Team RidersDiscount.com #20 Sam Gaige returned to his winning ways over the weekend of 17-18 September, 2011 at Summit Point Raceway for the combined Northeast and Mid-Atlantic WERA Sportsman Series. The Rochester, New York native earned four wins on his Markbilt-prepared Yamaha YZF-R6 in cool conditions that were marked with a bit of peril and some unexpected changes in the weather too!
It all started off promising with weather predictions in the mid-60’s and no chance of rain. Evaluating notes from his last weekend at the West Virginia track, Gaige applied a few quick changes to his bike’s setup, installed a new clutch pack and added the Dunlop tires best suited for the anticipated weather. Arriving at the track early Saturday morning to sub-50°F air temps was expected, but then the rain came, and Sam chose to sit out practice. Without having any chance to evaluate his bike in practice, Sam went to his start position on the fifth row of the Heavyweight Expert Solo grid. After the green flag, Sam quickly made his way to the front on the still-drying track for a flag-to-flag victory. With one win in the bag and a bike handling impeccably, Gaige was ready for Sunday.
On Sunday, conditions were much the same, only without any precipitation. Gaige went to the line for his first race on the day, C SuperStock, looking to take another win. After a great start, coming into turn four on the second lap, his Yamaha starting shaking so violently that he immediately pulled off the track only to discover that the chain had wrapped itself around the rear sprocket! WERA officials quickly retrieved the bike and, having returned to the pits, Sam discovered that the countershaft sprocket had come off his bike! Luckily for him, the damage was only a pair of sprockets and a chain. With the issue addressed, Sam went on to convincing wins in B SuperStock, C SuperBike and B Superbike races. Along the way, only Brad Burns hounded Sam for a few laps in the last race before taking out a front-straight gap all the way to the checkered flag yet again.
Sam Gaige – “It was fun, I was riding really well and managed to set the fastest 600 lap of the weekend. I got there Saturday morning where it was a cool 48° and just as I was getting the bike ready it started to rain. Riding in the cold is one thing, but with the rain I decided to sit out practice along with the Middleweight Solo and do the Heavyweight Solo instead. For that race, the track never did dry completely and there were some sketchy patches out there, so I just built up a lead and held it to the end.
Sunday was better without the rain except for the chain coming off on the second lap of the C SuperStock race! I’m really lucky to walk away from that. The chain just wrapped itself around the rear sprocket and wore down some teeth. The crash truck got out there in no time, which allowed me to get everything fixed since nothing else was damaged. After that, the bike was great and it just worked perfectly for me. I’m really happy to come here and get a few wins on my Markbilt-prepared, Dunlop-shod Yamaha YZF-R6.”
Next up for Sam Gaige and Team RidersDiscount.com is the WERA Sportsman three-region event at Nelson Ledges Road Course in Warren, Ohio this coming weekend 24 & 25 September, 2011. Sam has had a great deal of success on the fast, flowing track where stability over the bumps is paramount for competitive lap times.