Poppin’ into Champaign!

Blue Sky training camp pays off!

Blue Sky training camp pays off!

Big congratulations and thank you to Mark Schwartzendruber and his Team Verizon/Scarletfire for putting on a fabulous, classy race in Champaign, Ill. Wow. I will be putting in to do this race on both days next year. It was flawless, except for the rain on Saturday (which I missed!), which can’t be helped. Many a racer DNS’d the masters race, and it was slick, slick, by all accounts. Mark Tank and Jeff Williams were still shaking heads about it when I pulled into the parking lot on Sunday. Of course, Uncle Gary did just fine. Though there seems to be some results problems on that race. Dave Neis was banging pavement in the 3’s, and had to use his Jedi mind tricks to avoid catastrophe. Dave finished 14th on both days. In the Photo stolen from the Champaign newspaper, you can see Justin riding off in the distance….Justin had an AWESOME event, and finished in the top ten both days. Gina Champion was also on the podium, in strong 3-4 competition.

Dave also managed to be quoted extensively in the Daily Illini, to hit on Druber’s significant other Kathy at a bar on Saturday, and to have Druber steal his podium girl. In the latter event, Dave had pretty much convinced this Podium Girl that she should go behind a tree with him, and then Druber drove by in the pace car and did the “kill” sign. Next thing you know, the Podium Girl is jumping in the Volvo with Druber….Seriously, though, Dave did some great racing against serious competition.  I was watching the 3’s with Dave Stone (awesome guy), and he said the Verizon kid who won the 3’s has won every race up north for a while. He’s only 18…Good to see Young Alex Voitik in the mix! Alex scored top 20s both days in the 1-2’s, not bad at all!

Steve Driscoll was in the hunt in the 3’s on his new Stainless Steel Waterford! Very cool looking bike!!! I’ll link this up soon. Steve has a full report on his first half dozen races on his blog. And, it was great to see Jaime Lopez! I was bummin’ on missing Peoria because I always see Jaime there (he saved my ass one year when I flatted my car on the way up). 

Druber didn’t just put on an event, he put on a race. Wow. The quality of the masters field was comparable to what you see at an NRC event, only a bit smaller. Ouch. It seems Druber was able to coax a good number of old buddies to come up from all over the place, many of them heading for Superweek (which hasn’t started its 40+ or 50+ races yet).  The other Stone was calling the race and he called up 8 guys who were current or former national champions…leaving a few others from that category in the field. It was an extremely fast bunch, and the race went from the gun. Gary and Robert Kron made it into the lead break, and a lot of strong guys didn’t. Steve Hall led a group of us on, and we kept a respectable pace and gave a companion doing a lot of pulls a Verizon prime (as Steve wisely suggested). Then, with a few minutes to go on time, we got caught by the break and things got lively. After a few more hot laps, the break was getting testy, and a Nashville guy launched a really strong break and got a huge gap. Uncle Gary motivated us to the front, and Mark, Frank, Steve, Mike Oz, and I chased him down. I wish I had enough to give more lead in the final laps, but it was way too fast for me. It was definitely the fastest race I’ve done in a long time. Great job by Robert and Uncle Gary to finish 5th and 11th (2nd in 50+).

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