Whiplash 2008, Race #8 Firebird #2 Firebird 2008
Going into the race I was 11 points behind first place and one point ahead of 3rd place. In order to win the points championship I would need to get 1st place and Michael Ellsworth (#185) would need to get 4th or lower. If I got 2nd place in the race I would need him to get 9th in the race or a DNF. And since there are rarely 9 people in our class that means it was a win or nothing for me.
I really, love the Wickenburg course even though I have had a lot of bad luck there. Last year going into this race I was 1st in points (in the novice class) and only needed a top 7 finish to keep my lead and I ended up getting 3 flat tires and 13th place and 2nd in the end of season points. And at the beginning of this season we raced there and I was leading my class by 5 minutes when my engine seized up.
The green flag dropped and I took off as soon as the flag man flinched and got the holeshot. The dust was extremely thick and I blew through the first big left corner since it was marked so poorly. Luckily 185 was close enough behind me that he followed my error and didn't pass me. The dust was so bad I couldn't go at my normal pace so I just tried hard to keep going fast in the poor visibility. Eventually I caught up to one of the senior pros ahead of me but there was another just past him that I was unable to pass for 2 laps which really slowed me down due to the dust.
After lap 1 and lap 2 I was still in 1st place. I stopped for gas and goggles after lap 2 and while I was gassing up 2 pros that I had just passed, went by. Luckily I was able to get going and pass them quickly so my third lap was relatively dust free. The entire third lap I was just hoping and thinking about the finish line. I didn't want any flats or engine troubles to get me and the lap seemed to take forever. Around mile 15 I saw #185 on the side of the road so I knew he was having serious problems and would likely end up below 4th place. Now all I had to do was hold onto first. I kept thinking I was hearing things behind me so I would start to ride harder. I finally reached the checkered flag and after a few minutes nobody from my class had finished so I was pretty sure I had won.
I always assume the worst at these races so I couldn't relax until the results were posted. Then I heard they were giving out 5 minute speeding penalties for anyone who had broken the 25mph pit speed limit. I was pretty sure I had gone slow each lap in the pits but you never know.
While I was waiting around I found out that #124 the guy who was one point behind me had wrecked on lap 1 at mile 5 and broke his collarbone. He finished the lap and tried to keep racing! but his parents made him stop. I also found out that #185 had wrecked on lap one at mile 7 or 8. He was right behind me in my dust when he flipped badly and really banged up his quad and body. Luckily his dad, Rick #555 had stopped and helped him get the quad moving again. #185 ended up finishing 2 laps but he is pretty banged up and his bars, tank, bumper and rear shock are totalled. I hope he heals up quickly.
They finally posted the results and it showed I won the class by 4.5 minutes and the points championship. I am really excited that all the hard work had payed off. My 3rd lap was 45.x minutes while my first two laps were 47.x
Thanks to adam and my dad for all their help. And thanks to all the great whiplash racers that I get to hang out with at the races each month. I have never been involved in a sport with so much camaraderie.