Photobomb by Ange
John and Bobby
John and Scotty
OK here is my excuse for not writing a blog sooner. Working 18 hours daily to get bikes done for Gainesville is the excuse. Sorry folks and I am going to make a conscious effort to do a better job. I am going to set alerts on my iPhone if I have to. So the question is what have we had to do for 18 hours a day. I guess the real question is what haven’t we had to do. With Matt decided late in January that he wanted to retire his Championship bike as is that left us one bike short. He made a call to Michael Furick at Good Fabs to get another chassis on order. With “Dogg” as we call him having a day job he had to spend all of his free time meaning weekends and weeknights working on Matt’s bike. After three weeks of working extremely hard Dogg finally finished it on March 3. Dogg’s work was complete but our work was just beginning.
The bike arrived early that morning and the first order of business was getting a motor in the chassis. All of these bikes are built the same so with a little finesse here and there the motor goes right in. A new wiring harness was installed and a new Racepak as well. Now all of this seems so simple and after Matt has done the amount that he has it is but just time consuming. So by Friday we were ready to fire the new bike up. We had a few minor glitches but nothing we didn’t work out. We put testing motors in all of the bikes and headed down to Bradenton for a few days of warm weather and testing of course. Matt elected to go to Bradenton because the majority of Pro Stock cars were testing and they give us a pretty good reference with their elapsed times.
When we pulled out of N.C., it was 28 degrees with snow on the ground. When we approached the Florida line the temperature gauge said 72. I was a happy girl. We got to Bradenton on Sunday afternoon. We got things set up for testing. Monday and Tuesday were long but useful testing days. With Matt and John testing we made a total of 17 passes down the track and we tested 5 motors. Needless to say we worked our butts off. It paid off. While we were getting phone calls of all the fast times being laid down in Valdosta we needed to lay some down also. John finished his test session with several mid 6.80 passes. Matt had several great laps also but the final pass he went 6.82 at 195 and then he made the decision we were done testing. We had accomplished what he wanted in testing which was basically getting tune-ups on motors. We packed all of our stuff up and headed to Gainesville.
After a lengthy Thursday we got all of the bikes through technical inspection and body template. We were ready to make some noise on the track and compare our testing numbers. When the scoreboard said 6.80 after first round Matt was pretty stoked with being No. 1. On the second run Matt’s motor broke a rocker arm. Luckily he heard the bike go to one cylinder before he staged the bike and shut it off. It was a minor fix and we were ready for 2 more rounds of qualifying within an hour of getting back to the pits. After all the dust had settled Michael Ray snagged the No. 1 spot from Matt. Great job to him. I think it was the green shirt that he had to sport on Friday that gave him that little bit of luck before St. Patrick’s Day. Matt, John, and Scotty all qualified in the top half of the field. That says a lot for this MSR team.
On Sunday everyone on this team had fast motorcycles. Johnny Hall was low e.t. 1st round of eliminations then Matt second round. It was that much dreaded red light that sent Matt home early. It was a great possibility that we were going to have 3 bikes in the semifinals until that happened. But that’s why they call it racing. John and Scotty had to race each other in the semi’s. What a drag race that was. The e.t.s were separated by two-hundredths and it was basically decided on the starting line. Scotty moved on to the final. It was Scotty’s second final with MSR. We were hoping he could pull it off. Well I will say he absolutely did his job and the bike didn’t shift. He hit the button at the right time and as I say the planets just lined up right and it didn’t shift. I felt so bad for him but the first thing I said to him was he did a great job and he was leaving Gainesville 2nd in points. That is definitely NOTHING to complain about there. All of the bikes left Gainesville in the top 7 in points. Not too shabby for losing a sponsor three weeks before Gainesville. We are still looking for marketing partners to jump on with us. We have a lot to offer and a Championship to defend.
Well it’s the off-season and sometimes one of the busiest times of the year for race teams. Now is the time to do all of that much needed research and development to be able to compete the next season. It is also time for a little fun in the sun for MSR. Since our business week starts in late February with testing and doesn’t end until mid-November there is no time for a vacation in the real summer. So we have to get out of here and go south to find some warm temperatures and some beautiful beaches and that’s just what we did.
We scheduled this vacation in May not knowing how many of us would be going to Antigua. We picked Antigua because the Caribbean is absolutely beautiful and warm in January. We also chose it because it was a new destination that none of us had visited. After all the reservations were made there was a group of ten of us going. Colbert, Pam, John, Ivette, Susan, Scotty, Bobby, Jess, Matt and myself and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen on this trip with all of these crazy people together. Sandals Grande Antigua was our destination and it was definitely going to be a good time.
