Tyler Porter Recaps Daytona Flat Track
NEWS March 19, 2013
Photo by Dave Hoenig
On behalf of Tyler Porter's Fight for Dirt Track:
(March 19, 2013) - Hello! Well, Daytona has come and gone and to me, it seems like months ago. As you well may know, I was in Daytona well before any other racers, doing my thing for Memphis Shades. On the windshield and fairing side of things, it was a pretty good event. While numbers were not record breaking, they were very strong and I am excited about the rest of the quarters ahead! I didn't type out this email to tell you about my job though, I wrote this to tell you about racing!
On Thursday, I was allowed to take a day away from the event truck and tents to try to once again reach a milestone in my racing career, put the Fight For Dirt Track Kawasaki into a Main Event. Before I break down the day, I have to thank Allen Mueller at Memphis Shades for letting me haul the bike down in the rig, the entire crew at J&P Cycles for storing my bike and Clayton Shambaugh for making sure my equipment got to the track and then back to Rossville Tennessee after Bike Week came to a close.
Relying on notes from last year's race, I had the JMP Kawasaki backed KX450 pretty well set up for the day. I was extremely lucky to be in the first spot of my qualifying round, meaning that I had a clear track and no distractions. Any time I have been first or last in my group, I have had a very good day. I went out in the first session, and just knowing that it doesn't count for the day helps me relax and pay attention to what the bike was doing. The bike felt a little lazy on gearing, but with my previous experience at the track, I knew it would get faster and I was hoping that by the end of qualifying it would be perfect. I was very happy with how I rode, as I haven't been on a bike much since October. I was still struggling with turn one, just going in much too slow, but I knew I could work on that for the next session.
I was very lucky to have Clayton Shambaugh around. Even though his focus was the new Babe DeMay Racing rider, Briar Bauman, Clayton is a close friend and took the time to watch my session and try to help me out with set up. He gave me some settings to try, but I realized at the wrong time that I had forgotten to send my shock back to Mike at Boughner Racing while my bike was down last year to get a valving adjustment. WHOOPS! Suspension settings, at least for me, are something that are continually evolving, and Mike always keeps things up to date on my bike. I sure was kicking myself for slipping up on shipping it back for a little update.
In session 2 I was really ready. I went out again and laid down what I felt like were very good laps, though they were still out of qualifying position. I knew the track was going to keep getting faster, and session 3 was where I really needed to put in the effort. My bike still felt a bit lazy, but once again, I just knew the track would be better the last go around. Session 3 was up before I knew it and this was do or die time. I had thought about every inch of that track, the bike was running great thanks to Aaron Ladd and Don Stear and I just knew this was going to be my chance to make all of the people who support me proud. In hindsight, I was celebrating much too early. That gearing change was needed, and to top it all off, I was acting much too serious.
While our qualifying sessions are just 4 laps, you would be surprised how tough it is to put 1 good perfect lap together. Nerves, other riders, changing track conditions, it is one of the hardest things to do! What I proceeded to do was have my head somewhere where it shouldn't have been for all 4 laps. I can't explain it. I vividly remember going into turn 3 on 2 separate laps not even sliding! My bike was good, the track was pretty good and I was first in my session. How I rode would be akin to handing a high school student the answers to the SAT and then them using the National Enquirer as a study guide. As my cousin Dennis would say, I through a little personal "Tyler-Fit" in the pits because I knew I had just thrown it all away. After about 20 minutes of cool down, it was business as usual for me, covering things for the website. While I was unbelievably disappointed at my personal results, what a night of racing we had! Seeing the Mikey Rush come back was amazing and so was the first ever win for Kyle Johnson and then two best friends Jason Isennock and Mike Poe rounding out the Pro Singles podium and dedicating their finishes to a close friend they lost a few months before. Daytona always seems like a magic place and if it can't be magical for me, at least it was for several others and I got to witness that.
I wasn't able to ride Friday, as my work called me away to Indianapolis for a quick showcase and then it was back to Daytona to wrap up Bike Week, but It was very cool to hear about Brandon Robinson's first win. What a great kid riding for a really down home, hard working team! Jake Constantine winning was cool too, because he has always been a little known rider who is amazing in Daytona. While I may not be starting my season off well, I want you to know this, I want this more than ever and I have better tools to get it done than ever before. While I'm not in my typical physical shape after a knee injury that took me 8 weeks to recover from, I am feeling good now and plan on being back to my usual level by the next round in Stockton California. I was supposed to have an incredible racing deal for this season, and at the moment, that has been pulled out from under me a little bit, which I have used to motivate me more than ever. I want to thank you so much for being so loyal to me, and if I push past my little milestone and start putting my own equipment into main events, I will never forget all of those like you who have made it happen. A guy with my results doesn't deserve the support that I receive and please realize that I don't take an ounce of it for granted. Let's do some damage on the West Coast!
HUGE THANKS TO:
Memphis Shades www.memphisshades.com, Allen Mueller (for letting me have a break from work to scratch around in the dirt and chase my dreams), Clayton Shambaugh, Performance Cycle and Dyno www.pcd-1.com
Aaron Ladd, Bell Helmets www.bellhelmets.com/powersports, Silkolene www.silkoleneusa.com, DP Brakes www.dp-brakes.com, Light Shoe www.lightshoe.com
Works Connection www.worksconnection.com, CJ Signs www.cjstars.com, Saddlemen www.saddlemen.com, EVS Sports www.evs-sports.com/, K&N Engineering www.knfilters.com, Motorcycle Superstore www.motorcyclesuperstore.com
Ride Engineering www.ride-engineering.com, JMP Kawasaki www.jmpcycle.com
CP Carrillo www.cp-carrillo.com/, Fab Master D