Miller Motorsports Park Race Recap

Miller Motorsports Park Race Recap

Just outside the sprawling town of Tooele, UT, lays one of the fastest and largest tracks in the US. Miller Motorsports Park (MMP) was the site of this past weekend’s AMA Pro Road Racing Series Round 6. As the season is drawing nearer to the finale at Laguna, championships are hanging in the balance and might possibly be decided at MMP. Temps were high but expectations were higher. The RoadRace Factory / Red Bull team was coming into this round ready to take back the podiums in the GoPro Daytona Sportbike and Motorcycle SuperStore SuperSport classes. How the team reacted to the adversity they faced shows why they’ve had such great success.

GoPro Daytona Sportbike

So, it looks like poking the tiger made it mad. The response this weekend was obvious and our crew had to rally in order to find the speed needed to stay with the top guys. Being the consummate professionals they are, the DSB riders and crews worked diligently to find the solutions needed to ensure that we would get another double podium.

However, nothing is certain in this life especially in the AMA Paddock.  On the set, it was clear that it would be a tale of two riders, each having their own unique experience.  For JD Beach, it was to be a weekend of highs and forward momentum, while his garage mate would have a weekend to forget.  As the first practice session on Friday was coming to close, this tale of two riders would begin to unfold.  As the afternoon brought qualifying session one, JD Beach was on form and riding with confidence and with aggression.  His week long cycling training sessions with Josh Hayes seemed to have worked! Meanwhile Jake Gagne was fast but suffering from issues that he and his crew haven’t seen this year.  When the session was ended, JD Beach sat in P5 knowing he could go faster.  Jake was in P6 and his crew were pouring over data to diagnose the problems.

As the sun rose on Saturday, the second qualifying session was underway.  Jake’s crew was confident that they had found the source of the problems and were moving forward in a positive manner.  JD Beach was just having fun, it seemed.  He was clearly pushing hard and riding on the ragged edge.  So much so, that he ended up running too far out on the exit of Turn 3 and falling.  While he escaped the incident without injury, his “A” bike however did not. Sadly as the GoPro footage showed, the bike righted itself and continued through the desert sand and claiming a direct hit on the outside retaining wall. Give the footage a watch here.

When the combined qualifying session times were posted, JD was just off the front row in 5th position and Jake was in 6th on the grid.  It would appear that the tiger’s response to being poked, is to hit the warp speed button.  When the riders lined up for Race One, JD was sure that he could not only hang with the factory riders, he could beat them.  Gagne, on the other hand, was confident he could hang with the group but not sure of how the race would play out.  All would be known as soon as the lights went green.  JD got his typical flying start and so did Jake.  Going into turn one, they were running up front and showing that they could stay with the leaders.

As the race continued, Gagne lost the tow, which is critical on this big track, while JD fought to cling on to the lead group.  JD battled with Jake Lewis the entire race and when the checkers were flown, he had maintained his 3rd place and crossed the line ahead of Lewis.  Jake crossed the line in a lonely 5th position but still considerably ahead of 6th place.  JD was excited and looked forward the next opportunity to mix it up with the Y E S riders.  Gagne returned to the pits and with his crew began the process of further diagnosis and setting changes.

Race two was something to witness. JD was still busting with excitement and confidence and Jake was sure that they had found the answers.  The first few laps would be the most telling.  Both riders flew off the line and were in the top 5 for the first through corners.  JD was challenging for the lead while Gagne was in a 3-way fight for 3rd.  A small tap from James Rispoli caused Jake to sit up mid corner and they both lost contact with the leaders.  This left JD to fight it out and carry the flag for RoadRace Factory / Red Bull.  Long story short, JD made an electrifying pass for the lead into Turn One.  He was able to hold off the advances of the Y.E.S boys until a hard braking maneuver on the nest lap cost him some speed.  At the line, JD was scrapping for 3rd and Jake maintained his 5th position.