Colbert arrived a day early. I guess he wanted to check this place out before we all got there. Boy was he rubbing it in while we were still at home. I do remember the day he left it was only 5 degrees outside and for North Carolina that is super cold. He was sending pictures of the beach and how beautiful the water was. He was also sending pictures of lobster and filet and telling us how yummy it was. So the anticipation for us to get there was even greater.
After packing for two days I was finally packed. Finally got in the bed at 11:30pm to catch a 6:00am flight from Greensboro, which is close to home. So the phone starts ringing at midnight. I was kinda angry saying who the heck is calling at midnight. Well it was the airlines to say our flight was canceled. Geez! Not starting off good. So I had to call and find a flight from a different airport. Instead of going to bed at this point I just got up and showered because we had to leave at 3a.m. to make the early flight out of Charlotte. Upon arriving on the plane our flight is delayed and our connecting flight is in 45 minutes. After running through the airport like we were in the 100-meter dash we finally got to the gate to make our connecting flight. We got on the airplane and we were flying south to paradise. On the plane we met Scotty and Susan. They took the red eye from Oregon so they had been up all night also. Four hours later we arrived in paradise to beautiful white sandy beaches and 80 degrees.
We arrived at the resort and got checked into our room. We found Colbert and Pam relaxing by the pool. We crashed their party and it was almost time for dinner. Well we couldn’t go anywhere exactly nice because they lost Matt’s luggage. Although he handled it quite well he was still eager to get his own stuff. We got him some clothes to get him by until his luggage got to the resort. His luggage arrived the next day at the resort and it was a sigh of relief. Everyday consisted of all the girls enjoying umbrella drinks by the pool or the beach and nightly we would get together for dinner. Colbert really took care of the girls every morning by going to get us all chairs together.
The wedding of Scotty and Susan was on Friday and it was so beautiful. I am sure planning a wedding over the phone was a tough task but it turned out perfectly in my opinion. I am so glad I could be a part of such a special day for these two people. Scotty and Susan fit perfectly together and I wish them nothing but the absolute best out of life.
After all of the days of just enjoying warm temperatures and sunshine Colbert booked us a Catamaran Cruise. We were not sure how this was going to go. Man did it turn out to be the best thing ever. All of us got into a van and headed to the port at 9 a.m. We got on the boat and sailed out of the port and decided to stop by one of the Fort’s on the island. Some of us took a short hike up the fort to see the most amazing view ever of the island of Antigua. We then got back on the boat and got to snorkel over a sunken ship where the fort was. Lots of cool fish and Matt saw a barracuda hanging out by the sunken ship. Then the captain headed towards our second snorkeling destination. Captain George threw out a fishing line so I was super excited because I am an avid fisherwoman. The captain got my attention when he thought we had a fish on the line. He let me drag him in and it was so exciting. It was a barracuda and he was a fighter but we got him in. When we got him close the captain took over because Barracudas have vicious teeth. We had a nice lunch on the boat and did some more snorkeling. Bobby got to drive the boat and then we headed back to port in the afternoon. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Thanks Colbert for checking it out and getting us signed up.
All in all, our trip to Antigua was absolutely amazing and we had a fabulous time with our team and friends. Congrats to Scotty and Susan on their wedding. Congrats to Bobby and Jess on their anniversary. Sandy beaches and 80 degrees when it’s freezing cold is paradise to me. Anytime someone wants to donate me a piece of property in the Caribbean Islands I will take it. All I need is a hut or a tent and a plane ticket. Until next time everyone please be safe and have some fun. Racing season is right around the corner and will be here in less than six weeks for bikes.
Well it’s official. Our 2013 race season has come to a close. I will have to say it was a remarkable year. With Matt finishing at the top of the list we couldn’t be more proud of our team. It takes a lot to run a three- and four-bike team and to win the championship with this scenario is nothing short of amazing. It truly shows the hard work and dedication this team has each and every day.
The awards banquet, which was the day after Pomona, was a blast. All of us girls spent the day getting manicures and getting all dolled up for our marvelous evening. I think it is one of the days we look forward to the most for many reasons including no stress and having fun. After the girls spent hours getting ready we were finally ready to go downstairs. I kinda missed the first few things Matt had to do because I was still getting ready. He went to a couple media things for NHRA and then I came downstairs to meet him. He was doing a photo shoot with the extremely big Mello Yello championship trophy. We had a great dinner at the banquet and then it was time for him to be honored as a champion. Although this was his second championship I think he was more nervous this time than in 2007 but all in all it turned out fantastic. Then it was party time. Brandon, Susan and I danced our booties off at the after party. It was so much fun even though it gets really emotional. We usually spend more time with our racing family than we do our real families and it’s emotional and sad to be leaving them for several months. I gave my hugs and said my goodbyes even though it was very tough for me.
