2008 AFM Formula IV Champion 2008 AFM Top Points Earnings 2009 AFM Forumula IV Champion 2011 AFM 650 Production Champion 2011 AFM Forumula 40 Champion 2011 AFM Forumula IV Champion
ARCHIVED Race Reports
# 6 Plate AFM 2009
#10 Plate AFM 2010
# 8 Plate AFM 2012
AFM 2011 Overall Season Championship Results
Formula 40 - 1st place
650 Production - 1st place
Formula IV - 1st place
650 Twins - 2nd place
AFM Round #7 - Thunderhill Raceway Oct 1-2, 2011
The final round of the 2011 season found us back at Thunderhill Raceway and it was a beautiful day to spend my birthday at the track! Z2 Track Days had an event on the Friday before t
he race weekend so I had headed out toward the track late Thursday night with the family. Friday was spent mostly working with customers in both A and B group, but I was able to get a few laps in throughout the day and then had one session alone to make sure both me and the bike were ready for the weekend. Everything felt great and I was ready for the race weekend.
Since I had so much track time on Friday, I only did the afternoon practice session on Saturday. I needed to do at least one session prior to the Formula 40 race to get my tire pressures correct and to get my body stretched out and ready for the race. The session went well, I felt good and the bike was ready. I had the championship lead in a 3 classes going into this round so all I had to do was finish in the top 5, but I wanted to end on a high note and win everything.
Formula 40 Lightweight – First Place – 2011 Championship
Starting on 'pole' I had a great start and it was a drag race down to turn 1. Several of us entered side-by-side and I held on to lead the pack into turn 2. From there I kept focused and stretched out a small lead. We caught up to the back of the middle weight field half way through the race but I was able to time my passes well and get through traffic cleanly. Crossing the line at the checkered flag, I had my first win of the weekend and the championship for Formula 40 Lightweight
650 Twins – First Place – 2011 Championship
We were race #2. I was in the lead for the championship by about 40 points so my plan was to win, but if Neil opened up too much of a lead I was not going to chase him and risk crashing. I would just save my energy for Formula IV where there was much less of a points gap in the overall standings.
I had a good start and was in 3rd as we went into Turn 2 with Neil in the lead. The first lap I tried to make a pass into 2nd in a few spots but could not make enough of a drive to make any of the work out. I knew where I was strong so for lap 2 I planned to take advantage of them. Down the front straight for the first time, I closed the gap on Spencer and got a great drive out of turn 1. I set up turn 2 for a better exit and was hard on the throttle to set up the pass for 3. He choose the inside line which left me the long way around the outside. I hit my markers and went in right on line for the pass. As my front wheel pulled out in front it was the set up to complete the pass in the left hand turn 4 (which I was not on the inside line for). I completed the pass, charged toward and over turn 5 and put my sights on Neil.
Neil had opened up about a 10 bike lead while I was fighting with Spencer , but contrary to my plan… I dug deeper and wanted to close the gap. At the end of lap 2 I was closing in and as we raced down the front straight for the 3rd time I was right on his rear wheel. I tried to set up several passes with none of them working until I crested turn 9 to set up a pass in turn 10. I had a great drive down the hill and made the pass on the inside of turn 10. Now in the lead, I was excited and really wanted the drive down the back straight. I got a little too excited and had a hard time with my shifts out of turn 13 because I was over revving the motor in excitement. Neil was able to make the pass into turn 14 to take back the lead… but the game was on! We continued the close battle for 3 more laps changing position for the lead several times.
At the white flag I crossed the line in the lead and pushed hard to open up a gap in the tight section of the track. Worried about another pass under brakes into turn 14 I took a protective line focusing more on my exit of 15 than my entry to 14. That fact combined with Neil driving harder than ever to take back over the lead allowed him to close up several bike lengths in 14 and draft me down the front straight. I saw him pop out of my draft for the pass just prior to the finish line, but I was able to maintain the lead and take another win for the weekend and the 650 Twins Championship.
650 Production - 2011 Championship
Going into the last round, I had a 90 point lead in the overall standings. The most you can get in a single round is 75 points so I did not have to race this event. Instead, I opted to watch since I never get to actually watch the 650 class. My bike was still able to make the grid, ridden by a friend from the East coast who flew out for a fun weekend or trackdays and racing.
Formula IV – First Place
With only 20 points separating first to fourth place in overall standings, there was a small chance I could take the championship. That chance was very dependent on Neil not finishing the race… which is a very small chance.
I was 3rd overall going into this round, so a win would put be up in 2nd overall. I had a good start, again going into turn 2 in 3rd place… Neil in first and Jay in second. Heading into turn 3, Jay left an opening on the inside of the entry so I made my pass. Halfway through the turn, Neil must have had a small bobble because I found myself closing in on him faster than expected. Seeing the opportunity, I moved to the outside line and continued my drive through the turn and made the pass for the lead on the exit. With a glance over my shoulder I saw that Neil had enough track for the exit and off toward turn 5 I went.
I had open track and made sure to hit my marks, clip my apexes and get great drives out of the turns. I was able to get through back markers cleanly and maintained the lead until the checkered flag. The win felt great, but with Neil in a very close 2nd, it was enough to move me into 2nd overall in points, but not enough to displace Neil for the championship.
2011 was a very successful and fun season. None of it would be possible without the help of my sponsors and team mates. A few highlights of my sponsors:
TWF Racing – We built the suspension at the start of the season and never had to make a single adjustment again all season. When something works well, there is no reason to change it.
Pirelli tires – Always the best tire and inspires incredible confidence to make those passes in Turn 3 as well as getting an SV down to lap times of 1:55 at Thunderhill. Additionally, I was able to win 3 rounds of 650 production on the same set of tires.
Z2 Track Days – getting to be on the track so much is always helpful, and made even better by having the opportunity to help other racers and street riders become faster and safer. It truly is a joy to watch someone run faster, safer and come off the track smiling like kid at Christmas.
Galfer Brakes – The brake pads that make me giggle every time I grab a handful of lever. These pads gave me so much feel combined with their wave rotors and lines that I felt like the front tire was connected to my hand.
MotionPro – I love love love my revolver throttle. All the tools are also a major help when you need that 'just right' tool.
Zooni leathers – keeping me intact when I hit the pavement in round #5 and patched up quickly to be ready 2 weeks later.
Driven Sprockets – lasting a full season, these sprockets are the strongest I've ever used. And this year being in RED with a RED chain from driven I even had a little colorful bling added in.
MotoNation – the Sidi boots are the most comfortable fitting boot I have ever worn. Nothing else compares to them.
WoodCraft – Bars, rearsets, stands, tire warmers… The tire warmers gave me warmer and more consistent temperatures than any other brand I've used. This is KEY in setting my hot temperatures.
RaceImage.net - Better looking numbers and decals for all the sponsors
round #6 Thunderhill Raceway Sept 10-11, 2011
This was an 'add-on' to the original schedule to make up for a rained out event earlier in the season. I was very lucky that it fit into my schedule. Leading the points in several classes I was worried that I would lose them with the addition of a race this late in the season. We schedule all of our family trips and vacations with friends early in the season (around the race schedule so the calendar was pretty well booked. This race ended up being scheduled on the first weekend I had free out of 5 consecutive weekends!!! I got lucky!
I needed to practice turn 6-7-8 so that was where my attention focused. I was not doing so well on my exit of turn 8 the previous round and I wanted to fix that. I was able to get back into good graces with the track, but not as comfortable as I had been in past seasons. Turn 6-7-8 still gave me a little trouble, but manageable.
Formula 40 - First Place
I had a good start but backed off just a touch in turn 1 to make sure I got through it upright.... putting me in second. By the end of the first lap I was first and tried to create a gap. NOPE... there's a wheel.... and another. It was like that song.... "Here a wheel, there a wheel, everywhere a wheel wheel". Jay would not leave me alone. It was like he wanted to pass me or something . I managed to hold him off long enough to put some back markers to good use and stretched out a small gap to finish the last 2 laps in the lead.
650 Twins - First Place
This was going to be a good race... I knew it. Neil was back with a fresh motor and surely a ton of desire to get back up front. And he did. I had one of the best starts EVER for me and went into turn 1 in second place.... right on Neil's rear tire. I followed him for the first lap looking for strengths and weaknesses, but was not close enough to take advantage of a few small mistakes. Then... as I was mounting my attack, he had a big bobble on the downhill side of turn 5. Knowing this would kill his drive into Turn 6 I took the outside line hard on the throttle to set up an inside pass into T6. With the lost drive out of T5, I figured he would not have the drive to pass me through T7... and I was right. From that point on, he and I had open track and clicked off consistent low 1:56 laptimes. We were both within tenths of a second of each other and of each lap making it a game of mistakes. I managed to complete 4 clean laps with no significant issues and crossed the line in first.
650 Production - First Place
The last round was a battle and I came in 2nd. I had ridden as hard as I could, but it was not as fast as I could. So.... this time I had a plan. I wanted to check out and run away doing the 1:59's I know the bike can do. In a moment of extended arrogance, I even announced this to John Forman since he is the most important and influential member of TWF. But, now that I said it... I had to do it... And that I did . I got a great start AGAIN!!!! YAY! and lead from flag to flag opening up about a 15 bike lead by lap 2 and holding it throughout the race.
Formula IV - Second Place
I had plans to repeat the win from the morning, but Neil had other plans. When the flag dropped, I was back to my old ways and got a horrible start. I apparently used them up in my previous races. I was almost hit by Rory coming off the 3rd row and managed to hold onto 7th into turn 1. YUCK... this make it so much harder. I passed several on my exit of T1 and a few more in T2 and T3. During this time, Neil was extending his lead. I was up in 2nd by the end of the first lap and had a lot of ground to make up. I was able to close in just a little by the second lap but at the half way point I could only match his times. We keep that same pace for 3 more laps and I crossed the finish line in second.
It was a very successful weekend and a ton of fun.
AFM Round #4 - Thunderhill Raceway - RAINED OUT
Having a broken Scapula that had only been healing for about 9 days, I was able to ride with some discomfort... but it was a lucky break that we had a rained out event during my injury. I had broken it falling off of a quad in the sand dunes of Winnemucca, NV. AFM Round #3 - Infineon Raceway - May 8, 2011
Round 3 found us back at Infineon Raceway again, but this time on Mother's day. Michelle decided to stay home this round and spend the weekend with her Mom. My daughter Megan also stayed home to spend with the other ladies of the house and to spend her first Mother's day with Michelle. They had a great weekend with a lot of shopping and relaxing. I still had company on my drive and over the weekend because a good friend Alyse went with me :D.
