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WMRRA Round 6, Pacific Raceways Kent, WA Aug 14-15
After Marcel Irnie spent June and July battling hard for podiums on the Parts Canada Superbike Series, he was anxious to see how much his game had been raised. He travel to Kent WA to rejoin the competitive WMRRA series; the series in which Irnie had toiled all spring. The Canadian series was triumphant in many ways as Irnie was on the podium for 3 out of 4 races and at times battled for wins. Irnie had gained much speed and confidence in Canada, but was happy to put his stormy summer behind him.
The Pacific Northwest was blazing hot this mid-August weekend with ambient temperatures over 34'C and track temperature into the 50’C's. Irnie’s first race was in the 600 Supersport class. Starting from the 4th row, Marcel got off to a disastrous start and he was dead last going into the first turn. This was the first start since his clutch was replaced after the last Canadian race and the engagement was completely off. Irnie had to work his way through the field, finishing 9th of 20 riders. Despite being hampered by traffic throughout the race, he still put up a respectable fastest lap with a 1:29.203.
The next race was the 750 Supersport class, again riding his 2005 AMSOIL/Seattle Tool/Falco 600cc. Irnie attempted to rev his bike much higher at 14000 RPM, for a better 2nd gear launch. As he released the clutch lever the revs dropped off and the entire pack roared by once again. Again he worked his way from last place to an eventual 9th place finish of 19 riders. Both races were run on tires that had been used during the Canadian series and were approaching the end of their lifespan.
For Sunday's races, Marcel remounted a set of used Dunlop slick tires from fellow Kelowna race family, the Friesens. With no practice on the tires, Irnie used his tire warmers to settle on workable tire pressures for the upcoming 750 Superbike race. He topped up with race fuel, mounted his ever-present HD video cameras and made his way to the line; hoping that he could somehow overcome his clutch issues and execute a decent start. Second gear starts had worked well all season, but this start was yet another disappointment. For the third consecutive race, Irnie entered the first turn in last position and was left with the disheartening task of grinding his way through the field once again. The slicks gave Irnie an enormous increase in cornering grip. He was able to slice his way through the field finishing in 7th of 22 riders. In the process, he broke his personal lap record by turning in a 1:28.06; more than a full second over his previous best lap set back in October of 2009. A high speed crash in the opening round at Pacific Raceways hindered his progress through the spring rounds, so achieving this pace was something of a breakthrough.
The 600 Superbike race was the final race of the weekend with Irnie starting from the third row. At the start, Irnie once again tried to keep the engine revving high and released the clutch lever slowly. Again the engine bogged and the field screamed by. Two riders collided in turn 9 and the race was red flagged. For the re-start Marcel opted to try something different to avoid the disastrous starts his bike had been delivering all weekend. First gear starts had not been an option with his 2005 unit as first gear on this bike cuts out intermittently. Irnie launched in first gear and the transmission chopped at 6000 and then again at 10000 RPM. He quickly shifted to second and managed to finally pull off a reasonable start as he only lost a few positions. Marcel battled with Brad Delong, Nick Finkel and Wendy Kristen Leber before pulling away and finishing on his own in 5th position.
After battling with scorching temperatures and heavy traffic all weekend long, Irnie was thankful for the hard work he had put into his physical conditioning this season. Irnie stated, ”I am in the best shape of my life, thanks to Ryan Brown, Personal Trainer at World Gym Kelowna. It was super hot, which really tested everyone’s endurance. I had an edge as I could put down fast times right to the end, while my competition might have been tiring.” He also commented on his riding performance. “What a great weekend! I could not have asked for better results. I went over 2 seconds faster compared to June, putting me within an arms reach of the top guys. If I could use first gear and had more modern machinery, I feel I would be right with them.”
There was also a sombre note to the weekend as the WMRRA honoured Seattle racer, Khalil Mohmed who passed away following a racing accident in Spokane on July 18th. A ceremony commemorating Khalil was held. Always full of passion and a friend to everyone, Khalil you will be missed very much.
The next race for Irnie Racing is September 11-12, again at Pacific Raceways for the final WMRRA round of 2010. We will then travel to Oregon for races in the OMRRA series in September and October.
Irnieracing.com (Marcel Irnie) is sponsored by: AMSOIL Synthetics, Blue Streak Racing, British Columbia Trailer, EBC Brakes, FALCO, Fluid Suspension Science, GoPro, Kreater, Magna-Tech Services, Muller Motorsports, Munro Cylinder Heads, Oneononedesign, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, Seattle Tool, World Gym, and Valley Moto Sport.