Just before the trackside light goes green to signal to the riders poised on the grid that the race is starting, it is a tense moment where nothing moves. The riders’ right hands are holding the throttle at the proper revs (and some are also simultaneously applying the front brake), while their left hands are feathering the clutch just enough to get the jump off the line that is vitally important to the ultimate outcome of the race.
For KWR Ducati rider Kyle Wyman, on Sunday at PittRace, he was starting from the fifth position, in the middle of the second row, and right behind Mathew Scholtz in second position on the front row. But it was Jake Gagne in the third position on the front row who momentarily drew Wyman’s attention.
Wyman commented, “Starting in the fifth position on the grid at PittRace, the sightline to the starting light on the left side of the track is a little bit obscured because of the third-place guy, and that was Jake. I moved over in the starting box as far as I could, but I still had to try to look through Jake to see the light.”
Gagne had a technical issue with his clutch during the race, which resulted in him fading from second place and challenging Cameron Beaubier for the win to third place behind Mathew Scholtz, and he very nearly fell into the, ahem, “clutches” of fourth-place finisher Josh Herrin. That technical issue, though, actually manifested itself on the start line.
“Usually, on the start line, nothing is moving,” Wyman explained. “But, all of a sudden, Jake, who is directly in my line of sight on the grid, started spinning his rear tire. Well, just as I thought to myself, ‘Now, there’s something you usually don’t see,’ the light turned green, and I snapped back to the reality of having to start the race.”
The momentary distraction caused Wyman to botch the start, and his red-white-and-black Ducati lurched and sputtered off the line with the front end pogoing up and down. He admitted that it wasn’t his best moment in racing, but he made up for it by being a central figure in what was arguably the best display of racecraft on the track, with Josh Herrin, Toni Elias, and him dicing for position throughout the majority of the race.
“I’d much rather have been further towards the front,” Wyman added.
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