LaBelle: Hagerstown Race Report

NEWS August 13, 2010

After the long haul back from California it was now time to pack up my gear again and head for Hagerstown, Maryland. I was really looking forward to returning to this track because this was the track I had gotten my first Podium finish in the Pro singles class. We arrived at the track on Saturday afternoon, and like any other race day we joined the very long line of haulers waiting to enter the pits. The only thing different about this race was the 2:30pm registration time, which nobody seemed to enjoy. Taking a look at the track took me back to last year and how much I enjoyed riding this track. It is a half mile clay track, long straights, and high banked corners. We brought the bikes up to be teched and tried setting the bikes up for what we thought the track was going to be like. It seemed like forever before we hear the air horn sound for our first test ride but it seemed to wake everyone up in the pits. We waited for the experts to ride first, then it was our turn. The track was nothing like I remember from last year¹s traction galore. This time around it was very slick, and almost impossible to get the bike to hook up but somehow my times were pretty decent. After two sessions I managed to land a 6th overall fastest time by only about .400 of a second. Almost immediately after the qualifying, the AMA crew jumped right into the heat races. Both myself and Mikey were both in the second heat and on the front row. The only thing I was worried about was getting off the line because for some strange reason my starts haven¹t been the best lately. As usual, my start was horrible! I spun the wheel so bad that I turned completely sideways on the line and was about 10th going into the first corner. Once again I found myself with a lot of work on my hands, and at the same time I was watching the lead pack, which is where Mikey was. On lap two, I watched Mikey run the bike into 1 and low side, which brought out a red flag and a complete restart. I didn¹t like this because in that one lap I picked up a couple of spots and was in a transfer spot, not to mention I would have to try and get off the line yet again. Even though it still wasn¹t my best start, I got off the line better than before, and found myself going into one in 7th place. For the whole heat race I traded spots with the 6th place rider but fell short at the line and had to settle for a back row start in the main. One thing I hate before a main is all the waiting that is involved. The clock seems to stop at times, and it always gets you so anxious to ride. I lined up on the third row, exactly where you don¹t want to be and got off the line pretty smoothly but still found myself near the back. Just as I start to pick up a couple of spots the red lights come on and we are forced to restart because of a rider down. After the second restart, some of the riders that were near the front ended up going backwards, but I couldn¹t seem to gain any ground on anyone. I was locked into a battle for 15th with another rider and it was very frustrating to know that I was battling for a spot outside of the top ten. However, coming across the checkered flag 15th is where I stayed.
Once I was back in the pits, it was very obvious that everyone was not happy with how the team finished. This is actually the worse finish I have ever had as a Pro singles rider. If I am going to get myself into the top 5 in overall points, I¹m going to have to start getting myself off the starting line. For a season that was just starting to get good, things have turned and gone the other way but the only person that can get me out of this is
myself! LETS GO TO WORK!

Michael LaBelle#20T

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