Erion Honda’s Tyler Odom came within a few tenths of scoring a point in his World Supersport debut.Odom was one of the three Americans who joined the field for the U.S. round of the series at Miller Motorsports Park. He’d qualified tops among the three, which put him on row four for his maiden World Supersport voyage.When the lights went out the racing got intense in a hurry, which was something Odom wasn’t used to.”It’s a lot different racing with these guys,” Odom said. “They’re a lot more aggressive, a lot faster.”Odom prepared for the weekend by racing in a WERA event at Miller Motorsports Park the previous week. That gave him more track time and his first taste of racing an inline four after several visits on various Ducatis. It also gave him a chance to race on Pirelli tires similar to what he’d be racing on this weekend.”They’re pretty much the same,” he said. “The rubber’s a little bit better, but they still have that flex in the carcass, so it was the same kind of feel.”Odom didn’t measure himself against many of the World Supersport regulars during practice or qualifying. In morning warm-up he was out with Parkalgar Honda’s Eugene Laverty and some of the other fast riders, “but none of them were being real aggressive so I didn’t get a feel for the kind of racing it was going to be.”What he did get a feel for was how differently the World Supersport regulars race. Most ride the 600s like 250s, rather than the point-and-shoot style of many American rider.”You see a lot of the AMA guys and they run in hard on the brakes and shoot out of the corners and stuff,” Odom said. “These guys try to make everything flow together and it’s more corner speed. It’s two different styles.”Odom found he had to “change it up a little bit when I was racing with the [Alexander Lundh]. He was holding me up in certain sections, he was faster than me in other sections. Pretty much the last two corners he had me beat. That’s where he’d gain a lot of time on me.”It was just me and him fighting it out for 15th. We were trying to reel in 14th, but it didn’t work out so well. He kinda got a good gap in the beginning.”To the final corner Odom continued to make a run at the Swedish rider, but when they crossed the line Lundh prevailed by .287 of a second.”I really wish I would’ve gotten that guy for 15th, then I’d have a scored a world point,” Odom said. “Would’ve been pretty cool. I just ran out of places to pass him. He had me figured out kind of where I was faster than him and he was shutting the door in those places, so was kind of disappointed. I had a lot of fun, though.”Budget constraints will keep Odom away from the AMA series until Laguna Seca, after which he hopes to do the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park.
Odom: Oh So Close
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.