin Vaughan KTM North Port, FL 34 0 2 1:25:08
13 919C Randy Bolen 987702 Honda San Mateo, FL 33 0 2 1:25:11
14 6C Don Brandl Suzuki Orlando, FL 32 0 2 1:26:09
15 41C Eric Sanders 846487 KTM Gainesville, FL 31 0 2 1:27:26
16 38C Mark Boris KTM Lake City, FL 30 0 2 1:28:15
17 40C Chris Tolken 106451 KTM New Port Richey, FL 29 0 2 1:35:06
18 411C Tim Mosley 439312 KTM Middleburg, FL 9 0 1 0:45:23
19 96C Todd Comeens KTM Deland, FL