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TOPIC: Weekend at the Races

Weekend at the Races 14 Aug 2019 23:46 #141

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Mert looks the same as he did 20+ years ago!

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Weekend at the Races 14 Aug 2019 23:52 #142

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By the way, thanks for your updates on which we'd love to be there (again) to watch, smell, and clear dust from our eyes & mouth! You sure get around, and I for one like your rendition of goings on! Your a motorsports legend in the making...
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Weekend at the Races 15 Aug 2019 06:42 #143

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I'm looking forward to the Peoria TT Saturday. Can Henry Wiles make it FIFTEEN IN A ROW??????????????????? :OnFire
Watch on Fanschoice.com. B)
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Weekend at the Races 15 Aug 2019 20:02 #144

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B.C. wrote: I'm looking forward to the Peoria TT Saturday. Can Henry Wiles make it FIFTEEN IN A ROW??????????????????? :OnFire
Watch on Fanschoice.com. B)


@B.C., it's not certain that Wiles will be there to defend his winning streak. He broke a bone in his leg (fibula, I believe) last week at the Black Hills Half-Mile in South Dakota. Two days ago American Flat Track issued a press release saying he was out for Peoria. Yesterday a person said Wiles had posted on Instagram (I don't follow IG) that he's back in. They don't come much tougher than Hammerin' Hank. I won't count him out until I see it with my own eyes. I arrived in Peoria this afternoon. I'll go to the support race in Galesburg, IL, on Friday night and the Peoria TT on Saturday. I think the fanschoice.tv coverage has improved this season, at least in terms of an uninterrupted signal.

fanschoice.tv

Here are some shots of Wiles at last year's race.



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Weekend at the Races 16 Aug 2019 07:35 #145

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More on Henry Wiles.

An article in this morning's Peoria Journal Star by reporter Dave Eminian quotes Peoria Motorcycle Club president and race executive Kevin Brasher as saying "Henry Wiles suffered a broken foot in the Black Hills race last weekend. He has had surgery, and he is coming to Peoria. There will be a pre-race ceremony honoring Henry's accomplishments at our track, and he will then determine if he races at start time."

My guess is that the cheers of an adoring crowd will go a long way towards easing any pain or discomfort he may feel, and will motivate Henry Wiles to step up to the plate and take a swing on Saturday.

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Weekend at the Races 16 Aug 2019 11:20 #146

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Fingers crossed for Henry. :OnFire
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Weekend at the Races 21 Aug 2019 17:17 #147

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The two races last weekend in Central Illinois are among my very favorites. Friday night's Bob Walters Memorial pro/am race in Galesburg starts the weekend, followed by the Peoria TT on Saturday. Peoria is a city of 113,000 located on the Illinois River, about 150 southwest of Chicago. It is the home of Caterpillar Corp, the heavy equipment manufacturer, which will be important later.

Galesburg is a country town of 32,000 that's about a 1 hour drive northwest of Peoria. In this part of Illinois the terrain rolls slightly and fields of corn and soybeans are separated by woodlots growing along shallow ravines.

The Galesburg Motorcycle Club was formed in 1923. The evening's race was dedicated to one of the founders, the late Bob Walters. Walters was also the owner of a Harley-Davidson dealership in Peoria. This was the 18th running of the event and is the club's biggest event of the year. The club grounds include a 1/8 mile oval and a long natural terrain MX track that dips into a ravine along one property line. The setting is quite park-like with grass and trees, and spectators view the races from a bank above the oval track's front straight. Beef rib-eye sandwiches and fresh sweet corn are served up from one of those giant black trailer-mounted BBQs. A local country radio station, FM95-WAAG, broadcasts live from the pits.

Flat track racing is a very big deal in this part of the country. This event draws local racers to participate in a number of classes broken down by rider age and by engine displacement. There is also a class for vintage bikes. Unlike a lot of similar races that I attend, there were no vintage Yamaha enduro or MX-based machines present. Some of the amateur racers have traveled a long distance for this race, making a vacation of sorts to include spectating at the big pro event in Peoria the next day. Just over a dozen professional racers were on hand, looking for a share of the $8,000 purse to supplement whatever they might win in Peoria.

As the sun dropped low and a full moon began to rise above the trees behind the track, a series of heat races and main events for the various classes filed on and off of the track. Family members of the riders plus other spectators cheered from the bank above the track while they had their evening meal. Kids ran around on the grass, laughing and feeling free on a warm summer night. It was all so very nice.

