Round 3 and 4 of Quadcross Northwest has just wrapped up at Straddleline ORV Park, now it’s time to break it all down!
When we arrived on Friday evening, after some lovely south sound I-5 traffic, there was a great vibe surrounding the weekend. The track looked great, everyone was feeling good, and things just felt right. Other than some cold temperatures and the threat of rain, things looked promising.
As mentioned, the track looked awesome, and Saturday morning’s practices backed that up. Traction was good, with the right mix of moisture and wood chips for the notoriously hard, rocky Straddleline dirt. I rode well in both practices, minus one incident where I turned a double and a berm into a triple. I was feeling really good about the racing ahead.
My first moto I admittedly didn’t pay close enough attention to the race order and found myself scrambling to the gate just a few minutes before it was going to drop. My gate pick had an awesome inside shot at the first turn, but when it dropped I found out why people were lining up on the outside. The incline and ruts made my quad stand straight up on me.
Photo by Trent Smythe
After racing to catch up in the first turn and eating copious amounts of roost, I went to work on the third place rider. I was able to make a pass pretty early on, but the damage was done from my start and I was only just able to reel in the pack in front of me and get them in my sights. It certainly didn’t help that I made several mistakes that moto, including going over two berms.
I made the necessary changes for the next race of the day and grabbed the holeshot from the outside gate. Unfortunately, my eagerness to get to the first turn sent me way beyond the corner and I gave up two positions. Unlike the last moto however, I was right behind the leaders and chased second place down. Once the pass was made I worked hard to stick with first, but couldn’t make up any ground on him.
Having learned from my last race, and having been much more comfortable with the track, I was able to relax that evening and get ready to actually race the second day.
Practice Sunday morning was once again awesome, and by this time I felt like I had the track down really well. I started last and worked my way through riders to learn some good passing lines and see where others were going.
Racing got underway early Sunday and we were all treated to the backwards start that the A class riders did.
Once my moto came around, I lined up just inside the box. Just like my second moto the day before, I got a great start, only to end up off the track in the first corner. When I re-entered I was in fourth, which quickly became fifth, and I had my work cut out for me.
For three laps I had an awesome battle with Ashley Clinton on the Honda that I used to own. I caught her in the whoops and grabbed a handful of gas for the double at the end. She moved just a bit to the right and I took the opportunity, jumping side-by-side with her. I was able to carry more speed and took off as soon as I landed. After that I caught up to Breanna Carson and made the exact same move to capture third.
Finally, the last moto of the weekend rolled around and admittedly I was pretty worn out and a bit nervous. There’s always something about the last race or the last practice or the last lap of something that can make you uneasy.
With a similar gate pick, I pulled my third holeshot of the weekend, only this time I was able to make the first turn successfully and open up a good gap. I rode the first two laps of the race in first place, pushing myself and giving it everything I had. By lap three I physically couldn’t hang on anymore, and Trenton Poplin and I battled for a bit before he made a great pass on the inside for the lead. I continued to hang with him as best I could, but Luc Gagnon had come up through the pack and was hitting some of the larger jumps to catch first place. I held him off for a bit, but he came in hard underneath me and pushed me over the berm. After that I settled into third and finished my race off with a solid top three finish.
Straddleline proved to be a great track and provided a great weekend of racing. I was happy to make huge improvements after Horn Rapids and battled with some awesome people throughout. After that weekend, I can’t wait to get back at it in June for Albany.
Also, one message I’d like to throw out there to everyone reading, Quadcross Northwest is in need of more riders. If you’re interested in trying it out for even a weekend, check them out on Facebook and on their website. We’d love to see you out there!