I was very excited to leave for the 92nd Classic because this would be my very first time both attending and participating in the vent. We packed and left early Thursday to join the racer practice to get some more seat time on the bikes and scrub in nw race rubber. Luckily we were running late and found out that practice didn’t start until 2PM so there was ample amount of time to set up our infield area. Over the two rounds we figured out that 4 canopies, 3 chairs, 2 tables and 1 fridge was the perfect numbers to have a good pit area. After setup was finished we got ready for practice.
The first session out I can already feel my brakes being cooked and cooked some more. There absolutely no power or bite left in them especially for my braking before T3. I rolled back into the pits and made my way towards S&C to which they recommend me some performance friction pads as I wanted a good initial bite but a progressive feel for trail braking. Glad I did cause the pads worked very well with my setup. For the remainder of practice I just tried new brake markers, different gears for different part of the track and tried to stay a steady pace for the two races the next day.
Rain was forecast that evening but I didn’t think much of it but in retrospect we should’ve moved all our gear and lowered the canopies. I woke up to a flooded pit area where water was everywhere. One hour of cleanup and drying out meant missing morning practice – no biggie considering I had ample time the day before. I wondered the track watching others practice and jotting mental notes until it was my turn to race.
As usual my nerves were building as I sat on pre-grid – maybe I should’ve gone out for practice that morning I thought to myself. The new lights went on and I will say after trial and error I think they nailed this on the head! I didn’t have the best of starts as I got ate up by everyone behind me, gridded 1C, something to work on. I made so many costly mistakes such as nearly hitting the wall coming out of 2 and forgetting my brake markers saw me finish 9th after the first lap. My poor performance saw me finish 10th by lap 2, I was in dire territories. I managed a close last round laptime of 1:27.990 before someone binned it and a restart was in order.
I thought to myself ‘Fuck you cant mess up this time again’ so i put my head down as we gridded back up on the line. As the 3 board turn to the number 2 everyone put their bike into gear and their heads down myself included. As soon as the 2nd or 3rd light came on someone on my row jumped the start and had no choice but to keep going. I stayed put wondering if anyone would follow in tow but the lights went out and off I went. 3rd position into T1 and held that into the back straight. Front runner ran on as I put on the brakes but still they weren’t providing the stopping I needed as I lose two positions on the inside as we make the run up the hill.
What happened next was almost instant. I shift into 3rd before I put on the brakes to tip it into 6, my line wide and arcing. It was near the apex I noticed in my peripheral a bike coming in tight and fast. This was it – I knew we were going to touch but when? Boom. His front end touched my rear hard enough I was forced to pick it up and rub wide. Our momentum carried us off track where another touch took place. I thought I could save it in the gravel but the front skidded and slid, making the bike catapult me over the bars. This is probably what flying feels like – well right before I face smashed into the gravel, my collarbone breaking instantly.
The impact tossed me onto my right side as I grabbed both my collarbone and left ankle. The corner worker ran to my aid where I informed him of my situation and asked him to pull off my helmet. With the sun beaming on my face I knew my weekend was over.
A trip to the ER revealed indeed a broken collarbone and bruised ligaments in my left ankle. A sling, soft cast, painkillers and some rest was what the doctor ordered. This is my first injury ever of this type so I am not familiar with the healing process but I can’t wait to start training again and making it back as soon as possible.
I want to thank all corner workers for what they do and continue to do as well as the medical team on track! Without you and what you do we couldn’t do what we love to do!