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Roadcraft Motorcycle Academy

Roadcraft Motorcycle Academy

PCMRC Round #6

MeAndConnor

Formula GP: 3rd

250 Western Canadian Gold Cup: 1st

Formula 21 and over: 5th

I had injured my ribs Monday night so I knew this weekend would be a tough one. I wrapped them up tight before Saturday morning practice and went out to see how bad it was going to be. Braking and turning to the right were not a problem so things were actually better than I expected. Turning to the left however was a different story. It was going to be painful and the quick right/left transition between turns nine and ten would be the worst of it. Such is life, it is what it is. I’d have to work with it and hope the combination of pain medication and adrenaline would help mask the majority of it.

Formula GP:
I got the holeshot and held Scott Borthwick off (OK, I held him up) for a couple of laps before he came past me in turn nine. I doubt I could have stayed with him at the best of times but there wasn‘t any point even trying given the way I felt.

When I got to turn three the next time I was able to take a look behind me and got a closer look at the #34A bike of Connor McCarroll than I really wanted. So I knew at minimum I’d have to maintain my pace if I wanted to hang on to a second place finish.

I opened the gap a bit that lap only to have him close it on the next and so it went lap after lap. When the last lap board came out and I could see we were going to hit lapped traffic before the finish. Coming through turn five I tried to calculate our closing speed to the slower rider and thought I might catch him going into turn eight which would be fine for me and hopefully not quite as fine for Connor who might not be able to slip through until nine.

My calculation were slightly off and I couldn’t quite squeeze through in eight so I tried the inside in nine but the slower rider still didn’t know we were there yet and the inside line started to close on me about a second sooner than I wanted.

This isn’t the world championship and that rider is a friend so I opted to not put a hard inside pass on him and risk running him wide and possibly into a bad situation. I’d just chosen wrong going for the inside and now I’d have to sit there going slow for a bit and knowing what was probably happening on the outside line.

Since I went inside Connor went outside which it turned out was the right choice this time and he was able to get to the inside of turn ten first. I closed it back up though the exit of ten and into eleven and twelve but it just wasn’t enough.

I can’t say enough good things about Connor McCarroll. This kid is just 17 years old and not only is he fast he’s safe and always in control. It’s always fun racing with him and I know I can go through turns elbow to elbow with him and feel confident that we’re both in control, riding hard, fast and safe and enjoying every minute of it.

250 Western Canadian Gold Cup:
Coming into this weekend I think all I needed was three more points to wrap up the Gold Cup championship so I don’t need to win today but if I was going to race I might as well try to go hard in the early laps and see if I could hit the front and pull a gap.
Luckily that’s exactly what happened. Jeremy Karlson #962 continues to get fast and faster every weekend but so far I’m beating him into turn one from the start and seem to be able to pull enough of a gap in the early laps that he can’t challenge for the lead, yet…

Formula 21 and over:
When we went out for the warm up laps I knew I was in trouble. My pain medication had worn off and it really hurt to turn the bike left now. Crap, this is probably going to be un-good.
I got the holeshot ahead of Paul Ludwig #69 and Scott Borthwick #34 but it was more pointless than ever to try and stay ahead of those boys now. So when they showed me a wheel I just let them through and hoped I might be able to retain a 3rd place finish, maybe….

A couple laps in when I came out of nine and tried to flick it left it just didn’t come over hard and fast enough. Now I found myself drifting wide at the exit of ten and I just didn’t have the strength or the pain tolerance to turn it any harder. When my front tire started to climb the curbing I stood the bike up and ran off track into the dirt and grass. I kept the bike up and avoided crashing but Bart Brown #96 and Jeremy Karlson #962 were past me now and had a pretty good gap.

I came back on track and took it easy for half a lap to make sure my tires were clean and then turned my attention to trying to close the gap to Jeremy. I was catching him on the brakes, especially coming into turn one but 1B is a quick flick left and he could turn it faster than the injured guy which meant he was getting a better drive coming out of two which would make my plans for a possible pass in three more difficult.

A few laps later I was getting close coming through the back section and I thought if I could stay on his back wheel through ten, eleven and twelve this time I had a good shot on the brakes into one, but it turns out Jeremy takes ten a little slower than I do or at least he did that lap and I was lucky not to run into the back of him. That killed my drive and I’d have to spend time closing the gap again.

I came up behind him again in four and got a decent drive out of five and stayed closer through six and seven but not quite as close as I would have liked. Regardless, I was closer than I had been at that part of the track and I was running out of time. Turn eight is a right and I was going to show him a wheel and see what happened. Even if I don’t get past maybe I can put him under some pressure and possibly force a mistake, but when he saw my front wheel he closed the door forcing me to check up and wait for another opportunity. The last lap board was out when we came down the straight and my failed attempt in eight had cost me time and meant I wasn’t close enough to do anything in turn one, but it wasn’t over just yet.

Coming through one I held my breath and flicked the bike left as hard as I could. It wasn’t as hard as usual but certainly harder than I’d been able to manage in the previous laps. It didn’t feel very good and something went snap, crackle, pop in my chest but on the positive side I was closer coming out of two this time and I was going past in three no matter what.

I pulled to the inside and went for the brake lever late and hard…
.
This was the first time Jeremy had ever been ahead of me in a race and it turns out he intended to stay there. When he saw my front wheel this time he slammed his bike on its side and at the same time slammed the door in my face.

Afterwards he asked what that squealing sound was coming into 3. Well…. that would have been my front tire howling as I tried to avoid hitting you, and possibly me screaming just a wee bit.

I came fairly close to center punching him but somehow got it slowed down enough to avoid any contact.
That was it, I’d given it my best but this fight was over and Jeremy had won this round. I looked back and couldn’t even see where the sixth place rider was so I just rode out the lap slow and easy. Good race Jeremy. Pain aside, that was fun and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so happy with a fourth place finish.

I slowly crawled off the bike and out of my leather knowing my ribs would be lot worse tomorrow and the races would all be 11 laps instead of 8 but I’d made it through the day with a win in 250 and salvaged valuable points in the other two classes.

The round 7 report will be up shortly..

Steve McKenna #49