Hello everyone! I couldn’t be more excited about how my past two races have gone for me. Well maybe a little bit since I finished runner up in each of the races, but I simply gotta get faster to change that story. The first of the two races was the Snakebite Enduro in Grand Junction, Colorado and the second was the opening round of the 2012 WEBE Racing series in the dunes of Farmington, New Mexico.
The race in Grand Junction was a race that I had been looking forward to for quite some time! I had never had the opportunity to ride there before and finally this day had arrived. Early Saturday morning I put on a Jr. skills clinic that about 30 Jr’s participated in. I really enjoy trying to teach the kids and it is very rewarding when you see the results with the ones who actually listen. For this clinic I had the kids bring canned food as payment. The elementary school right behind my house has a large amount of kids on an assisted lunch program. Often on the weekends they don’t get food and all the food that I collected went to the school to hopefully help with that a little bit... Before I knew it Sunday was here and it was time to finally go play. There was a little bit of extra incentive on this day since the club put together a $3,000 pro purse. It was going to be a very dusty day, but thankfully there was a good breeze all day to help clear some of that from my vision. There were 3 seperate tests that we would do 2 loops on for a total of 6 tests for the day.
I started the day out a little tight and had some issues with dust, but I still felt like I put in a decent time. The second test was in a fast canyon, which was like riding in a bobsled run and then up on some wide open whooped out trail. I felt amazing in this test and I was very confident that I had a time that would be very hard to beat. After looking at results that feeling was right and I actually was fastest in the test by about 30 seconds. The 3rd test started in a rocky canyon that was like riding through a field of land mines. There were so many times that I would be racing down the canyon and before I knew it my hips were on the handlebars barely saving myself from the ground. I felt fast in all the tests but it is so hard to tell how things are going when you aren’t racing heads up.
After what seemed like an hour and a half break it was time to go do it all again. I really struggled in the 1st test to get going again after that break and my score showed it. Where everyone else picked up about 30 seconds in the test, I only gained 4, which was not going to cut it. I was excited to get back to the test that I had felt so good in the lap before and try to gain some of that time back. I had a little bit of trouble with dust this time and actually went a few seconds slower. I was so frustrated at this point because I knew everyone else would be getting faster each time through. I had to make things happen the last test or I would not even be close to the results I expected out of myself. I seemed to find another gear in the last test and maybe even rode a bit over my head but luckily the gamble paid off and I cut about 30 seconds off of my previous test score.
At the end of the day the race was closer then I could have ever imagined! When it was all said and done I ended up second. I was about a minute and a half behind Ian Blythe for the overall but only 7 seconds ahead of Eric Rhoten! I still can’t believe that after 54 miles of racing, it can come down to just 7 seconds. I really have to thank the club for putting together all of that prize money together because I was able to walk away with a check for $750! I have never won that much money and I couldn’t have been more excited about it. I was able to spend some of it on food to donate to the elementary school which was really nice to be able to help out and try and solve some of that problem for those kids!
Out of all the years that WEBE has had their opening round at The Dunes of Farmington this was my first time to be fortunate enough to attend. This year I have kinda decided to go in a different direction when it comes to the races that take priority over others. I can’t explain how great it is to come home to the WEBE series. It is so nice to show up to a race and not instantly be pick-pocketed when coming through the gates as well as feeling appreciated for being there! The first thing I noticed was how many people were there. The pits were absolutely packed. I could tell right away it was going to be a great weekend! It was a little chilly with a snow/rain mix in the forecast. I couldn’t decide what I wanted the weather to do; on one hand if it snowed the sand would be amazing to race on, but at the same time I am so over cold weather I would be fine never seeing snow again! I went out for the practice and really struggled with how slick the sand was. My mind was made up and I started hoping for snow. My wish was granted and on my last lap of practice snow began to fall. It didn’t last as long as I think everyone wanted, but some moisture is better then none in my book! Sunday’s race started at 10:45 and somehow I managed to get to the starting line early. I picked a line to the outside since there were a lot of braking bumps on the inside of the first corner. I practiced several starts and I was batting about .500 on first kick dead engine launches. I was confident my bike would fire right up when it mattered, expecially on a line of 30+ pros or it would be a long, long day for me!
As the race came close to starting, all the engines were off, and I was focusing on the race ahead of me. Thinking about it now it seemed like a scene striaght from Talladega Nights. In the 15 seconds of dead silence waiting for the flag to raise, I could hear the guys next to me breathing, random people talking at the side of the track and I could feel a rush of adrenaline through my body. One last deep breath, then the flag was thrown and with a single kick I was off! I got a decent jump and rounded the first turn in second. I followed for 2 straight aways and set up for the pass to take the lead. The line I set in motion a few corners ahead let me slip past Jeff Trulove just before the first downhill and sand wash. I put my head down and tried to pull as big of lead as possible on the first lap to try and control the race from up front. About a quarter of the way through the lap was “horsepower hill”. The helmet cam does not do any justice to how large and steep it really was! At this point I could see that I had opened up a pretty sizeable gap on second place and just pushed to try and make it even larger.
Coby Adair and Killy Rusk had different plans for my lead. By the end of the first lap they were both right on my tail, but I was determined to stay up front a little longer. I held Killy off for another mile or so until we got into some big sand whoops and he went flying by. I was amazed at how fast he went past me and I really would have appreciated it if he would have stopped and taught me a quick lesson on how to go through whoops that big, that fast! I did my best to stay with him for awhile and kept him in sight for most of the lap. At the start of the third lap I found myself in the lead once again with Killy right on my back fender. I held him off for awhile as we both split lappers each fighting to be up front. We got to the same set of whoops and big surprise he passed me once again. This time I stayed much closer right on his backtire since we were both being held up by lap traffic. We got to one of the big hills, he took a bad line and I was able to slip by. It didn’t last long though because as we were going down a hill I got stuck in a bad line and he reclaimed the lead. Killy had to pit one last time and I once again got by when he was stopped for fuel. I had a little gap on him this time but I knew he would be coming fast. I got stuck behind a lapper going down the first large hill and right at the end of it I started to make a move to the inside of him, he pushed his front wheel and went down, and I slammed into the back of him. When he crashed his back tire hit at my thigh and reved all the way up to the middle of my side. It burned so bad I could hardly focus on racing after that. Thankfully when I started pushing again the pain kinda fell to the back of my mind and I just finished the race the best I could after that. At the finish I was only 15 seconds behind Killy so at least I kept the race interesting!
Overall I am really happy with how the race ended up even though I was unable to win. I didn’t even feel tired at the finish and almost wish I had another hour to race on the course, it was that much fun! The one thing I was upset about was my fight with a rear tire ended up ripping apart my set of brand new purple gear! I was pissed when I saw how torn up it was. I guess the gear being torn up is still alot better then my side being completely destroyed. I was so thankful to get to race Farmington this year and I can’t wait for the next WEBE race!
There are so many people that make racing possible for me and I can’t thank them enough. Most importantly the Man upstairs for keeping me safe and giving me the opportunity to do what I love, my parents for being the best pit crew anybody could have, as well as my little brother Kyle, a.k.a. my “Suspension Slave” at Dango’s Damping! I couldn’t imagine doing any of this without all of my sponsors so I would also like to thank MotoAdventure Kawasaki, Race Tech, Fly Racing, Dirt Tricks, IMS, FMF, Motorex, Hinson, DT1, Enduro Engineering, Leatt, Dunlop, A’ME Grips, Topar Racing, Acerbis, and VurbOffroad. Thank you for reading!