XDL Sportbike Freestyle by Chris McNeil
Round #2: Shift Report
Heading into the 2nd round of the XDL Freestyle Sportbike National Championship Series, all my hopes at a title were resting on a solid finish in Lake Havasu since I had already used my bye run at the first round in Daytona. Practice for me leading up to the event was non-existent due to setup time on my new 2010 BMW S1000RR.
I managed to get the bike setup for freestyle just in time to head down to AZ a few days early for a show at Iron Horse BMW – my first time riding the bike in anything other than stock street trim. Between the show and the qualifying round at Havasu, I managed to get about 5 hours of ride time in on the new whip. Thanks to guys like Full Throttle, Racing 905, Moto Heaven, Woodcraft, Metzeler, Spectro, Sick Innovations and Galfer for getting parts to me asap.
My sights were set pretty low going into the weekend, and after the first day on the bike, I was simply hoping to qualify. My goals quickly changed however, as I was improving literally by the minute. By entering all of the different contests it allowed me more track time, and I was having a blast riding the 180hp liter bike that has taken the world by storm. I defended my title in the wheelie race with ease and as I expected was out of the circle challenge in the first round. I found myself in 2nd place for the team event and although I didn’t win the burnout contest, I can assure you the crowd was on their feet! Qualifying was next and with no expectations I just went out and ripped the bike, earning myself 9th…not bad considering the circumstances.
The finals on Saturday dawned a near perfect day and I was feeling better and better. Again, I went out for my first run with no expectations, no real plan, and just tried to shred as hard as I could and see where that left me. As I pulled off the track, my fellow competitors and friends seemed to be real stoked, telling me "Teach is back". I responded by letting them know that I never went anywhere and all I needed was a sick bike to let them know where my rightful place was. Surprisingly, I ended up on top after the first round due to my high speed, flow, and inherent danger that goes along with wicking up an almost 200 hp motorcycle. I knew I was almost out of tricks due to no practice time and not quite having the setup dialed (a little more gearing along with some grip in key areas will give me back my full bag of tricks) but I stuck to my guns of speed and fun. I busted out some old school high speed moves in the second round that was good enough to leave me in 2nd place overall heading into the final round.
At this point, as the possibility of staying in the Championship hunt became more and more realistic, my goals and attitude changed drastically. Where I was satisfied and happy with a top 15 finish just one day before, I now wanted to taste victory and my competitive fire was being stoked. I let it all hang out in my final run, leaving everyone gasping for air and glad that I was able to ride off the track and not be carried off on a stretcher. I was completely stoked on my results and rode as best I could, earning myself a 3rd place overall on less than 2 days of practice – something that says a lot about the ride-ability of the new Beemer.
You can expect to see me on the podium the rest of the year as I look to dial in the S1000 and take home the top spot in Nashville next month. As always my boys at Shift kept me looking good and riding safe in the latest Shift gear. Check out Chris ‘Teach’ McNeil at www.TeachTrix.com for more pics and videos.