SAVANNAH GA – DAYTONA BIKE WEEK – AND SAN JOSE INDOOR
It was finally here!! After a brutally cold winter up here in Michigan, we were looking forward to going down South. Even if it had rained the entire time down there, it would have been nice, just to have something in positive digits for temperature.
We went straight to the Florida-Georgia border to do some testing on the 450s. Testing went well and I felt really good with some of the changes we made. It started to rain so the next day we drove to Savannah where we were going to test the 750s. Unfortunately, it got rained out. The next day, Thursday, we were looking to get on the track but were rained out again. The scheduled race on Friday was rained out as well. This did not bode well but Steve Nace arranged for us to race on Saturday after the amateurs’ race.
It was quite late Saturday night when we got on the track, the crew having done the best they could for us. I ended up getting two Seconds and a Third for the night, holding my breath the whole time, going at 100 mph. Having to race Saturday night meant we would have to travel all night to Daytona in order to race in Barberville FL the next day. We got to the hotel around 6:00 am and had to be at the Volusia track around 10:30 am. So basically all I had time for was to get a shower and take a one hour nap.
The weather was perfect for the Volusia race I won my Heat on the 750 and got a 2nd on the 450. I also won my Heat on the Super Singles class. In the 450 Main Event I got a good start and then Sammy Halbert gave me a shove off the groove. I caught up and, had I had one more lap to go, would have been able to pass him back. So I got a 2nd in the 450s. I won the Super Singles Race. However i the Twins race we gambled with a rear tire and it back-fired on us. We struggled and ended up with a 4th.place finish.
The next day we cruised over to the Tampa area to do some more testing on the 450s. They felt good and were looking forward to the Nationals. After cleaning up the bikes we went to the Harley Shop to sign some autographs in the “Race Pro” tent of Rob Hassay.
The Daytona Short Track has always been a tough race for me. I qualified 20th overall the first day, which meant starting from the back row in the Heat, not where one wants to be on this track. I did get a good jump from the 2nd row and was working my way forward, got up to 3rd which got me in the Main Event. In the Final we made a couple of small changes and felt ready. I felt good the entire race, dicing back and forth, making some gains, ending 5th. Not a bad start for the season for the first night!
The second night was a nightmare. I qualified even worse…25th, and I wasn’t able to make it out of the Heat race or the Semi!! I had to use my provisional start card. We flipped the bike upside down before the Main Event to see if we could get somewhere, basically going back to the old set-up I have used in the past. In the Final, starting from the very back I was able
To move forward, ending up 12th. It was somewhat of a struggle but overall not so terrible.
On the way home we had a bit of car trouble, breaking the serpentine belt. I enjoy working on motorcycles, but hate working on cars. Not to mention that this happened in Kentucky and it was freezing cold there. So I had to put my mechanic skills to work–LOL, but I got it done and were back on our way home.
At home the next weekend I was still able to ride on ice. However, I am over ice riding this year!! Please, ice, get out of here. Enough!
The last seven years of so, shortly after Daytona, I go to San Jose CA for the Legends Indoor race. Pete and his wife Dianne, of P & D Promotions, do a great job and round up a nice purse. I enjoy racing on concrete,something I did growing up. I flew out a couple of days early to get away from the brutal Michigan weather, still cold and rainy. In California I was able to prep the bike and have Jimmy Wooed of Race Tech dial in the suspension. On Friday we were able to get a couple of laps of practice and everything felt ready.
Practice went well and I was able to turn the fastest lap for a one lap time trial, putting me in the first Heat race and the pole for the Dash. I won the Heat race and was fast time for the Main Event. I got the hole shot in the Dash and won it. It was “winner take all” so, thank you to the promoters, and to all the fans and supporters who donated, making this a very nice purse.
In the Main Event things were looking good. I got the hole shot and was checking out. I came upon a lapper and tried to turn under him quickly but caught the inside marker on the track, tripped the front end and went down. I picked up myself and the bike right away with it still running, but lost one spot to Mikey Rush. I ran him back down and went to pass him but got stuck to him and shot into the infield. I was able to come back quickly onto the track and not lose any spots. But in the end, I got a 2nd to Mikey, It was one heck of a race.
Thanks again to Pete and Dianne for making it worth the trip.
My next race won’t be for a few weeks–at Willow Springs. So until then it will be yard work and getting bikes ready.
Thank you to all the supporters and fans.
Jared Mees # 9