District 37 Racing
Shamrocks Motorcycle Club Desert Scrambles at Stoddard Wells OHV Area
By Harry Lyles
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
BARSTOW, CA, SEPT. 27-28, 2014
Race Report by Harry Lyles, 250cc A
After a frustrating weekend at the Yerington National Hare and Hound, I knew I had to go back to the basics and do some suspension testing. I drove up Saturday morning to meet with my dad with intentions of getting my bike dialed. We opted for North Anderson, since it would be best to test in an area at which we frequently race. After tinkering around with the forks, we found the problem that had caused the harshness in my forks at the previous race. We packed it up and came home to an amazing Italian dinner prepped by my wonderful mom!
I always get stoked about racing on the weekends, because it means that I get to spend time with my mom, dad, and off-road family. It is something I deeply cherish, since I don’t live in the high desert anymore and I’m always busy with college stuff.
We got to Slash X early for the Shamrocks Desert Scrambles, and I was able find a sweet line up the middle after a few practice bomb runs. Usually I sit on the line with a bit of nerves, but this time I was completely calm and focused. After looking back and analyzing my race, I know exactly why: I was confident. I knew I was fit and I had one of the best-built machines out there!
I’ve taken many business courses at school, and I’ve had multiple professors of mine tell me that successful people visualize success. I applied this knowledge to what was right in front of me – the start. In my head, I began to go through the motions of the banner dropping, me launching off the start, grabbing gears, and ultimately getting to the bomb with the top guys.
The banner dropped, and I was the first to my line, with a killer power wheelie. My line merged with another and I was slightly pinched off into the bushes. I battled my way through the creosote and found a smooth line and took it up the sand wash to the rocky hill. I managed to get to the top of the hill, which was the end of the bomb, in fifth. I picked a nice line on the score road that we quickly jump in at the top of the hill, passing two guys in the process.
I couldn’t believe I was running third overall! I quickly pushed the thought out of my head and began to focus on the trail and my breathing.
The top two, Nick Burson and my teammate Ben Meza, on our teammate Skyler Howes’ 300 XC, had crept away. I rode about five or six more miles until I turned around and didn’t see much dust, but [that was deceptive, because it was] due to the winds on the ridges. Brandon Krause was right on me! We dropped off a fast, rocky, downhill hill, and he got around me in the flats. Not long after Brandon, Chance Wyllie came by on his 250. This got me going, and we diced back and forth a few times until he made the pass stick. I then started to notice I was riding a little tighter than I was, which in turn was causing me to make a few mistakes, which led to Paul Krause passing me.
I told myself to relax and focus on my breathing to loosen up a bit. We went through some nasty rock gardens, and I soon began to see some dust again. The dust belonged to Chance, and he was riding on a flat. He turned around, and as I was going make a pass on him, he automatically was put back into race mode. I took his roost and dust all the way until the pits, where I got a quick pit from my dad and Don Meza, which put me ahead of Chance.
I ripped up the start for lap two, and when I got to the end, Brian Whiteside scared me with a pass that was within inches of me, going about 60 mph! Not long after, Brian faced the same flat-tire fate that Chance did a couple miles down the trail. He slowed down and I got around him after the first check, on our last lap. A minute later, I turned around and he was still there, charging with his blown-out tire. I grabbed a handful and twisted it to the end of the race, mistake-free.
I ended up crossing the finish line in fifth overall and first place 250 – my best desert finish to date! I came into our pit and discovered that my teammate Ben was able to hold on for his best-ever finish, with a second place overall! We all packed up and ended our crazy day at the Slash X for some lunch and celebration.
Success for anyone does not come easy, especially racing motorcycles, and after reflecting some more, I personally believe that [the reason] Ben and I did so well is because of our confidence in our machines and ourselves. Whether you’re young, old, novice or pro, you need to be prepared and have the confidence to do well. Time in the gym, the garage wrenching, and the in-the-saddle [time] will only help you become a better rider, which ultimately builds your self-esteem on the bike. If you come to the races prepared with your equipment, bike, body and mentality, your potential is limitless.
Special thanks to the Shamrocks MC for such a fun course, which I am sure was challenging for everyone. Another special thanks to all of the amazing people behind me: my mom, my dad, Chris and Patty Blais, and the rest of my amazing sponsors – Blais Racing, Fasst Co., Race Tech, ESR, Troy Lee Designs, Muscle Milk, Cytomax, VonZipper, Dirt Tricks, No Toil, Kenda, and FMF. Without you, I wouldn’t be dicing it up with my buddies! Thank you!
[For more from this event, please see “Race Report from the Shamrocks Scrambles, Take One: Ben Meza” … Editor]