Saturday's practice was pretty typical. I usually skip the very first practice session due to the affects of the cold morning air on my still-healing fingers, but this time I was going to go ride and get my full day in. Instead I found myself un-prepared when the calls were made for my session and the bike's battery was dead, tank was empty and my generator had died so the tires were cold. I decided to listen to the signals and address the problems as apposed to forcing my way through them. By the time my session was up again, I had everything sorted and went out on track. I felt stiff, cold and off-line but that's what the first session of they is for... to get the bike's suspension warmed up and the riders blood flowing. The rest of they days practice sessions felt better and it was time to prepare for the Formula 40 race.
Formula 40 - 4th Place
The experience I had at round #3 with bad starts was to be a thing of the past now. That was the plan. After each practice session I did one practice start to test different techniques. then prior to the F40 race, I did a few more. They felt good, but not quite where I needed to be. They had to do some track clean up so with the slight delay, I went back for another practice start. BAM!!!! Nailed it. it felt almost perfect. I did one more on my return through the hot pit as I saw the track marshals signal us for our hot lap. Then it happened.... the clutch. Done. Nothing left but a free-spinning motor with marginal forward motion. UGGGGGG. My only option was the production bike back in the paddock. I limped the bike back around knowing I would miss my warm-up lap and hoping I could get the production bike out to the grid in time. with a quick look-over and a short assessment I was off to grid.
Cold tires, Old tires...(I had put my tires from last season back on the bike to instruct with Z2Trackdays so they were well worn), Just enough fuel, less power then my superbike and I was gridded pole position. Knowing I would not be racing for the lead, I couldn't help but try to nail the start, and I did. I had a good launch and went into turn 1 side-by-side with Rob Campbell with Jay Kimberger just outside of him. I was quickly reminded of my tire situation as the bike slid about a foot closing most of the space between Rob and I. I gently backed off :D. By the exit of turn 2 I had lost count of all the passes, mostly because I was having fun recognizing a lot of riders I don't usually get to see during the race. It was like I off visiting friends for a few laps. By the middle of the second lap, the tires were about as good as they would get.... time to push forward. I had fallen back to about 9th and had a lot of ground to make up. Each lap I was able to make several passes and was thrilled at how well the Pirelli tires where doing after two full race weekend, two full days of instructing and cold winter sitting in the garage. By the white flag I had caught up and passed anyone I was going to catch and settled into whatever spot I had made it to. When I came off course, I was happy to have finished the race to keep my championship bid alive and even more happy to hear that I had made it up to 4th place. It was a fun race, but not quite what I had set out to do. The top 3 finishes worked out in my favor and I am still in the points lead for the championship.
Sunday Formula IV - 2nd Place
We were race #1 again. I do not feel at my peak this early in the morning and the cold air still plays against my hand injuries. We had put another clutch in the superbike but only had a few laps of practice to test it. I felt OK, but I was not confident it would last the race. I kept focused on the start and it paid off with a great start. As I charged up the hill toward 2, I tried for an inside line and messed up my braking allowing for two passes. Later I was explained that it was only a 'good' start since I was in 4th at the exit of turn 2, but to me... not being in 8th at that point made it great!
The first 4 laps of the race went about as good as the first two turns. I had made poor judgments on several inside passes that resulted in more lost positions and my arms/hands began to stiffen up. by lap 3 I was having a hard time with the brakes, clutch and steering input. At the half-way flag I was not sure what position I was in, but I knew I had let the leader run-away. With no hope of catching Neil in my condition, I began doing the math and getting unhappy with how the points would play out toward the championship so I realized, focused and decided to give the last 4 laps more than I gave the first 4. My times quickly dropped and I made sure I to set up nice, clean passes. With only 2 laps to go, the leaders were too far out of site but I had one bike in sight. he had a big lead but I was determined to close the gap. Chipping away at the space turn by turn I was able to start planning a pass. On the last lap I made my pass into turn 7, finished the lap and cross the checkered flag. To my complete surprise, I had made it up to 2nd place. This was an incredible result for how poorly I rode for the first half of the race. I had lost the championship lead, but I was still well within range to make it a good fight over the remaining rounds.
650 Twins - 1st Place
I needed this and I had promised Zoran to deliver the win. It was early afternoon and the wind had picked up quite a bit, but the bite from the morning cold was gone. I had a great start, held my line in turn 2 and accelerated toward 3 in second place directly on the rear wheel of Neil. Neil kept a blistering pace, pushing me to work hard to stay in check. he pulled a few bike lengths on me by the second lap, but then I was able to close back in by the halfway point. We both moved through light traffic with ease so it was going to come down to brakes or a mistake. I tried to out brake him in 7 but pushed us both wide as he held of the pass. I repeated the same attempt with the same results a lap later in turn 11. With two laps to go, I knew my opportunities would be limited. I could not count on a mistake so I kept close on his rear wheel looking for what part of the track to set up my pass.
I found my two chances and crossed the white flat lap to set them up. The first attempt didn't leave enough of an opening so I had one more chance in turn 7. Getting an early drive out of 4 I kept on the throttle through 5 to ensure I could draft him down the back straight for the pass into 7... then the door opened in turn 6. As we crested the blind entry into the downhill sweeper, Neil pushed just a foot or two wide. that was all I needed. I held the inside line and drove deep on the brakes into 7. Expecting to see Neil in turn 9 and 11, I was determined not to make a mistake. Crossing the line with the win, I was extremely excited ... and extremely tired :D. With only 84hp in the motor, it takes a lot of focus and energy to keep the laptimes consistently in the low 1:45's. And looking for an opportunity to pass Neil is even more difficult.
650 Production - 1st Place
This was a nice bit of dessert after the tough weekend. I was feeling great coming off of the 650T win and successfully parlayed that into this race. I got a great start again and was in 2nd at turn 2 and moved into first at the top of turn 3. From there... I never looked back. Well, I actually looked back twice on the exit of turn 2 but I never trust my eyes when I see empty track behind me. I've had someone move over as I turned and hid on my opposite side just to pass me into the next corner. So, from that lesson I don't typically turn around. From this experience I learned that even if I do.... I won't believe what I see.
There were not a lot of back markers and the race went very smoothly. Crossing the line with my second win of the weekend felt good.
Chris at Pirelli - thank you for the incredible tires and your top-notch support. You and your staff always take great care of us! Zoran (TWF Racing) - you are always a huge help, but this weekend you went beyond the normal level! Thanks for putting in my clutch and helping me get the production bike ready. John (TWF Racing team manager) - Thank you for leading me around for almost two laps in Formula 40. Those were fun times, and how you retell them always makes me smile :D Alyse - Thank you for the bacon sandwich! that was delicious! and for helping pack up while I moved very slowly after the long weekend.
Galfer, Zooni, Suomy, Traxxion, Driven, MotionPro, RaceImage, MotoNation, Sidi, WoodCraft, Z2 trackdays and Factory bodyworks... thank you for your continued support and incredible products. without all of you I'd be naked on a bicycle somewhere with no suspension.
AFM Round #2 - Infineon Raceway - April 17, 2011
Only a bride's Maid, even after trying to punt the bride off the alter.
The second race for the 2011 season started out with a crazy week at work. It had actually been a crazy 5 weeks, but the week leading up to round #2 was particularly icky. the small back story is that I do Business Intelligence for the Small Business Division of Intuit. We had been having a lot of issues with our orders reporting so after a lot of failed attempts, I stepped in to solve the primary issues. I was up many late night working to determine the cause and then spent Friday morning coding several hot fixes into production. With the updates complete at 1PM, I was off on my drive to Infineon while the system processed the new data. I sat on several calls during the drive and then had to log back in from the track to verify the fix. With the verification from the business that the fixes I ran corrected the issue, I was finally able to let go of work a little and focus on the races ahead. (note: if the fixes had not been successful, I would of been coding all day from my laptop inside of my hauler instead of running the day's practiced sessions. I was VERY excited to be riding on Saturday)
With all of that behind me, I woke up Saturday ready to ride. Michelle decided to take the kids to Discovery Kingdom for the weekend so she was off in Vallejo enjoying the rides and shows and having a blast! They came back to the track Saturday night giggling like little school girls.
My morning sessions were inconsistent but felt good. By the early afternoon I felt much better but still needed to find more time to win for Sunday. I was testing a new suspension knuckle on my production bike at a trackday on the previous Monday so it was still on the bike. The modification is not legal for production racing, but I really wanted to test it out under race conditions. I decided to race my production bike in the Formula 40 race on Saturday. The production bike is under powered compared to the superbike build, but there were only two superbikes on the lightweight grid that worried me, so I figured I'd be in for a great race regardless of the finish.
Formula 40 - First Place
I had my normal bad start from the front row, being passed by people several rows behind me. As I went into turn 2 in about 7th... I questioned my decision to run the production bike. I picked of two of them before turn #3 and then a few more headed into the carousel. By the exit of the tight chicane of turn #9 I was in 3rd. Who was in front of me? The only two Superbikes I worried about. Jay Kimberger and Rob Campbell, both of who are good riders. I was able to stay with them through all of the tight sections and only lost a few bike lengths on the straights. Corner speed and brakes were my only weapons in this fight... I was certainly not going to win on power. By the halfway flag I was still in third, but happy to find out I still had 4 more laps to figure this puzzle out. Brakes.... I'll use those, and by the end of the 5th lap I had my plan of attack. I tried to make a pass on Rob into turn 7 but wasn't close enough. I then had my drive into turn 9 hampered by another back marker. The next lap closed the gab so I could make another attempt into 7. This time I was successful and had my sights on the leader. Corner speed, I was going to need lots of it to catch Jay in the reaming 2 laps. The plan now was to use the 7th lap to close in on him for a pass in the last lap. I mounted a good drive up the hill toward two and closed in within a few bike lengths by the exit. I would need a few more of those to get close enough for a pass, but as we went into turn 3 we came upon a back-marker. Jay had to adjust his line slightly so I took advantage of that and went for an outside pass. I was able to hold on to it at the top of the hill and drive into turn #4 in the lead. "OK... 1.5 laps left, a long back straight coming up.... push!" (if you read my other reports, you're already aware I talk myself through each race).
