Pacific Raceways, Kent, WA
July 11, 2019
|600 Sportsman - Saturday||1st||Video|
|Open Classic SBK||8th||Video|
It took a bit to get to the opening round of the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing (WMRRA) calendar, but we made it. And it was a full round. To continue adding on to this wacky summer, I did my first back to back races, I won in the dry, and I managed to set a new personal best lap time during the Supersport race.
For Round 3 (or 1, depending how you are counting) we headed to Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA. I always have liked this track. Originally built in the 1950s, it has a lot of old-school American road racing feel to it, complete with a front straight that spends most of its time as a drag strip. The back straight has close trees, the pavement has bumps that upset the suspension, and it isn’t as wide as some of the other tracks we get to race on. To me, it’s a great place to spend the weekend.
I didn’t get to the practice day on Friday, so I had to get up to speed quick. Due to a compressed schedule, we had one 20 minute practice session instead of a couple of 10 minute sessions. For me, this worked out better. It gave me more time to get comfortable and start to remember some of the nuances of Pacific. My times by the end of practice weren’t great, but they were only 3-4 seconds off of last year’s race pace.
The first race of the weekend was 600 Supersport. While I had no expectations of getting near the podium for this race, I love getting on track with the best in the Pacific Northwest and seeing how I stack up. I got a pretty good start and was able to hang with some great riders. And by the end of the race, I recorded my best ever lap at Pacific - a lap in the 1:32s.
The next race was 600 Sportsman. This was the race of the weekend where I felt I could get near the podium. Due to points from last year, I started from the front row. I got a great start, but overslowed into turn 2 a bit, which allowed 2 riders to get by me. I reeled them back in, however, and in no time we were dicing with the Open Sportsman class that was wave started in front of us. I could tell my comfort in passing other bikes had improved as we worked our way through some traffic. I had a pretty consistent pace in the 1:34s, but I never managed to get around the other 600 riders. I came back to the pit to see my wife super-happy and thought “well, I did manage a 3rd, a podium is a podium.” Turns out the other two riders exceeded the Disqualification time (Sportsman is a bracket race) so I took 1st!
Back to back racing with 600 SBK
I only had a moment to catch my breath and drink some water following Sportsman, because I immediately had to get right back on track for 600 Superbike. Again, I managed a pretty good start, but by the middle of the race my laptimes started to decline. It seems I might have gotten tired. If I do a back-to-back race again, I might need to find a better way to fuel. That said, this race had some close battling with Matt Wichgers and Rich Kim. Even if I couldn’t keep my pace up, I had a great time.
Open Classic Superbike
I closed the day with Open Classic Superbike. In the past I have raced in 600 Classic Superbike, a.k.a TFS, but it was removed from the calendar this year. So I figured I would try racing with the big bikes. Other than being tired (see notes about fueling up above), I did alright. I would finish the race in 8th. I think with a bit more energy on tap, despite my 600cc bike, I could do well.
Some much needed thanks
It is great to have the first race of the season recorded. I want to thank my wife Anna for all of her help this weekend as the only person with me in the pits. The first race of the year is hectic normally, and with this year it was…let’s just say unhinged. She helped keep me on schedule, and made sure I had whatever I needed through the day. I also want to thank Track Time for having me on staff. While I spend most of my time working, the ability to chat with Ken Hill, and the other instructors, has helped me improve my riding over the last couple of seasons. If you are looking for coaching, or just a great organization to ride with, come sign up for a day and/or instruction.
Well, until next time!