Kaleb De Keyrel's second AMA Pro Round at Mid-Ohio!
NEWS July 25, 2013
Photo by De Keyrel Racing
July 25, 2013 - The weekend started out with the 12 hour trip to Mid Ohio Motorsports Park. When we arrived we got the canopy on the rig set up and unloaded the bikes. Then once AMA and Dunlop were set up we went over and had them tech the bike and mounted up fresh Dunlop USA tires.
Friday was practice and Qualifying 1 for me. I would not be on track until 1:00pm. I slept in a little, got a good nights rest. When I woke up Friday morning, my Dad, Sean, and my Grandpa already had our pit all setup down on pit lane. We headed to the riders meeting at 9:30am. My dad had Sean sit through the new riders info session with Beth Miller to make sure the day would go smooth and to help Sean feel more comfortable. I suited up 1 hour before I was on track. I always put it on early to make sure it fits good still and all that. I went out for practice and was feeling good on the bike. As I started to drop my lap times and push harder. The bike was not handling as well as I would have liked. We were still in 10th for first practice and I was feeling good! Mike from Penske went to work on the suspension making adjustments to try to make the bike better for Qualifying 1. We were still in 10th place after Q1. I was happy with that considering I qualified 20th at Barber. Mike, Mark, Scotty and I went over all the bikes set up. We would try to make it even better for Qualifying 2 in the morning. Temperature will play a huge roll in Q2 in the morning as to if we would be able to go faster or not.
I got up early Saturday morning, because Qualifying 2 was at 8:00am. I went out for Qualifying 2 and the track was super greasy and not a lot of traction was there. As we put in more laps, the track was starting to come in. We ran out of time for anyone to run a faster lap than yesterday in Q1. I would start the race in 10th. This would put me in the third row. We set up the canopy and prepared for the fan walk. I like the fan walk, because you get to see the enthusiasm the fans have for the sport. My cousin made De Keyrel Racing hats that we would be handing out to the younger fans to make sure they had a great day. After the fan walk it was time to get focused for Race 1.
I went out for Race 1 and got a fairly good start. The lead group pulled away fast and I just couldn’t hold the pace. I was in 10th the entire race. In what they call no mans land. This is when you have no other riders around you. There was a rider that went down on the last lap that moved me into 9th place. This was my best finish in an AMA Pro race to date. Mike and I went over all the info that I had recorded on my track map from Race 1. Mike was determined to give me a better bike for Race 2.
Sunday was another early morning with practice at 8:00am. The bike and track were way better Sunday morning compared to Saturday morning. I knew Sunday was going to be a good day. The bike was feeling good, but Mike still felt he could make it better. I went out for Race 2 with the game plan of having fun. I got a good start and was running within a second of the leader. There was a Red Flag and the race was stopped. We all headed back to pit row to put warmers on. My dad calculated if we were going to need to add fuel to finish. My dad checked tire pressure, while Mike and I talked suspension. We decided not to make any changes. The restart was going to give me another chance to stick with the front group. We went out from hot pit and straight to the grid. Everyone was confused as to grid spots. Some racers never got to see the new grid spots. With the starting position going back one lap. I was to be in position ten again. When I got to the start line there was a rider in that spot. I just moved over one spot and was going to make the best of it. I got another good start and was close but still just couldn’t run the pace of the front five. I gave 110% and was in a battle for the whole race. I would pass for 8th and then he would get me back. We just kept pushing each other and our lap times were coming down. I finished the race in 9th place by three one hundredths of a second. I am really happy with how the weekend went. The weather was great and the bike was working good. The bike got better and better all weekend. I have to give a huge thank you to my dad and Mike at Penske suspension for tearing the bike apart all weekend and giving me the best setup all weekend. I ran my fastest laps on the last laps of Race 2. It was a good feeling to know the whole team improved all weekend. Next up was fan walk. Sunday 12:00pm. The fan walk is a great part of the AMA weekend and is lots of fun for all. I gave out all 250 posters we had brought with. It was a great way to end the weekend.
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