LIMA, OHIO – JUNE 29 – Matt Weidman experienced both the extreme highs and lows often associated with racing all in one afternoon. The GCR/White’s Harley-Davidson rider topped timed qualifying this afternoon at the Lima Half-Mile, being the only rider to get into the 26-second bracket with a 26.689. Then in the second session it all went wrong for Weidman. He lost control of his bike and crashed into the fence on the outside of turn two.
As he learned he topped qualifying, he was being transported to the hospital with a suspected broken right foot and broken collarbone. He will be unable to race tonight.
With Weidman out that left Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Henry Wiles the fastest qualifier with a 27.138. Brad Baker, riding on a Harley-Davidson that sat idle for two years, was the surprise of the day clocking a 27.193 on his Mark Cheza-tuned XR750 to clock the third fastest time.
“Stupid is what happened,” a frustrated Weidman said as he was leaving for the hospital. “I had the fast qualifying from the first session. I thought I’d try my other bike. It wasn’t working and I pushed it too hard and got into the fence. It’s not a good thing.”
Wiles said, in spite of his solid session, he was frustrated with the track conditions in qualifying.
“I don’t know if they watered it before our session, but it didn’t seem like it,” Wiles said. “But in the big picture qualifying doesn’t mean that much. I’m sure we’ll be there tonight when it counts. They normally always get the track prepped well for the final, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure conditions will change a lot.”
Baker, who earlier this week lost his ride with Kenny Tolbert’s Kawasaki team due to lack of funding, was riding a Harley-Davidson last raced by Joe Kopp two years ago. Yet in spite of the bike being in storage, his tuner Mark Cheza was able to give last year’s Rookie of the Year a competitive motorcycle, he was fastest in the second session and third overall.
The mere fact that they are holding a race is a minor miracle. Lima went through strong thunderstorms on Friday and major parts of the town are still without power. In spite of yesterday’s rain, riders reported the track as dry and dusty.
Opening ceremonies get underway at 7 p.m. ET tonight.