Portland International Raceway, Portland, OR
July 23-24, 2016
Open Sportsman Day 1: 26th
Open Sportsman Day 2: 33rd
This weekend was a blast. I love racing with full grids in the combined round. There really is nothing quite like having 40-50 bikes go into turn 1 together. Just phenomenal. My results weren’t great, but I was able to make some personal improvements. I was successful in getting my lap times down about 3 seconds from last year, but my pace still has a long way to go. I managed to run high 1:17s for most of my laps. I just don’t have many laps at Portland and my times show it. I am going to try and get down to PIR for another race weekend and see if I can’t find some more time. My goal for the season is get to the 1:14s.
Qualifying threw me for a loop as I missed one of my qualifying sessions (Sportsman). Damon was nice enough to let me qualify with a different group and I was able to get gridded appropriately Saturday, but on Sunday I had to start from the rear. I had a great start and got through a ton of riders on the first lap. Unfortunately I missed a shift on the back straight, feared the worst, and ran off as I was afraid I may have destroyed my motor. Good news is my engine is just fine. Bad news is I lost all those places I made up on the start. I had to pass quite a few people to even finish 33rd.
I did well in 600TFS. Given my earlier times, I thought I even had a chance for the podium, but I just couldn’t keep pace with the front guys. I tried to close the gap on #6, but by lap 3 I could tell I just wasn’t going to be able to do it. Seventh is a good finish, but I am going to keep fighting to move up.
My favorite race of the weekend, though, was 600 SBK. Ryan Cresap brought his A-game and made me fight for my place. We had some clean passes and I just had a blast. I especially liked when Andy DiBrino decided he wanted a piece of the action and made a tight pass on both of us on the outside of turn 2. Okay, he was lapping us, but still. I loved watching him fly by inches off of our bikes. He showed me how much more speed you can carry through that section. Thanks for the pro tips!
I want to thank a few people that make this all possible. My wife Anna Piechowski for travelling to Portland with me and helping me out all weekend long. Dunlop Motorcycle Tires (Race Tire Service) for giving me some sticky rubber. Jason Paden, that new front is amazing. Shorai Inc. for keeping my bike starting and running like a champ. And WHO is DANE Photography & Consulting for capturing great shots and putting himself in impact zones sometimes to do it.