Travis' String of Road America Podium Finishes
NEWS June 10, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Heading into the races at Road America, I was confident that I could get a good result, but didn’t expect to have the incredible weekend that I did. Friday Practice and qualifying went extremely well. We unloaded the bike and hardly made any changes all day. I was 2nd in the provisional qualifying for Supersport and felt that I had a lot left under my belt. Saturday morning final qualifying and practice consisted of a 3rd fastest in the Supersport, and 2nd fastest on the XR1200. I was very happy to be on the front row and knew all I needed was a good start and I could hang with the lead pack of riders.
Supersport Race 1:
I didn’t get the best start, I found myself in 6th place going into turn one. On the first lap, another rider crashed in front of me going into the chicane. I was worried that his bike would slide back onto the track so I slowed down a bunch and lost a bunch of ground on the riders in front of me. Eventually, I was able to catch back up to the 2nd place rider James Rispoli. We battled back and forth for a few laps until I got around him and broke the draft. With only a few laps remaining, I was sitting in second place with the leader in sight. I rode as hard as I possibly could and made up over two seconds on the leader but ran out of laps finishing 2nd place and my first podium in the Supersport class! I ended up running the quickest lap of the race and was convinced that with a few more laps, I would have been in contention for a win. But I settled for second place, and was more than ready for race two on Sunday.
XR1200 qualifying got underway and I knew I had to link up to a couple riders in order to get a good draft and a fast time. All the riders were very close in time and I ended up being 7th fastest. Although I was on the second row, I wasn’t worried about the race because I knew it was going to be a close race no matter where I started. Sunday came around and I felt confident in both bikes to the point where I just put in some good track time in the warm ups. We made a gearing change with the 600 and I was right back down to my qualifying time so I was confident I could make a good run in the race. I spent most of the morning relaxing and preparing myself because the XR1200 and Supersport races were back to back.
I got a good jump but found myself being swallowed up by the other riders into turn 1. I came around the first lap in 9th place right behind my brother Kyle. I was able to draft the riders really well and I felt confident on the brakes so I began picking off the riders one by one. Before I knew it I was at the lead of the pack. It was a very intense race because the top 7 riders were all fighting for that top spot and we were 4 wide in some spots just trying to get ahead of one another. I was in 4th place heading into the last lap and was able to get around a rider for 3rd. I held on strong, and tried to get a draft off of Eslick coming up the hill but couldn’t quite pull it off and finished a very respectable 3rd. Right after that race had ended, I didn’t even have time to stay for the podium ceremonies. I had to run back to the pits and hop on the 600 for Supersport Race 2.
Supersport Race 2:
After a very intense and exhausting XR1200 race, I spent my warm up laps re-adjusting myself to my 600 because the bikes are so different. Once again, I didn’t get the start I was looking for and was running around 6th place. On the first lap a couple riders got together and wrecked coming into the last section. It was hard to make out how to avoid the wreck so I slowed way down and got passed by a couple riders. Coming up the hill and into turn one I was able to regain 6th place and focus on the riders ahead of me. A good battle erupted between Puerta, Myers, and Rispoli and myself that seemed inevitable. I was able to get the lead but struggled to hold it as the other competitors and I were passing back and forth. Eventually, I was able to put a little gap on myself and the other riders with four laps remaining. I had never been in that position before and starting making a couple mistakes due to the intensity of my situation. I had to physically tell myself that it was just a practice, I was the only one out there, and that I could just ride around without feeling the pressure. I came across the checkered flag with a four second gap over second place. I cant even begin to explain the feeling of relief and satisfaction that I had on that cool down lap. One of those moments I will never forget.
I have to give a big thanks to my entire team for all their support in such an amazing race weekend ! Thank you Harv’s Harley-Davidson, AB1 Motorsports, Arai, REV IT, Long Pond Autobody, Super Seal, MotoOption, Markbilt, and Robb Hilfiker.
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