I carried a ton of speed over the hill into 6 and got a great drive out. I was sure to hit my marks and lines and crossed the line at the white flag still in the lead. I repeated my drive up the hill and through 3,4,5 and 6. Exiting turn 9 I knew he had one more chance in turn 11, but when I didn't see a wheel on the brakes I knew I just and to do things right and the win was mine. I crossed the line at the checkered in first and was very excited for the win and very impressed at how the new suspension knuckle made the bike feel. I was already sad I couldn't use it in the production race on Sunday.
650 Production - Second Place
After another classic horrible start from the front row I found myself in 5th place. I had some challanges getting around several riders, most of which I had not raced directly with so I didn't know thier styles. After a pass here and a pass there.... on the third lap I made my pass into 2nd headed into turn 7 only feel pressure on my side. In a challenge for the turn, a handlebar was hooked on my leathers. I stood the bike up a little to give more room and felt a second "touch" on the chassis pushing me further wide. Once I knew there was enough space to separate us I tightened my turn and pointed for the exit of turn 7.
have to give a huge THANK YOU to Alan Cunningham at this point. He was behind us headed into turn 7 and was to be the beneficiary, but looking out and knowing how I ride he expected me to come back toward the turn with a fury.... and I did. I did not see a wheel to my right so I charged the apex in an attempt to not let team mate Tom Dorsey get away with the lead. It felt good, I made a good drive out and closed some of the gap into turn 9. Why the huge thank you to Alan then? his video of the turn shows a blocked view of the us getting connected, but more importantly is that it shows his level headed awareness and thinking to expect something from me as I become a flash of yellow coming into his line on the exit of 7. If he had not left me the room, I would of either collected him on my exit or crashed off course avoiding him at the last second. THANK YOU ALAN!!!!! And along with that I also apologize for the aggressive exit. I was too focused on getting knocked out of my line and my recovery to think about the next possible outcome. Alan saved the day.
This is a very short video, but it shows the entry to 7 and Alan graciously giving me enough space
OK, back to the race. I had about 30 bike lengths to make up and only 3 laps to do it. It figured based on the previous lap that I might be able to close in, but making a pass was going to be a bigger challenge. On the 5th lap I had closed the gap to about 20 bike lengths when the black flag came out. the race was over. We had crossed the half-way spot so the results would be finalized at lap 5. I had little hope of catching Tom, but I really wanted the last 2 laps to find out. Tom ran a flawless race, leading from start to finish. Even in 2nd, I was happy to that TWF took the win and the top two spots on the podium.
650 twins - Second Place
Surprises... another bad start. "Damn I have to learn how to start!" I think I said that 15 times by turn 3 and about 100 more times by the end of the day. This race didn't have a lot of excitement. I was able to work my way through into second by the second lap, but Neil O'Riely had more than enough time to take a commanding lead. I pushed as hard as I could for the next 5 laps. We both made very efficient use of back-markers and neither of us made any significant mistakes. By the white flag I knew the only way I was going to win this race is if Neil were to run of track. I kept most of my focus on the last lap but I had already begun to let my head think about this starting thing. I had one more race with Neil and I had to get a good start if I were to win. How do these other riders get such great starts? How do I do such a horrible job? I wonder what some of the hand signals mean that I see the corner workers make during races mean. (When I let my mind wonder, I can't fully control how far away it wonders. I tried a leash and an electric fence, but both caused more harm than good.... so I just have to let it wonder and hope it comes back healthy and clan). As you can imagine, I finished the race in second. A high light was a great wheelie out of turn 2 and down the hill into 3 that surely made me look coolest to the people in the stands. :D
Formula IV - Second Place
OK, Start.. Start.... Start... GET A GOOD START!!!!!! The flag drops and I got an OK start, much better than any other during the weekend. I was in 3rd going into turn #2 and knew I had to make a quick move to not let Neil get away again. I was 2nd by the exit of turn 4 and right on Neil's rear wheel headed down into 6. I'd like to say things changed after that.... but they didn't. We both ran 1:45's which is about as fast as an SV can get around Infineon, so making a pass requires a great set-up or a mistake. I tried 3 times for that great set up into turn 9, but all 3 times we hit back-markers through the esses or into 9 that prevented a pass. It turned into an effort to make sure I didn't lose any grounds...or a hope that one would cause a line change that would give me an advantage... Neither would happen.
Second to last lap... I have the drive out of 7... the line in 8a...great drive down the hill into 9. "He will expect it on the last lap, so it's now. NOW!" I broke out from his rear wheel to set up an inside pass. I pushed only feet past my break marker, got hard on the brakes and immediately knew I was not going to make a clean pass. Another 10 feet and I knew I was going to stay on track, but I wasn't so sure Neil was. My pass attempt became 100% about keeping Neil on the track to finish the race, regardless of my position. If I tucked the front end, he was going to be taken out by my bike. If I ran wide, he was on the outside of me and would be pushed further out risking a crash. The bike fought back hard while the Galfer brakes asserted their control, the rear wheel hovered inches off the ground and I made every effort to keep it behind me. Two more quick hops of the rear wheel while I felt everything the Pirelli was telling me through the front brake lever, I was at the turn. The Pirelli's kept the bike safe and I was able to scrub off enough speed to initiate my entry with several feet of track to my left. Neil pushed his line wide and used the real-estate I had left him to enter the chicane, but was not able to make the left as he ran off track. I was finishing my right turn while scrubbing off that last bit of speed I needed to make the left, but my eyes were glued on Neil as he came back on track and was back on the throttle headed toward turn 10. I don't know how to spell the sound for extreme relief, but if I did I'd spell it in all capital letters with repetitions in all the consonants.
I pointed my bike toward turn 10 with absolutely no atempt at a second try. I headed down the front straight with a quick look back. The white flag was waving and I didn't know how to tell Neil to relax, so I just hoped he'd look back and see the growing gap between us. I kept my pace up but without making any progress... I didn't know where 3rd was. At our pace I assumed we had gapped the rest of the field, but it wasn't until the end of the back straight that I could get my confirmation. Entering turn 9 on the last lap, I gave an exaggerated gesture of wiping my brow and tried to gesture ' I'm sorry' to the corner workers and very happily finished the race in 2nd with Neil with an un-crashed victory.
I found him later and he had a big smile on his face and was giggling. He's a great competitor and will certainly make this a fun season.
As always, I have to thank Chris from CT Racing for the great Pirelli tires. Galfer for the brake lines and pads that helped save my mistake in Forumla IV. Zoran at TWF Racing for the incredible suspension (Traxxion) and motor. Driven, MotionPro, Suomy, Zooni leathers, MotoNation, Race Image and 4TheRiders. Ohhhhh, look for a new video that 4TR was doing for me in the weeks to come.... they were also filming for another project that may put me on your TV later in the summer.
AFM Round #1 - Buttonwillow Raceway - March 20, 2011
A weekend's worth of racing in one afternoon
This race weekend Michelle and I extended the trip to include a few days at Disneyland! We left Tuesday before the weekend to travel most of the day. We had to chain up for the Sierra's and we hit traffic outside of LA, but we made it to our hotel and to our dinner reservations inside the park on time. Wednesday was spent at California Adventures enjoying all the rides, a delicious dinner and then the new World of Color light/water show.
If you have plans to go, make reservations weeks in advance for one of the restaurants. After dinner, they give you what equates to a 'Fast-Pass' to the World of Color and it makes all the difference in the world for getting a good spot to watch the show. Thursday was spent in the Magic Kingdom with dinner at the Blue Bayou. (it's the restaurant that you see from inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) Also a very delicious dinner and very relaxing. It was the perfect way to detach from a busy work schedule and an even busier race-prep schedule and just enjoy a few wonderful days away.
Leaving for the track at 12:30AM Thursday night (Friday morning) we arrived at the track just a little before 4AM. A quick nap (just over 4 hours of sleep) and I was up to start a day of practice. I decided to do only the afternoon sessions to allow myself un-rushed time to set up our pit area and put the finishing touches on the bikes. My Production bike was with Mad Genius Racing for the past 2 months undergoing testing for a new custom exhaust. they delivered my bike to the track and the pipe looked incredible. The Dyno sheets show significant gains in the midrange and almost equal top end power as my LeoVince. I was excited (as were builders John Stark and Don Babbs) to see how it felt out on track.
Friday - I ran my new Superbike first, to break in the new motor and feel out the new build. I decided to built a new bike for 2011 taking the best parts from both generations of the SV and doing a 'Mix-Gen' set up. next was a test of the production bike with the new exhaust. I could feel a difference in how the bike pulled out of the tighter corners and it felt like it had a really good power everywhere. It had 'seat of the pants' approval... the big test would be race day. My last session I took the Superbike out for a fast session. I needed to see how it felt at full speed and I needed to learn how well my healing fingertips were going to hold up. The bike, again, felt great, but my fingers only held up for 4 laps before they starting losing strength and hurting. This concerned me, but hopefully Sunday would be a little warmer and the would not hurt as much.
Saturday was the official AFM practice. I woke up to even cooler temperatures so I skipped my first session out of concern for my fingers. with that cold of temperatures, they would not last 3 laps. I went out for my second session and felt good. The bike felt even better than Friday, but my fingers were proving to be cause for concern. they worked fine, they just didn't have the stamina back yet and the cooler temperature made them hurt quickly once out on track.
Lunch Time seemed to come really quick... only two sessions and we were already at lunch. Then, another riders meeting was called. Because we had very overcast skies and the forecast was 100% for rain on Sunday, the race director and AFM Board made the call to run as many races as we could get in on Saturday. they focused on all of the larger grids which turned out to be all 4 of my races. We would run 7 races... I would be in race #1,#3,#5 and #7. CAUSE FOR CONDERN!!!! My fingers didn't last 3 laps, now they had to hold up for 4 races with only 20 minutes in between. SOLUTION - at the end of the riders meeting, I was given perfect advice by one of the Pirelli crew. Nitrile gloves.... the black rubber gloves used for parts washing or other greasy work. If I wore one of them under my race glove on my bad hand, it would help hold in the body heat and also cut the wind coming through the gloves vents. Not only did it work, it worked so well I kept a glove on my hand most of that evening :D
Formula 40 Lightweight - First Place - Gridded on the front row, I was ready. I had a good start and went into turn 1 in the lead. It was a very exciting race, but actually not very eventful. I lead all 6 laps taking the checkered flag for my first win of the 2011 season. I kept a fast pace on the cool-down lap so I could get back into the paddock to put the tire warmers back on, refuel the bike and refuel the rider.