The top class here is for 450cc single cylinder machines. The track is too small for the big 750cc twins. Dalton Gauthier (122) won the twenty lap pro feature on his Husqvarna. He earned a cash prize and an engraved silver plate and his name will be added to a permanent trophy held by the club. Gauthier leads the national pro series season points chase for this type of bike. Second place went to Davis Fisher (67), a Honda rider who lives near me in Oregon. Fisher rides a twin cylinder Indian in the national series, so these two riders aren't on the track together very often. Each won his heat race. The third heat was won by Hunter Taylor (34), another rider from the Pacific Northwest.

Fisher nabbed the holeshot and led for the first couple of laps before a crash involving three riders brought out the red flag. Two of the three lined up for the restart, but the third rider, Englishman Oliver Brindley (24), twisted his ankle and decided to call it a night. Fisher again took the lead on the restart and held the position for most of the race. With the laps winding down he slid wide in turn three and gave Gauthier just enough room to get by for the lead and the win.

The photos below depict the track overview, start of the pro main and the 450cc amateur main, a staggered single-file restart in one race, and various racers young an old, on bikes big and small.





















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Weekend at the Races 21 Aug 2019 17:18 #148

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I woke up early last Saturday morning to post a race report and photos from the Galesburg race before heading to the Peoria TT event across town from my hotel. As I sat typing, I heard a crack of thunder. I threw open the curtains and saw that it was raining hard. A storm had moved in overnight. I checked online and read notices from the organizers that the event was in jeopardy. The track might be too wet for racing.

By 10 am the rain had stopped and it seemed more likely that things might happen. The Peoria Motorcycle Club has a connection with Caterpillar Corp., which is based nearby. I arrived at the track to find huge machines scraping the track down to dry soil. By 2 pm bikes were on track, about four hours behind schedule. Peoria has no stadium lights so they have to be done before dark. The revised program called for racing to be over by 6:30 pm.

Henry Wiles has won the premier class here for the last fourteen years in a row. His participation this year was in question because he broke his right fibula two weeks earlier at a race in South Dakota. Wiles was present in the pits, wearing a removable cast on his leg, but he never went on track. In a television interview early in the day, he said that he decided not to race on the advice of his doctor. Rumors were floated that the organizers had pressed for him not to race, but this seems unfounded.

At the end of the 25 lap feature race, Briar Bauman (14) became the first new winner here in fifteen. It took him a couple of laps to get around his younger brother, Bronson (37), and then he was away, pulling out a lead of just under three seconds by the time it was done. Both riders were on Indians supported by the manufacturer. Third place went to JD Beach (95), a rider originally from the Pacific Northwest and now living in Kentucky. Beach rode a privately entered Yamaha.

The single cylinder class was won by sixteen-year-old Dallas Daniels (163), who rides a Yamaha for the same team as Beach. Daniels is in his rookie season, and joined the class partway through the year when he turned 16, the minimum age to participate. Daniels also enjoyed something of a runaway win, beating current series champion Dan Bromley's Red Bull KTM (1) to the finish line by a bit more than two seconds. Third place went to former Peoria winner Jesse Janisch (132), a Yamaha rider who is one of the oldest in the class at 32.

Former Motocross/Supercross/Supermoto/Indycar/, etc., hero Jeff Ward (336) is contesting the TT rounds of this series. The Peoria race was his third outing this season. He missed a transfer spot in his heat race by one position and did not make it to the main event. He sure went over the jump in style.

The track held up well all day and needed little work during the event. The clay surface formed a narrow racing groove early on, but as racing progressed it widened, especially through the broad first two turns. There was enough traction that the 350 pound, twin cylinder machines were lifting the rear wheel off of the ground while braking hard into turn one. There are only a few races where these bikes even have a front brake fitted. The TT jump on the back straight had been modified for this year to single jump, replacing the step-up arrangement used for the last two years. Most riders were pleased with the change. The event stayed on schedule and the final checkered flag fell at 6:33 pm.

The images below depict the various riders and situations described above.















[IMGhttps://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-f3qpbcg/0/2f49bc57/L/i-f3qpbcg-L.jpg][/IMG]





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Weekend at the Races 22 Aug 2019 10:46 #149

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I'd like to shoot more video, but it's not allowed at the American Flat Track pro races. It is OK pretty much every where else, though. I shot a little bit at Friday's pro/am race in Galesburg, Illinois, and stitched the clips together into a short movie. It's just a mix of the amateur and pro racers. There was a pretty big hole in turn four that made the bikes bounce around a bit. The start/finish flagger was a real artist. The camera does not record audio on slow-mo, so I added a simple sound track.

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Weekend at the Races 22 Aug 2019 19:48 #150

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Awesome video! :likey
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