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Hi All

 

 

 

I just got through the hardest weekend of the year so far. The first and biggest thing was the wind, it was blowing early Friday morning and that is always a bad sign. Having not ridden at all since the last race, and needing to try and qualify for the 200 Friday was the second. The third was all the drama that the wind would bring through the weekend. And with all I have been doing and needing to fly out Sunday night to do schools at VIR Monday through Thursday then drive back, I would have skipped this race were I not in the point?s race.

 

 

 

I was up late Thursday night and late getting to the track so I got one session in before the timed practice to seed for the A and B qualifiers in the late afternoon. That ended up not being the case as only 18 riders showed for qualifying. I lead the first session with a 1:25.2 on last month?s race tires. The second session was a little better with a 1:24.8, .005 ahead of Dowie. Having lead both timed practice sessions I was thinking my shot at securing a front row spot was good enough to risk buying a set of tires.

 

The wind had really picked up by 3PM (gusting to 25+mph) and I was a little tentative the first two laps trying to figure out which way the wind would push me and how to use it. Going into one the bike didn?t want to turn but into two I could fly with the wind doing the slowing for me. Into three I had to pull my brake markers back, four, five, six and seven were OK but in eight it was hell to hold onto the bike and keep it on line. Into nine the air brake was tremendous and took several laps to figure out when to shut the throttle off and not be too slow into nine. I put seven laps in before the red flag flew but felt like I had done the best lap I was likely to do and the tires were off so I elected to stay in for the restart and see how every one else would do in the wind. I did a 1:24.0, West ended up 1:23.79, and Dowie a 1:23.2. Dowie had a set of 16.5 qualifiers and I figured he would go when it counted. Last year I qualified with 1:24.5 so I think even if I don?t do better I will make the show, but for now I am a provisional front row.

 

 

 

Saturday I was sore from hanging onto the bike and really didn?t want to ride in the wind any more. I went out for one session in the late morning and Toye came by on the front straight so I picked it up and was hanging with him into four when he went wide and I got under him. He came back by on the front straight and I trailed him back onto the front straight and he just shot away. He was riding his Superbike and pulled about two seconds on the straight alone. By the exit of three I was back on him and going over six he put a leg out. Not a race but any time I can stay close to a club champ and AMA rider It?s a good day and big boost for the weekend. One more session in the afternoon chopping up some of the 1000 riders in the wind was all I needed to feel ready for Sunday.

 

 

 

My first race was 650 Superbike and I got a good start but going into one it all went wrong. I shut off a few feet early and Lane came up on the outside which surprised me as I had only left two feet to my right and the wind was blowing left to right. As he got a wheel on me he started to turn, way earlier than I would and I had to bend it in too. Just as I did Perez came up inside of and we hit punting me right into the rear of Lane. Neither was much of a hit but it was enough get into my head and slow me down for the first two laps. So out of one I was fourth behind Carnabucci, Perez, Lane. Going into two Palazzo got by on the inside and past lane, Lane and I got past Carnabucci and for two laps I tried to figure out how to get past lane with my front chattering from too soft a tire choice. I got by Lane but then mistook the white flag for the checkered and though I had moved into second when Pallazo crashed I ended up seventh before realizing my mistake.

 

 

 

The next race was the single biggest drama of the weekend as Pallazo had severely damaged his bike and borrowed Perez?s spare bike that was for sale. On the second or third lap while running second to Perez he became the first victim to the wind on Sunday. He was bruised and scraped but OK, more than you could say for the bike as it was brought back in three major parts, front, middle, and rear. It was the worst bike I have seen, A total lose. Now after crashing in two consecutive races he scored no points for the weekend and his point lead cut from 64 to 23. A mistake of biblical proportion as he only needed to finish races to be the club champ.

 

 

 

750 super stock turned out to be one of the best races I have had this year and after the blunder I had in the 650 race I needed it. I got off good in third and was first at the exit of two and put my head down for two more laps. On the start of the third lap I was catching the first wave and looked back to see how aggressive I needed to be passing. I had a two second lead and spent the third plugging along when at the stripe West came by and I knew it was on. We passed each other multiple times a lap for the last two laps and I had the lead into eight on the last lap. I did the best I could leading out of nine but the 750 powered by at the line.

 

 

 

750 Mod. Prod. Was next and after a good start I was in the lead out of two and never challenged for the win.

 

 

 

F-2 turned out to a tougher race than I expected, with Pallazo out and Perez having gone home I thought I had it covered. I got out and pulled a lead but staying focused and fighting the now 30+mph winds had taken it?s toll. Lane has been faster at each race and ran me down on the third lap. I did my best to stay out front but he was all over me and after he got by, I was able to match him and we were dicing it up for five laps passing two to three time a lap. I got him into three on the last lap and chocked up a little slowing in four and not getting out of six like I wanted. So I went bombing into nine and with dust trailing across the track the wind was too much and pushed the front big time making me wait to get on the gas and giving Lane enough of a run to nip me at the line. I have the best seat in the house to watch the new talent coming up and Lane along with a few others have made this a great year for me to be one of the boys at the track.

 

 

 

Last race of the day was F-40 and I had seriously thought of skipping it but my wife wouldn?t let me. I was able to keep my streak going of being the fastest old guy on a 600 and remain unbeaten in F-40.

 

 

 

It was a good weekend through the worst conditions that Willow has to offer. I am looking forward to the sprints and 200 in October with a fresh motor and a big fuel tank in the works I am hoping to be in the top ten at the 200.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Eikenberry WSMC # 87 CCS Pacific # 63

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all who helped me, Keith Code and the California Superbike School, Kawasaki, Dunlop, Silkolene, AGV Sports, KBC Helmets, Lockhart Phillips, Sharkskinz, Elka Shocks, GP Suspension, Factory Pro Tuning, Graves Motorsports, Ferodo Brakes, Mackie's, L&L Motorsports, Pit Bull, Yin's TKD, Stompgrip.

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Great job Will.

 

Sorry I couldn't stay for the whole weekend. The bike is almost fixed as am I. I am gonna wait 'til after VIR and pick up some spares from some AMA guys I know and I should be good to go.

 

Thanks for all of your help.

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