July 10, 2017
April – May 2017 Race Reports
April 1st, 2017
We were headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway for round 3 of the American Flat Track Pro series. This would make the second national race of the season we would have attended, and my second chance of the season to put my Luczak Racing, NorCal Chuck, Central Mass Powersports CRF450r in a national main event. The track was looking sweet, and first practice went alright, qualifying in the mid 30’s out of a 50-rider field. Free practice was over, and it was time to go. My timed qualifying sessions brought again mid 30th position lap times. Not amazing, but that position secured me a spot in a heat race, and a chance to make the main event.
My heat race started me on the second row, and after having clutch problems went into the first corner last. I worked my way up to 9th from last, but sadly missed the semi (the race preceding the main event), by one spot. In the LCQ (final qualifier for the semi) I again had clutch slipping issues and was sent into the corner almost last. From the LCQ they were taking top 4 to the semi, and I placed 8th after again coming from the back. Not stellar positions, but progress was made on the development of the motorcycle and our name was put out on the national stage once again. Sadly, during the singles main event at the Charlotte Half-Mile, fellow New England racer Jamison Minor lost his life while doing what he loved. Rest easy Jay.
April 28th-29th, 2017
The last weekend in April was a race that had been coming for a long time. My first time getting aboard a road race bike was finally in the works. Friday (April 28) was a test and tune/ track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. We started at about 9AM and ended around 4PM, giving me a full day of seat time on the Chris Dove Racing Support/ Central Mass Powersports SV650. For being my first time on a sport bike style machine, I was surprisingly comfortable and impressed with how it held itself to the ground through the middle of turns. My fastest lap on Friday was 1:30.xx, giving me lots of room to improve over the season. We hit the hay early that night in anticipation of my first official race day in the morning.
Since it was my first race day as a road racer, I had to participate in the rookie race where all the new riders get on track at once and get their first taste of a race start. After getting off of the start clean I picked off a few riders, and made some headway on my lap times to finish 3rd overall with a best lap of 1:27.xx. Not bad, but my lightweight novice race was up next and I was ready to let the SV do its job in that one, and grab my first win. After getting into the first corner 3rd, I made quick work of second place by passing up the inside into turn 3 and set my sights on the lead. I chased down the leading rider who was riding a motard style bike quickly and started to run my own race. Lap 6 drew a red flag, and sent the field back to the grid. After sitting on the grid for about 15 minutes we were sent back out. Being inexperienced I didn’t give my tires a corner or two to warm up in, so I grabbed the holeshot and threw the bike away on turn 1a. A bummer for sure, but I showed myself I could run up front and was eager for the next round of racing at Loudon in May.
May 2nd-8th, 2017
Almost the entire first week of May was spent helping Danny Walker by instructing American Supercamp. I grew up learning from the Supercamp instructors, so to be able to teach and work alongside them has to be one of my favorite things to do. This was good break from racing, and smiles/ fun was had by all.
May 13th, 2017
With no nationals or other big races to compete in we were headed to my home track, Wachusett Valley Riders Club. There is a few fast-local pros I always look forward to racing with here, so I was excited to get on the track. After some viscous battles in Open Pro, 450 Pro, and Pro TT I brought home a 4th, 3rd, and 1st place finishes. We got some seat time in and were ready for the big Kyle McGrane/ Jamison Minor memorial race next weekend.
May 20th, 2017
Today was a huge day for flat track in the northeast. Over 40 pros gathered at Square deal riders club to honor our fallen friend, and the cushion short track was sure to not disappoint. We had one short 4 lap practice session, and it was right into our qualifying races. We made some changes to our bike after practice, and they were in the wrong direction. After struggling in the heat race, I ended up one spot out of qualifying contention, and was sent to the last chance qualifier (LCQ) for my last chance to make the main event.
It was time to go, 12 riders were lined up in the LCQ, and only the winner would make it to the main event. I got the holeshot, and led the race lap for lap. I was in the Kyle McGrane/ Jamison Minor main event! After racing hard with these guys for years, it was an amazing feeling to make the main for the race in their honor. In the main event of 18 riders I rode hard and fought for all 18 laps to finish 11th. While were still just outside the top 10, it still felt awesome to make the main with some stiff competition.
May 27th, 2017
Fellow competitor Matt Beland and myself were off for round 6 of the American Flat Track pro series; the Springfield TT. For those who don’t know, a TT style track involves a right-hand turn and jump (different from the traditional ovals we race on). I was excited for this, as I feel I turn right just a well as I turn left. I had never been to Springfield before, but had heard all good things about the track and was excited to try it out myself. The schedule for the day was as followed. Practice, timed qualifying 1&2 (top 48 riders advance to heats), heat race (top 8 advance to semi), semi (top 9 to main event), main event.
Our practice was cancelled due to a time constraint, so it was right into timed qualifying for us. This was not optimal considering I had never ridden this track before, with no choice I went full throttle straight out of the gate. After qualifying within the 48 guys (mid 20’s), I was onto the heat races. At a national this year I hadn’t made it past the heat races, so I was determined to give the fast Luczak Racin’ motor the gas this round, and put it in the semi. During my heat race, I came from the back by making a few good passes and finished 8th, just good enough to make the semi. As there are 16 riders in each semi, I felt I had a good shot to make the main event. After a crammed first couple of corners in the semi, I had shuffled back to about 12th spot. Having a good battle for a couple of the first laps I moved up one spot into 11th and finished the race there, 2 spots out of qualifying contention for the main event. Overall a successful day of racing at a new track, and some confidence was built that I could in fact make a main event with some fine tuning. The results will come, but until then the work will continue