650 Twins - Second Place - Again gridded on the front, I had an 'OK' start. I went into turn 1 in 4th place moving into 2nd by the exit of 2. Neil was out in front and the race was on. We stayed together for the entire race. I was able to pass him near the half-way mark and lead for 2 laps, then he came back past me entering a fast right hander nicknamed 'Lost Hills'. I kept on his rear tire for the next lap looking for any opportunity to make a pass. Neil rode well and didn't leave any opportunities. I made a few efforts on the white flag lap, but still found myself in second as we came through the essess headed to the last turn... and a back-marker.
Neil went for the protective inside line going inside of the lapped rider so I went outside for the better line. If my timing was right and there was room on the exit, I would have a much better drive and get to the flag first. BUT.... timing didn't work out so well, and I was left with no room on the outside. As the lapped rider exited I was coming around the outside with a lot of speed. He kept pushing wide on his exit and I kept wide open on the throttle in hopes that I would get next to him before my track ran out.... then ... it ran out. I screamed a little scream and had to grab the binders killing my drive. Frustrated at the poor timing, I was still happy with a hard fought 2nd place finish.
650 Production - First Place - The race was off to a good start and I went into turn 1 in second place, exiting out of turn 2 in the lead. At the end of the first lap I was passed for the lead but it would only last until the next turn when I re-took the lead. This happened a second time in turn 1, but later that lap he was able to make it stick so I decided to follow for a lap to size up my competition. Once I felt I had enough input I made my pass back into the lead and focused on traffic. the wave in front of us was 250 Superbike so it was a swarm of Ninja 250's.
The SV's are not known for blazing power, but we certainly make enough to create a scary closure rate on the back of the 250 field. I made my passes clean but was forced to make a few close passes. The most memorable was over the top of the curbing in the fast esses. My worries that I might seem too aggressive for the 250 rider when I realized it was Todd Grice jumping from his 600 to race the 250 series this season. He said later he was giggling all the way down the front straight. 2 laps later I crossed the line with a significant lead, for my second win of the weekend. One more race..... Neil.... I wanted this one!
Formula IV - First Place - I had a good start and equally as important was that Neil seemed to not have a good start. I was in second out of turn 2 and setting up the pass for the lead. I just thought "get out front, put your head down and start clicking off fast laps". 2 turns after moving into the lead, the race was black flagged. We would come back around and have a full restart. On the restart, I had a not-as-good of a start... and more importantly, Neil had a good start! DAMN!!!! OK, turn it on!!!! I made 3 quick passes and was on Neil's rear wheel by turn 3.
On the second lap I made my pass for the lead and focused on not giving him any opportunities. I saw a wheel a few times but was able to stay in the lead. White flag lap... OK, last lap... he's going to push hard. I hit all my markers, clipped my apexes and exit points. Pushing hard through the fast sweeper and through Lost Hills where he passed me in race #2, I was still able to keep the lead. There was one more risk... the last turn onto the straight. I saw his wheel, then his whole bike. He was going deep on the inside. I maintained my line, crossed my brake marker and tipped it in. Coming from the outside line, I would carry more speed so I kept on my line and got to the apex first. Neil was forced to brake more than expected giving me the drive to the finish and my 3rd win for the weekend.
I have to give a HUGE thanks to Corey and Chris from CTRacing. Their support is only out done by the performance of their Pirelli tires. On my production bike, I was even still running the tires from the last round of 2010 due to the limited time between the lunch announcement and my first race. Last season's tires won at the last round of 2010 as well as the first round of 2011 and the new tires are even better!
I also have to thank Zoran and TWF Racing. He built me a new motor and set up my suspension but was not able to make it to the track due to a 30 car pile-up over the Sierras. Even without adjustments, the bike felt great. The shock and forks were set-up off the bike in his shop and worked great untouched.
Additional thanks to Galfer for the great lines and brake pads, Driven for the chain and sprockets, RaceImage.net for the decals and Motonation for the Sidi boots. Due to the injury on my fingers, I was behind on the bike build and even further behind on getting my orders in. They all did a great job getting me what I needed in time for the race weekend. More thanks also go out to MotionPro, Traxxion Suspension, Zooni Leathers, 4TheRiders.com, Factor Bodyworks and Z2 Trackdays.
Next round is at Infineon on April 16.
AFM 2010 Overall Season Championship Results
Formula 40 - 2nd place
650 Production - 3rd place
Formula IV - 3rd place
650 Twins - 4th place
AFM Round #7 - Thunderhill Raceway - October 2, 2010
Back racing again for the final round. I didn't have any hope of keeping my championships after missing two full rounds, but I wanted to test out the hand and finish out the season
as high in the standings as I could. I was happy to pull out some good finishes for the weekend and complete the year with 3 championship podium finishes.
Formula 40 - 1st place
650 Production - 1st place
Formula IV - 3rd place
650 Twins - 4th place
AFM Round #6 - Infineon Raceway - July 31, 2010
Still carrying around 3 pins setting the bones in my right hand, I took to the track to support TWF. I brought my bikes as back up for any other team members and ended up loaning the Superbike to Jason Catching for one race and Jon Forman for another. Tom Dorsey also had a transmission failure on his production bike so he fielded mine for this round to keep his points alive in the series.
AFM Round #5 - Thunderhill Raceway - July 10, 2010
Formula 40 - I crashed in turn #2 on the second to last lap after losing the front end trying to take a wider entry into the turn for a pass.
650 Twins - I had a shift lever break on the start. I survived the pack splitting around me in turn 1 and headed out to the outside wall
I finished the day early with 3 broken metacarpals in my right hand
Formula IV - Did not start
650 Production - Did not start
AFM Round #4 - Thunderhill Raceway - June 13
Four for Four... Another great weekend!!!!
I was not able to make it to the Friday trackday for the additional practice. I did schedule a track walk with a handful of new racers to help them better understand the track, and I figure it would help me improve my line through a few critical spots of the track. Thunderhill is 3+ miles long, so at a walking pace and stopping for long conversations in each turn.... this walk turned into a 2.5 hour adventure. it was well worth it for me, and the new racers I talked to on Sat/Sun said they instantly improved their times anywhere from 5-10 seconds a lap. That is a wonderful reward for a small commitment of time :D (and didn't coat anything like most other upgrades :LOL)
The Saturday morning sun was met with high winds and warmth. As the day went on the wind slowed but the heat continued. Given the choice, I prefer the heat to the wind because the wind plays havoc on your turn in and exits.... hot stays hot lap after lap. The morning sessions felt good and I was happy to see 1:58's as I tried new lines and tested the bike. By lunch I clicked off a few 1:57's and felt that I was ready for the afternoon's race.
Formula 40 Lightweight - First Place.
When the flag dropped, I got off the line smooth and fast. After shifting into second and then third, I still didn't see anyone so I thought I had the hole shot. Then a yellow bike pops up on my right as teammate jay passed me as we approached turn 1.... apparently he had the hole shot and I was in second. I wanted to make a fast past and set the pace but the whole first lap I focused too much on passing and not on riding my race. All of my attempts failed until the back straight. I drafted Jay and popped out on the inside for a pass under brakes into turn 14. Getting a good drive onto the front straight, I let my attention fall from the race and onto each turns entry/apex/exit marks. I felt that if i could push hard for a few laps I could open up a gap and relax. I was 1/2 right. I opened up a gap by mid race but failed on the "relaxing" part. I figure whatever lead I established in 3 laps can be taken back in 3 more, so kept my focus on all of the corners and finished the race in First.
The new pavement at Thunderhill is known for tearing up tires. I was a little worried going into Saturday, wondering how the Pirelli's would hold up. The compound choice and pressures that Chris at CTRacing recommended worked incredible! After the Formula 40 race, the tire looked perfectly smooth and barely broken in. This made me very excited for Sunday!
650 Production - First Place
I had another decent start but went into turn 1 in second place again. I didn't want a repeat of my first lap in F40 so I tried to not worry about my pass and just find my rhythm. Successfully finding it, I rounded the last turn onto the front straight in first place. I know how well Dave can ride that production bike so I no delusions of relaxing. we had pretty clear track so the back-markers didn't really have much of an impact on me. I never saw a wheel, but I knew Dave was right there waiting for any opportunity to pounce. I ran consistent 1:59's pretty much every lap and maintained the lead through to the checkered flag. It felt good to finally have the production bike running good.
This also confirms for me that not knowing if the system is throwing codes works better for me so the instrument cluster is still non-op. It did get a pulse of current at some point during the race because I glanced down out of habit on the exit of turn 8 I saw the needle at 6K RPM. A quick confused "WHAT" might of popped out of my mouth before I realized it was just stuck there.
Formula IV - First Place
Starting on the pole never seems to work out well for me. I knew everyone was ready to step up for this race so I wasn't going to have an easy time of this one. I had a slightly worse start then usual but managed to hang on to 3rd heading out of turn 1. I had a new bike to contend with as somebody else got the hole shot. I didn't have much concern about getting around them and into second, but they were riding with pure passion to stay up front. I choose the wrong pass into turn 2 and lost some ground on the exit. Setting up my next pass as we exited turn 3 I made my pass down the hill out of turn 5 and into 6. "OK, now relax... settle down... that's done now lets go catch Jay." [yes I do talk to myself during a race]. Jay had pulled about 10 bike lengths on me and I let that get to me. I over tried on the next lap messing up my drive in turn 1, my exit to turn 3, my entry to turn 6, my entry into turn 9 and just slightly better in turn 10. "What are you doing? that's not your lap. Just do what you know and find your marks, you know where you can reel him in". I trusted that I knew what I was talking about and did as I was told.
The next lap went smooth. Each of the areas I knew I could bite away at the lead did just that... and I saw him coming in closer...and sooner than I thought. At the half-way flag I was ready to make a move but had to figure out where. Jay got a great drive through turn 1 so I had no chance there, but I remember he set up about 4 feet out for turn 3 last lap...so that's what I banked on. Getting a good entry into turn 2 I set up on the outside of him and pushed hard mid corner. I knew he would out drive me with a shorter line from the inside, but I only had to stay close... the pass wasn't yet... it was in turn 3. I got a great drive on the exit, watched the edge of the track dance under my front tire as we pushed wide... then he moved left :BIGSMILE:
It was only 2-3 feet but that was all I needed. I pushed a few feet past my brake marker and put a wheel up next to him on the entry so he would know I was there. we stayed side-by-side for the first 1/2 of the long right hander with my tires on the edge of the track and my knee out over the dirt. as we approached the exit, I had a better drive and completed the pass as we transitioned into turn 4.
