Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CMA Round #2 Hollister

March 10th was the CMA Spring Series Round #2 at the Hollister Gran Prix Course in Hollister, CA. I hadnt been racing at Hollister for about 30 years...

This event was actually promoted by UMA and they were a bit under the gun in organizing this event in most peoples opinion it seems. We arrived for the first practices of the day and the track appeared to be pretty well prepped, groomed and watered. But it was apparent by about the third group of bikes out there that the hard pack had not been ripped correctly and it was simply turning into a concrete pad with some dirt layed across the top of it. This makes for some very slippery racing conditions. It was very dusty and although they tried to make some of it work, there were areas that they just ignored.

The track itself is a good design with many elevation changes, high banked sweeper turns, some very easy tabletops and even some off-camber turns that will surprise you if you aren't careful. The track is very fast and the slick turns made for some good 'flat-tracking' moments but most MX riders aren't looking for that. The hillside turnarounds rutted out just a bit but not real well and the lines were deceiving.

The OTHG moto's were setup with all Beginner Classes running together which included all 30+, 38+ and 45+ year olds at the starting gate together. The 30+ and 45+ would start in Gate 1 and the 38+ would start in Gate 2 about a half track behind us. So my first moto was alot of fun, I got out of the starting gate and went very wide, I came around the outside of the main group of bikes on the power when alot of them had to slow way down to make the turn. I went into Turn #1 making up all but about 5 places. There were I think 14 guys at the start gate. I battled it out for places in that first lap and remember rubbing wheels with a Kawasaki 2-smoker in front of me and thought I was going down at one point but saved it into one of the tables. I passed him finally and kept on going for the ones in front of me. They must have been some younger guys cause they were movin'!!! I settled into I think 3rd place overall and thats where I finished out the race. Found out later that it was 1st Place in my 45+ Class !!!!! so that was really good for me. So all those guys in front of me were 30+ and they finished 1st and 2nd overall and in Class.

By the time Moto #2 came around, the tractor was out there and ripped the turns up where it was hard packed and re-watered the whole track. This made it so much better then the first round. The turns werent as slippery and you could really get on the throttle even with the big 450's.... without sliding completely sideways thru the turns.

I started from the same position at the gate and did the same exact thing as I did in the first moto and ended up about the same in 5th place coming out of Turn #1. This time I kept up with the group and kept the battle going on the entire time during the race. There were 2 other bikes and myself hooked up in a wheel to wheel race. I went past the first guy and then gave up the position again to him, and then getting it back again right at the start/finish line on lap #3 and then went after the guy in front of him. I caught him entering turn #1 of the final lap and went inside of him down low and then we were going through the tabletops side by side into about Turn #3 where I went around on the outside of the turn and passed him for good at that point and ran to the finish line. This was some great racing and the guys ran clean and gave room to race and thats what its all about. I gave them both a big thumbs up as we left the track. Our finishes were good for 4th, 5th and 6th Overall against the other guys. I got 2nd in class for this race. I never saw the guy in first.... So we did pretty good.

So I ended the event with a FIRST PLACE Overall in the 45+ Beginner Class for the first time since starting to race again. COOL!!! I know that its just the beginner class but we all gotta start someplace...

Hollister is a beautiful setting for racing and the track can be very competitve. It requires some good care and no matter what the conditions are, its good to be out there racing and enjoying this awesome sport. Its good to be back there after all these years.