Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway Race Recap

Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway Race Recap

The MotoGP weekend from Mazda Raceway – Laguna Seca is always a special weekend for the AMA Pro Series and especially for us.  As our main sponsor Red Bull is hosting the world’s elite in what has become one of the best Motorcycle Racing Events in the country.  We’d like to thank all those fans who made the trek to the dry lake and shared the weekend with us.  We hope you enjoyed the best of the AMA along side the MotoGP show. – Corey J Coulter

Once upon a foggy Monterey morning

There is a popular saying these days, “It is what it is.” Not quite sure what that means, but we say it a lot and if it means “Well, that’s just what it is…” then no where is it more appropriate than at the USGP from Laguna.  It is what it is…meaning that it’s a great place to race, a fantastic opportunity for young AMA riders to showcase their talents in front of a world audience, a place where sponsors mingle with everyone and shake hands on new deals and an event that brings thousands of fans from across the globe to watch motorcycle racing in the US.  The downside is that it’s chaos.  Strictly enforced rules from sanctioning bodies mean that the normal flow of pit life and interaction is completely blown up.  Pit space is shared and must be set up and taken down between sessions.  Riders, Techs, Support Staff, Management, and even the occasional media guy are on high alert every time the pit window opens up.

However, those crazy moments, the hurried rush to set up and tear down coupled with the bi-polar weather, is no where near enough to replace the pure awesomeness of being there when the MotoGP crowd is on hand.  It’s electric and it’s a much needed boost to the AMA Paddock.  If you didn’t make it down this past weekend, you should consider taking a second to think about the priorities in your life.  I’m kiddin’ but seriously, you missed some incredible races.  Lucky for you, here’s the recap.

GoPro Daytona SportBike

With limited track time and only one race a distant Sunday morning away, the DSB Crews and riders had time to work on set-ups and overall performance.  Coming off an incredible weekend at Mid-Ohio that saw another two double podiums for Jake and JD, the momentum was clearly shifting our way.  We have the factory DSB teams on the ropes and, dare I say, “nervous”?  Our little shop in Colorado has been posting double podiums since Road America and we knew Laguna was going to be a hard fought contest.  Jake was prepped, JD was pumped up and their crews were working the mechanical bits to perfection as the pit was assembled Thursday morning.  Everything needed to be primed and ready come their first outing on Friday.
Practice session one on Friday was held in perfect weather conditions for Laguna.  SuperSport and MotoGP had already been on track and cleaned it up for the DSB riders.  Jake and JD immediately went into their rhythms and began to work their way up the time charts.  JD was struggling a bit down in P10 while Gagne sat in P3 when the session ended.  Going back to the rig for a consultation with the crews, the bikes were cleaned, set-ups changed and riders were given just about as much Red Bull as they can handle just before Qualifying.  It worked!  As the sun was getting covered back up by the rolling fog, Jake was on the gas and flying around the circuit.  JD found something extra and when the session was called, he jumped to P5 and Jake had moved into the P2 slot.

The second qualifying session was held under what can best be described as “tricky” conditions on Saturday morning.  The fog hadn’t completely lifted and the track surface was drying.  There was a small hold on the session but after about 5 minutes, the track went green and JD and Jake were in the pits waiting until the last possible minutes to go out.  When they did, their times were initially slower than those from Q1 due to conditions.  Thank fully, no one else was really setting the place ablaze.  Before the session ended however as both RoadRace Factory / Red Bull riders were improving, Garrett Gerloff came from no-where to end up in P2.  This knocked Gagne to P3 and took JD to P6.  Starting grid would be Cameron Beaubier, Garrett Gerloff, Jake Gagne, Jake Lewis, Boddy Fong, and JD Beach.