"Don't do anything stupid. just race your race, finish the next 3 laps like you know how to do and don't give him any mistakes to take advantage of." [I actually talked to myself more in this race than usual, I wonder if I was feeling social and just needed company.... man I wish we could do a two-up race so I had someone to talk to] Again I did as I was told and held on to the lead through to the checkered. Now I started to let the excitement of winning 3 of my 4 races settle in and it felt good. I figured if I loose the last one, I can still be very happy with these 3 and go home smiling.
650 Twins - First Place
This race felt GREAT!!!!!!! Only one other time have I ever had the hole shot... Now I've made it TWICE! That was almost enough to bring it in, pack up and go home. Starts are my weak point. I'm good at them, but Dave, Jay, Ricky and now Drew are better at them :LOL. But, this one was mine so I reviled in it. I didn't even talk to myself, i didn't want to ruin the moment by saying something silly. I completed the first lap having only seen one other bike as Jay tried an inside pass on the entry of turn 9, but I was able to quickly take it back on the exit. From there, I saw a few back-markers from the first wave race. but besides that it was pretty uneventful... other than finally leading one from flag to flag. It felt like a great exclamation point to the end of a great weekend of racing.
As I mentioned before, the Pirelli tires worked far better than I even anticipated. The VP fuel performed top notch as usual and the TWF bikes ran flawless. (other than a quick o-ring change in the rear carb at lunch time). I want to thank WoodCraft for the new stands under the bikes, Zooni leathers for such comfortable, well designed protection, Driven, Pit-Bull, and all of the TWFRacing sponsors.
AFM Round #3 - Infineon Raceway - May 23
Four for Four, it was a good weekend!(Except for the parts that made a few people mad...)
It all started off with a Z2 Track Day on Friday. The morning was cold, the winds were up and I actually wasn't too excited about riding in the early morning, but I was already to busy helping out a few customers to suit up anyway. By late morning I was out on course and it felt good. The day went pretty smooth as I tested the lines I walked last time here and I was able to find some solid markers to use for my new entry and apex in turn 7 and turn 9. Our day was cut short by an hour with 2 crashes that took both of our ambulances. It was an abrupt end to the day. I was hoping to get enough testing in that I could skip the AFM practice on Saturday but due to the time I spent with customers and having the day cut short, that was not going to be the case.
Saturday It was just as cold in the morning and the wind was still kicking up strong. It was supposed to be the same on Sunday so this was good practice to prepare for race day. The Superbike felt good and my times were "ok" in my first session. It took a little figuring out how to enter some of the turns with the affects of the wind, but it was consistent enough to make it manageable. I ran into an issue on the production bike where it would not start for my last session, but I got a push start and planned to address it later after the tack went cold. I still had Formula 40 to get ready for, which would be the last race of the day on Saturday.
I flipped the rear tire to get the less worn side of the tire in place for all of the right hand turns around Infineon. The Pirelli tires stick incredible so I didn't see any reason to buy a new tire quite yet. I had planned to just flip the front too, but I opted to put a new front on seeing as it would easily last through the whole weekend of racing. I drained the pump gas from the tank and put just enough VP Fuels MR-12 into the tank to make my race. Tire warmers were on and everything was in place. I was off to watch the new racers I've been working with in their clubman races :D
First call for Formula 40 and I fire the bike up. It sputters, spits flames and dies. I try again and get the same results. Hum... I've run this fuel before with no issues so I know it's not fuel, but .... what ???? I get into race mode (with ear plugs in place and helmet on ) and just start revving the poor thing. After about 10 -15 seconds of this, I realize I'm being yelled at. I forgot that I was now in the garages (long row of open garage shared with many other teams and racers) and the SV is VERY loud for only being 650cc. Turns out I was deafening the 30 other people in the direction of my exhaust. SORRY!!!!! Off to the hot pits to the cheers of the victims and it seemed to settle down. It still felt funny, but wasn't popping.
Formula 40 Lightweight – First Place
I had a good start in the race and was in second as we headed into turn 2. I made the pass for the lead by turn 6 and just focused on my lines and markers. We came into some back-markers from the wave ahead of us (Middleweight... 600’s) and I got through traffic well. I saw a wheel from second place heading into turn 7 at about the 1/2 way point so I tried to refocus and be smooth through traffic. 4 laps later as we crossed the line, I was comfortably in first putting me in the championship lead for Formula 40 Lightweight.
In Saturday's race, my steering damper decided to become an oil spry and it had covered my windscreen and top half of the bike with oil during the F40 race. I did a little clean up Saturday night, but it wasn't until Sunday AM that I realized how truly messy the situation was. I tore the bike down to clean it up and it took longer than I expected. Then, as I put it back together, I fired it up and it sounded good... but then started to leak fuel from the rear carb. HUM..... There may be some connection from this to my popping on Saturday. After a little further inspection I found that the rear float was somehow now set to high. I adjusted it, re-synced the carbs and put everything back together... but not in time for my practice session so I had to skip out on morning practice. We were race #1` so I was very stressed trying to get it all together in time to have the bike go through tech and get the warmers on early enough. it all worked out with about 12 minutes to spare :D
Formal IV - First Place
Gridded second on the start, I really wanted to get a good start and get out in the lead early. I did get a "good" start and was in 3rd headed up and through turn 2. I passed for 2nd out of 3 and quickly got up on the leader by the end of the first lap. I tried a few passes without success and then set-up and made my pass out of the carousel on the back straight headed into the tight right hand turn at the end (Turn 7). Again, now focusing on my marks and new lines I just tried to find my laps instead of racing "defensively" and slowing myself down. The new theory for me is that if I can just get out front and go faster, I don't have to ride defensive. I can just ride.... and it worked for the most part since I did find a new personal best of a 1:45 lap time.
I ended up over shooting my entry to turn 9. I still made the turn but really killed my drive on the exit. I maintained the lead, but I knew if I did that again, Dave on the Spears racing bike would make easy work of my mistake. SO... what do I do???? I do it again on the next lap. I exited at way too low of an RPM but choose to carry it on the exit and not risk a miss shift and fully blow my drive. As I set up for turn 10, I still hadn't see Dave yet so I continued on my line and felt a bump. Turns out he was right next to me on the outside as we entered 10. The bump was not enough to really jar anything but I worried that it might have caught his brake lever or something else. As I exited turn 11, I looked back at turns 9 and 10 and didn't see any waving yellows so I knew he was still right behind me.
I kept my focus forward, hitting my lines and got on the brakes a touch earlier into 9 this lap and settled back in. We hit a little traffic on the last two laps and I crossed the line with a comfortable lead.
650 Twins - first place
I was once again gridded second on the start and this time I got a good start. it was a good fight going up the hill toward T2 and I was in second getting ready to pass for first when I saw the waving yellow. It's very hard to not pass when you are in a large pack of bikes at the start. I had to back off the throttle to not pass the BRG bike and was forced to wait until the exit of turn 3 to get back on the throttle and make a pass down the hill into turn 4. I was still leading at the 1/2 way flag and pushing harder.
Dave made a few attempts, but I found my rhythm on lap 5 and started clicking off faster times with the best being in the high 1:45's again. We were in constant traffic from the first wave of bikes and from the lapped rides in our own wave and I was making about 5 passes a lap. On the white flag lap ( last lap ) I came down the hill into the tight chicane of turn 9 closing in on a pack of about 4 bikes. I planned my line to the outside as I exited 8B and planned to take the deeper line on the brakes around the outside of them. I set it up as expected and before I tipped it into the right hand entry I had fully cleared the lead bike in the pack. As I am letting off the brakes to initiate my transition to the left hand exit I feel a hit from behind and the bike stands up quickly. OH SH*T!!! I am not going to lose this race on the last lap!!! I crossed over the curb on the exit and quickly downshifted to get my drive. Holding my line in T11 and getting a good drive I cross the line in first place and celebrate my way around the track while only recieving "the finger" once. I didn't hit anyone this time so I still can't figure out the reason, but it came right as I lofted the frontn end out of T2 in celebration so it made me giggle.
After checking my tire pressures and getting the warmers back on, I was greeted by a man yelling, cussing and pointing his finger as he explained his unhappiness with my pass. (this was not my "number one fan" from turn 2) I had passed 20+ bikes over the course of 8 laps and got hit once... so I had no idea what he was talking about. Come to find out it was him that had hit me in 9. As he yelled, I asked to talk and was told he didn't want to talk to me... as he proceeded to yell some more. His side of the story is that I came in like a crazy man from the outside and took out his front end, but he managed to keep it up and finish the race (he was part of the second wave that I was working my way through). My side of the story is that I passed him on the deeper braking line to the outside; he let off his brakes as I made my pass to challenge me for the position and overshot his apex by about 2-3 feet resulting in him hitting me. He protested and based on several witnesses, it was determined that I was well within my line. The protest was denied and he got fined for cussing and yelling at me. OK, that drama was over.
650 Production - First place
This bike has been plagued with issues and running erratically. I swapped the wiring harness back to the original broken harness and repaired most of the issues. It ran, but I now had no instruments and no way to know if it is still throwing codes or if the RPM's are correct. Oh well. Saturday night, I also did a quick adjustment on the rear suspension based on some feedback from Jason Catching down at Buttonwillow from when he borrowed the bike at the first round of the California State Championship series. THEN... it wouldn't start! UGGGGGG. I tear it down to rip through the wiring harness and can't find any issues. Michelle (my lovely wife) checked in on me and as I explained my new panic, she started to ask the simple questions about the system and quickly lead me to the wire that had disconnected from the clutch lever sensor. THANK YOU MEESH!!!! She saved me another 20 minutes of panic.
I did a few test launches in the hot pits to figure out how to launch this thing on the start and felt OK. So, it was off to the race. I was gridded second once again and got a great start. Up the hill in first, we were the first wave of this race so I would have open track for a while. The bike felt good, I settled in and just rode. My fastest lap was a 1:47 so the bike was apparently working well :D. I hit some traffic with little affect and crossed the line 8 laps later in a lonely lead. A very HAPPY lead!!!!!! I think this bike might be figured out and I am learning how to ride it finally.
