A three-hour endurance race didn’t go quite as planned for Tony Boshart and his teammates, but a crash did not keep them from finishing first in the Central Roadracing Association GP3 (600cc) expert class at Brainerd International Raceway on Saturday, July 15.
Boshart had just finished his second 30-minute stint of the race and had stripped off his racing leathers when teammate Judah Wimbley lost control right in front of the pit lane.
“Everybody started yelling and I turned around and I just saw Judah sort of tumbling through the dirt,” Boshart said. “As he got up, he looked dejected and I felt bad for him.”
After it was apparent that Wimbley was unhurt, Boshart’s thoughts returned to the race.
“I realized we needed to get that transponder off the bike,” he said.
The small black box was moved from bike to bike to record the team’s laps and time during the endurance race.
“I think everybody thought that same thing at the same time,” Boshart said. “There were five of us waving, trying to point him back towards the bike to grab that transponder.”
One of those waving was pit crew member Spencer Morabito, who had offered his own motorcycle to Wimbley for the endurance race after a cracked radiator put Wimbley’s bike out of commission.
Morabito was a little dismayed at the damage to his bike, but he yelled for Wimbley to grab the transponder. Wimbley ran over to the wreck, unclipped the transponder, and lobbed it over the tall fence to Morabito.
The team’s third driver, Justin Robson, had his leathers halfway on, but his bike was set up with rain tires and the track was dry. Boshart’s bike was fueled and ready, so he told Robson to take it and go. The team’s time for that lap ended up at just under 3:10, which was only 39 seconds off of their slowest pit stop lap of the afternoon.
“It really was amazing how well it worked out,” Boshart said about the location of the crash, which allowed the quick change.
The team had about a three-lap lead before the crash and came out of it in good position to finish with a win in the class.
“We were still up two laps over second place,” Boshart said, “and we could mostly just put in good solid laps to finish the race and be in good shape.”
The team finished first in the GP3 class and was fifth overall, which included the GP4 (1000cc) competitors.
The following day, Boshart had four more solid races on the track. He was running in second place in his final race when his chain came off with just over two laps to go in the eight-lap race. “I coasted to a stop down in turn four and watched my first ever legit dry-weather expert podium slip away,” he said.
While it was a disappointing finish, the overall day was a confidence booster for Boshart, who is in his first season racing in the expert class. He made the seven-hour trip from Kalona to Brainerd, Minnesota five times last year and finished eighth overall in the amatuer class, which bumped him up to the expert series.
Boshart has been working to regain his confidence after a crash he suffered on Labor Day of last year.
“That was the first real crash that I've ever really had really at any type of speed,” Boshart said. “And motorcycle racing is a lot about confidence in your mental game. And getting better is so much mental… you think you're riding as fast as you possibly can, but you're really only riding as fast as you can mentally process. So the more you're out there, the more you can think faster and slow things down.
“Ever since (the crash), I just haven’t been able to ride as fast. You're being cautious and you're not wanting to crash again so you don’t push maybe as hard.
“Sunday, I went out and raced and finally felt like I was getting back to the way I was feeling last year before my crash, and doing really well. So I’m pretty optimistic about the rest of the season.”
Boshart had been going to the track at Brainerd and other tracks for track days for about 12 years before racing competitively for the first time.
“If you're doing non competitive track days, there's really no reason to crash,” he said. “We all know that it's possible and you're doing it there because it’s a lot safer. But racing is a whole ‘nother level. I was shocked when I went from track days to racing, just how much harder you work on the motorcycle.
“You are pushing it and you have to know crashes are going to happen, and you’ve got to be ready for it. But when you actually crash for the first time, it's a little bit of a wake up call. You think you're doing everything right and something went wrong. So you just have to reassess and rebuild, especially mentally.”
Boshart will be back at Brainerd International Raceway when the season continues September 23-25.
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