But it turns out there’s no need to worry—the skies cleared up early in the afternoon, and there’s even some sunshine peaking through. For what was supposed to be a wintry mix, the weather turned out great.
Same for the track. The track was saturated when the tarps came off, but liberal use of a drying agent and some sand have cleared it all up, and while the track is soft enough to form a few ruts and some breaking bumps, it’s not nearly as tough as last week’s dry mud race in Seattle.
There are still some wet spots between whoops and in the transitions on a few jumps, and those spots could rut up. However, some liberal track maintenance could clear those spots up, too.
The Lites class is garnering some attention this weekend since the championship is still on the line. Jake Weimer leads by 19, and he explained this morning that his goal is just to win the race. If things go really bad at some point, he’ll switch to safe mode, but for now he’s planning on playing this like any other race.
Another rider who looks like his mind is set on a win is Weimer’s teammate Josh Hansen, who set a blistering 48.087 lap time to lead the Lites group. Weimer’s 49.149 was second fastest, Trey Canard’s 49.303 was third, ahead of Ryan Morias’ 50.302 and Wil Hahn’s 50.588.
Hahn is 19 points back, second in points, but he separated his shoulder in a practice crash on Thursday. He’s all taped up and thinks he can grind this one out—Wil still wants to get a win before the year is up and time is running out. He’s still focused on it, but no one is sure if he can hang on with the bad shoulder.
Canard is five points further back. He and his teammate Blake Wharton are getting along fine. Don’t worry.
In the big class, Kevin Windham carried some momentum from last week’s Seattle win to log the fastest time with a 48.061. Andrew Short looked better than he has since coming back from injury a few weeks ago, and he was second fastest with a 48.667. Josh Hill’s 49.235 was third, followed by Justin Brayton with a 49.323 and Dungey with a 49.536.
Dungey didn’t look too aggressive in practice, we’ll see if he hangs it out to win the main.
Davi Millsaps had a rough time of it, crashing as soon as practice began in the whoops, and then crashing again a few laps later in a different whoop section. He got up and kept riding, but he’ll be sore for the main event. He had the sixth fastest time with a 49.883.
After practice the crew put in more work on the track, removing some of the square edges in the whoops, and working on the transitions between the jumps. By tonight’s racing, we may have a perfect track.