It’s Sunday morning and it’s getting close to race time.  The weather was improving, the track was in decent shape and the riders were chatting with their crews.  As soon as the clearance was given to set up the hot pits, it was on.  The pit crews had it up in a mere moments and the bikes were readied on the wall.  As the riders went out for the sighting lap, the excitement was palpable.  Riders gridded up, visors went down, revs soared, flags dropped and they launched.  JD got off to an incredible start from his P6 and was in the top 4 before T1.  Jake got away clean and was in P2 before mid lap.  At the line for the first lap Gagne was pulling a lead with JD in a strong P3.  As the race progressed, Jake was being challenged for the lead by Cameron and JD had slipped a bit to P5.  There was an incident that brought out a red-flag and what would be the start of an old school sprint race.  By the time the incident was cleared, AMA officials announced what the restart would be.  5 laps.  MX Style!  A 5 lap sprint to the line…  All bets were off!  On the line for the restart saw Jake in P2 and JD in P5 and after they came around again, nothing had changed except for the closeness of the group.  Cameron made a breakaway and that left Jake to fight with Garrett.  However by the start of the 4th lap, Garrett had built a small gap and the rest of the pack settled in.  As the checkers flew, Jake crossed the line in 3rd and JD Beach ran home to a solid 5th.

[divider] [one_fourth content_align=”left”] Jake Gagne – 2nd in series points
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[/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last content_align=”left”] JD Beach – 3rd in series points
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Motorcycle SuperStore SuperSport

As crazy and fun as the DSB action was, SuperSport is always there to make it more enjoyable.  Unfortunately for these guys, their weekend activities were always taking place first thing in the morning.  Their best track conditions were in the afternoon on Friday for qualifying.  Despite their lack of optimal track time and conditions, Tomy showed up to do his thing and let no one get in his way.  Daytona Anderson came into this round full of energy and excitement and looking to build off his Road America experience.

Practice Session 1 went off on Friday morning with heavy fog and a greasy track.  It was clear that their job was to put some fresh rubber on the track for the MotoGP guys coming up after their session.  Tomy took full advantage of this time however and laid down quick times all session, never dropping lower than P2.  Daytona got off a little slow as conditions were changing.  By the end of the session, he was picking up speed and confidence.  This confidence was rattled a bit during Qualifying Session 1 in the afternoon.  Daytona went out and was feeling pretty good, his times were dropping and he pitted on schedule.  When he left the pits, those little electrical gremlins showed themselves and his bike was cutting off intermittently.  He continued to circulate the track at a less than ideal pace during the session.  Tomy, on the other side, was building his momentum and setting the fastest lap times of the session.  When Q1 was over and the fogged rolled in, Tomy was sitting on top of the order with Daytona and his gremlins, having been watered and feed after midnight, down in 17th. Qualifying Session 2 was set for first thing Saturday morning.  It was a typical morning at Laguna with most riders and team opting to wait out the fog a bit and then jump on track in the waning moments.  For Tomy, this was another session of leading the way.  He went on track, laid consistently fast laps until the flags dropped and the session was over.  Daytona was unable to improve his times and would be starting the race mid pack.

There are certain events that we witness and say, “I’m thrilled to have seen it with my own eyes!”  For us, that was the Motorcycle Superstore SuperSport Race.  Tomy made an incredible start and was dominating from the beginning.  He had built a small but comfortable gap for himself as the race went on.  What was building up behind him was a storm that would ultimately suck him back in and create some of the bravest moves seen at the famed course.  Joe Roberts was moving up quickly and bringing Corey Alexander with him.  While this was going on up front, Daytona was struggling with the same electrical issues that plagued his Q1 session.  Without the proper parts to replace the central nervous system of his bike, the issues didn’t go away.  Unfortunately, the bike wasn’t as capable as Daytona was on this day.

A brief stoppage brought on by a Red Flag brought the riders all back into a group for a restart.  Back to the race and Tomy was now side by side with Roberts and Alexander.  The last two laps were nothing short of incredible.  Tomy and Joe Roberts passed each other over and over again until there was that moment I mentioned.  That one moment… Tomy was right on Joe as they entered the corkscrew for the final time.  This was not to be a Rossi / Stoner “The Pass”, this was different on another level.  Tomy went to the outside of Roberts in order to get the drive into the left hander.  He went into the marbles and made it stick, however he lost a little drive and settled in behind Joe through Rainey Curve and the short shoot into T11.  Tomy made a bold inside pass on Joe right at the apex of the corner and squared his bike right up.  Sadly, this cost him a split second of forward momentum and Roberts was able to get the drive to the line.  Tomy crossed in P2 after some very impressive moves.  Daytona came home in 16th as he managed to fight his faulty electronics all the way to the checkers.

[divider] [one_fourth content_align=”left”] Tomy Puerta – 1st in Series Points
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[/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last content_align=”left”] Daytona Anderson – 13th in Series Points
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Wrap It Up – Danny Walker
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