You know I didn't think a day like today was ever going to come again after the long and miserable winter we had up here in the northeast but Saturday was absolutely gorgeous out, it really couldn't have been a better day to have the first race of the Northeast Supermoto series.
Unlike a lot of you west coasters, we don't really get to ride all year long with the exception of the few of us that Ice race also so Saturday was the first time since October that all of us have seen each other. That really always makes the first race of the season so great, finally being able to reconnect with your moto friends.
OVRP actually had one of their largest grids ever with close to 60 riders signed up to race! This made for close and exciting racing in every class, which really just helps make the season opener that much better for all of us.
There were 6 classes run on Saturday; expert 450, novice/beginner, Supermoto open, amateur 450, kids, and asphalt only. Each one had a good sized grid and I would be racing for the first time in....well a very long time, in the amateur 450 class. For those of you that follow me on Instagram you probably noticed I wasn't aboard my Aprilia. I had the opportunity to race a very worked CRF450 this weekend so I took it, which you guys will be able to read about some time in the future.
Unfortunately this day started a little rough for me and my buddies sharing the bike we were riding. After heading out for the first qualifying practice of the day Marco who was running asphalt only came back in saying the rear tire was shot. After a little inspection we noticed the tire was showing the cables. So definitely not an ideal situation. I went out for my 450 qualifying practice run just to get z kind of feel for the bike and to set a time then Jay went out for open to do the same. Now this is where the problems really started because after we went out for our qualifying we decided to get the bike tires changed quickly which shouldn't be much of an issue normally except this bike had carbon alipinas which did not want to take air. So after Marco missed his heat on the bike and I was about to miss mine we decided to canabalize a spare bike for the rear rim assembly and throw it in the bike. Problem solved, or so we thought.
I headed out for the heat race and was in fourth place for the first couple laps, and started to notice the rear end acting weird while backing it in and started to notice my lap times were getting slower. Cj MacNeil was definitely trying to capitalize on this and started to try and make a pass. He ended up getting by me at the entrance to the dirt section and I decided to try and make the pass back on the next turn. CJ went high on the berm while I took the inside line, both of us powering out full steam, both of us thinking we had won the inside line on the next corner. Turns out we were both wrong. Our bars got tangled and we took a bad spill in the dirt. My leg was killing me but CJ powered through got up and hit the track again. I was done.
I come back in and Jay is still trying to get air in his alpina. It's been well over an hour at this point. I came over and gave him a hand and we finally got air in it another 30 minutes later just missing jays heat but luckily he was able to make the final. After inspecting the rear tire that was on the bike, we found the pressure was only at 15 psi and putting more air in it did nothing. You guessed it, the tire had a pretty bad leak the whole race. If there's a lesson to be learned here, don't rush out to get to a race. Definitely make sure and check that everything is good to go so you don't end up out there with a near flat tire.
The asphalt class was the first one out with Zoltan Nemes leading the pack into turn 1. Zsolt Kruppa, Alvise Magaton, and Richard Sarkozi were all on each other's heels fighting behind Nemes. As the race went on the riders started to separate a bit. Nemes and Kruppa were fighting the entire race 15 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack with Nemes ultimately taking the win. Magaton and Sarkozi had a great race behind them and finished within a tenth of each other.
Up next was the kids race, which is arguably one of the most fun to watch. These guys (and girls!) really fight for their position and you know that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. Tanner Dorman ended up in first after an awesome battle with Kenny Phillips the entire race. Renee Franco was right behind the both of them in third place which she had secured early on.
In Amateur 450 Anthony Vene came out with the lead after turn one and held it uncontested the entire race. Eric Patterson and Wesley Butler were fighting for the second place position for the majority of the race. Butler fell late in the race which allowed Cj MacNeil to slide into third and Patterson to walk away with second place. Butler finished in fourth trying to reel in MacNeil.
Supermoto Open was led by Ryan Wolstenholme the entire race with young Cj MacNeil walking away with second place, Bryan Bastos sitting comfortably in third with the rest of the pack one lap behind them.
The big race of the weekend was the Expert 450 class which was an extremely exciting race to watch. Boyd Brower and Jake Laforge were neck and neck the majority of the race, turning laps within 3 tenths of each other. Anthony Franco and Robert Burns were in the back trying to keep up an the rest of the group dropped 1 lap or more behind those top four. Laforge was up front early on, trying to keep Brower off and walk away with the win. Brower put on the pressure though and Laforge made a mistake in the dirt going down, allowing Brower to make his pass and ride off to a first place finish. Laforge finished 6 seconds behind him for second with Anthony Franco sitting comfortably in third.