11/9/16

Travis Taylor




Hey FTWCO team!
I've got some photos from August here, all thanks to Mr. Len Beech. I'm sure he shoots digital, but he walks around before every District 6 or 7 race with a huge binder of 4x6 prints he sells for a dollar each. It makes me wonder how long he's been doing it. Flat track is certainly rich in heritage and tradition, which is certainly a component of the experience that I've grown to love. 
I caught the fourth and last race of the Timonium, MD series on Friday August 12, and had a great time as usual. Taking off work to go racing; not much is better than that! I took advantage of an opportunity into the first turn of my heat race, and nearly finished second, until she got around on me and I lost some ground. We paused for way too long, just to watch a storm roll by in the distance, but still had plenty of time to get the program in. I picked up some helpful tips from local fast guy Nick Henderson, and made some improvements in the main. I drank a gallon of water, easily. 
When I got home, sometime around midnight, I asked Kelly if she wanted to go racing the next day. She seemed agreeable, so I left everything on the truck. The following morning, we headed up to Reading, PA for the short track they host as an attraction during the fair. We went through a hell of a storm along the way, and I hoped it wasn't following us. It must have been the hottest day of the year, and humid. We got through one practice session, and then it started to rain. The breeze was refreshing, but once it let up, the humidity was unbearable. Don't talk about it, don't even think about it. That's the only solution to that problem. Everyone was concerned about the condition of the clay track, but hopeful. The prep guys got to work turning laps in their crumpled, stained machines and soon surprised us all. Somehow the track was even better than the first practice session! It wasn't bad before, but it felt amazing, and I really enjoyed it. With much longer straights than most super-short short tracks that we race, it seemed narrow, but I really enjoyed it. 
My heats were much later, so we got to sit back and enjoy about half of the program. Then it started to rain again, and this time it wasn't letting up. Even a little would have been too much, and it wasn't just a little. The generous decision was made to pay off the heats run, and refunds for those who didn't get to race at all.  That was very cool, but I wished it hadn't rained!  I let them know how much I liked it, and was advised they were going to try for 2 events next year. We decided to stop at a Macaroni Grill on the way home, as I had a pocket full of money that was already spent. I think Kelly said something like "I've never gone to dinner this sweaty before". I must have eaten 15 cloves of garlic, I ate absolutely everything. We had a great time!
Two weeks later, we went to Delta, PA. Another tiny short track, and one that I've spent the most time on. For some reason, it was super slippery this time.  That initial moment of getting acquainted with the surface made me feel like it was my first time, and I didn't seem to be alone. Considering some of the moments (saves) I had, I considered it a victory not falling in practice. I think I was one of the few who didn't. I found myself next to one of the fastest young guys in my class and asked what tire pressure he was running. He advised  "14... that's what my dad told me to run anyway!" I said "Me too!" and figured I'd leave well enough alone. Everybody was having a rough time. It was all about finesse.
I'm not sure if something changed with the class I run, but I noticed there were a lot of younger riders, compared to what I've seen in the past. Kids 12 and up on 125cc two-strokes, stepping up from 7-11 85cc. I think I'm going to start running the 30+ class, because it's inhibiting to worry about the other racer being essentially a children, with their whole life ahead of them.  In the main, a young girl fell immediately in front of me heading into turn one. I barely avoided her, my hot shoe clinking lightly against her helmet as I lifted my foot over her head.  It was just enough contact to let me know I was that close, and I was as far away as I could get in that instant!  She was fine and the race continued, but that one will stick with me. Things happen in racing for sure, but risk mitigation is important to consider as well.
A sobering note to leave things on perhaps, but I've got to keep that thought in mind. Historical data will show that October has not been kind to my body in the past, and I am planning to have the metal removed from my leg in November.  In July, Kelly and I found out that we're going to have a little one of our very own come April. I'm stoked on that! Doesn't seem real yet, but I'm trying to act accordingly. 
This Sunday 9/16 is Piston Poppers TT in Parkesburg, PA and next weekend is Full Circle V-Twin Fall Dirt Day in Hagerstown, MD. It's gonna be a two-day event with practice Saturday 9/23 at noon, a band and camping that evening, and a catered full-on race event Sunday 9/24. Also, I picked up a cheap WR250F project. It was stolen away to Baltimore and wheelied until the cams shredded the head for lack of oil. There are still glimpses of the nice bike it used to be, and it's got a street title. So I've got alot to look forward to!
Thanks as always for your continued support. Cheers!
Travis