After a 41-hour journey across country and driving non-stop we got home on Thursday to some colder than normal weather. Our first priority was getting into the new shop. Over the course of the last four months Matt has started building his own shop at the house. The main part outside was done but nothing inside. We knew we had lots of carpentry work ahead of us. We started five days after Pomona and to this day we are still working on the inside. It’s a working progress. We have all the rooms built and completed and we are pretty close to completion. What I mean by completion is that we get to start working on bikes again. We have not even unloaded our trailer from Pomona yet just because Matt has been so focused on getting things organized for the new shop.
Last Saturday evening we took a break from being Bob the Builder and enjoying an evening celebrating the Pro Mod championship and the Pro Stock Bike championship at Rickie’s shop with all of our local friends and family. We had a huge turnout. I think we had about 300 people there. It was definitely standing room only. The kids were the center of attention at the party. They danced the night away and I will say I got out there a time or two and danced with them. I loved that the kids were having a blast. We had a live band come in and it was a success. There was one very special moment at the party. Colbert Seagraves and Matt presented the team with their Wally’s from the Norwalk event. It’s so cool that all the guys get their very own Wally to put in their trophy cabinet. Every day they get reminded that they helped achieve it. I was so glad that everyone could join us for the party and I am pretty sure everyone had a blast.
Thanksgiving was awesome because I got to see my nieces and nephew and my side of the family. We also got to visit Charlotte and see the Speeds with new baby Ava and of course Jules was very entertaining. After practically eating all day Matt decided to go to Wal-mart and get another TV for the shop. I was having no part of that. He could not have paid me to go and fight the crazy people that go shopping on Black Friday. I stayed home and did some online shopping for the Black Friday sales.
Now it’s almost time for Santa Claus to come. I hope all you children have been nice so Santa can come visit. I hope everyone enjoys the holidays with your families. Remember no one is promised tomorrow so please hug your loved ones and tell them you love them.
Until next time which I promise will be soon please have a fun and safe holiday.
I can’t believe the end of the season is approaching us quick. It seems like yesterday we were preparing for the season to start. I am thinking the older you get the more time flies by. These last several races have been pretty good to us. Taking over the points lead in St. Louis was huge. Our teams have great bikes and have had them all year. We have had a couple of hiccups in the way but it has seemed to all work out now. As you all know Scotty Pollacheck joined our team a couple of races back. He has been so great to work with. Scotty reached his first semifinal with our team in St. Louis. We were proud of the way he came over and adapted to a totally different motorcycle so quick. Sometimes that’s hard to do because as a rider you like the bike you ride and that’s it. So all in all the transition was crazy but it all worked out well in the end.
Going into Reading you have to expect the unexpected. What I mean by that is you never know if it’s going to rain, snow, sleet, and any other weather condition. We honestly didn’t know how many qualifying runs we were going to get. The forecast changes rapidly up there. We were very fortunate to have sunny beautiful blue skies the whole time. It was amazing. That’s the first time I have ever been to Reading and it didn’t rain. In qualifying we tried to put our best foot forward and get some bonus points but we only managed to get a few at most. There were other bikes out there just running a little faster. Matt was a little bummed by that but it didn’t steer his focus on the big picture. On raceday he knew he had to do his job and so did the other bikes in our camp. At the end of the day Matt was standing on the podium with the trophy and the points lead. He was proud and so was his team. As I have always said it is not over yet. I never count my chickens before they hatch if you know what I mean. We live in a world that anything can happen so I will only say that it looks better than it has during the regular season. Fingers and toes are crossed that we can bring this Championship back to North Carolina and Matt can share it with his father. From a motorsports media standpoint I think that will be huge for a father and son to win a championship in the same sanctioning body the same year.
Well since we only have two weeks at home before we head west we do have some work to do. The first order of business is to get Matt’s bike fixed. He broke the handlebars and a few welds for the frame will fix it quick. Then the plan is to dyno a few motors through the bikes. In our spare time, which is weekend time Matt plans to finish up the new shop with the wiring of new lights and things like that. It’s coming along quite nice. When we get home from Pomona that’s when all the fun will begin. The moving process will be lengthy and long but when it’s done it will be nice.
It’s been a great year so far for this Viper/MSR team. We are striving to be on top at the end of Pomona so we can add to the 2007 trophy. We just got to maintain these last two races. Thank you for all the kind words and support on the social media networks. I hope to be sharing news of a championship very soon.