After an eventful drive that started at 4am this morning, the Two Wheel Power Hour has now made its presence known in the MotoAmerica paddock for the first time this season. Because I wanted to get my credentials on Friday I left Youngstown plenty early at 4am….or so I thought. The trip was uneventful until I got on to the West Virginia Turnpike. A mile or so before the first toll booth, traffic came to a standstill….and stayed that way for almost an hour and a half. My car moved a total of ten feet during that time. A tractor trailer had crashed just south of the tollbooth, and the turnpike runs through some very rugged terrain that is not easy to access from surface roads. Once that mess was in the rear view mirror the rest of the trip was uneventful. However I had to hustle to make it to the track in time to pick up my credentials before the booth closed. Fortunately I did not hit any additional snags and made it to VIR around 330pm. A constant drizzle was coming down when I arrived and it remained that way until a downpour started right after KTM RC390 qualifying ended.
After I got to the track I was able to spend some time catching up with friends of the Two Wheel Power Hour in the MotoAmerica paddock. My first stop was the Kyle Wyman Racing tent. Kyle was in good spirits and reported being much more comfortable with his Yamaha R1 superbike this season. Kyle finished the second practice session P2 in mixed conditions, and was on his way to a kick-off event at a local motorcycle dealer when we parted ways. My next stop was the Wissel Racing tent. I spent some time chatting with the Wissel brothers’ crew chief and father Matt. Both of the twins have moved up the time sheets from last season. I also swung by the Anthony Racing set-up to chat with Gavin and Adam. Gavin took P2 in KTM RC390 Cup qualifying today, with another qualifying session coming tomorrow morning.
The day was defined by the weather. Mixed conditions governed the track from start to end. Time sheets for both the Motul Superbike and Supersport classes lacked any definition. Riders who were leading in the first practice were closer to the bottom in second practice. The two Yoshimura Suzukis of Roger Lee Hayden and Toni Elias came in P2 and P3, respectively in the first practice session. In the second session, Elias was P6 and Roger P11. The Graves Yamahas of Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier were P11 and P6, respectively, in first practice. In second practice, they were P4 and P3 with the R1s of the aforementioned Kyle Wyman and session-leader Josh Herrin in front of them. Conditions are expected to be similar tomorrow with less rain but the same temperatures. If the track does not dry out overnight, it could make for tricky conditions for tomorrow’s Supersport/Superstock 600 qualifying and KTM RC390 Cup qualifying in the morning.
Overall, the best part of the day was just being back in the MotoAmerica paddock. It is always good to be at any race track. For me though, MotoAmerica is a unique environment that means so much more to me. Maybe it is the effort I put into writing my strategic plan for the sport a few years back. Maybe it is that it is our national series and that stirs my sense of pride. Or maybe it is the people I got to know in the paddock last year and the sense of community I perceive as I walk about the paddock. In any event, MotoAmerica will always have a special place in my heart because of what it is and what it has overcome to reach its current level of success. I am so happy to be covering it again this year, and am looking forward to catching up with more people I know and bringing Two Wheel Power Hour listeners more stories from the paddock on Saturday.