Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ohio
Well walking in to the race weekend at Mid Ohio I had VERY high personal expectations. I particularly like this race track and tend to go very well here. I had set a goal of another podium finish. The weekend started off like any other get to the track wed morning set up the pit, Thursday we worked on race bikes to get all ready for Friday morning practice. Friday morning superstock practice went fairly well (those who have been following me know that I tend not to go very well first practice of the weekend). By the end of the superbike practice we were well on our way to being right on pace. Unfortunately qualifying is where everything started to go wrong. I went out in the qualifier and was taking my time getting up to pace and right about the time I was going to put my head down there was a red flag. So we came into the pits. We didn’t have any other tires mounted for qualifying so we went back out on what was on the bike. I went out and was 2 full seconds slower than in practice earlier that morning, and was barely keeping the bike upright. It was all over the track sliding and kicking. After about three to four laps of this I finally lost control and crashed the bike entering turn 6. I low sided off the front tire, the bike spun around and backed into the air fence. Breaking off the subframe and muffler, along with all the normal low side damage parts. Later in the weekend we figured out what caused this situation and came up with a solution.
So we spent the evening repairing the superbike for the next day. Sat morning was the second superstock practice. Superstock practice went well and we were set for the second superbike qualifying. We finally managed to get back down into the mid 1:27’s and were just behind Tommy Hayden in our session. Superstock qualifying went off with no major issues other than struggling a bit with the setup; we ended up 11th on the grid in superstock and 14th on the grid in superbike. Saturday afternoon was superbike race 1. The green flag fell and we were off the line with a good start and were immediately racing with James Ellison and Tommy Hayden. A few laps later Tommy went into the hairpin a bit deep and I went inside him. Over the next 5 laps I proceeded to pull away from Hayden. Then I started to work out a plan for Ellison, trying a few different moves (none successful). A few laps later I picked up the throttle two milliseconds too soon coming out of the Hairpin and the rear stepped out and spat me out of the seat. I was able to save it without too much trouble but all the time I had gained on Hayden, I just gave right back to him. He repassed me at the end of the straight. After a couple laps of pretty hard riding I was right back with Hayden and Ellison. Then they threw the red flag. David Webber had crashed and was in an unsafe location. We all slowed Hayden, Ellison, Scassa (who had caught up after the red flag) were cruising in pretty much together when I hit something on the track (I didn’t see anything just felt the tire hit what ever it was) and crashed!!!!! I couldn’t believe it I just crashed the bike on the cool down lap after the red flag!!!! Well the bike slid off and into the gravel trap. This time it did significantly more damage, I kind of beat the thing into somewhat ride able condition (it wouldn’t turn right due to a badly bend clip on) and rolled back into the pits. It was unfixable so our race was done.
After a very solemn night we woke up to rain, which at Mid Ohio means no riding. There are some parts to the track that are EXTREMELY dangerous in the rain. So we sat around all day waiting for the rain to stop and hopefully to get a dry track to get some races in. Finally around 6:30 pm they declared a dry track and superbike rolled out for a 15 min warm up. We were now competing on our superstock bike due to yours truly demolishing the superbike. The warm up went quick and we threw on some new tires hoping that they would work with the track, after a heavy rain the track gets cleaned and is considered “green”. When the track is in this condition there is significantly less grip and it affects tires dramatically differently. The race had been shortened to 18 laps in hopes to get in the supersport race also; unfortunately superstock had been cancelled all together. The race went green and I completely blew the start. At this point I was fighting an uphill battle. I put my head down and hooked up with Benny Thompson, just in front of us was John Haner. As the laps wore on I realized I had made a poor choice on my tire compounds. After a while and several failed attempts of passing Thompson I finally stuck if under him going into turn four. I tried to catch Haner and was closing for a while but I started over ridding the available traction I had to work with and had a few near crashes. Eventually Thompson caught back up to me and made a pass on me in the same place I had passed him earlier. I was able to get on his tail but unable to repass him. I finished 15th right behind Thompson.
They later cancelled the supersport race due to low light conditions. The AMA had sent out supersport warm up but decided not to race due to visibility problems encountered by a few of the riders.
So we walk out of Mid Ohio back up one spot to 12th in superbike and in the same 6th place in superstock. Definitely NOT the weekend I was hoping for. On to VIR !!
See you at the track.