Wmrra Round Two- Pacific Raceways, Kent, WA April 30-May 1, 2011
With Marcel Irnie recovering from a hand injury sustained at the first race of the season, teammate Aaron Holmberg would carry the IrnieRacing banner for round two. Irnie traveled to Washington to man the pits for Aaron and chronicle the weekend with video and pictures.
The pair arrived on Friday evening to set up the Impact Canopy pit area. With clear blue skies and a beautiful forecast being projected for the weekend, the mood in the pits was quite jovial. That all changed on Saturday morning as everyone was greeted by steady rain. Aaron and Marcel arrived early at the track to get Aaron’s AMSOIL / EBC Brakes / Falco 750cc bike through tech inspection and attend the riders’ meeting. As it looked as though the rain make break later in the morning, Aaron opted out of the first practice in the hopes that the second round would bring dry conditions. As the second practice approached, the rain has stopped, but the track was still wet. Aaron decided not to install wet tires and simply waited out the morning and race without practice. Holmberg instead took the time to get his suspension dialed in by chassis guru Barry Wressell of KFG Racing.
As the 1:30PM start time approached, the sun came out and track surface was dry and perfect. Aaron was a bit anxious about racing without practice. Marcel reinforced the fact that Holmberg knew the track well, so it was not a concern. “Just go out and have fun”, was the simple advice imparted on the grid. Starting from row 1, Holmberg got a great drive off the line and entered turn 1 in 1st position. Michael Alton out-braked Aaron and excited the turn in the lead. The pair stayed very close for the first lap until Alton began to pull a bit of a gap. Holmberg settled into a comfortable pace in 2nd spot; focusing on a smooth and steady pace. By lap 3, he was already contending with lappers. At the halfway point, Aaron spotted Lionel Morey closing in on him, so it was time to push the pace a bit more to secure a 2nd place finish. This all came unraveled on lap 6. Holmberg passed more back-markers in turn 3 and as he trail braked into turn 4, his front wheel tucked and down he went. This ended his race. Aaron was unhurt, but was quite disappointed to let what looked like a certain podium finish slip through his fingers. He hoped to redeem himself on Sunday. After the race, the IrnieRacing pit crew, consisting of Bernard, Bryan and Chris, tore down Aaron’s bike and made the necessary repairs for Sunday.
The riders were greeted by clear, blue skies on Sunday morning. Aaron started from the first row and again led the field into the first turn. This time he made the holeshot stick, but Michael Alton passed him in turn 2. Holmberg gradually lost touch with Alton and then had to contend with Lionel Morey on lap 3. Morey eventually got by and with Saturday’s crash still weighing on his mind; he was content with third spot. Holmberg held 3rd for 4 laps until John Lafayette appeared out of nowhere. The two battled over 3rd spot for the next 3 laps. On the last lap, the pair came upon a lapper in the bus stop. Aaron went wide and Lafayette sealed the deal to claim 3rd. Holmberg was pleased with the day as he achieved a career best lap time of 1:34:760. Following the race, Nels from 2WheelDynoWorks.com tuned Holmbergs gsxr750, gaining another 6 horsepower in the process.