JD Beach Barber Motorsports Park Race Report

JD Beach Barber 2

We are halfway through the season now following the races at Barber Motorsports Park. It was a hot and humid weekend, but I would trade that any day for the weather we had at Road America. This time of year is my favorite, especially living where I do. The days get real long, it’s nice and hot, and that makes for some good riding.

The weekend started off as normal with Hayden Gillim and I making our way to the track on Wednesday in my van. Barber is basically our home race, and we always have friends and family come to the track. With how beautiful the track is and how great it is for watching, Hayden’s granddad, Marty, and his buddies always come. We bring an E-Z UP tent, generator, fan, and a cooler for their adult sodas. Hayden and I have a deal with them that they get our podium champagne, and they reminded me of that all weekend.

On Thursday, the setup day, you could tell the teams and workers that aren’t from the South. The humidity was getting to them, and the sweat was dripping before things even got started. Heading into the weekend, the weather was making me feel like I have been racing in British Superbike, and the forecast was calling for rain again. Wayne Rainey, Chuck Aksland, Paul Carruthers, and I determined that it was Doug Chandler’s fault it keeps raining. At VIR, the only race so far that Doug hasn’t attended, conditions were dry, so I’m sticking with that, but it is nice having Doug at the races. Basically, it was dry all weekend; a couple of rain showers but not bad.

I knew that on Friday it was going to be really important to get to work fast and put down some fast laps. In the past, Barber has never been to friendly to me, and we wanted to start the weekend off strong with some good times. Instead I think we chased our tails all day and into Saturday qualifying. Looking back, it’s kind of funny: Before the weekend, Chris Lessing’s son rode with me to the track and was asking me questions about racing. He asked if we changed the bike a lot, and I told him when you’re feeling good and fast, no, not really, but when the weekend isn’t going right, you always make more changes. We started off with the latter but pulled things together for the races.

Both races were exciting and a challenge. They were completely different, but, luckily, they both had the same outcome. During the weekend, Supersport has two races. Unlike Superbike, we have one Saturday and another Sunday. Saturdays feel like they fly by, and Sundays are very long. Once I get in my leathers on Saturday morning for qualifying, I don’t get out of them until after the race because we have a warm-up session in the middle. On Sunday, we are first on track at the crack of dawn then we don’t race until 3 p.m.

Since Sunday is such a long, hot day, I try to stay off my feet for the most part and get some rest. I spend a lot of time in the rider’s lounge laying around and watching the other races on Fans­choice.tv. Most of the time I try and take a nap, and this weekend when I did it made me real nervous for the race. I always have racing on my mind so when I was falling asleep I was thinking about the race and dreaming about it. As I was dreaming about the race I was going through turn two and tucked the front and crashed out of the lead; my whole body shook and I woke up. After that I was really worried I was going to crash in the race.

Race 1: ​Starting from fourth (second row) I was able to time the light perfect and get the holeshot. Last year racing with Dane Westby at Barber, we had the speed to stay with him but not lead so I waited until the last lap to try and make a pass and it didn’t work. So even though we didn’t have the pace, I wanted to try and lead. Then going into turn five, Josh Herrin got by me. He qualified 0.8 seconds faster than me so I was worried he would break away. We made a couple mistakes the first lap and the gap got bigger. I knew Bobby Fong and Garrett Gerloff were right on my tail.

Once Herrin started getting a little gap, I just stayed calm and started knocking out smooth laps and got onto his back wheel. As soon as I saw my first chance, I passed Josh. After that, I led a lot of laps until Josh passed me again and that let Bobby and Garrett get back with us. So as soon as Josh opened the door again, I snuck by. With two laps to go, I almost tossed it away going over the curb in the museum turn but I was able to stay in first. Going into the last lap, I knew I had to nail it to keep Josh behind me in the passing zones. Then, again, coming out the the museum turn, we had a big slide. Somehow I was able to get a good drive and bring home the win. We were able to do our fastest lap of the race on the last lap but so did Herrin and Fong.

Race 2: ​The start for race 2 wasn’t as good as race 1 but we were still fourth after the first turn. The track was really greasy, and following Fong, Herrin, and Gerloff, I seemed like the only one moving around a lot. I was trying to make passes and nothing was working. Then going down the hill on the exit of turn two, I had a huge moment and just about highsided and the front three got away. I knew I could run constant laps, and I was able to run them down after about three laps. I was sitting there trying to make a plan then going into turn five everyone decided to go wide. We went from fourth to second behind Fong then passed him going into turn one.

Once we got into the lead, I just tried to do smooth laps; there was no breaking away because how greasy the track was. Josh Herrin got into second and for about five laps in a row he would pass me going into turn five then I would turn it under him and pass him on the exit. He kept doing it until four laps to go, so I thought he was waiting. On the last lap, I knew I had to be smooth and fast, going over the hill for turn three, I had to get it perfect so Herrin couldn’t pass me, and we did. I led the whole last lap and actually set my fastest lap of the whole weekend.

Barber was a great weekend for me and the team. It was so great to get not only two more wins but also my first double (winning both races). There is just a week before I head to Miller Motorsports Park and I can’t wait. Until then, I’ll just be at home riding my bicycle with Hayden. It’s been great having him to ride with and push each other.

