It was nice to start the season out on schedule, unlike 2020! The first round of Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Assoc. (OMRRA) felt a lot more normal as opposed to last year's rounds. The Friday track-day prior was a beautiful day. I drove up from Medford in my E36 drift car just in time to catch the last two practice sessions. My ZX-10R had a freshly built EDR engine, and it felt like a rocket ship! Having been out on Drift Week 3 driving my drift car on mostly go kart tracks, the major speed difference took me a session to get used to. The second session out, I felt right at home!
The race weekend was a mixed bag for me. It started out especially rough Saturday, which started as a soaker. The rain was not letting up, and the track was treacherous. I skipped practice and went out for qualifying. I made it 4 turns before high siding on my out lap. Not a great way to start the weekend! Fortunately, I was okay, and I was able to ride my bike back into the pits to get some minor damages fixed.
First race up was Formula Ultra, and it was still raining.
Having crashed earlier and not having any laps in the wet on the ZX-10R which was new to me last year, I was a little nervous and extra cautious in the opening laps.
I slowly started closing the gap on race leader, Kevin Pinkstaff. I was really tip-toeing around the track, and things felt difficult compared to how I have felt on other bikes in the rain before. I am not sure if it is just a lack of experience with this new bike in the rain, or if the track was just that slick!
Unfortunately, on lap 4 or so, I slid out leaning into turn 3 and high sided yet again!
This time I really got launched. But I was totally okay, and the bike was not too roughed up. Honestly, I cannot even pinpoint anything I did wrong to crash. It was a bit confusing, and my confidence was shaken up. I have not crashed twice in back-to-back sessions, ever. Only once in my career have, I crashed twice in a day, and one of the crashes was not my fault when it happened. So back to the pits I went, to get the bike fixed yet again by my Dad and Eric Dorn.
I had one more race on Saturday. The track was drying out, and the big question was what tires to run. Rain was threatening, so at any moment, the track could get soaked again. I could see a dry line was forming but heard from a couple riders that there were still a couple wet spots. I talked with my dad and Eric and opted to run a rain front tire and slick rear for the mixed conditions.
Only one rider went out on full slicks, and he led the race for a few laps before high siding right in front of me!
I had to get on the brakes hard to avoid running over his body sliding directly in front of my path.
He was okay though, and I took the lead. The tire combination I was on proved to be the ticket, and most of the field had the same tire combo too. I caught some lapped traffic on the final lap, allowing Formula Ultra race winner Kevin Pinkstaff to close in on me, but I was able to fend him off at the finish line for first! It felt good to finally finish something that day.
Sunday went a lot better. In both the Formula Ultra and Open Superbike races, I got the holeshot, and then Kevin made a pass on me early on. But I countered back right away, and then was able to control the lead and win both races comfortably. Despite crashing out of the first race of the weekend, I am only 7 points down in the overall championship to Kevin. So not a bad weekend! We salvaged what was looking grim at the beginning. I felt great on the bike in the dry Sunday. I am a little concerned about racing my ZX-10R in the rain again, as we never found out if the changes, we made would be good because the last race on Saturday was not full-wet. So next time it does rain, fingers crossed our bike setup is dialed and we are comfortable!
OMRRA round 2 is this weekend at the Ridge Motorsports Park. It is a combined round with the Washington series, WMRRA, and it is their season opener. I am excited to race there this weekend and hopefully take over the points lead!
Drift Week 3 was a blast as well. I was on the road for over a week leading up to OMRRA, and still partaking in that event while OMRRA was happening. For those interested in that, check out my YouTube channel where the first 2 videos are live. I have a couple more episodes coming out soon for the Drift Week video series.