My Pirelli tires worked perfect, they were incredible! The TWFRacing bikes ran great and Zoran's suspension work felt as good as ever. I'm also very impressed with the new fuels from VP fuels this year. I could really feel a difference. All our our TWF sponsors are really supporting us this year and making it a great year so far.
California State Championship - Round #1 - Buttonwillow Raceway - May 8/9
(WERA-West round #4)
The California State Championship (CSC) is a new series run in parallel with the 3 largest race clubs in California. It puts racers from Willow Springs Motorcycle Club (WSMC), WERA West and the AFM up against each other, once at each clubs "home track". Each round is run as part of the hosting clubs regular schedule with the classes doubling up as both the local club and the CSC class. It's a great way to get racers for each club to travel out and compete at a new track and find out who really is the fastest of the West in club racing.
It had only been about 6 weeks since I made the drive down to Southern California to race the AFM season opener at Buttonwillow and I was eager to go back and improve on my results. Since this was not an AFM round and it also fell on Mother's day... I had to make the trip alone. Michelle stayed back in Reno to spend the weekend with her Mom and Megan was also spending the weekend with her Mom. I spent the weekend with my truck, motorcycles and a subset of my TWF family. I took a leisurely drive down I5 not in a big hurry to get there, just enjoying the relaxing drive and thinking about the track and what I could do differently to get around it faster. I arrived at the track around 8PM and set up my weekend home.
Saturday morning. We only had two practice sessions before lunch, then the Saturday racing kicked off with a full schedule of 20 lap races. I was signed up for light weight twins so I set out in my first practice to find a faster way around the track. After my first lap, I had the tires warm and was feeling good.... So as I headed into lap #2 I started to get my race attitude and see what I could find. Well, three turns later I found a sputter, a loss of power and how far I could coast it out in the dead grasses outside of Turn 4. Hum... that didn't quite go as planned.
After a fun "hay ride" style tow back into the pits on a small trailer pulled behind an ATV, Zoran and I set out to find the issue. We tested everything we could put our hands on and it all came up good. We even tested a few things we couldn't easily put our hands on and still came up empty. As my next practice session came up on the schedule, I took the production bike out to get myself warmed up again and re-acquainted with Buttonwillow Raceway. That session went off fine and both me and the proddy bike came in happy.
OK, back to the "A" bike. Turns out it was a faulty pulse generator (the thingy inside the engine cover that reads the spinning motor and tells the sparkplugs when to fire). A file, utility knife, razor blade, smaller file (Thanks Everret) and an hour later... I had spark. Now, all I had to do was put it all back together in time to make my grid for the 20 lap light weight race. Seemed like no problem until I heard first call and I was still bolting covers on and mounting up my new tires. OH… And did I mention that during all of this our friend from WERA had crashed out and I was refitting the production bike so he could grid up on the light weight race as well? Now we were in a rush to get both bikes refitted with tires since the proddy bike was not expected to see the grid until Sunday.
Solo 20 - Light Weight Twins Expert - 1st Place.
My biggest concern in this race was Dave Raff who consistanly ran 2 seconds a lap faster than me at the AFM opening round at BW. BUT, since I had run WERA in Vegas back in January I had a better grid position. I had planned to use that to my advantage to get out in front and hopefully find my faster times since I never got to ride this bike in practice. I had a good start and went into Turn 1 in second place. I made the pass for the lead by turn 4 and put my head down. I needed to make as much time on Raff as I could while he was in traffic.
I stayed focused on the track in front of me and saw on my lap timer that I was in the 1:55 range for my laps.. That’s already just under 2 seconds faster than my last time here, and fast enough to keep everyone behind me. by lap 8 I finally looked back on the front straight and I saw 2nd place about 10 seconds back. OK... now is the time to push, I didn't want to just "survive" in the lead, I wanted to own it. Within two laps I was seeing 1:54 on my timer. YAY, I giggle to myself since that equals the best lap times put down by an SV at this track. After the 1/2 way flag I was determined to keep up this pace for the second half. I was able to stay in the 1:55's and stretch out a little more of a lead as I crossed the checkered flag all alone in 1st. It felt incredible and I really enjoyed the race... even with the stress of almost missing the grid :D
Morning practice was a bit windy and I was not able to find my fast laptimes in the 3 laps I took of the first session. We had a very short second session and again, struggling with the changing winds, I was not happy with the times. But I felt good and everyone else had to handle the same winds so it would just come down to race time.
Senior Light Weight SuperBike. - 1st Place
This is the equivalent of Formula 40 for the AFM (all competitors 40 years or older)
I had a good start and again went into turn 1 in second place to team mate (and team owner ) Zoran. I knew from Saturday that he was not strong on the exit of 2 so I didn't push the entry to 2 so I could set up a pass on the exit. It went as planned and I moved into the lead headed into Turn 3. This was a 6 lap sprint race and at the end of lap #3 (while still in the lead) I looked back and didn't see anyone in sight. I should learn never to trust these "look backs"!!!! I relaxed a bit and only pushed as hard as I felt I needed to. On lap 5 I looked back again and again.... no one. As I rounded the last turn onto the front straight toward the checkered, I looked back once again to see 2nd place coming fast! Where did he come from ?????? . With surprise in my eyes, I turned around and tucked (as if this would help much this late out of the turn) and crossed the line in first. What did I learn? Even if I think I'm alone, I need to stay focused and push!
This was round #1 for this class in the CSC which makes me the current leader in this Championship. Sometimes it's good to be 40 :D
Formula 2 – 2nd Place
This is not part of the CSC but a fun race since half of the grid are 10-12 year olds on really cool GP style bikes. The power-to-weight ratio is equal and they are incredible competitors. I had another "better than normal" start and was in 3rd entering turn 2, but by the back section we had a RED FLAG and the race was going for a restart. On the restart, I had almost as good of a start but one of the "kids" had a better start so I was now in 4th headed into turn 2. I was able to get two of them on the exit of 2 and then made the last pass out of lost hills for the lead. Again this was a 6 lap sprint so I stayed focused this time. The wind had changed directions and I was working to change my entries to adjust for it when I was passed by someone. WHO IS THAT? I didn't recognize them and the bike was a bit odd too. WHO IS THAT?
After all the questioning and surprise and a few more adjustments for the wind, 5 turns had gone by and I was now in a distant 2nd. HOW DID HE GET SO FAR AHEAD SO FAST? OK, this was not going t stick. I saw 1:56's on my lap timer and wind or no wind... I knew I could go faster. I had 3 more laps and I was going to win this. I found my lines, adjusted for the wind and clicked off a 1:55 as I pulled in a little closer to whoever this was in front of me. Still confused and determined, I hit my markers and entry points... nailed my exit markers and shift points and saw another 1:54, even with the wind, AND I saw the back of that bike in front of me get closer. OK... If I could do that again I can make a move back for the lead.
As we crossed the white flag I pulled in two more bike lengths under breaking into turn1 and got a great drive out of 2. He could gap me a little in the fast sweeper so I had to close the gap before then. Coming out of the sweeper I pulled him in again at "Lost Hills" and we went into the "S" turns almost tire to tire. I had two more chances... out brake him into the last turn or get a better drive out to the checkered. He was deeper on the bakes this time so I had to try to set up the exit. As I rolled on the throttle and made my first shift toward the flag, I was not making any ground. We crossed the finish line with me in second place.
I found out later that the bike was a very built Kawasaki 650 twin ridden by one of the riders from WSMC. The Kawi 650's are not typically as competitive as the SV's but he has it set up and figure out, and he knew how to ride it ! I was impressed and still happy for another podium and another 1:54 on the clock :D
Light Weight Twins SS (650 Production) – 2nd Place
I have not had much luck on this production bike so far. at AFM round 1 I was quickly relegated to a lonely 3rd. At AFM round #2 I was knocked out of the lead with 2 laps to go finishing 2nd, So this time I wanted to make it all come together and come home with the big W. A poor start saw me in 4th into turn 1 I made one pass into turn 2 and the other through the fast sweeper on the back half of the track. I was in 2nd at the start of lap 2 and Dave had pulled out a decent lead. I focused on the bike, my markers and getting good drives, but at the end of the second lap Dave had pulled more of a gap. OK... lap 3, this will be the lap!!!!! Nope, even more of a gap. At this point I kind of got it... I was going to finish 2nd. :(.
I tried a bit more, but it resulted in just a bit more of a gap between me and the lead so I just settled in and rode out the last 2 laps already thing to figure out what I'm doing wrong on this bike. I know it's me, the bike is running fine. It turns out it does need some geometry changes, but I still know it just comes down to me learning how to ride the newer stock SV's. I'll figure it out, but for now I was again, happy for another podium!!
Light Weight Superbike Twins (650 Twins) – Rained out
This was going to be my chance to really see how Dave and I stacked up for the weekend on the superbikes, but the weather was not going to let us play. It was the last race of the day and the rain (mixed with the mud it brought onto the track) put an end to the days racing.
As always the Pirelli tires worked perfect and my Galfer brakes worked great on both the production bike and the superbike. I luckily didn't need to test my Zooni leathers at all!!!!! Thanks again to Lucas Oil for keeping the bikes and the tow hauler full of incredible oil, and thanks to all the TWFracing sponsors.
AFM Round #2 – Infineon Raceway - 4/25/2010 A 1st and three 2nds…. Getting better.
The AFM Round #2 race weekend started off with an adventure. After many write-ups in the past starting off with the transmission in my truck, this one should come as no surprise. Less than an hour outside of town I was faced with the decision:
Question: Your transmission is running at 320 degrees and you are towing up and over the Sierras…. You?
A: Call it quits and sit on the side of the road .
B: Point the truck back down hill and head home.
C: Keep climbing the Sierras with the transmission at 300+ degrees. .
If you answered A or B… you are not a racer. I let it cool a little, babied it as best I could and continued on my climb. An hour later (receiving locations of transmission shops via e-mail from my wife) I was getting a flush in Auburn, in hopes that the fresh cooler oil would make the rest of the trip. As it turned out, flushing the tranny fluid also pulled all the “junk” that was floating around and unclogged my system. While I still had a slowly failing transmission….. I had a transmission that was running at normal operating temperatures. Crisis diverted and I was back on my way to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.
