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It was a challenging weekend, but ended up with some good battles and cleared cobwebs that felt like walking through the great spider cave in Lord of the Rings - they are GONE now!

Friday practice/instructing day, we were still waiting for a part for the bike, and around 2pm went out on track to discover the bike wouldn't make it over 6,000 RPM... Fuel injectors clogged. Despite starting up no problem until then, the winterization method was not a positive one. Pffft - there went one cobweb.

Fellow 2-Fast track day instructor and mentor Scott Soper kindly loaned me his bike for the last session of the day so I could get some seat time in at at least shake off some of my own mental/physical cobwebs. Wanting to be careful, I didn't hug the apex of T3 and lowsided on my last lap (I really need to remember this about The Ridge - the last lap, make an 'chill out lap'!). Having borrowed bikes before without incident, I was crushed to even scratch Scott's bike! Nothing hurt on me, so I'm hoping finding replacement parts for an '05 Yamaha R6 will be easier than parts for a Daytona LOL... Another cobweb to be shaken out.

For Saturday, Team KFG Motorsports was busy overnight (no joke) getting #1 plate Ryan Sutton's bike bionically mashed with another bike brought up from the shop and Ryan's wife bringing up an essential part from down south... It was really no short of a miracle. When owner Barry Wressell finally got a moment, he unloaded his bike so I could get out in my 600 Supersport race that afternoon, tho no practice. I was dead last. Pfffft - another cobweb. It sucked, especially knowing I can be relatively competitive in that class - but obviously didn't want to hurt me or Barry's bike. Sunday was my focus, the start of the season and race for the Formula Female Championship.

I got out for practice Sunday morning, gorgeous warm day - that meant sticky tires and good laptimes. I got two near-perfect laps in and decided to come in to do a practice start. Got a feel for the start and went around at pace (again, what about that 'last lap' bug??), went in hot to T13 and lowsided with the bike planted firmly on my knee.

Thanks heaps to Paul R Gienau for forcing me to stop after the crash and breathe, Colt Bristow for his encouragement and reminding me to flush my adrenaline with water (a good reminder to us all), and Crash who apparently was there but is so good at what he does that I didn't see him <---genie.

This was 30 minutes before my race. This wasn't my first rodeo getting back out after a crash and I'm a first aid instructor, so I slapped an ice pack on my knee and drank water like a camel finding an oasis in the desert. Refocus. What do I need to do next.

Wanting to have new rubber on the bike and not use Barry's Dunlop NTEC DOT's (read=rare), I asked if there was enough time to get a new tire on? KFG's Delaney Packard said, "No problem." Ten minutes later they blew the 5-minute horn. OMG! But the race was scheduled for 10:40 and it's 10:30?? That five minutes could make a difference... But this is what's happening.

Superchill Jason Paden from Dunlop got rubber on and Delaney mechanized that wheel back on seconds before I needed to be out for the warm-up lap (no starting from hot pit so YAY). Formula Female gridded up!

I knew what I wanted to do for the race, and started off behind Mallory Dobbs and Lacy Houghtaling at a chill pace, knowing my rear tire was cold, with Emily Crymea River not far behind. I wanted a more competitive grid and I was getting it. I passed Lacy, then both Mallory and I got bunged up in traffic by lap 2, where she passed them and I couldn't find an opening until the end of that lap. Passing the two singles, I seared off after the leader knowing I had five laps to go and was clearing the gap fast. I got my personal best on that lap!

Then foure corners later, five and a half laps in, there was a crash in T7 and because we were just over five laps they called the race. ARGH. 2nd place. But... SO MUCH FUN! This is what I live for racing, THIS is what I love - a good RACE! It's the kind of racing Christine Porter and I were having last year - I LOVE chasing her around!

I'm glad I took time this week before writing this report so I could reflect, as I also experienced moments of great sadness and needed that time. Last year on Mother's Day weekend, Kelly Johnson passed away, sending all of us reeling into shock from such a bright star - her racing and her light in the world - going out far, far too soon.

My first memories of her were this bouncing gal cheering my li'l novice self on before the last practice. Then - as I headed around T1 at Portland International Raceway thinking I was getting fast (LMAO) on my Daytona 675 - passed the hell out of me WAVING as she went by. My last memories of her are sharing ideas about our respective fitness businesses and smoothie and food recipes (see pic), and at the riders meeting telling me my Marmot jacket (which I just splurged on) was quality, a good choice - and I felt better. That's what she did with people: you talked with her - even looked at her and her energy at times - and you felt better. I miss her.

This season is one to count our blessings. Grateful to have the WMRRA season start, grateful to be in good shape and fast recovery, grateful to have a supportive team and sponsors, and grateful for the friendships new and old racing brings to my life. It was incredible to watch Brian Pinkstaff shoot back into racing after several years off and hang out with Dan Zlock & the gal who was my idol in track day years, and still is an example of confidence at the track, Jenny L Besaw.

I can't wait for next round! Thanks to all the board members, volunteers, corner workers, and everyone else involved in getting this season and first round out, TOP NOTCH!

Thanks to my 2018 sponsors: Megson FitzPatrick Insurance / MFI Garage, Dunlop Motorcycle Road Racing Tires USA, KFG Motorsports, EBC Brakes, Sidi Moto USA, PopShadow Decals, GoPro, Gimoto USA, Motobits, Melissa Paris, Phil Veitch Creative, Mark and my 2Fast Motorcycle Track Days & Instruction family. And HUGE thanks to my team at home: Kirst Riewe at Stasis Strength and Conditioning, H2O Turbo Fitness, Jansen at Rebalance Md, Chiro Dr. Rob at Good to Go Sports Therapy, and of course my favorite person in the universe, my pit crew and best cheerleader, MY SON!

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Superhero Racing / Ali Smith via facebook

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