Saddlemen

Race Report from WORCS Round Eight: Kyle Mercier

| 21 November 2016 6:09 pm

WORCS Series
Round 8: Glen Helen Raceway

By Kyle Mercier
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
SAN BERNARDINO, CA, SEPT. 17-18, 2016

Kyle Mercier (foreground) in action at the eighth WORCS round.

Kyle Mercier (foreground) in action at the eighth WORCS round.

Kyle Mercier’s number 247 race bike.

Kyle Mercier’s number 247 race bike.

Race Report by Kyle Mercier, 450cc A Class
Saturday, September 17, would be my first race of the weekend, with me having an hour-long race in the 450cc A class at round eight of the WORCS Series at Glen Helen Raceway.

The morning started off well, as I woke up with my friend Christian to make a few eggs, drink some coffee, and stretch a little. I then went on a mountain-bike ride to get my legs loose and body warmed up. I was geared up by 8 a.m., when I went to watch my buddy take off for his Open C race.

I looked at a few outside lines that would still be good for my race coming up at 9:10 a.m. After looking for lines, I went back to the truck and talked to a few friends and family members that came to watch my race and then headed up to the line.

I picked an inside gate with a straight line to the first corner. By the time I took off and came to the first turn, I was in sixth or seventh place and wanted to make quick passes to get ahead of the dust and crashes.

Thirty minutes into the race, I found myself in the third spot. I had about 20 seconds over fourth and rode the last two laps smooth, with no problems.

The track was very short this year, with the layout that seemed to take you from the moto track to a few small rock sections, then made its way to the truck track and a few long straights back to the moto track.

Before I knew it, Sunday came around, with me waking up at 7 a.m. very excited for the Pro 2 race, with my body feeling very good after three days of riding. I did a little bit of a warm-up and a stretch before going to the riders’ meeting at 9 a.m.

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I went up to the starting line to pick my gate, which was going to be a motocross-style gate drop. I lined up on the outside in hopes of railing around the bottleneck of riders on the inside of the first corner.

At 11:10, I went out for my site lap, and the bike felt a little bit off; [I thought] it was just the new brake pads we put on after Saturday’s races.

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The gate dropped at 11:20, with me holding the KTM 300 tapped all the way around the first Talladega corner, leading me up the first hill in fourth place. Seeing the opportunity to charge to the inside to make a pass or two before the longest uphill on the track, I dove to the inside and tried to lock up the brakes hard and quickly realized I had no back brakes. I hit the inside berm and jumped all the way to the outside berm as I got hit by the third-place rider. The other rider and I were very slow to get back up, and we were in last place. My bike was feeling a little bit off, but I still couldn’t put the problem together. I rode the next two hours of the race with no rear brakes.

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Focused on being very smooth with the gas and light on the brakes led me to a race I wasn’t hoping for. The track had a tricky Pro section that was tough the whole race. I ended up managing a smooth race, which ended with me somewhere around eighth or ninth position overall.

After the race, I realized I had a bad rear-brake rotor and that I should’ve pulled into the pits after the first lap and made a rear-tire change. It was a tough way to learn, but I’m looking forward to my next race and moving forward and to not make the same mistake again.

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Thanks to Chris Blais for letting me race the KTM 300, [and for] all the advice throughout the weekend. I’m feeling more and more comfortable with the new bike setup, thanks to all the Blais Racing Team sponsors.

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Category: Cross Country, National, POV, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV, Riders' Race Reports

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