The practice sessions went well, I was close to the times I expected and the “A “ bike felt really good. I had some work to do on the Production bike, and I spent a good part of the morning taking it apart to swap ECU’s and gauges. After all the tinkering, I still have an RPM issue and an FI code that we cannot determine the cause of.
Formula 40 Light weight - First Place – This was the last race of Saturday and is always a huge grid. They run Heavy, Middle and Light weight together in a 3 wave start, so we are on the back of a large grid. I was lined up on the front row of our wave and I had an ‘OK’ start. I went into T2 in 3rd place. I made a quick pass going into T2 and followed Jay (TWFRacing team mate) into T3. I followed him for the first ½ of the race testing where I could set up a pass, and I found it to be very difficult. With 3 laps to go, I made my pass into T9 and took the lead. From here, it became a defense game. I knew that Jay could run equally as fast I could no matter what pace I tried to keep, so I made sure that I protected the inside of the turns and made it very hard for him to pass. 3 laps of very close racing and MANY pass attempts, I crossed the line in first place.
Sunday 650 Production - Second Place - This was the next test of the “fixes” we tried on this bike. The bike ran good, it just had intermittent RMP and CODE issues that made it act a little different from lap to lap. The race was going to be with Raff, Dorcey (also on TWFRacing) and myself. I got a good start and followed Raff and Dorcey for the first lap. I made my pass into second and then a lap later moved into the lead with Dorcey behind me. We managed through the lapped riders very effectively and opened up a gap on 3rd. Tom was showing me a wheel every chance he could, but was not able to make a pass.
With one lap to go, we headed into T11 which opens up onto the front straight and, as I let up on the brakes entering the turn, I feel a sudden jolt to my bike. It didn’t take long to realize that Tom had tried to take an inside line on me into T11 and ran out of room as I initiated my entry. Making contact with the back of my bike, Tom hit the pavement and I found myself hanging off the side of the bike like a broken monkey. My first task was to orient myself so I could figure out what to do next. With that completed, I focused on getting back onboard the bike before I crashed or hit the outside retaining wall. I was excited to find that I had plenty of room to get back in the seat, but quickly disappointed to see the previously 3rd place Raff accelerate down the front straight in the lead.
Now… my thoughts went to finishing. A 2nd is much better than a DNF so I was happy with that. Well… not so happy that I didn’t try :D. For 5 turns I put my head down and tried to make up the gap, but not knowing the extent of any damage to my bike and trying to chance down a very fast rider proved to be too much. By the back straight, I was looking over my shoulder to see what cushion I had over 3rd as Raff was looking back to see what cushion he had over me. As though synchronized, we both rolled off our throttles and comfortably finished the last 6 turns.
I would of preferred the WIN after leading most of the race, but a 2nd place finish keeps me in the championship battle.
650 Twins - Second Place-
Another average start and again I’m going into T2 in 3rd place.
We kept our starting order for the first 3 laps of the race. First, Second and Third were wheel to wheel most of the race so I was testing where I could make a pass. The racing was very exciting and as we made our way through lapped riders, we each anticipated capitalizing on a mistake from each other… mistakes that never came. This battle continued for the entire race and I just kept focused on testing different sections of the track for a pass.
On the last lap, I knew it was ‘now or never’ time so I set up a good exit out of T7 and got my drive through the essess of T8, all to set up a pass under the brakes in to T9. The plan came together as expected and I was able to go in deep on the inside of Jay into the entry of T9 and make my pass. From here, all I had left was to keep the bike under control through the bumps into T11, try to NOT get hit as I initiated my turn and make a mad dash for the checkered. I crossed the line in a well fought 2nd.
Formula IV - Second Place
Once again the race was expected to be with Me, Jay and Dave. Dave got the amazing start he always gets and jumped out into the lead with Jay and I in tow. Not leaving any time to pull away, I made a pass on Jay in T7 and kept a clean line for another lap to make my pass on Dave for the lead. Then, to no real surprise, I see a flash of yellow come inside of me at the top of T3 as Jay and I crest the blind hill toward T4 side by side only inches apart. I kept a deep line and fended off the pass, but I had a feeling it was not going to be so easy next time. He tried again in T7, I fought back on the exit but he had the drive and came out of T8 in the lead. What happened next DID surprise me… Jay took the very tight inside defensive line. THAT’S MY LINE! How totally unfair! :P I have lived on that tight inside line for so long I didn’t know anywhere else to be.
[flashback] cut to a scene from the night before. Dave Wallis organized a track walk for the New Racers who are part of the Mentor Program that I head up. I had never been able to walk Infineon, so I was excited for this. Throughout the walk, Dave and I discussed our very different approaches to turns. I take a very tight defensive line while he sets up wide and takes the “proper” like allowing for better entry. I paid close attention to his description of the approach and how to execute it, and I stored it away in my messy brain to practice at a future track day before I would try it in a race. The conversation about the two different approaches made for a great lesson to the new racers and offered a variety of approaches to each turn.[/flashback] ….
As I come back out of my daydream and look down into T9, I see my only option…. Take the “good” line and make it work! This was new grounds for me, but I had some words in my head and a whole daydream to work with, so I felt comfortable. I set up wide, carried extra speed and got on the brakes late. As I set up to the outside of Jay, I turned in and got my wheel in front of him through the transition. (WOW, this worked!!!!). excited, Jay and I hit as we set up for the exit and my boot catches on his foot peg. As I tipped it left to start my drive I felt my foot being pulled back, then luckily release… as we both keep driving toward T11. Success!... until the front straight.
Jay got a better drive out of T11 and passed me into T1. For the last lap, I tried to find an advantage. I looked in T4, tried in T7, drove hard into T9….. Nothing. The last effort in T11 quickly proved not to be enough and we crossed the finish line ONE, TWO for TWFRacing, with me being the TWO.
I have to thank Chris at CTRacing for his support. The Pirellis worked flawless! The front on my “A” bike is the same one from Round #1 and both tires on my production bike were still from round #1. These tires can win races and do it more than once :D. The new Galfer 1300 series pads were phenomenal!!!!! I love the feel they give on first bite and the linear feedback is incredible. My new Zooni Leathers did their job, with only a tire mark on my butt from T11 and the TWFRacing SV ran flawless. I also want to thank VP Fuels, Motion Pro, Driven sprockets, Sidi, Traxxion suspension, Leo Vince, Woodcraft and Z2 Trackdays.
AFM Round #1 – Buttonwillow Raceway
The season opener for 2010
4 Races, 4 Podiums, 0 wins.
As a racer, we focus on that ZERO in the “Win” column. We want/need that win, but this year I am working to focus on the fun and trying to giggle more than last season, so I chose to focus on the two 4's :D. It was a good weekend, a very hectic few weeks leading up to it, but it all paid off with a successful weekend.
As most of us, I was up late nights and long weekends getting all the final pieces of the bikes pulled together to have them ready for the season opener. The weeks leading up to race #1 saw a lot of the UPS truck. Zoran put 3rd gear back in my A motor, just in time as I lost the crank bearing in my B bike in testing. The production bike was new to the roster and took quite a bit of work to convert it from a street crash to a race ready production bike. With the help of WoodCraft, LeoVince, Galfer, Driven, Factory Bodywork and RK... it became a race bike.
Practice went well. I didn't do any adjustments to the suspension (in hind-sight I probably should of at least did an initial set up of my sag :LOL ) and felt good out on course. I ran some older take off tires from TrackDay instructing with Z2 so I could save the new tires for Sunday. I was only getting into the 1:59's on Friday so I knew I had more work ahead of me.
The official AFM practice day. I still hovered in the 1:59's dipping into the 58s only a couple of times. I felt better, but I still needed to pull out some more time. I was having issues around the exit of "grapevine" and I was not going as smooth as I needed too through the "bus stop". These same areas came to plaque me on Sunday as well.
Formula 40: 3rd Place (this is a class for anyone 40 years or older. It is split into Light Weight, Middle Weight and Heavy Weight)
Yup, I turned OLD this year :D. This was my first time running in F40 so I was gridded toward the back. Since they split Light Weight from Middle Weight this season, the grid was not too large. BUT... they did run all 3 classes at once so the track was pretty crowded. Light Weights went off in the 3rd wave of the 3. I had a good start, but so did team mate Jay as we both came from the back of the grid. Entering T1 in 5th, I was able to move up to 4th by the first lap and move into 3rd by the second lap.
I had Jay and Guy in my sites, but the traffic from the 3 other waves made it difficult. When I had open track, I could slowly reel them in, but then I would hit slower back markers at critical corners and end up on the brakes as opposed to the throttle... that never helps. Over shooting 2 turns and actually running off course into the dirt once didn’t help my cause either. :LOL As the checkered flag dropped, I was in a solid 3rd.
Sunday 650Twins: 2nd Place
I was gridded in second and ready for the flag. I had a good start but went into Turn 1 in 3rd. I was able to make the pass into 2nd quickly and keep my sights on the leader. Most of the laps we matched fairly well, but a combination of one bad lap on my part combined with a fastest lap by David put me in a distant 2nd. We had opened up a decent gap from 3rd, but I was not able to make any grounds over the last two laps and crossed the line in a lonely 2nd.
650 Production: 3rd Place
This was a grounding experience. I had very high hopes for this race and high expectations of myself. I had tested the bike at Infineon a bit and really pushed it at Thunderhill for two sessions so I thought I knew the bike well and was ready to take on Buttonwillow. I only ran the bike in one practice session to save the tires, a decision I now regret. I was gridded on the 4th row and I had a good start, I went into turn 1 in 3rd place already surprised that I was somehow not magically in the lead. As we round turn 2 and go through "grapevine", Teammate Tom Dorcey and Leader David Raff stretched out a lead.
Frustrated at myself already, I tried to focus and ride the bike as I am passed into the fast right hander called "lost hills". the next lap and a half I am relegated to 4th as I beat myself up while trying to focus back on the race. I made my pass back into 3rd and put my head down ... now trying to figure out how to really ride this bike. I was not able to make up any time on the leaders and again, spent the last 2 laps upset with myself and my ego and my decisions to not do more testing on this bike Friday and Saturday. It was a humbling experience I was not quite ready for so I let it eat away at me for about 30 min. Then I got over it and put my sights back on the SuperBike and Formula IV.