JD Beach Barber 2

We are halfway through the season now following the races at Barber Motorsports Park. It was a hot and humid weekend, but I would trade that any day for the weather we had at Road America. This time of year is my favorite, especially living where I do. The days get real long, it’s nice and hot, and that makes for some good riding.

The weekend started off as normal with Hayden Gillim and I making our way to the track on Wednesday in my van. Barber is basically our home race, and we always have friends and family come to the track. With how beautiful the track is and how great it is for watching, Hayden’s granddad, Marty, and his buddies always come. We bring an E-Z UP tent, generator, fan, and a cooler for their adult sodas. Hayden and I have a deal with them that they get our podium champagne, and they reminded me of that all weekend.

On Thursday, the setup day, you could tell the teams and workers that aren’t from the South. The humidity was getting to them, and the sweat was dripping before things even got started. Heading into the weekend, the weather was making me feel like I have been racing in British Superbike, and the forecast was calling for rain again. Wayne Rainey, Chuck Aksland, Paul Carruthers, and I determined that it was Doug Chandler’s fault it keeps raining. At VIR, the only race so far that Doug hasn’t attended, conditions were dry, so I’m sticking with that, but it is nice having Doug at the races. Basically, it was dry all weekend; a couple of rain showers but not bad.

I knew that on Friday it was going to be really important to get to work fast and put down some fast laps. In the past, Barber has never been to friendly to me, and we wanted to start the weekend off strong with some good times. Instead I think we chased our tails all day and into Saturday qualifying. Looking back, it’s kind of funny: Before the weekend, Chris Lessing’s son rode with me to the track and was asking me questions about racing. He asked if we changed the bike a lot, and I told him when you’re feeling good and fast, no, not really, but when the weekend isn’t going right, you always make more changes. We started off with the latter but pulled things together for the races.

Both races were exciting and a challenge. They were completely different, but, luckily, they both had the same outcome. During the weekend, Supersport has two races. Unlike Superbike, we have one Saturday and another Sunday. Saturdays feel like they fly by, and Sundays are very long. Once I get in my leathers on Saturday morning for qualifying, I don’t get out of them until after the race because we have a warm-up session in the middle. On Sunday, we are first on track at the crack of dawn then we don’t race until 3 p.m.

Since Sunday is such a long, hot day, I try to stay off my feet for the most part and get some rest. I spend a lot of time in the rider’s lounge laying around and watching the other races on Fans­choice.tv. Most of the time I try and take a nap, and this weekend when I did it made me real nervous for the race. I always have racing on my mind so when I was falling asleep I was thinking about the race and dreaming about it. As I was dreaming about the race I was going through turn two and tucked the front and crashed out of the lead; my whole body shook and I woke up. After that I was really worried I was going to crash in the race.

Race 1: ​Starting from fourth (second row) I was able to time the light perfect and get the holeshot. Last year racing with Dane Westby at Barber, we had the speed to stay with him but not lead so I waited until the last lap to try and make a pass and it didn’t work. So even though we didn’t have the pace, I wanted to try and lead. Then going into turn five, Josh Herrin got by me. He qualified 0.8 seconds faster than me so I was worried he would break away. We made a couple mistakes the first lap and the gap got bigger. I knew Bobby Fong and Garrett Gerloff were right on my tail.

Once Herrin started getting a little gap, I just stayed calm and started knocking out smooth laps and got onto his back wheel. As soon as I saw my first chance, I passed Josh. After that, I led a lot of laps until Josh passed me again and that let Bobby and Garrett get back with us. So as soon as Josh opened the door again, I snuck by. With two laps to go, I almost tossed it away going over the curb in the museum turn but I was able to stay in first. Going into the last lap, I knew I had to nail it to keep Josh behind me in the passing zones. Then, again, coming out the the museum turn, we had a big slide. Somehow I was able to get a good drive and bring home the win. We were able to do our fastest lap of the race on the last lap but so did Herrin and Fong.

Race 2: ​The start for race 2 wasn’t as good as race 1 but we were still fourth after the first turn. The track was really greasy, and following Fong, Herrin, and Gerloff, I seemed like the only one moving around a lot. I was trying to make passes and nothing was working. Then going down the hill on the exit of turn two, I had a huge moment and just about highsided and the front three got away. I knew I could run constant laps, and I was able to run them down after about three laps. I was sitting there trying to make a plan then going into turn five everyone decided to go wide. We went from fourth to second behind Fong then passed him going into turn one.

Once we got into the lead, I just tried to do smooth laps; there was no breaking away because how greasy the track was. Josh Herrin got into second and for about five laps in a row he would pass me going into turn five then I would turn it under him and pass him on the exit. He kept doing it until four laps to go, so I thought he was waiting. On the last lap, I knew I had to be smooth and fast, going over the hill for turn three, I had to get it perfect so Herrin couldn’t pass me, and we did. I led the whole last lap and actually set my fastest lap of the whole weekend.

Barber was a great weekend for me and the team. It was so great to get not only two more wins but also my first double (winning both races). There is just a week before I head to Miller Motorsports Park and I can’t wait. Until then, I’ll just be at home riding my bicycle with Hayden. It’s been great having him to ride with and push each other.