Jesse Wharton's Moto Tour: September 7

Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend, along with the amazing weather we got! Today is Wednesday and I am writing this blog as well as unpacking from my weekend at the track, and repacking for the upcoming weekend! Pretty crazy, I know! I will have to back track to this last week to fill you all in on what?s been happening.

I know I did not write to you guys last week and I am sorry for that lol, but this week has been a crazy one for sure! So to start things off I will rewind back to last Thursday. As some of you have read in my past blogs, Labor Day weekend was one of the biggest races of the year, the Top Gun Team Shootout. The race is held at Washougal Motocross park in Washougal, Washington and it is a 4 day event. So I spent my Thursday getting packed up for the weekend and driving around the county with a million errands lol.

One of my errands was picking up a good friend from the Portland airport, John Parkinson, with PanicRev Ministries. When I saw through Facebook that PanicRev wanted to attend TopGun, I called the guys and let them know they could stay with us. At first the idea was for them to come up and race as well as spread the word about the Christmas MX Camp down in Southern California. But with some last minute plans just John came up to hang out and cover the race, media wise. So Thursday afternoon I got John from the airport and we headed home to finish getting ready, after that we headed up to Washougal to park our motorhome. We are lucky enough to live only 30 minutes away from the track so we were able to go to and from the track.

Washougal MX Park Top Gun Shootout

After the long day and a goodnights rest at home we headed up to the track for practice Friday morning. There were tons of riders on Friday and it seemed just like a national it was so packed. People were arriving throughout the day as well as signing up for the racing. When I was on the track I felt really good. It was hard to tell what the racing would be like, because the practice schedule didn't have a women's practice, so I was practicing with all the pros and intermediate riders (and there were a ton of them!). But at the end of the day I felt good and my bike felt great! After practice we went home to wash bikes and gear as well as clean up from the day. We drove back to the track to stay the night because we had to get up earlier for the race day.

Once Saturday came along there was practice before the racing. Each bike class got a practice, so the women's practice was moto 5, and my 250 Int practice was moto 6. The track was great and was getting really rutted up. After practice we got the race order, my boys moto, 250 Int was moto 3, and women's expert was moto 13. So when practice was over I was getting ready for my first moto, 250 Int. There were 39 of us on the line, and I was gate pick 39. So let?s just say my gate was a little far out, lol, the good thing about the new start at Washougal is it is a drag race to the tree, and really any gate sets you up just fine. Once the gate dropped I got a decent start that set me in about 15th place. Going up Horsepower Hill was brutal, with the roost and rocks pelting me to no end. I stayed up the first lap, which allowed me to pass quite a few riders, because at least 12 had wrecked or got in a pile up of some sorts. The moto was over and I was glad to get off the track safe like I started.

Washougal MX Park Top Gun Shootout Horsepower Hill

Top gun is a great race because even when you?re not racing, there are tons of other great battles going on in the other classes. So after my moto I went to go watch some other motos and check out the track as it developed. When my moto came around I was ready to go. There were 3 divisions of classes, women's beginner, women's sportsman, and women's expert. In my class there were 5 of us. We were the first gate drop and I had the hole shot and made a crucial mistake and let Courtney Springer get by me with the start. She grabbed the holeshot from me and we took off. The first 2 laps where close, but after a few major mistakes I found myself fading. I knew this race wasn't for the overall and I still had 2 days of racing, so I rode smoother and at a steady pace. I was not too pleased to lose that moto but my competition was steep and I knew it wasn't going to be an easy weekend for sure.

The next day of racing brought more excitement than the day before. In my boys moto I felt like I rode the best out of the whole weekend, so I felt like I was really ready for my women's moto. We lined up for the 2nd women's moto around 11:00 am, the sun was out and it was getting hot. When the gate dropped I was able to get the holeshot and head up Horse Power hill with a comfortable lead. I was able to lead the moto and finish in first. So with a comfortable lead in points I was very excited to go into the third and final day of racing.

I got to spend the rest of Sunday watching the killer pro motos as well as the stacked 250 and 450 intermediate motos. It is always enjoyable to be at the track with your friends and family watching the racing. Sunday night was the ?Goon National? which is always entertaining and somewhat ?educational? and always a staple of the Washougal event!

Jessie Wharton Top Gun MX Shootout

Monday?s racing was by far the best. The intensity was at an all time high! With the overalls and team points stacking up, it was crucial to do well and get the points as well as the wins for your team. I knew I would have the overall even if I placed 2nd in my women's moto, but that wasn't what I was looking for. When I lined up again I knew I wanted to get the start then focus on laying down fast laps. When the gate dropped I was able to get the start, but I wasn't able to just walk away with it like I wished.

My first 2 laps were solid and I was comfortable. But after a few mistakes second place was all over me. We were both riding in and out of our comfort zones. I was in the lead the whole moto until the very end. As I dropped down into the famous Washougal whoops I saw a lapper take the inside. So naturally I went to the outside, fearing Springer would take the inside from me. Well, she did. She saw my actions and took advantage of my mistake. She came into the whoops a good four bike lengths ahead of me! I can?t begin to tell you the thought that went through my head! I wasn't about to let this one slip by me like that, lol! So I brought my knees back and pinned it.....literally. From some of the spectators it seemed as though my bike had a ?secret rocket? under the seat, because I blitzed by, and got to the checkers in first place.

It was definitely an experience I won?t ever forget! The racing had been so close and so tight, it was a weekend I was lucky to have been part of. It was definitely what I needed to prepare myself going into Pala this weekend. Also a huge congratulations to team MotoSport/Hyper X, who won the overall win at the Top Gun Team Shootout! MotoSport dominated with a huge lead as their ?A? team swept the motos with win after win. Scott Russel and Stu Baily did a great job of gathering some of the top riders in the nation for the team. I was honored to be a part of it.

Jessie Wharton Top Gun MX Shootout

Which brings me to today, lol. I am packing up and just about to leave for Southern California. My mom and I will be driving down, where my dad and mechanic will meet us on Friday. Pala is going to be a whole different challenge than this last weekend. Hopefully I will get be able to bring everything together that I have been working so hard for this past summer!

I will keep you guys all posted on my Facebook on how the day goes, as well as writing to you next week on my adventures!

-Jessie #53

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