On Wednesday, Feb.12, the RoadRace Factory AMA Pro Racing team took to the turns and straights of Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California in preparation for the season opening even at the Daytona International Speedway. Though the team arrived with high expectations, the test was literally turned inside out by the end of the two days and left the team clinching their stomachs and cursing the Fates!
The main focus of this final preseason test was suspension development. The team made the switch to Penske, and the extra track time was supposed to give the team much needed information leading into the AMA Pro Road Racing season. The early morning weather of the first day was too cold and sketchy to allow anything from happening on the track until late morning. As the day progressed, the weather improved and times began to drop, with both Jake Gagne and Tomas Puerta steadily finding their pace to work through the testing regiment. The crew threw everything under the sun at the pair, and they continued to slug out the laps, providing much needed data to prepare for day two.
As fate would have it, both riders were struck with food poisoning at the conclusion of the first day of testing. Jake took a gamble on the Chicken Tacos, and lost. Tomas opted for the more sensible Chicken Wrap, however the wrap would return early the next day as proof that he should've had the Carne Asada!
Jake was hit hardest and didn't turn any laps. He later would be checked out at the local medical facility and given IV Fluids. Tomas made it half the day before taking his leathers off and opting for a check up at the medical facility as well.
"Well, yeah.. this isn't at all what we had planned," team owner and manager Danny Walker said. "But you know, this is racing and these things happen. My primary concern is obviously the well being of my riders and having them both down with a severe case of food poisoning was a tough blow to our testing. Once we got a handle on their medical situations and in the proper care of physicians, the crew did a great job of taking the initiative and throwing Cameron in the deep end! He did a fantastic job working through our testing program on bikes he has only ridden once before. He's a local rider with tons of track knowledge and we really benefited from his expertise here."
That left the team's newest SuperSport rider, Cameron Gish to suit up and help the crew obtain their needed information. With Gagne and Puerta being tended to, the remaining crew and Cameron completed the remaining tasks and salvaged the test.
"All in all, it wasn't what we expected but we are happy that both Jake and Tomas are on the mend and we achieved our testing goals," Walker continued. "All I can say is this happens and I think the team will avoid any and all poultry this season. Cameron seized the opportunity with our crew and they rocked it out! We are looking forward to Daytona and hitting the track at full speed. Our goal is to win the 200 and bring it to the factory boys all season."
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