MUSKEGON , Mi. – Babbitts Power Sports Racing®
Weekend race report brought to you by Maxxis.
Salvaging points was the theme of the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki TiLUBE presented by Maxxis Tires Team last night as bad luck and lapped riders played heavily into the final outcome. When final checkered flag flew it was Chad Johnson grabbing a podium with third, Tyler Bowers coming from last to capture fourth, and Gray Davenport finishing in fifth.
After a successful day of practice which saw Tyler Bowers and teammate Chad Johnson set the first and second best lap times, and Gray Davenport clocking in at tenth fastest; the trio looked forward to the evening program. Later all three riders easily qualified into the main through their respective heat races. “What I told my guys today is to focus on getting through their heat races; sure it is best to win if possible, but the ultimate goal is to make the main. The track is difficult tonight, and there will likely be some crashes” said Team Manager Denny Bartz.
Bowers and Davenport would also qualify for the Dash for Cash race; which saw Tyler easily winning – and helping to solidify the fact that Bowers had the speed to win. Bartz echoed similar thoughts about the Dash for Cash as he did with the heat races, adding “If the guys are in position to win Dash for Cash; yes, certainly go for it – but again, the main thing is getting to the main.”
The main event looked to be a barn burner for sure as Tyler Bowers and Jeff Gibson rounded turn one virtually side by side; unfortunately a first turn slide out, and then tangle with a downed rider almost ruined Bowers night – key word here being “almost”. Chad Johnson and Gray Davenport would fare a bit better than Bowers that first lap, but still had their work cut out for them. Johnson started just outside the top five, but very quickly worked into the top three. However with the lappers ahead of him not obeying the blue flags third was the highest finish he would achieve. “I didn’t have the greatest start, but it was decent. I just put my head down and worked into third, but lapped riders where everywhere – I guess that the blue flags didn’t mean much tonight. Still, I took third, and got on the podium which is always a good thing” explained a frustrated Johnson.
Talking about his main event Bowers had this to say “I almost had the holeshot, but Gibson got by me using the main line through the whoops. Then in turn two, Zach Ames was next to me when he crashed, and my bike got locked into his. I eventually got going, but was in last by then; from that point on I just tried to salvage points. Lappers were everywhere on the track and wouldn’t move over, so all I could do was try to make some smart moves and look forward.”
Davenport also pushed through the pack, and would say “I had a horrible start; I think that I was about fourteenth that first lap. On lap four I got it together and started moving forward, and got into seventh. The track was pretty difficult, and was a lot harder packed than it looked. I just tried to ride smooth; the harder you rode the more mistakes that you would make.”
Providing some final thoughts was Team Manager Denny Bartz, who added “we had some good gate picks, and the riders were ready. Tyler had a great start, but was caught up in Ames’s bike when Zach crashed, so he basically came from dead last. Chad’s start was okay, and he charged and moved into third easily. I really think that he could have won tonight, but was caught up in lapped riders who would not move over – so I am happy with his ride and making the podium. With Gray finishing fifth, our guys went third, fourth, and fifth; so that’s not too bad for this event - it’s a long season. Blue flags were clearly waved in front of the lapped rider blocking Chad, and he would not move over. I’m not happy about that at all, but we’ll move on to the next race.”
Despite a somewhat frustrating night in Ohio, the Team Babbitt’s riders have all the necessary ingredients for a Championship season; the only thing missing was luck! Soon the team will make its way to round 4 in at the Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colorado this coming weekend. For more on the team, check out www.teambabbitts.com