ok guys, here's my report.
First, big :thumbup: :thumbup: to Brok and the crew for pulling off this event. There were more racers and more classes then last year, and everything went off on time. There was a lot of confusion with the heat race grids due to problems with the timed scoring/qualifying. But they got things rolling and all was good in the end. It's too bad we couldn't use the dirt, but thanks very much for all the effort to try to get it ready. In the end the swamp won.
250F (used to be known as lightweight) is going to be a cool class this year. they've changed the rules for this class so it's now 16 years old and up. Then they created a "premier lightweight" for the 10-15 year old kids (this will also be a cool class to watch). There were only 9 or 10 bikes on the grid for 250F, but the speeds were all pretty closely matched and it made for lots of good racing. In the 250F main I made a couple of passes then tailed the guys in 4th and 5th for a few laps. At the white flag I tried to late brake turn 1 to set up a pass in 2 or 3, but I blew the turn and went wide, giving 6th place to Richard Perrin who was riding a borrowed bike (more on that later). Like I said, it's a good class and I hope we'll see more entries as the year goes on.
The novice class structures have changed this year. No more middleweight or open novice. Instead they created a Beginner/Novice class, and two Amateur classes (400 and Open). So most of the guys who were running middleweight novice are in 400 Amateur. Also, if you finished in the top 4 in points in either novice class last year you can't run beginner (I guess I can't sandbag for a trophy
. There were a TON of entries in the Beginner class. So many that they ran two races. They looked like fun races without too many crashes.
400 Amateur turned out to be pretty unlucky for me. The heat race was a really good race, with a tight freight train from 2nd to 6th or 7th. At the white flag I think I was running 5th and went to the right at the finish line to try to set up for a pass. When I got out to the right I see a bike flipping and a body sliding on the ground. Richard Perrin's Suzuki broke something in the bottom end causing his rear wheel to lock and toss him high side. I went off the track to avoid hitting him. I thought I saved it and was heading back towards the pavement. But I gave it too much throttle while I was still in the grass and lost it. Thanks to good leathers and a solid back protector it didn't even hurt when I bounced over the curb leading into turn one. And thanks to Harry's excellent axle sliders there wasn't any damage to the bike (just some grass stains). Richard also walked away unhurt, but his bike needed to be carried off.
So with a DNF in the heat I was on the back row in the main. Next to me was Richard who was riding Brok's 250f (very cool of you to loan your bike Brok). I was ready for a good start and felt like I got a good jump, but someone stalled their bike two rows ahead of me and I clipped him and went down. My bike stayed running, so I got up pretty quick. But by the time I was rolling I was at least 8 or 10 seconds behind the pack. I put my head down, caught the last guys in a couple laps, picked off 2 or 3 of 'em by mid way, then chased down my buddy Keith on his DRZ. I had a hard time passing Keith. The Dixon track is pretty tight and tough to pass on. If you can hold your line and not make mistakes you probably won't get passed too much. I finally stuck a wheel on Keith on the last lap to finish 12th.
So I'm not too pleased with my results, but I'm really happy about the day. I crashed a couple of times and didn't break anything on me or my bike. I rode well when I was on two wheels, and ran with and passed guys that ran away from me last season. So things look pretty promising.
Thanks Harry from Supermoto Engineering for hauling my bike and letting me pit with you, and big thanks for letting me use the bathroom in your RV. In addition to helping out our sport, Harry is a serious contender in Vet and 450 this year :thumbup: Bert, it was great hanging out with you as well. I'll catch you next time though, with or without tire warmers
and of course, :thumbup: to my sponsors: Amsoil, Scott USA, RC-20, RK Chain, Toolshed, Ready Filter, Magura USA, Cycra, and DeCal Works.
See you all on April 10th in Stockton.