Phillip Takahashi - Round 3

Round 3 at Pueblo Motorsports Park was a mixed bag for me, unfortunately leaning towards disappointment but its not all gloom and doom!No practice fri and moderate exhaustion left me feeling uncoordinated and off pace Saturday. Saturday morning practice I was unconfident in my lines and general riding. I couldnt find comfort leaning off the bike and it caused me to be far too tense making my exhaustion worse. I was scared of T1 and I kept turning in far too early in T5,T6, T9, and T10. Thats 50% of the tracks turns that I couldnt get under my belt. My riding was off my normal enough that others even mentioned I didnt look like me out there. Further proof of my general being "not there" this round, I completely forgot to get my grids AND to turn on my camera at all Saturday. Thank you team mate Kevin Madden for saving my bacon in Race 1.Race 1 was Middle Weight Super Sport. Did my best to clear my head and charged into T1 with the crowd. I was having fun mixing it up with the veteran experts and thankfully general traffic kept things down enough for me to be comfortable. Unfortunately my fear of T1 reared its head and I shot myself off course at about 70-80mph into the land mine field of gopher holes that is Pueblos run off. Thankfully I met no "mines" and pulled back onto track safely and thoroughly upset with myself. Pulled myself back from position 21 back up to 13th, salvaging at least some dignityRace 2 was Middle Weight Endurance, a perfect chance to lay down some laps and find myself again. Unfortunately I must have been looking at a pre-grid. Pulling up to "my spot" and finding it occupied earned me a 1 way ticket to the back of the grid. I pushed the irritation out of my mind and scooted to the back to try to turn some laps. Unfortunately I continued to ride awkwardly as exhaustion worsened andI didnt benefit as much as I wanted, unable to ride good lines and brake zones. Managed to drag myself from dead last (28th) to 12th place.Rain that evening forced an outting for dinner. Which I think was beneficial for me. Was a nice excuse to get a real meal (not to knock on my hot dog diet during the weekends) as well as some breakfast left overs and crash early for the night.Saturday morning; what...A....DIFFERENCE GOOD REST MADE. Practice was immediately better. I no longer feared T1 entry, I started to find speed in T3/T4, and I put myself back on the race line in the back half of the course!Race 3 for the weekend was Amateur GTU. Launched alright and settled in. Matt Neuberger rocketed off into the sunrise leaving me to try to fight LJ Elder and Dan Spurlock for a podium! Unfortunately I spent a majority of the race up LJs tail, but couldnt find my way around safely. Dan found his way around both of us though, leaving me in 4th, just shy of my podium. Greatly disappointed but is certainly a push for me to work on my racecraft!Race 4 was Modern Vintage GTU, a chance for redemption! This is my class. And to match the theme of that weekend, I botched the start...BAD. Entered T1 in 3rd (nearly 4th but chose to push the inside to make up lost time). Spent all of lap 1 trying to dance around Scott Weitmann but wasnt able to find my way in until our second pass through T1. Aaron Hersh had a good lead on me, so I just put my head down and rode my line. After 1 lap I saw I was closer. Third lap had me closer still, I could see his number plates! Lap 4 by T3 I was in range, I had an opportunity for

first! And then I broke focus for just a fraction of a second and turned in early on T6 trying to chase instead of riding my line, forcing my exit wide and off the track. Keptmy second dirt bike expedition upright but I fell back to 3rd by the time I pulled on again with a moderate gap to 2nd. I charged hard and managed to take 2nd back with two laps to go.Race 5 was Amateur GTO, just a fun class for me. Spent a good chunk of this race staring up the tail pipe of LJ elder and Dan Spurlock again and a few others. Had a fun little train of about 4-5 of us going behind I think an R1! Never did find my way around that little cluster and ended up in 13th out of a field of 30.Race 6 was Modern Vintage GTO. Typically a fun class but Aaron Hersh had a theory that us little guys could pull up into the podium. By the end of lap 1 Aaron and I heldP3 and P4. And by the end of T3 of Lap 2 we held P2 and P3! Lambert (1st) was longgone, but I wanted that second! I spent the whole race Right up Aarons tail pipe trying to find my way around, but some good riding and defensive lines held me at bay. Jay Hollman made an appearance with us in the second half of the race but I was just able to hold him off with a superior drive out of T2 having to retake my P3 twice! I have to fess up to a bad pass the second time. We came up on lap traffic in T2/3, and as I drove into T3 to make the same pass as before, our lapee parked it and I was forced to stand it up and go wide through the turn, unfortunately also standing Jay up. Thankfully Jay rode out a little dirt session without incident. Very sorry buddy and thank you for being a great guy about it, I certainly owe you a beer! Pulled my way back up to behind Aaron for an unexpected third place in this race!All in all a truly mixed weekend. I am definitely displeased with my Saturday performance, and though I rode well Sunday, my mistakes and lack of race craft added up to sub par results. Ill be sure to take the lessons I learned and apply them to the next rounds. This round will only be a true failure if I didnt learn and grow as a racer! Im still hungry for another taste of first, round 4 here I come!Thank you as always to my sponsors Pirelli, Sol Performance, Vortex Racing, Race Tech Suspension, and Hot Bodies Racing. And of course to my Legion of Speed Family! It wouldnt be the same without all of you.

Brandon Blanding - Round 2

Even though I wasn't racing at my full potential, I'm still happy with the fact that I completed all races and was able to dial in the bike a little better and gain greater feel and confidence in the new setup. I'm more so unsatisfied with myself, the reason I said this round was an eye opener is because I finally realized I need to develop a short term memory when it comes to racing crashes and needed to get out of this funk I was in from my season ending crash from last year.