My family and I arrived in Rancho Cordova, CA around 3 AM on Friday for round one of the Lucas Oil Outdoor Nationals to find that our hotel didn‘t man their office 24hrs. We rang their door bell and made a few calls to the hotel line, no luck. We decided to wait a bit when a FIRE STARTS IN THE PARKING LOT! A bunch of cops, fire trucks, and ambulances arrive and my dad decides he’ll go talk to the officers to try to get some info on our surroundings. The cop quickly informed my dad that this hotel has meth labs, robberies, and constant crime. And the owners decide when and if they want to open. Nice welcoming to Rancho Cordova right?
Thankfully we found another place to stay around 4:30 AM and got a few hours of sleep before heading to the track. We got to the track at 11:30 and got right to work. My bike didn’t have any graphics on it yet and I had tech inspection at 12. I was super lucky I had Ricky Renner, who’s kind of a graphic pro, to help me get them on so I could make tech in time. Once we were done with all that we got settled under the Rockwell semi, checked out the track, then headed to town for dinner. After our previous eventful night we were all ready to call it a night early.
I’m grateful to say, after a much better night’s sleep we felt very rested pulling into Hangtown Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day out and the track looked nice. I don’t think there was anyone there, racer or fan, that wasn’t extremely excited to kick off the 2011 outdoor season.
Our first practice was at 10:05. The track was already shaping up to be quite challenging. It was deep and the bumps and holes were starting to make an appearance. When I saw the checkered flag I hadn’t even put in a solid fast lap. It caught me off guard by how practice flew by! I wound up 10th in that practice.
After checking everything out during the first practice I was good to go for our second session. I started to feel comfortable with the track and find some good lines. By the end of that practice round I was 8th fastest. It was an improvement but not where I really wanted to be. I still thought it was going to be a good day though!
When we lined up for our first moto at 3 PM you could see the track was already pretty beat up. We took our site lap and then it was go time! My start wasn’t the greatest. I kind of got pinched off and wound up mid pack. The whole moto I just steadily moved through the pack and by the end I wound up 7th. It would’ve benefited me to have another lap or two because I had caught up to 5th and 6th on the final lap! I was still pleased with my ride. My lap times were good and I felt strong. We were confident that with a little critiquing I was capable of a top 5 in moto two.
6 PM came around and it was time for our final moto. It was obvious that the track was rough, the men’s lap times reflected the intensity of the fact. My dad and mechanic, Gus Walker, told me to stay strong, be smart, and watch for the yard sales. I like it rough and I knew I was in shape to be able to go hard the whole moto.
When the gate dropped for the second moto I came out near the top 10. I got through some first lap traffic in a hurry then began to pick up my speed and get a good pace going. Girls were crashing left and right just as my dad and mechanic had warned. I saw the fist pumps and signals to use my head just after the half way point in the race. That’s when I knew I must’ve been doing good and I wasn’t closing on anyone. So the rest of the race I rode at a smooth pace.
The crew ran to me quickly at the end of the moto to inform me I finished 5th. We were all stoked. It was exactly what we were shooting for! My 7, 5 finishes gave me 5th overall. Unfortunately I missed 4th overall by a couple points but I was still really happy.
I just got my KTM last week. I’d only ridden it three times prior to Hangtown. Plus it was completely stock with the exception of my lovely FMF pipes. I’m pumped for the whole 2011 season and I’m so grateful I was able to kick it off with a top 5 overall.
Thanks so much to my family for supporting me and getting me to the race. My mechanic, Gus Walker, is always awesome and inspiring! As well as a huge thanks to all my sponsors; Fox, WSMX, WarhawkMX.com, Mana Strength and Conditioning, The Dirt Lab, Strong Cryogenics, Rekluse, Snap Fitness, FMF, Utopia, D&K Service, Enjoy Graphics, and Adam’s Chiropractic.
Jacqueline Strong WMX # 10
Follow Jacqueline Strong through the WMX 2011 race season.