Feels like yesterday I was finally writing about my first AMA Pro singles win from the Arizona Mile. However, this weekend was something I can honestly say I have never done before in the 13 years I've been racing flat track and that's riding indoor, on dirt, in January!
Meeting up with the team on Friday night for the open practice day being held on the Short track, and ride both races being held on Jan 1st, and Jan 2nd. Seeing as how there is an AMA Pro singles national on the same Short track this year I figured that the more riding I could get in on the short track, the better.
The Friday practice in my opinion went according to plan. Due to a large amount of bikes and a rider going down within the last 30 min of practice time, I believe the Pro class got out 5 or 6 times. Even though it would of been nice to get a little more time on the track, it was enough time to give us a general idea of what set up we would being running the next two days.
The first event would have me riding two classes on the Short track, 450 Pro, and Open pro. The track was loose and very tacky in practice and I absolutely loved every minute of it. The first heat race was open pro, and I knew it was going to be an awesome day because of the high caliber of riders that showed up for this race.
In my first heat race I found myself 4th at the finish which was one spot out of a transfer to the main. I couldn't really get any drive out of the corner so we were going to adjust the tire pressure, but to our surprise the valve stem was leaking and I had rode the whole heat race with only 4 psi in the rear tire. We replaced the stem and air before my next heat race which was the 450 Pro.
This time I managed to make the main direct with a 3rd place finish. I still had a semi to ride but felt pretty comfortable with the bike so we made no changes. The track was losing all the traction I loved from practice but I really wanted to make the main and make it I did. I pulled the hole-shot and lead the semi wire to wire for a transfer to the main.
To my satisfaction, the SNR crew tore up the track before the first main of open pro. However coming from the second row on an indoor short track would prove to be tricky. I ended up getting a decent start but ended up 8th out of 12 by the flag.
My teammate Mikey Martin rode the wheels off the Weirbach racing 450 for a 3rd place finish. Before the second main, our team made a gamble with our set-up because the track was once again losing its traction as the night rolled on.
This gamble proved to work against us this time because I went from 6th to 11th from start to finish of the 450 pro main event. Even though I was expecting better of myself, I did not have to remind myself that I haven't been on a bike since the Arizona Mile nor have I ridden any indoor races in my whole Career. At the end of the day I walked away from some great racing and would return for more the next day.
The second day proved to be the same story for me. In practice the track was loose and tacky which made for some fast short track racing. As the day progressed the track once again loss traction but thankfully didn't rut up at all. My first heat race was once again Open pro and once again I found myself one spot out of a transfer spot with a 4th place finish.
We made little changes to the bike before the next main which was going to be a stacked heat of 450 Pro. Since there were so many good riders at this event I really didn't worry about who I had to beat, if I wanted to get into the main and win it I was going to have to beat them eventually. To my frustration, I once again finished one spot out of a transfer spot and had a one way ticket to the semi.
I lined up for the first semi of Open Pro and figured a hole- shot would really help my chances on a main event ticket but this was easier said than done. Off the line I was one spot out of a transfer spot to the main and throughout the entire semi that is where I remained.
I was very frustrated with myself but I had to shake it off because almost immediately after my first semi was the 450 Pro semi. This time I pulled a good start and found myself in third place chasing the leaders closely but with two remaining a rider rode around the outside of me and took the last chance I had a riding a main event that day.
I stayed and watched the Short track main events because even though I was not in the main events, my team mate Mikey Martin was representing Weirbach Racing. After the mains were done, I parted ways with the team and started driving home. I had a lot of fun riding with all of the guys at the Du Quoin Indoor races and I plan on going back very soon for some more!
Shout out to Kelly Bell, Steve Nace, Kevin Snyder, and Tyler Porter
Until Next time
Mike LaBelle 20T/Weirbach Racing
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