Date: April 4 - 5
Classes raced and results
600 Supersport - 4th
600 Superbike - 2nd
This season is dedicated to the memory of my friends, Mike Battle, Keith Pinkstaff and Duane Grand -gone, but never forgotten.
Before I begin I need to apologize to our team painter Rob Burns. As I was driving down to Zlock HQ earlier this week and mulling things over in my head, I realized that I hadn’t mentioned Rob in my first report. Sorry Robbie! You know we love you and quite frankly don’t know what we would do without you and your support.
This weekend was slightly different as OMRRA choose to run practice on the Friday and racing on the Saturday. With that we made the pilgrimage south to Portland for the first round of the season.
Practice went well and with the continued support from our partners in Pirelli, we were able to dial in the rear end of our 2009 ZX6R. At this point in the season I’m putting almost all my focus on getting the bike to give me the confidence to push as hard as I can. Dan often reminds me that I should be able to hop on almost motorcycle and ride it hard enough to do a decent lap time, essentially grabbing the bull by the horns and making the bike do what I want. In order to extract those essential tenths of a second we need to consistently challenge for race wins, we need to make things work with me rather than against me. Through this process I am again reminded how fortunate I am to be riding for Dan, Dale and the team. I’ve ridden in several locations around the world for some pretty big programs, but have to say, with all respect, that none even scratch at how great this team is. Am I lucky? In a word, yes.
Onto the show.
Note: as you’ll see the SVZR didn’t make it to the track this round as the four days between rounds simply wasn’t enough time for the team to repair it for competition.
Race one - 600 Supersport
The first start (yes, there were several red flags = situation normal in the 600 class).
I did an excellent job and launched the bike from the third row to slot into fourth place going into turn one. By the end of the first lap I was in third and clawing back time on the leaders, Allan Schmidt and Mike Sullivan. Unfortunately a rider crashed in turn four bringing out the red flag. I don’t know who it was, but I hope he is okay as they transported him to the hospital. That’s never a good thing.
The second start
I managed another decent start, but wasn’t nearly aggressive enough into turn one and two. With that I found myself in around seventh going into turn three. I managed to regroup and put in some decent laps which put me in a battle for fourth. Again, the red flag came out bringing a stop to the race. And, as I write this, I don’t know where I actually ended up. It’s either fourth, or fifth depending on what lap they wound it back to or if I lead across the line on that lap.
Race two – 600 Superbike
Let’s call this race the luck dog race for Oli. Basically I did well off the start and really pushed hard for the first few laps, even leading the race for a bit. Then, in turn three, I had a real moment and lost a few positions. From there the race became quite bizarre as the lead group of riders started crashing around me. First up was Mike Sullivan who low sided, thankfully unhurt, in turn four. Then, Chris Ancien also crashed (thankfully unhurt) in turn four on the next lap. Things were getting worse as a light rain began to fall in turns nine and seven. At this point I was in third thinking twice about pushing any harder when, on the last lap Jake Rower, who was in second, crashed (thankfully unhurt) on the exit of turn four. With three riders crashing in the same corner I was going through turn four so slow you could have used a sun dial to measure my lap time. So in a cheeky way I literally inherited second place.
The weekend was good for us and the 600 as we now have some direction as to what the bike needs to improve just that much more. Our suspension guru, Dave Hodges, is working on some stuff for us to use at the next round. To say I’m excited to get this bike working well is an understatement.
Now I’ve got a few weeks off to actually be at home with Karla and the kids and train for the upcoming rounds. I’m really looking forward to it.
Next race in a couple of weeks.