The proving grounds part 1

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Anthony is now a 125cc National Winner

Anthony’s first-ever 125cc win came at the WERA National event at Miller Motorsports. Anthony has devoted many years of his very young life to racing and the hard work finally paid off.

The challenge to the weekend was very steep. For starters, he had never seen the track in his life and Anthony had never been a “fast” learner. However, after this weekend that label may need to be changed.

We arrived at the track on Thursday night, after our 16-hour drive from the Bay Area. On Friday we woke up to great weather. No wind, warm and ready for us. We knew we needed to make the best of each 30-min session and got to work as best we could.

To our surprise, Anthony figured out the track quickly. By the second session of the day he was lapping as fast as his main competitors. As the day progressed he got faster and faster. By the end of the day he was within half-a-second of the race-winning time from the previous event and about 1.5 seconds faster than anyone else in his class.

What made this most impressive was the fact he was ridding on 5-day-old tires and a top-end that was at the end of its life. For the race he’d get a new top-end and new tires.

When Friday ended I took the bike apart, like I always do, and made sure everything looked ok. I replaced the top-end, installed a new set of tires and got the bike ready for Saturday. Because the event was a national, there was very little for us to do on Saturday. On Saturday we basically got a 20-min practice session and that was it. We used that session to break-in the top-end and put the bike away for Sunday.

Saturday (and Friday) were amazingly beautiful. Temperatures were in the in 70s/80s with pretty clouds throughout. So when we heard there was a big storm coming from Idaho, we were in disbelief. There was no way, according to our experience, that great weather like this could not remain.

Well, we were mistaken. By Saturday afternoon heavy winds were abound and by midnight it began to rain. I thought it was a nightmare, but it was not. We woke up to a soaked paddock and track.

I ran to the tire suppliers and tried to get a set of wets, but they were sold-out. My only option, at the time, was to install a set of wets I had brought with me. However, that set turned out to be 11 years old and the tire-guys refused to install them under the pretense of safety.

At this point my options were, slicks or REALLY OLD wets. Really old wets started to sound pretty good when it began to rain harder, until the tire guy said, “or you could use a tire groover and create your own wets”.

Cut my tires? Hmmm… I’d never done that before, but I needed to learn and learn quickly as the rain kept on hammering the track.I got to work after I found a tire-groover to borrow. It turns out cutting your own tires is not as difficult as you might think… AFTER you make a few mistakes. Anthony was making fun of my “design” on his front-tire, but by the time I got to his rear-tire people were impressed.

Cutting the tires lost us one of the two morning sessions. Anthony had NEVER ridden in the rain and I needed to talk to him about it. Our race program is in a tight-budget and we could NOT leave Miller with a broken bike. Crashing has never bothered me because I’ve always felt he’s learned from it. But I felt that crashing in the wet he’d come back and say “I don’t know what happened… I turned in and I was on the floor…”.

He understood and agreed to take it easy. And easy to took it. While the rest were lapping in the mid-2-minutes, Anthony was lapping in the mid-3-minutes. But the good news was he came back to the pits in ONE PIECE.

Our races were #6 and #9. By the time race #5 got started, it had stopped raining. When his race came up, a slight dry line was beginning to form. The best tires were still full-wets, but his heavily-cut slicks “could” work ok. In that race Anthony finished 5th, but posted the second-fastest lap of the race and made a great pass for position on the penultimate corner. The best news were he came back to the pits in ONE PIECE (get the idea?) and with a huge smile on his face. “Daddy, I was sliding all over the place, it was FUN”.

The 125cc GP race was his last race and by now it was best to go out on slicks. The track had water patches, but by now full slicks were the best tire. We didn’t have a choice because all we had were our newly-cut slicks.

Anthony started from pole position and with races being only 4 laps he knew he needed to get going quickly. He got the hole-shot, something he’s never done before, and led the field to checker flag with a 19-second lead.

Anthony was very happy with the victory, but we were even happier with how well he adjusted to the track and conditions.

The 16-hour drive home was in disbelief. Like all kids, his dreams are to become a world champion. But as he’s progressed from PocketBikes to 50s, to 65s, etc. The competition has increased, and the bikes have become more difficult to ride fast. However, he’s always had the support of his sponsors, whom without, none of this could be possible.

AFM and USGPRU races were canceled

This is the second AFM event this year that has been hampered by rain.

Earlier this year, the Buttonwillow event was only partly run. But this weekend’s event was a complete washout.

It never stopped raining on Saturday. And although we woke up to a bit of sunshine, Sunday, was Saturday.

Miller motorsports, in Utah, is in 2 weeks. Hopefully the weather cooperates.


Ivan

AFM and USGPRU races were canceled

This is the second AFM event this year that has been hampered by rain.

Earlier this year, the Buttonwillow event was only partly run. But this weekend’s event was a complete washout.

It never stopped raining on Saturday. And although we woke up to a bit of sunshine, Sunday, was Saturday.

Miller motorsports, in Utah, is in 2 weeks. Hopefully the weather cooperates.


Ivan