Summer Update / BLOG
by Andy DiBrino
It has been a wild last couple months full of racing. I have not had a weekend off in ages! There has been a ton of OMRRA and WMRRA road racing going on between Portland International Raceway, and The Ridge Motorsports Park. Racing in both of those series has been going well! I have been winning all the dry races and leading the overall championship for both clubs. Plus, I have been at the last couple MotoAmerica races here on the west coast.
The Ridge round of MotoAmerica is old news, but it was one of my best weekends of my pro career. I qualified 3rd, which was my highest qualifying effort in MotoAmerica. My best finish was a 4th place, just 3 seconds behind the race winner. It was a brutally hot weekend with temperatures over 104 degrees for my races. I led some laps in one of the races which was cool!
That is right, Super Hooligans. They had their first ever road race on the full course.
I was able to qualify on pole position, and finish 2nd in the race after a nail-biter with fellow KTM backed rider Chris Fillmore on our KTM 890 Duke R machines. I led basically the entire race, until the final corner, and finished half a wheel behind Chris at the checkers. It was a tough loss, but still fun and a great experience!
The normal MotoAmerica races went great for me. The training I have been doing has really paid off. I nearly took pole position Friday for the second weekend in a row. On Saturday, I ended up 5th for the start of the races. But everyone was running identical laps basically, so I was right on pace. I am proud of how my qualifying efforts have stepped up this year. That has always been a struggle for me in the past. I was actually on a flyer last lap of qualifying 2 that was faster, but halfway through the lap my bike started cutting out due to low fuel, and I was able to complete it. That was a bummer, because I felt I could have easily gotten a front row start with the lap I was on. Maybe even pole position!
Saturday I just had Superbike race 1, where I started 15th. I was able to race the entire 20 lap race strong without any physical issues like I used to always have! I had a charge at the end of the race to pass into 14th place, with the next couple of guys right in sight. I was 5th in Superbike Cup as well, which is the separate class within Superbike that consists of Stock 1000 riders. Earning that spot got me a free set of tires from Dunlop, and an extra $1,250 in my pocket. I was really pleased with the ride, and it gave me a lot of confidence for the Stock 1000 race, because my competitors were just ahead of me!
The Stock 1000 race Sunday was 14 laps. If I could go 20 in Superbike, 14 was going to be easy for me. I got a great start and was in 2nd place coming from 5th on the grid! I immediately went for the pass for 1st place going into the final corner on lap 1. I got it done, but Ashton Yates got the drive out of the corner to retake the lead, and then Corey Alexander snuck pass in turn 2. It was the start of an 8-rider brawl! One lap I would pass 1 or 2 guys, and then lose 1 or 2 positions the next lap. It was crazy. You couldn't make any mistake without someone capitalizing on it. We were all kind of jamming each other up by battling so much with each other. But with 8 riders going wheel to wheel running the same pace, everyone wanted to get ahead, and it was hectic!
I eventually ended up at the tail end of the pack stuck behind Ashton Yates, whose bike was noticeably struggling for grip and wobbling all over the place. It took me a few laps to finally get by, and then I started to close back up to the pack ahead. Unfortunately I ran out of laps and time, and finished 7th. But I was only 5 seconds behind the winner of the race! That is how close we all were. I was faster than most of the guys ahead of me too at the end of the race, but like I said, I got stuck battling with Ashton and was not able to claw my way back up to the very front. But I was really proud of how I rode, and it feels so good to know I could race at that level with those guys. I got the speed and talent, and now the fitness is coming in. So, it gives me motivation to keep working hard, and give this another shot sometime.
It is crazy how much this class has stepped up this year. 8 different riders could have won that race. Last year, it was just Cam Peterson out front alone, and I nearly got 3rd with no training under my belt. It is cool to see, and it made for an exciting race. And with one of the smallest efforts in the class, it is cool to come shake things up with the regulars!
This week I just have a couple days off before the next round of OMRRA/ WMRRA at PIR! So not really any time off. I think after this weekends race, I finally have a week break. I am definitely getting some road racing in this year. Since I was at Laguna last weekend, I missed a round of WMRRA up in Washington. Points have not been published yet, but there is a chance I could still be the leader for their series. If not, I will be in the hunt, and I should have a shot at taking back the lead this weekend if I can get some more wins.