You never really know how your going to do until you do the first race.
There are always expectations and comparisons.
And also a lot of shop talk with predications and assumptions. But until the gate drops you just never really know.
There is always a lot of hype leading up to the first round at Anaheim. And Austin (Forkner) was talked about a lot and was the attention of most of the hype.
But what people forgot was he has never raced a professional supercross race before.
Austin was nervous for sure. But with so much rain falling in California the week prior the organisers canceled the first free practice session and I knew that would cause a problem for us.
The more Austin rides the track the better he is.
So when we went out on track for the first time, the veterans picked up the track within a lap or two and were putting down qualifying times.
However Austin was still impressive and was just outside the top five. The heat race went well with a second but I knew he could win and we went into our first main event with some confidence.
But after an average start he fell in the whoops which put him near the back. With some anger and motivation Austin came from about 16th to eighth at the flag. Not what we were all hoping for.
But looking at the positives he has some raw speed and set the fastest lap time at the end of the race.
After a debrief with the rest of the team we set out a plan for some testing that week which included working on starts.
A testing week for me after a race means some long hours. Longer than usual.
So some 05:30am wake up calls to head to the shop was called for to get my work done.
We went to San Diego for he next round where we was slightly better.
A hole-shot in the heat was a improvement and a fifth place in the main was better.
It’s was a good result for a rookie. But I know Austin wants more.
So another few days of testing and riding we were back at a water-logged Anaheim two.
Two hole shots and a fourth was again a huge improvement.
With some of the worst rain to hit southern Californian in years the following week most of the teams and riders headed out to Arizona in search of some dry tracks to ride on.
I wanted to go but I had to stay back at the shop and build my race bike.
With round four finally being a normal schedule with no delayed practice I had a feeling with the extra track time it was going to be a good weekend.
The indoor stadium in Glendale was huge and we had a lap time of over a minute.
But Austin felt quite at home from the start and ended up with the second fastest time.
A little get off in practice caused some damage and he ended up bending a set of forks.
The heat race didn’t go as good as the week before but another hole-shot and a second secured a good main event gate pick.
Come main event time and another hole-shot he led for about five minutes before getting passed but finished the race off with a podium.
Austin rode pretty dam good to be honest and has been getting better every week.
So with that first elusive podium it was time for me to fly back to California and spend my Sunday afternoon in the race shop getting things dialed for Monday morning.
No rest for the wicked.