Something ran afoul through team's paddock area during the recent test at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows California. We arrived with high expectations for a solid test, aimed at building upon the previous suspension development done at Jennings one month earlier. What started out so well was literally turned inside out by the end of the two days leaving the team clinching their stomachs and cursing the Fates!
The main focus of this final preseason test was suspension development. The team has made the switch to Penske and this extra track time would give the team much needed information leading into the AMA Pro Road Racing
season opener at Daytona International Speedway. All was set for two days of open track and critical testing to begin.
The early morning weather on Wednesday the 12th prevented anything from happening on the track until late morning. Only a few riders went out on the cold and sketchy track surface. As the day progressed, the weather improved and times began to drop. Both Jake Gagne and Tomas Puerta began to steadily find their pace and work through the testing regiment. The crew threw everything under the sun at them and the pair continued to slug out the laps and provide much needed data. All was looking good for the second day as the sunset on day one with the plan coming together.
As fate would have it, both riders were struck with food poisoning. 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. 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.
The final tally for the weekend was: Chicken 2, RoadRace Factory DSB Riders 0, RoadRace Factory SuperSport Riders 1.
Team owner and manager Danny Walker said, "Well, yeah.. this isn't at all what we had planned. 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."
"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. 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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