Mazz-Report: My MotoAmerica race weekend at Virginia International Raceway…and my first 600 podium!
This weekend was full of excitement and a race I will never forget. It all started in the wet on Friday morning because after a long night of rain on Thursday, the track was soaked for both practices. Right off the bat I was excited because MotoAmerica had moved me up into group one with the fastest 600 riders. I lead about half the session in P1 (first place) overall and at the end ended up 5th overall and 3rd in class. I was excited because this was a great improvement from the last race at Road Atlanta.
Going out for the second session the conditions were very bad. It was almost a wet track with a few dry lines, and most of us started the session on wets. I was down in 12th position overall when I decided to come in and put on a dry rear DOT tire. I went back out on a rain front and DOT rear and almost topped the charts, finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in class. This was awesome. I knew this was just a practice session but if I could repeat my performance in Saturday’s qualifying session, I could be on the front row for the race. So, I slept on a lot of thoughts and was patiently waiting for Saturday morning.
Saturday morning dawned cloudy. It had rained on Friday night again and the track was in the same condition as Friday. As the session started I decided to wait until there was a dry enough line to go out on full DOT setup. With 20 minutes remaining I went out and at the end of the session I was 6th overall and 2nd in class. I was so excited. Using my Yamaha Champions Riding School techniques, I had stayed upright in the tricky conditions, qualifying on the second row of my second race weekend!
The track dried quickly as the sun soon appeared. In no time it was race time. I was so nervous but I knew I had the capability to be in the top three. I got an excellent launch into turn one at the start of the race and when a couple riders ahead of me ran wide, I slipped up the inside. I almost got the hole shot but the SuperSport bikes beat me to turn three.
I ran in 4th overall until Michael Gilbert came by mid-way through the race. Then there was a battle because the top six SuperStock riders were right behind me. Going onto the last lap I was in 5th place. I passed two riders into turn four thanks to the crisp acceleration with the new Hindle pipe. Now I was third. I had a podium position but I wanted more. I broke very deep into turn 12 and made a pass for 2nd. It was a gamble braking that hard but I was confident and my SBS brakes gave me the power to stop. I crossed the finish line in 2nd position and 5th overall. I was so excited as this was my first podium on the middle-weight bike.
Sunday morning was dry from the beginning. Practice went ok as we were 4th. During the long wait before the race I got to meet a lot of young fans and it was awesome. I had a great feeling of pride to be on the podium because it took a lot of hard work by my team, especially considering our shoe-string budget.
Time for race two! As I pulled out of the pits on the warm up lap I was very sure the pace would be faster today. I got another great launch and led the SuperStock class for a while but I slipped back a couple positions and was fighting for 5th as the top riders broke away. The pace was almost two seconds faster than Saturday and I just didn’t have the pace.
I think if I was better prepared, fitness wise, I could have gone with the leaders but after crashing out of my first race in Atlanta and having two broken bones in my foot, I thought it was better to take the top five and go home with a motorcycle in one piece. I finished the race in 5th place and I was exhausted! Riding that fast for 20 laps was tough. I couldn’t train very much due to my foot, but now I knew I needed to train harder, eat better, and want it more than anyone else. I proved that I have the capability to be there so now it’s up to me to make it happen.
The Champions Habits from ChampSchool that were most important to my success this weekend were “Lack of Abruptness” and “The Head Drop”. YCRS teaches that the first thing a rider or racer needs to learn is how to be smooth. If I was abrupt at all during those first days when it was wet, I would have surely found myself on the ground. Having a plan that included focusing on smoothness with all of my control inputs was key. The “Head Drop” was key in that when I want to exit the corner, especially in the wet, dropping my head just a little extra to the inside of the bike at corner-exit pushes the bike up onto the meat of the tire and allows me to accelerate with more rubber on the pavement, giving me more traction. I highly recommend practicing these two techniques when riding or racing.
We are really hoping to get funding to make the west coast rounds in Utah, Sonoma, and Laguna, but it’s not looking good. As of right now, our next race would be at Pitt Race near Pittsburgh, PA in August. I can’t thank everyone enough for getting me this far.
- Mazziotto Racing (Mom and Dad)
- Yamaha Champions Riding School for giving me the techniques to be faster and safer.
- Dainese for keeping my body safe and looking sharp
- AGV for protecting my head and allowing me to be comfortable while I ride
- Markbilt Racebikes for building me a bullet-proof bike.
- Keith Culver of YCRS and Evolution Racing for putting this shoe-string puzzle together
- Woodcraft for making the parts to create a real race-bike.
- Hindle Pipes for making great power while sounding cool.
- N2trackdays for the quality track time
- Yamaha for making a great bike.
- SBS brake pads for helping me stop so strongly.
- Dunlop Tires for sticking so well
- Brothers BBQ for the best BBQ in the west
- JT’s Barber Shop
- Shorai power for weight loss and easy starting
- YamaLube for helping keep that bullet-proof bike…. Bullet-proof
Thanks for reading, until next time…..