JD Beach - Road America Race Report
NEWS June 5, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
June 5, 2013 - I would have to say it finally feels like the season has started. After a long long break from Daytona we were back at Road America. The season has tried to get started since Daytona but never really did. We had some Dirt Track races rain out so we never got racing. We also did some Road Race testing but it was so spread out that we never got into a rhythm. It was really great to get on track at Road America. Every time I’ve got on my R6 this year it’s been a lot of fun riding it. This year I feel like I have taken another step forward, we still have another one to take but it feels good to finally start moving in the right direction.
The trip started Wednesday after Frankie got off work to start driving the funmover north to Wisconsin. It was loaded down with all of Hayden’s and Team 95’s bikes. Even though Hayden is not on a team this year his bikes are looking great and we are all having a great time going to the races. Frankie started out driving, so Jon, Hayden, and I had a good ole time in the back. I got a bit of a nap in because I was going to take the second shift of driving. Once I got behind the wheel, I was in the zone, behind a semi getting a good draft then BOOM popped a tire. I wasn’t driving for maybe 50 miles. Just my luck but it didn’t mess anything up so I was happy about that. After a two hour delay waiting for someone to come change it because we didn’t have a jack, he charged $270. It was a little steep I think but we had to do it. We got back on the road and made it just fine after that.
There was a chance of rain all weekend but it ended up being dry almost all weekend. Most of the rain came at night so that wasn’t bad. After setup day on Thursday I was feeling ready for practice on Friday. It couldn’t have started any better, after the first couple of laps of riding like a goon it started to go good. I felt like I had never ridden a street bike before. I got right up to speed and was top 3 in the first session. For me that doesn’t happen, it’s usually Monday before I can get up to speed. Scott and Danny had the bike working awesome, the couple of problems we had was easy to fix, and we didn’t have to guess like we did all year last year. When I say guess it’s not because Scott doesn’t know what he’s doing, it was just our first year working together and having no notes. We qualified 4th by .001 off third, we ran third the whole session until Dane Westby put in a last lap charge to bump me back. I had a crash halfway through the session that hurt us a bit. The crash happened in turn 6 and the bike flipped twice. Somehow by the time I got done crashing and the bike stopped flipping I had it picked up and running before the corner workers could even get to me. I was able to ride the bike back, helped Scott and Danny put new bodywork and stuff on the bike and kept going.
Both races we had a great bike but didn’t have the pace to keep up with Cameron Beaubier and Jake Gagne. It’s coming but not as fast as I would like. We are moving forward and picking up speed so my time is coming soon. So far in my Daytona SportBike career this was my best weekend. Getting a 3rd and a 4th, and when I say 4th I was .007 away from 3rd. Both podiums I had last year the other race on that weekend weren’t close to a podium. It was good for me to be able to be close in both races not just being a fluke. I had a great battle with Jake Lewis both races, it was fun getting to do some battling. Last year I never put up much of a fight in battles but this weekend I felt much better. Even though we are only three races in, we have matched
how many top 5’s we had last year with 3. It feels good to be starting the season off like that.
With Barber coming up next I’m very excited but also very nervous. Last year we didn’t have a great weekend there. The finishes were very poor but I’m looking forward to get back on the bike after such a great weekend. I really want to improve my finishes and get a double podium weekend.
We have two off weekends before Barber. I’m going to do a little bit of Dirt Track but right now my main focus is being ready to go at Barber. This season is going to go by fast now that we are finally going and I want to make it my best. Hope to see you at the track.