Every year the Springfield TT is a little different. The IMDA [the promoter] has always changed it up a little here or a little there to make it interesting for us. We usually do a practice test day on the TT course to check everything out, but this year it was rained out.
Therefore, it was going to be new for everyone. I felt ready for this event, have been training hard, and doing a lot of riding. You wouldn't have thought so after qualifying as I did-29th out of 71! Had to start my Heat race from the back row !! Certainly not the ideal place to be in this place. I felt I was going well, but the way they prepped the track between sessions made a huge impact in your position in qualifying.
I was in the second Heat race with some heavy hitters on the front row: Jake Johnson, Kenny Coolbeth, John Lewis, Shaun Russell, and Steve Murray. I got a good jump and sent it into turn one hard and coming out of turn two I was in 2nd place behind Shaun. I was able to quickly get around Shaun and set sail, winning the Heat, putting me in the Dash for Cash. Now-a-days the Dash for Cash is a big thing because of the points now awarded in it: 5 points to the winner, then one point down for each of the next four. I lined up and, bang, another good start. I led it up over the jump and through the right-hander, keeping the lead until the Checkered to win my first ever Dash for Cash. Never thought it would have been on a TT, especially after qualifying 29th.. LOL.
For the Main Event we were set to go and I thought that if I just got a good start I would have a good shot at it. The track was prepped and we were ready to pull the trigger. Light went green and I got the hole shot. I could hear and feel someone breathing down my neck and I figured it was Hank Wiles. I knew he was going to be the toughest guy. I led for about 8 laps until I spun it off of turn 2 and Wiles got a great run and got me over the jump into the right-hander. I was running 2nd with Wiles beginning to widen the gap. In the last seven laps Joe Kopp started to run me down and with a lap and a half to go, he got by me, beating me for 2nd place by 8/10th of a second. Considering how the day had started, I was happy with the 3rd place, but a little disappointed at the same time.
Last year we ended up 2nd. So I knew we could have a good shot at this. I ended up qualifying 2nd behind Jake who was flying. In my Heat race I battled it out with Bryan Smith and Kenny Coolbeth, only to have Kenny get me at the line for the Dash for Cash spot. We made a few minor adjustments with the bike and were ready for the Main Event. I was on the back row, which on a mile doesn't really matter much. I got a decent jump but got boxed in on the back straight away. Managing to get clear I started moving up. I think I was 8th or 9th on the first lap, and was continuing to move forward. By lap 10 I was in 3rd place all by myself, but couldn't make any time on Bryan Smith who was running 2nd. I needed to have someone come up and give me a hand on running Bryan down. Enter Coolbeth, bringing Joe Kopp and PJ Jacobson with him. We ran neck and neck and got by Bryan towards the end of the race. PJ was running a fantastic race---his first ride on an XR 750, let alone first ever Mile as well!! With the white flag out I was in 2nd coming off the second to last turn and Bryan got by in the back stretch. I thought I could get 3rd out of this deal but Coolbeth was able to sling around the outside and catch Bryan's draft, good enough to tow him to the line. I was close but ended up 4th. It was a good race but wish it would have resulted on a podium spot.
Congrats to Jake and the Zanotti team for their outstanding day.
Next up we have Plymouth WI and Gas City IN - both short tracks. Hopefully we can report some great news.
Plymouth WI/Gas City Race
Here we were again in Plymouth WI for the Dairyland Classic Jim Sumner Memorial Race. This place has always seemed like there was a threat of rain in the forecast. The rain did indeed blow away so it made the trip all worth it. Last year we had great luck through out the day. I set the bike up very close to how I did last year. From the first practice on I felt dialed in and didn't really change a hole lot. I ended up being the 3rd fastest guy which bothered me a little bit as it kept me out of the Jim Sumner Dash for Cash. This is a big part of the big pay check. I grabbed the hole shot in my heat race and lead it from start to finish. I didn't really make any adjustments for the main event. For the main event I didn't get a great start and was having to get my way to the front. I moved into 2nd and was running behind Wiles for the longest time until off turn 4 I got by him. It wasn't the cleanest pass as Wiles spun it up and got really side ways and I ran right into the side of him. Really it was just a racing incident. I was able to build a pretty good lead and win my 2nd in a row Dairyland Classic. It felt pretty good to win it again and also felt we had a great set up for Tomorrows Grand National in Gas City IN. This race track looked very similar to Plymouth . I think that is why you seen most of the tough competition there so they could gear up for tomorrows race in Gas City IN. We traveled all night long 6 hours to get to Gas City IN. This was the first time this race was a Grand National. They tried to have two hot shoe events one in 2008 and one in 2009 but both where rained out. Well things didn't pan out to well for us again as the rain came down hard and washed us out. They are going to try and reschedule the event for June 19th... which we are all hoping they can do. So we are off to a Decatur IL, Dayton OH, and Peoria IL this coming week so we will be very busy. Till next time... Jammin Jared Mees
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