Taft AMA Big 6 Grand Prix

Photo- Mark Kariya

This weekend was the 2nd round of the big 6 Grand Prix series held in Taft, CA. The club dirt-diggers do an awesome job with what they have to work with. It is not my favorite place to race just because of the terrain and conditions of the dirt. We got up there early Friday morning for some moto practice and after that we had our annual team photo shoot. It is always fun playing around in front of the camera seeing how cool you can look every once in a while. Saturday morning came and I lined up for the Vet heavyweight expert race to learn the course and get ready for the pro race later in the day. On the Vet race they have a weird way of starting with hands off the bike and half the line was cheating anyway so my start wasn’t too good and I avoided the carnage in the first turn. I came around like top 10 and made some passes to get up to 4th. I passed for 3rd at the end of lap 1 and put some good laps in looking for lines and learning the course. Now time for the race that mattered. Since I missed a lap at Adelanto due to a broken chain I didn’t get a top 10 gate pick so my race started when they open the gate to get to the start. It’s always a mad dash trying to fight your way to the front to get a good spot on the line. I managed to get the last spot on the inside. When the light turned green I couldn’t keep the front end down on the Purvines Racing YZ 450 but managed to come around the first turn 4th or 5th. I still really need to work on just letting it hang out in the beginning but the track was so sketchy I just couldn’t pull the trigger and rode reserved. I lost a few spots and then a few minutes in I hit the ground in slippery corner. I picked myself up and set out to charge until the finish. I made a few passes and worked my way back up to almost the top 10. I could see a group of guys in front of me but couldn’t close the gap. I finally reeled in Blayne towards the time we needed to pit. We both pulled into the pit at the same time. My wife Maddy was waiting for me with some fresh viral goggles and gave me a pep talk to get me through the end of the race. She is always willing to do anything to help me do my job of being a racer better. Collin Woolsey got my bike fueled up quick and I was off. I made the pass on Blayne in the pits and then we went back and forth a few times in the last few laps. I finally caught back up towards the end of the last lap and just decided to push hard until the end. I made the pass again and then hit the biggest square edge ever with the sun in my eyes. I am not sure how I saved it but I did and kept it on two wheels until the finish. I ended up 11th for the day and stayed off the ground for the most part except a corner in the beginning. I was thankful for that because this track was super sketchy. I would like a better result but my lap times weren’t too bad and it was an improvement.

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