Friday's track day would bring extra challenges including a nagging electrical issue and the fact that the Miller West circuit was brand new to Marcel. After the day was sorted through, Irnie managed a respectable lap time of 1:33 on old tires and was ready for Saturday’s UtahSBA Desert Dash events and qualifying for the Superbike Shootout.
Irnie won the first Desert Dash by over 15 seconds, getting his lap times into the 1:32s in the process. Team Mobibuff /Irnieracing installed a fresh set of medium compound Dunlop tires which allowed Irnie to achieve a best lap time of 1:30.4, qualifying in 6th place.
In the second Desert Dash race, Irnie was given a soft compound prototype tire by Tony of Dunlop USA. Irnie was very pleased with the performance of this set up and won the race by over half a lap.
On Sunday morning, Dunlop USA furnished Marcel with another soft compound prototype and Irnie took to battle in the UtahSBA Open Superbike class. Irnie achieved only a mediocre start, but was able to work his way to the front by lap two and never looked back from there.
The next order of business was qualifying for the UtahSBA “King of the Mountain” race. This is the premier class of the UtahSBA events and Irnie earned the pole position with a 1:31.1. During the start of this race, Irnie was overtaken by one rider going into the first turn. He was able to regain the lead by corner five and from there he put his head down and consistently pulled a gap for the next eleven laps. On the final lap Irnie's bike was showing signs of low fuel, and then completely shut off off just 150 feet before the finish line. Irnie coasted to his fourth win of the day with a safe margin over the competition.
As taxing as that race was, his work was far from over with the Pro Superbike Shootout taking place only 50 minutes later. Starting from the second row, Irnie almost grabbed 5th spot by corner one, but he was squeezed out by David Anthony. Marcel chased Anthony and the pair almost ran into the back of Chris Ulrich in corner two. Anthony passed Ulrich and Irnie worked hard to keep the pair in striking distance.
Attrition began to dominate the storyline of this race as Cameron Beaubier and Chris Fillmore crashed out of the top three. Irnie was now in 4th place. Irnie’s "Mikanik" (mechanic) Greg was now warning him that someone was closing in. That someone was Mathew Orange who soon passed him in corner two. Irnie took chase and pressed him for two laps until they came across lap traffic in Turn 1. Orange and Irnie both braked late, but Orange turned in early to cut the inside of the lapper, so Irnie had to brake extra hard in avoidance, causing his rear tire to lift up and land sideways. Irnie had to let off the brakes to straighten the bike out, and was heading for the dirt. "I had flashbacks to Vegas where I locked up the front trying to stay on track and bailed hard tearing my right shoulder AC," says Irnie. "I actually locked the front up again, but saved it and kept heading for the dirt. As this was all happening I witnessed Orange sliding across the track behind his bike and stirring up a large dust cloud. I kept turning in the dirt to stay away from the dust cloud, and just as I approached the dust, Orange popped up and jumped out of the way. That was too close!"
Two laps later another BMW rider crashed, leaving his bike in the middle of the course. This would eventually lead to a red flag, leaving Irnie with an impressive 4th place finish, beating a couple of factory riders in the process.
The celebration in the Mobibuff /Irnieracing pits was short-lived as Marcel soon had to be on the track for the UtahSBA Open Supersport race. Irnie executed a poor launch off the start and found himself in 7th spot by corner one. As the pack was hungry and the riders were erratic, Irnie has to be very patient about finding openings to pass. After a full day of racing, fatigue was setting in for Irnie. Passes were not coming easily and he even overran a corner. Irnie eventually eked out a win to cap off an amazing weekend of achievements.
After it was all said and done, Irnie had the best weekend of his racing career. Five wins in five starts in the UtahSBA events and a splendid fourth in the SuperBike Shootout showed that the 2014 version of Marcel Irnie is fast, consistent and quickly becoming a threat everywhere he races.
Team Mobibuff / Irnieracing / WBM partner sponsors are Seattle Tools, AMSOIL Synthetics and Schuberth Helmets. Team Associate sponsors are Idol Fit Studios, 2 Wheel Dynoworks, GB Racing, Heroic Apparel, Rad Guard Australia, Shorai Batteries, EBC Brakes, Yoyodyne, MikeyMoto, Armour Bodies, Pinnacle Physiotherapy, Pro-Bolt USA, Apex Stitching and Reflections Auto Refinishing.
The team's next race event was at Thunderhill Raceway with the AFM club May 31-June 1, near Willows, California.
-- From Irnieracing