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Jake Gagne – 2nd in Series Points

“A really frustrating weekend.  Two Fifths is not good.  Worst weekend of the year we just, big time struggles and ran into issues we haven’t run into all year for some reason, I don’t know.  We made it through though without crashing which is a bit of a surprise considering the issues we had but there’s always the next one.”
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Mike Canfield – Crew Chief / Gagne

“It wasn’t the best we’ve had all year.  But we’re going onto the next one and we’re gonna make it better and move to the front.  Been there and we’re get back!”
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JD Beach – 3rd in Series Points

“It was a good weekend.  We came away with a double podium again.  Destroyed a bike on Saturday so we kinda had set-up issues on both race days, Saturday and Sunday.  But me and the bike still kept getting better and better.  Now we got a pretty big break until New Jersey so we’ll be able to get our good bike back together and put our good parts on there so hopefully at New Jersey we’ll able to fight for the win.”
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Scott Jensen – Crew Chief / Beach

“We came into the weekend and JD was going pretty good, it’s one of the tracks that he likes so we pretty much got up to pace right away.  Pretty much top 5 the whole time, we focused on moving from there.  Got into qualifying, ended up on the second row in qualifying 1, P5.  Went out in qualifying the second time around and he actually had a pretty big off, which luckily he didn’t get hurt in it, but managed to tear up the bike pretty good.  JD being JD, brushes the thing off, puts on another set of leathers gets on the back up bike with a different set-up on it and goes even faster.  The kids is pretty darn impressive.

Goes into race one and he gets his traditional JD Beach start and knocks the thing out of the park going into turn one.  Ran with the factory boys the whole race and manages to finish third in race one.  Go out in warm-up number 2 on Sunday morning, we tried some changes on the bike to give him a little better feel on the thing.  He out for the race and ended up third but was battling for the lead the whole time and even lead a couple of laps.  Did an awesome pass by both factory guys going down into turn one on the brakes.  Again, the kid is pretty darn impressive.  Looking forward to the next race.”
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Motorcycle SuperStore SuperSport

The scene was set this weekend for what would become one of the most memorable weekends of Tomas Puerta’s career and for our young team, it would be a weekend that would not be forgotten.  Coming into this round, Tomy had a comfortable lead in the West Coast Series points and a decent cushion for the overall National Title.  Only time, and the competition would tell how this was going to play out.  Daytona Anderson rolled into this round looking to get the electrical gremlins that plagued him in Laguna, behind him.In the first practice session, it was clear that Tomy wasn’t going to just sit and slowly build a points gap. He wanted to win it and he began throwing down quicker and quicker lap times.  Daytona was also improving his pace and with each lap, he was chasing personal goals as part of his continued development in the series.  In the first qualifying session, Tomy let it be know what his intentions were by capturing provisional pole position.  Daytona was placed well within the largest pack in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series.

Seeking improvement in Q2, Daytona and his crew had made some minor adjustments to move up two places in his qualifying effort.  However, Tomy’s rivals took the opportunity to unseat him from pole and when the races would begin, he’d be starting from P3.  Riders line up and take their positions for race one and it’s now all on the line.  Tomy knows what he needs to do: get out in front and stay there.  Daytona had his work cut out for him but he was up to it.  Lights go green and Tomy flew off the line heading down the longest straight in the entire series.  Entering T1, Tomy was sitting on the rear wheel of Roberts and pushing.  Unfortunately, the good start that Daytona had made was lost when contact with other riders occurred and knocked him back a few spots.  Mid race, and it was clear that Tomy was thinking about points and the championship rather than a race win.  Opting not to battle, he crossed the line in 3rd place and added to his points lead.  Daytona crossed the stripes in 23rd.

After using his head, and getting a good nights rest, Tomy was determined to end the guessing game with both championships in race two.  Victory was on his mind.  Track goes green and again Tomy nailed a solid start.  He was running in second place when a red flag reset the grid.  The riders lined up for a 7 lap sprint race that would not disappoint.  Track goes hot and Tomy lept off the line and was battling for the lead.  On the last lap, Tomy was leading when with 2 corners to go, Joe Roberts made the pass to take the lead and win the race.

However Tomy’s second place was enough to secure not one but two championships!  When all was said and done, Tomy was now the West Coast Series Champ and the Overall AMA SuperSport Champ.  Congratulations to Tomy for his first National Championship and bringing the RoadRace Factory it’s first Championship.  A true team effort made this all possible.

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[/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last content_align=”left”] Tomy Puerta – 1st in series points
[/three_fourth_last] [three_fourth content_align=”left”] Daytona Anderson
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[/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last content_align=”left”] Wrap it up – Danny Walker
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