D20 Championship – Round 1 @ 3 Palms

Ever since I arrived in Houston, back in February… Let me start over.  Ever since I came to the US the first time, about 7 years ago, I hoped I could just once race a motocross race in the US.  Not that I have specific high aspirations or hopes, not at all, I just wanted to know what the racing experience was in the US.  And I actually got to do a race in March when the local “Holeshot” series came by what I call my home track, Rio Bravo MX.  I took a few Hole-shots, had a lot of fun, but it would be cool to participate in a local series, right?  This is only one of the items on my MX bucket list, the other one I’m working on towards 15 is to participate in Mammoth, but more on that later.

Within my busy work schedule, I finally figured out a series that seemed to be working out, and I decided to sign in for the Texas D20 Championship.  As all series over here in the US, it’s a series with only a handful of rounds (5 in this case) and if you do well you get to ride the State Championship shootout at the National caliber Freestone track.  With Rio Bravo being our “home” track, that doesn’t really mean much as you can’t find much places that have more motocross history than that one.  But the idea of racing a series just sounded like fun, and the big difference with racing in Belgium is you have to be there every week.  For starters, because there are no other tracks available to ride, and secondly, that’s where all your friends are.  This is what I like so much about the US way of riding and racing, I can spend most of my time just riding, hanging out by the track with some friends.  It doesn’t matter what pace you have on the track, as long as we all watch out for each other.  But, sometimes, the excitement of those racing duels, trying to get a good start, one starts to miss it – it’s an itch you can’t scratch as they say in the movies – and that’s the time I want to do some racing.

The day at 3 Palms started early.  This is a Texas size facility, 3 race caliber tracks ready to go at all times, and a lot of people showed up to race on the Main track.  Signup takes a bit of time, but it allowed me to meet some people I’ld be racing with and figure out how the day would go.  After that, you basically setup your pit area, check the bike one last time and go do your training session.  I had a set of new Dunlop MX 32’s on, fresh oil and just replaced the chain and sprockets, so she was good to go.

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Being chased by “the kids”

My first heat of the day was the 450 C class.  I had chosen the 450 over the 250 C class, as I hoped not to race a bunch of 16 year olds that want an extra race to fill their day and are basically way to fast for that class.  It ended up not making a difference at all.  After a bad start, and being in the middle of the pack, the pace wasn’t really the issue, but these kids ride around like every corner is the last corner at Anaheim 1 and they are going for the win.  I like to ride hard, but I also have to be up monday morning.  Anyway, after a guy punted me in one of the many bowl corners for the third time or so, I decided that it had been enough and started riding more like them.  It allowed me to move forward a bit, but you only have 4 laps, which is about 8 minutes, half the time of what I’m used to racing.

The end result was a 12th position, and that only because a lot of these kids just killed themselves on the many jumps on the track, I guess they don’t know better yet and this is how they have been educated?  It’s fine on tracks like this one, fast and big jumps, and at the same time dangerous if you don’t respect the guys you’re racing with.  Because in the end, you’re only a C rider.  But the thing they don’t realize is they ride out of control, hence the 10 guys I had to avoid after a jump or a turn because they fell, they have no technique.  So if they would get onto a real motocross track, where skills and some intelligence is required, most of these kids will not have the tools to be fast at all.  It’s sad for them, they should just be guided a bit better, because that’s where it all starts.  Motocross is not just “go fast, and be aggressive”, if that’s your way, I hope you become a champion and make a living of it or you will never enjoy it the way you’re supposed to.

The +25 and +30 amateur classes were more fun, the pace was about the same, but you simply don’t have to worry a guy will jump in your neck if you don’t make a double somewhere on the track. I particularly enjoyed my first +30 amateur race.  Started next to last, as a guy in front of me fell and I didn’t want to ride over his head so I stopped.  I took off and was able to catch most of the field, passed them so fast my EksBrand Goggles didn’t even get dirty, coming back to 5th position.  On a track that I don’t really consider myself to be any good at, I actually felt comfortable, felt I was riding good and wished I had a couple of extra laps to catch some extra guys.

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Getting better – little by little

I decided not to run the second 450 C class, it just wasn’t fun, there were more yellow flags on the track then there were corners.  I ended up improving 1 position in both +25 Amateur and +30 Amateur, including bad starts again.  It just didn’t matter where I started on this track, I couldn’t get it right.  But coming from the back, and improving a position, I was happy with a good starting position for the series, and excited to move on to the next race, 2 weeks from now at Rio Bravo.watch Kingsman: The Secret Service 2015 film now

See you there!

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