Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Race Report & Pics: Coconut Cup 2012 #3

As December arrives the Holiday Season is in full swing. Thanksgiving has passed. Office holiday parties are in season and Christmas and New Years are quickly approaching. But what really matters is that it's still racing season in Florida!! Eric G here with our Coconut Cup #3 race report!

The series has doubled up with the FSC in the first two events so far, but this weekend at Amelia Earhart Park, the Coconut Cup had a chance to shine on it's own at quite possibly the FASTEST track in Florida. With berms on nearly every possible turn the use of brakes is only for the timid, as the flow of the trail and well thought out layout keeps the speeds unbelievably high through everything but a handful of tight, rooty sections sprinkled around the 7 mile loop. Throw in a pump track and this course is a smooth riders dream. The usual long, drag race start was switched up to a quick "chicane" about 50 yards from the start to spread riders out before entering the first trail. What this really created was some "rubbin' is racin'" moments as riders knocked each other around a bit before hitting the first trail. It was a BLAST!!

Eric N was up first in the XC3 19-29 class with 19 riders on the line. This weeks' "now that's not a way to prep for a race" moment was brought to Eric N with him arriving home once again the night before the event. Despite not being at his best form, he fought hard for a solid start heading 6th into the first trail and battled around for most of the first lap holding his position. Jeg lag eventually caught up with him and he had to back down the pace, however he was still able to finish 10th on the day for his second Top 10 finish in a row!

As I lined up with 37 racers in the XC3 30+ class I knew the start would be as important as ever. I didn't get quite the launch I wanted and settled in around the low teens. After passing a few racers early and settling in I soon realized I was in a three man battle that would last most of the race. We each took our turn in the lead and trying to shake the rest, but as we crossed lap one all together I knew it was going to be a fun finish. As my form improves I'm starting to find I'm learning tactics too. So instead of getting passed and left behind, I'm here battling with these guys trying to get away instead of just hanging on for dear life. After the chicane starting lap two I threw down an attack before hitting the first trail and tried to get away. Crap that didn't work. They caught me a few minutes later and it was time to play defense as now I was tired. I recovered and was sitting 3rd wheel when one guy went down on a slick root. Rider one pulled away while I navigated around our downed man and chased on. By the time we cleared Little Razorback and hit the Paintball Loop we were all back together. Knowing there wasn't much left in the race and feeling recovered I took a chance and threw down another attack as hard as I could on the flats of the loop. Here I am doing 23mph and these guys are chasing me. One tried to counter so I went again and kept the lead going back into the trail but now I'm hurting. I thought to myself, well if this hurts me then they must be hurting too right? Not so much...I had a bobble while still leading  and had to let them by and then struggled to keep up and saw them slowly ride away. I limited damages and wouldn't get caught by anyone else to finish and ended 13th on the day with one of the guys just in sights. I've said it before but now THIS was my most fun race ever. Fighting it out, trying to make a move and go. Just learning how to race and I had a blast. Top 10 is just in sight and I'll keep fighting for it. 

As usual the Pro class is a great show. With 5 riders on the line and a fast course it should have been great. These guys have kept it close for every race this season and with a fast, non-technical course, this should be no different. Boy I was wrong. Bob McCarty absolutely crushed the field on this day. 3/4 into the first lap he had about a 30 second lead that kept growing over Alex Zambrana, who himself was putting his local rider advantage over on the always strong Shawn Smith. No doubt they were all going as hard as the could but this was McCarty's day once again with a nearly four minute victory. 

The racing continues quickly this weekend with the FSC finale in Ocala. Will Ryan Woodall bring the fight to McCarty one more time, only this time in HIS home turf? Bob got the edge at Markham, will Ryan return the favor to end the season?? Whatever happens we'll be there with the report!! Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics below!

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