29 Palms Big 6 Race Report

Photo by Mark Kariya

This weekend was the 29 Pals Big 6 Grand Prix. This is probably one of my favorite Big 6 rounds of the year. It is really fast with big sweeping corners and it gets really rough and rocky. It plays into my strengths a lot more compared to other rounds. I was really looking forward to having a good weekend! My wife and I towed the trailer out Friday and got set up for a weekend of racing and camping. It was super windy but luckily we parked to the side of Precision Concepts and they were our wind block for the weekend. The first race to start the weekend for myself was the Vet race at 10:00am Saturday. I have been using this race to learn the tracks and get some seat time in on a rougher course. I got off to a good start and made my way into the lead after a few corners. The track was just how I remember it so I was trying to set a good pace knowing Robby Bell was coming. Well at the end of the pavement section I knew there was a right hand corner but I thought I could hold it on longer than I could. It has been a few years since I raced out there and I just made a mistake. I overshot the corner and lost the lead and a few spots. Well know it was time to use this race for what it was meant for to learn the course and find some good lines for the Pro race. I ended up following Mark Tilley and just watching his lines and trying some new ones behind him. He eventually let me by and I cruised it into the finish for a 2nd overall. I know was on my way to get ready for the Pro race. Since I am still not top 10 in points with my chain braking at Round #1 this year I don’t get a good gate pick and have to scramble for my starting spot every round. It’s kind of like a race before the race I always have to have Maddy back away because it’s chaos for a few minutes. I decided after my vet race start to line up on the outside. I knew people would be jockeying over the inside and I noticed a nice berm along the outside that while people were trying to hold tight I could keep on the gas and pull off a good start. We got settled and I had my umbrella girl (AKA My Beautiful Wife) shading me and staying out of the sun. I was finally glad it was hot too as I like racing in the heat more than the cold. While on the line it is always interesting to ease drop on some conversations around us. It’s become a new found since of laughter for my wife and I. It is interesting to hear how rude and egotistical some people can be at the start of a race and makes me thankful for being raised right by my parents to always be respectful especially to women and my wife. When the light turned green I got a horrible jump. I am not sure what happened because lately I have been pulling really good starts. But since I was on the outside and everyone started to slow down I kept it pinned around the outside and moved from about last to 5th. I then quickly realized that my pace was really good. Lately my first lap speed hasn’t been there but instead of getting passed I was trying and passing other riders on the first lap. Just when I was about to move into 3rd overall about halfway thru the first lap I realized I had no back brakes. I thought there is no way this could be happening. I kept pushing and just thinking they would come back and maybe I had a rock stuck in them or something. I slammed the next few corners trying to keep up the pace with no brakes. I quickly realized this was a poor choice after I tweaked my neck slamming into a big sand berm way to hot. I go to the pits as quickly as possible and hoped off the bike and let my team go to work. They got my brake system changed very quickly but I was still really far back. After looking at the results I came through the scoring shoot on lap 1 51st overall. I just set out to climb as far up the results as I could. I felt really good with my speed and having to deal with passing people my times were still really good. The only mistakes I made after were stalling it twice on the 2nd to last lap which probably cost me another position or two but I ended up making it to 9th overall and 8th in class. Ironically it is my best finish to date in the Pro class but It was my worst race that I have had. I was really bummed because I knew I could have fought for a podium at this round but that’s racing and you have to take the good with the bad. I was really happy with my effort as I charged every lap like I was battling for the lead and my fitness felt really good!

I am really looking forward to the next few National Hare N Hounds up in Utah and I’m excited with how my speed was for the weekend. Only 3 more big races coming up before summer break and I am ready to grind until then to get the results that my team and I deserve. Thank you to my wife for spending a long 3-day weekend in the hot, windy, dusty desert of 29 palms and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in life to spend it with. She supports me in everything I need for the weekend and makes so many unselfish sacrifices for me to be at my best on the weekends. People see me out there racing and my name in the results but what they don’t see is the support system that it takes to get there. My parents first sacrificed so much for me to be where I am out today and now my wife gives up all of her extra free time to help me achieve my goals. Also I have an amazing team behind me with Purvines Racing that gets me the equipment I need to do what I do. I am thankful for everyone behind the team and wish to give you the best results and effort I can every weekend.

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