Since my last update, we have raced a handful of events:
American Flat Track Series: Lima, Ohio
Lima has been rough on me over the years. I really like cushion half miles and have had a lot of success on them, but I always seem to struggle at this track. Our good cushion bike had some electronic issues in the first practice, so I was forced to ride my backup bike. I struggled all day with finding a setup I felt comfortable with and ended up watching the main event from the sidelines.
Steel Shoe Nationals: Hagerstown, Maryland
We raced the first ever Steel Shoe National in Hagerstown, Maryland. Hagerstown is a local track, so it was cool to race so close to home. I raced the Singles and Twins classes. I qualified 6th in both classes and felt good about my chances for some good finishes. I made the Dash for Cash on the single and finished a 7th in the main event. I had higher hopes for this class and wasn’t stoked on the finish. Under the circumstances we were under, it was still a decent result. I struggled with the twin all night long. I sucked in my heat race, but was able to come back later that night and win the LCQ. For the first 15 laps of the twins main event, I was riding around in the back of the pack very frustrated. We had a red flag and a single file restart with 10 laps to go. After the restart, I adjusted my line, made a few passes and finished 13th. Nothing to phone home about for sure, but we worked hard all night long and learned a lot that will help us at these slick clay tracks in the future.
American Flat Track Series: Weedsport, New York
This was a race track I struggled at last season, so I was really looking forward to going back this year and improving. I have been struggling with setup on my own bikes this year, so I borrowed a bike from Johnny Long to try a different type of frame and see if I could make it work. I felt good on the bike all day. I qualified 14th and finished a solid 4th place in my heat race. In the semi, I got a good start and was 2nd/3rd heading into turn one. One of the Indian riders got really squirrelly in the first corner which bumped me off the groove. In a matter of seconds, I went from 3rd to 15th. I made a couple of passes, but the track was tough to make up time on and I ended up watching another main event from the sidelines. This is the first time in a few years I have missed two main events in a row. I remain very confident and will continue to work hard to improve each race.
X Games: Minneapolis, Minnesota
This was my third consecutive season racing at the X Games. Growing up, I never thought I would ever compete at the X Games and now I have been to three of them. The X Games is a very unique race for us. We use a starting gate and the track is always put together in a couple weeks, which makes the surface very technical and rough. I felt OK at the practice on Wednesday night. We made some changes to the bike and got faster each time we went on the track. On Thursday afternoon, we had Superpole which was a one lap qualifier to choose our gate pick in the heat race. I didn’t have the best lap and ended up 17th out of 24 riders. They watered the track before the heat race and I rode terrible to be honest. I was really frustrated with how I rode in my heat race and I was ready to make up for it in the LCQ. I got a great start in the LCQ and was in third place heading into turn one. For the first couple laps, I was having trouble getting slowed down and kept running the corners wide. I noticed my brakes were completely gone. I kept racing, but faded back and was getting ready to pull off, when the brakes started working. I made a couple passes, caught a pack of riders ahead of me and felt really good. You had to finish in the top two spots to qualify for the main and we were unable to do this, so we were forced out of medal contention. Overall, I felt competitive all week and left with a lot of confidence. I am ready for the second half of the season.