Pacific Raceways, Kent, WA
April 22-23, 2017
Clubman (Saturday): 1st Video
600 SS : DNF Video
600 SS : Crash Video
TFS Warmup : DNS Video
Clubman Sunday : 4th Video
Saturday brought mixed conditions. Practice was dry Saturday morning, but by mid-morning rain had started. First tire change of the weekend to rains just before my clubman race, even though I had only done laps on slicks. I was able to get an okay start from row one, but Sam Shettle is killing the starts this year! He gained a huge advantage going into turn 2. I spent the next 4-5 laps getting my lap times down and closing the gap; I managed an unbelievable (for me) 1:42 in semi-wet on rains at Pacific. On the penultimate lap I was able to brake deeper going into 3 and make a clean pass for #1.
My second race of the weekend was 600SS. I went into this race with a bit of confidence from a good performance earlier. I made a decent start from the third row and was hanging on to the bikes in front. A few laps in I found myself in a four-bike battle for position: Mark Szilveszter out front, Kent Swendseid, me, and Doug Lenz. Doug got around me in 8 with a clean pass, but I closed on him and Swendseid in the braking zone for 9. In the bus stop (turn 10), Doug, from what I can tell from video, touched Swendseid’s rear with his front, tried to save it, stalled his bike, and I was left to be the carnage. Went down, hopped the bus stop curb, did a roll, and watched the rest of the race from the bus stop exit. Thanks for the company Ric Clements! Luckily, I was fine and the bike only needed minor repairs plus some black duct tape to get it back into racing shape for Sunday.
Sunday was wetter than wet, but only after a dry practice session, of course. Put on the slicks for practice (tire change number two, if you’re keeping score); there were a couple unnerving wet spots, but not enough for rains. Misting started toward the end of practice. It was a tough call between rains and slicks for 600 Classic Superbike, but I gambled on slicks. When I went out for the warmup, it began to rain a little heavier and the track ended up being far wetter than I had thought. After I lit the tire up in a couple corners, I decided I didn’t want to chance it and pulled off the track before grid along with five other riders). Bravo Jeremy Goddard for braving five laps on slicks!
My last race of the weekend was Clubman again. By this point it has been downpouring for quite some time, so we had to do tire change number three back to the rains. I got an alright launch from pole, but again Sam Shettle took off like a rocket. I tried to stay close but he was on fire. Also, this race was proper wet. I couldn’t see the right wall of the kink coming into it until I was 10 feet from it. In the end, I finished 4th. I would have loved another podium, but definitely need more time in that kind of weather to improve my confidence.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and I had a load of fun with the WMRRA tribe as usual. I want to thank my wife, Anna Piechowski, for all of her hard work. I am pretty sure she is now a tire change expert after this weekend. She is also going to be spending the next week trying to get my bike back in tip-top shape after the 600SS mishap. Also, thanks to Cliff Hudson for coming out to watch on Saturday and seeing my, to date, most interesting race day. Thanks to the people I was pitted by who improved the experience of an otherwise dreary, wet round: Mark Szilveszter, Edip Kemal Oner, Mitch Coleman, Katie Carney.
I should also thank Shorai Inc. for keeping my bike running, KFG Motorsports for suspension that helps those rain tires stick, and Dane Añar for the wicked photos!
In addition, I want to congratulate two novices pitted by me on their first successful race weekend. Dan Kaplan and Bobby Hines, you both kept your bikes rubber side down and managed the conditions terrifically. I hope to see you next round and keep seeing you improve!
Lastly, thanks to Colt Bristow and all of the WMRRA Staff. This weekend was non-ideal and came with plenty of unique scenarios to handle. Everyone truly rose to the occasion. Thank you so much for all that you do that lets me get out there and play. See you at Round 2!