Mike LaBelle: More From the Springfield TT and Mile
NEWS June 3, 2011
Feels like a very long time ago since I have ridden a bike. This is probably because at the last national over a month ago I was involved in a crash in the Salinas TT main event, which I ended up waking up in the Salinas California Hospital. Knowing that concussions are a serious deal I decided to take a full month off to rest and even though a lot of people, including my parents told me it was a bad idea, I wanted to ride Springfield.
First was the Springfield TT, which many people know is not my strong point but it is always a good time. The team showed up Saturday morning to an already wet track, followed by horrible weather including rain, wind, and golf ball sized hail. After we set up our pit area, it started to rain and hail so hard the AMA crew cancelled the TT and postponed it until Monday morning.
I woke up Sunday morning extremely excited to ride the mile, an excitement that was short lived. A phone call to Ted Weirbach informed me that early in the morning the teams sprinter van had somehow caught fire in the hotel parking lot, and all 3 of the teams mile bikes were inside. After the fire investigators finally let the team into the van, we spent the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon trying to get bikes together so we could still ride the mile.
After a couple hours of scrubbing and replacing burned parts we had managed to get to the track with a rented U-haul trailer full of smelly, toasted mile bikes and half burn gear. To EVERYONES surprise both myself and Mikey Martin Qualified in the top 5, with myself being the fastest qualifier by just over .300 of a second.
I knew it wouldn't be a done deal just because I fast qualified so I had to keep my focus heading into the heat races. Both Mikey and I were in the same heat, so our game plan was to work together to try and break away from the pack. However, we ended up finishing 2nd and 3rd to Zack Palmer # 81c, who came out of nowhere to take the win.
In the main it was the same game plan for Mikey and I, but once again our plan was broken even before we reached half way. Mikey was locked in a battle for the lead most of the race and I decided to stay back in 5th to watch what happened and hopefully make a move on the last lap. However going into the last lap I made a bad mistake which costed me the chance for a Springfield mile victory and ended up finishing 7th.
I showed up bright and early Sunday morning for the TT, surprising excited to ride it. You could tell AMA was eager to get the ball rolling because it wasn't long before we were on the track.
My goal was a top 20 qualifying spot but I came up a little short with a 23rd fastest time which put me on the second row of the 2nd heat race. All I wanted to do was make the main so I could get as many points as possible going into the next national in Michigan so my game plan was just simply, get a good start and stay on two wheels. Off the line I had an awesome start but a couple of riders went down in front of me, and when I went to miss them and rider hit me on the right side which pinched my front break and stalled my motor. I quickly kicked the bike and got going again but there was a red flag. The AMA crew was telling me I crashed and were placing me on the penalty line and no matter how much I protested this, they still wouldn't let me return to my actual spot. I ended up missing the main by 3 spots but there was still the LCQ. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to compete in the LCQ and was forced to retire for the day. Hopefully I have a better weekend at the next round in Hartford Michigan.
20T Mike LaBelle
Special Thanks to : Everyone who helped our team on this difficult weekend
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