Springfield Mile: Flat Track iReport

AMA Flat Track Racing

I showed up to the track Saturday morning to an awesome looking short track. Still on a confidence boosting race at the Indy mile, I was excited to ride the Springfield short track. This short track was unique from all of the others I have ridden. It had longer straights, turns 1 and 2 was very sharp while 3 and 4 was more rounded. It also had some sweet lookin Springfield clay.

The morning went by rather quickly for our team because everything went smoothly. Set up, tech and riders meeting flew by and I was pumped to be in staging for qualifying.

I really didn’t feel that fast in qualifying and it was obvious when looking at my lap times that I wasn’t comfortable. I ended up qualifying 24th fastest with a 15.5 sec lap time, which was about .600 of a second of the leader. I tried to keep this out of my head because if my experience has taught me anything, a positive attitude towards the worse situations gets you a lot further than just sitting there and worrying about it.

After a quick open paddock, I was sitting on the track waiting for the green. I was lined up on the outside of the second row, which in my opinion was the worse spot due to the sharp corners 1 and 2. The green lite up and I had a good jump on the outside until 3 riders collided on the inside, continuing up the track until I ran out of track and rode over the banking.

I came back onto the back straight in last place which is where I would stay the entire heat race. I made no changes to the bike because I felt comfortable that the bike was set up well enough to get it into the main. The only problem to making the main was that I was starting 18th of the 18 rider LCQ.

We hit the corner in about 15th but I kept making up spots each lap but ended up in 9th by the finish. Ninth place meant no main event for me!

It was very clear to everyone on the team that I was unhappy with myself. I could not understand how I could make a TT main event but NOT make the short track main event. The only thing I could do was to think Mile racing because I wanted to bring it home at the Springfield mile.

I arrived at the Springfield Mile ready to redeem myself from the short track’s poor performance the night before. It was clear to me that the Weirbach racing team felt the same way because by the time I arrived in our
pit, everything was ready to go racing! We hit the track in qualifying and instantly I felt at home on the Mile. To our teams surprise, Mikey was riding awesome as well!

After both qualifying round Mikey was second fastest with a 37.11 and I was sitting third with a 37.16. We were happy with this and both of us were excited to get a chance to duke it out because we were in the same heat. We hit the track for our heat and after the green lite up we hit the corner wide open! I was fourth coming out of 2 but I exited the draft and slipped into third by turn 3 but coming out of 4 there was a red flag flyin!

We were only in the hot box for 10 minutes before the AMA crew lined us up again! After a quick green light we hit the corner again this time I found myself in 2nd. For the whole race I traded spots with other riders for
second and third but after the white flag I pulled out of the draft and slipped into second. Going into turn 3 the leader slipped off of the groove and I took the lead going onto the front straight.

I thought I had the race won until the second place rider pulled out of the draft and got me at the line. I was
alright with the second place because I felt fast enough to push for a win in the main and with a front row seat I knew it was going to be interesting.

We lined up for the main and were ready for some Mile racing! The green light lit up and we took off. I was into third coming off of turn 2 but I lost the spot going into 3. I figured 4th was probably were I wanted to be so I just remained in 4th and watched the other riders duke it out! When we passed the two to go flags I decided it was time to start moving up so I pulled out of the draft and shot to the lead!

I was in the lead for very long because going into 3 a rider got the inside so I let him have it, but right after that rider went by another rider came into the corner way to hard and drove right into the side of me, sending me out to the hay bails. I took a look over my shoulder and saw that no one was there so I got back on the grove and put my head down. It took me until turn 3 on the next lap to catch the top 3 again but it was too late! I ended up 4th about 10 feet from the win.

All things considering I thought the fourth-place finish was a pretty good day. I will just have to take the fourth and use that going into the next round!

Until next time,

Michael LaBelle #20T