Saddlemen

Race Report from the WORCS Finale: Kyle Mercier

| 23 November 2016 8:36 am

WORCS Series
Round 9: Buffalo Bill’s Stateline

By Kyle Mercier
Photo by Jenae255
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
PRIMM, NV, OCT. 22-23, 2016

Race Report by Kyle Mercier, 450cc A/Pro 2 Class
The WORCS race at Buffalo Bill’s Stateline has always been one of my favorite top three tracks of the year.

With the event kicking off Friday afternoon for practice, everything felt very good. I tried out a few settings with the front forks in practice and found a setup I was comfortable with.

As it came to race day Saturday morning, I prepared with a good stretch with my lower back and legs, following up with a light jog. I was warmed up and looking forward to see what I could accomplish on the day!

Kyle Mercier in action at the WORCS finale in Primm, Nevada.

Kyle Mercier in action at the WORCS finale in Primm, Nevada.

By 11 o’clock, the race was taking off. I approached the start from the total outside with hopes of not hitting all the breaker bumps and acceleration bumps for the first corner. My plan quickly worked, with me getting a second-place start, but unfortunately I fell down later that lap and saw myself slip back to ninth, with a lot of energy wasted. I took a deep breath and knew I needed to pace myself and not throw away the race.

For the first four laps, I felt very strong, slowly picking off racers and not getting pulled too much; only first and second place were out of reach by the time there was 15 minutes left in the hour-long moto.

With one more lap to go, I got a little bit out of control and unfortunately gave up the third-place position, ending up with fourth overall in 450cc A.

After the moto, I looked back at the race and realized I was using a lot more energy than normal. With the Stateline track being by far one of the roughest and most sandy tracks I’ve raced on my new 2017 300 XC, it was a test to the suspension, for sure. I had a talk with my team manager, Chris Blais, and we loaded up my bike in the trailer and went down the street to do some testing and get dialed in for Sunday’s Pro 2 race.

Feeling beat after the hour race, I pulled it together and ended up stiffening the front and rear end of my motorcycle. We got back to camp. I got some dinner, hung out with family, and got to bed early for Sunday’s race.

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The Pro race was cut to 90 minutes instead of the 120 minutes we normally race. This changed my game plan a little, to ride hard the first hour and to just push myself through the last 30 minutes.

Once again, I lined up on the outside, where I’m most comfortable, with a smooth shot at the first corner. This was a dead-engine start, and I quickly started my bike and was the first rider to the first corner. Feeling good about the bike changes and being in the lead, I knew I had to focus on myself and stay away from any wasted energy such as a crash or blowing a corner.

By the end of the first lap, second and third place were right on me.

On lap two, I got passed for first place and realized I didn’t have what it would take to compete for the overall victory. I wasn’t able to stand around the whole track, and unfortunately for me it cost me, getting passed again on lap three by another KTM racer.

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Halfway through the race, I knew I was in third place, and I would do everything I could to not fall back any more. I pulled myself together and tried to stay strong, with second place about 10 seconds in front and fourth place not to be seen behind me. I would be riding my own race against myself to not make mistakes.

Overall, it was a great weekend, and I learned the most I have from one race all season. Chris Blais really made me feel a lot more comfortable and prepared, with his knowledge on the suspension. It helped out a lot on Sunday’s race, and it was a direct result of me riding a much better pace.

I am looking forward to the 2017 WORCS season and will continue to prepare and race every weekend I can until 2017 for overall experience.

Once again, a huge thank-you to Chris for teaching my dad and me so much over the past two months. It been a good time and I’m wanting to race more and more. I’d like to thank all my sponsors: Blais Racing Services, Troy Lee Designs, Morrow Meadows Corporation, and my mom and dad for their commitment to do all they can so I can chase my dream.

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Category: National, Off-Road, POV, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV, Riders' Race Reports

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