My son Christopher and I rode most of the track days with Midwest Cafe Racing Association (MCRA) in 2012 along with several of our buddies including Bobby, Dave, Khaled, and several of my STLAR friends. We rode one weekend at Putnam Park Indiana, one weekend at Heartland Park Topeka (HPT) Kansas, and four weekends at Gateway Motorsports Park (GMP, was previously named Gateway International Raceway) in St Louis Missouri. We worked our way up from the novice class, through the intermediate class and into the advanced track day class. Here is a video of the intermediate session when Jeff bumped me up to Advanced. I almost lost my camera in that session:
We were having so much fun doing the track days that we decided to take the MCRA race clinic where we obtained our MCRA race licenses. Chris, myself and my buddy Bobby all took the clinic on the same day. At the end of the clinic we have a “mock race” where the goal isn’t to win the race but to get a feeling for how to line up, start, heed all the flags, deal with an ambulance on the course, and most importantly not crash. If you crash you fail the clinic and do not get your license.
Here is the video from the mock race from my perspective:
From Christopher’s perspective:
Bobby took the holeshot on his Yellow R6 and I pulled in behind him. Even though the goal was not to finish 1st in this race it’s hard to just let your buddy take the win so I put the move on him a couple laps in.
I entered my first real road race in the Sportsman Class when we were at Heartland Park. I entered the race at the very back of the pack since I was new at this and all the other guys in the class had been racing all year. I just wanted to ease into the racing and be very conservative. Having said that I fully expected that I would be able to work my way up through the pack and finish somewhere around mid pack.
When the green flag flew I found out very quickly that everyone was much faster than I expected them to be and I was going to have my work cut out for me. We made several laps before I was able to make my first pass. I did pass a few but I finished near the back of the pack. Still, it was an incredible experience! I had to keep telling myself to breath and when I did I would fog up my shield, so I had to breath carefully. 25 minutes later the race was over and I had successfully completed my first race. Here is a video of that race:
I also entered the Sportsman race on the last Gateway weekend of the year. I did much better in this race. I started dead last again but got a pretty good start and was able to pass several bikes right into the first corner. I finished 5th out of 11 in this race and that is what I expected to do in the 1st race at HPT. Here are front and rear videos from that race:
Chris didn’t enter any races in 2012 because we wanted him to have the option of running the entire season in the Sportsman class. You can only run that class one year, so I must run the Amatuer GT class next year. Chris has the option of running the Sportsman class or the Amatuer GT.
Well, there you have it. We’re now prepping for 2013.
by Todd Knauer