Warming up in FloridaMonday, March 24, 2014
Posted by: Angie Smith
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.