Formula IV: 2nd Place
I had a pole position start but went into turn 1 with a yellow flag flying.... and me in 3rd again with Raff in the lead. This is new… a yellow flag on turn 1 of the start? If there is no passing under a yellow... what do you do here? Confused, I had to fight my way into second as I watched David already opening up a gap. Within 4 more turns the RED flag came out and we would have a restart. OK... a second chance to make up for that start.
The restart went better for me but I was still in 3rd as we make turn 1, but this time I was able to make my pass into 2nd by turn 2 and stay right with David. We had a clean two laps and he only pulled a few bike lengths as I continued to mess up my lines through the "bus stop". As we hit lapped traffic, things did not go my way. Two laps in a row, David was able to make a pass entering the "Mazda" turn that heads into a single-lined set of S turns. I was only 5 bike lengths back, but was stuck behind the slower traffic on the entry to the S-turns. Attempting passing up on the curb twice failed me as I had to grab a hand full of brakes and set up for an exit pass. Fueled by frustration... I re-mounted my charge.
I made up some grounds just to have history repeat itself the very next lap. I did what I could making a scary pass on the outside of the turn, then made a successful pass over the curbing as I shifted into 5th gear only losing a little bit of ground on the leader. With 2 laps to go, I didn't have many opportunities left. It would have to come down to a sudden burst of ability on my part or a mistake on David's. Both turned out to be non-existent as I crossed the line in 2nd, closer than in 650T, but still a solid 2nd.
The bikes worked really well and overall I am happy my weekend. I entered 4 races and came home with 4 podium finishes. The Pirelli tires worked incredible!!!! as did the suspension work by Zoran at TWFRacing. I would like to thank Galfer for helping get the production brakes working incredible! Leo VInce for getting the production bike fitted up with an exhaust. WoodCraft, RK Chains, Driven Sprockets, Factory Bodywork, MotionPro, Suomy, Zooni leathers and Z2TrackDays for all of their support and help in getting me and the bikes ready. While this was certainly a successful weekend, it also supplied me with the hunger i was lacking heading into the event.
Special Mention: AFM Mentor Program
I am working with the AFM this season to head up the Mentor program for new racers. This program is designed to pair up seasoned racers with our new racers to make sure they have the information and support they need off track, to stay focused and safe on track at their first events. We had a very successful weekend working with 10 of our new racers. The feedback so far has been very positive from both the new racers and the mentors working with the program. We will continue to work with these new racers over the course of several events as well as continuing to pick up new racers. It is personally rewarding to me to help out in a way that I know benefits both the racers and the club and helps everyone go home a little safer and with an even bigger smile on their face. You can contact me through the program at Mentor@AFMRacing.org.
AFM Round #7 – Infineon Raceway
The FINAL round for 2009
Going into this weekend I had my work cut out for me. Will has been riding like a monster all year. I fought suspension chatter most of the season… partly due to loosing 25lbs to try and “lean out” for racing. Dave, Ricky, Chase and others have popped up at inconvenient times to put me in 3rd more times than I would of liked. Dave had also closed to within 5 points of me for the Formula IV championship and was running his strongest ever.
So… going into this weekend I had my work cut out for me. My primary game plan: To have fun! Relax! Let the season play out without me continuing to be my own worst critic and get upset with my performance…. And try to win !
Saturday Practice started off good. My first session was fun and the bike felt good. I made a very slight adjustment to the forks, but held true to my plans of not spending all day stressing over and working on the bike for every little thing. Just ride and have fun. Second session, my times came down closer to where I wanted. I wanted to see 1:47’s in practice and my second session saw 1:49’s. The Third session went even better! 1:48’s without too much effort , but I was hitting a false neutral a few times a lap which gave me concern… But I was just not shifting with enough pressure. Surely that has to be it. Last session… false neutral out of turn 2, another out of 4…. Again out of 7. “WOW, I’m really screwing up my shifting” I say to myself. Then turn 11 I go in deep, hit a false neutral again and find myself unexpectedly exiting the track. I do a few tests in the hot pits… all is fine… regroup and go out and try again. Now it’s worse!!!!! By turn 4 I allow myself to realize it’s not me… I just lot 3rd gear!!!! “ Well poop”… I say to myself and exit the track on the outside of turn 6 before I become a target.
I have a full “B” bike, but it’s not quite up to par with the “A” so the decision is to swap all the good peripherals onto the “B” bike instead of swapping motors. Over the next 4 hours I swap the slipper clutch, wheels, forks, brake system, carbs and throttle assy. All the while being heckled by friends and distracted by my need for socialization and constant human interactions :D. 8PM, all done…. Well 90% but I’m burned out and need a drink.
Oh… did I mention that the last time the “B” bike saw the track it was when I threw it in the dirt and race USASuperMoto with it? From Motard to RoadRace…. This bike is very flexible. :LOL
Sunday morning practice… and the bike feels like mine. The motor feels like it has a little more grunt in 2nd gear and …WOW… it has 3rd gear too! I felt spoiled :D
650 Twins – 3rd Place Going into this round I was already pushed back to a pretty solid 3rd place. It would take a miracle to change the outcome for the better, but I still wanted the WIN. I had a good start, going into T2 fighting for the front but coming out in 2nd. I followed Dave Raff for a few laps trying to mount an attack, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Each lap I saw him pull a little more of a gap until the end of lap 3 I realized it would take a pretty big mistake to make up the ground… so I look back to see if I have a “cushion”. HEY… there’s Ricky a bit of a way behind me…. Hum… I know he tastes blood today… I should watch him and keep my head down. Lap 4 I look back again as I head up the back straight into 7… and in anticipation of my glace, he’s waving :D. I politely wave back and miss my brake marker, sending me a little wide in 7. Just enough to put Ricky directly on my rear tire into 8. “But that’s OK, I can cover him on the brakes”… I say as we head into 9 and he pops up next to me…. Even with me… ahead of me…. Into 9. WOW, Ricky’s figured out how to be a monster on the brakes!!!! This will be fun! For the remainder of the race, I tried every trick I could to get back past Ricky, but he wasn’t having it. I tested a few different block passes into T11 ( remember, this SV’s seen SuperMoto, it has tricks) but he wasn’t falling for them. After a failed last attempt, I crossed finish line in 3rd.
still excited because we were the lunch time podium celebration, so I got to talk into a mic and pop champagne :D . That’s always fun!
Formula IV – 3rd Place Going into this race with the championship, my only need was to beat Dave to the finish. He proved in 650T that it was going to be a daunting task, but I was up for it. I was ready!!!! Great start….. pushed toward the wall but didn’t back-off much. Up the hill and into T2 and I found myself back in 2nd, maybe even 3rd. by the next few turns Will came past me with a determination unmatched and charged to the front… in a fashion I only wish I could do on this given day. By lap 3 I was relegated to 4th… and no hope of changing that. I spend the next 4 laps on a fast “auto-pilot” as my mind came to terms with no championships for the 2009 season. I had a good start to the season and some good luck thrown my way, but spent the last 4 rounds in 3rd place… so it seemed only fitting. I was consistent and up front… but not in the lead.
Last Lap… White Flag…. After a few laps of looking back I knew I had a large cushion back to 5th so my lap times dropped considerably. I just needed to bring it home and take my finish. Then I saw it…. A waving YELLOW at the top of T3. It had just come out as I saw Will and Dave go over the hill. NO WAY… NOT POSSIBLE. I find myself going into T3 with the vigor of a much younger man, just waiting to see what’s on the other side. As I crest the hill I see my birthday present walking to the inside of T4. In a hungry bid for the lead, Dave spun up the rear tire and crashed over the crest from 3b down into 4. NO WAY!!!! NOT POSSIBLE!!!!. I saw he was walking and OK…. Understandably unhappy… but OK. Then it hit me. The MATH… the NUMBERS…. With a 3rd place finish ( where I felt at home after the last 4 rounds ) I still had my championship. NO WAY!!!!
I found myself yelling in disbelief fromT5 all the way around the track to the finish line. Don’t get me wrong, the cheering and excitement was not for Dave’s misfortune…. But for my unbelievable gift! Consistency paid off. I had a good year with every race (except one) ending in a podium finish… and the consistency paired with an early win ( a gift from Will’s blown motor) put the championship back in my hands.
By the un-official results, I also may have finished in the top 10 for overall points in the club and earned another top 10 plate for 2010. I’ll wait for the official results to update you on that outcome.
I have to thank my wife Michelle for all of her support and patients with me throughout the year. I was happy with my finishes, but also frustrated at the few problems I had during the year that kept me back in 3rd. All the while she would listen to me gripe and console me. Next would be Zoran with TWFRacing. He’s the back-bone to my racing efforts and a huge help with the bike and with me. Primarily when he kept telling me to shut up and just ride. Stop messing with things!!! My Michelin tires worked great all season! ACT Racing had me test a new pair of gloves at this round and they felt incredible. The best pair of gloves I've ever worn! Z2TrackDays for their support all season long. Zooni leathers, PowerStands, MorePowerRacing, 4TheRiders, ACT Racing, GrafikAir for my “eyeball” helmet. Suomy helmets, OFD racing, MotionPro, RaceImage.net, Leo Vince, Galfer.
SuperMotoUSA - Reno Fernley Raceway 8/29/2009
Yup, That's not a typo :D..... SuperMotoUSA put on an event out at RFR that combined Road Racing and SuperMoto. They ran 3 different courses. GREEN course was the configuration H for all of the Road Race bikes. RED was for the SuperMoto bikes and included the traditional dirt sections. ORANGE course was for Mini-Moto and also included the dirt sections. The schedule was set up to convert from Road Course to SuperMoto course back to back for practices and races. It went off well in practice on Friday and it was determined that Race day was to run the same schedule. I had to work on Friday so I did not get any practice in, but I wasn't sure I was even going to race so that was OK with me. I road out to the track at lunch on Friday from work to check out the day and get a better idea about racing on Saturday or not. It didn't take me long to talk to enough riders to tell how much fun they were having on the road course so I decided to prep the bikes and go racing.
Saturday's schedule was for 2 practice sessions, heat races then the Main races. My morning started off with a glitch as the battery was dead on my A bike, and with a slipper clutch it can't be bump-started. I jumped on the B-Bike and went out for practice. I made it about 100 yards past the track entrance and then ran out of gas. I had a full tank on the A bike, but after switching tanks on the bikes the B bike was not. With a push back into the pits I got the A bike on the charger and filled the B-bike up with gas. Having missed practice session 1, I only had one more to learn the new configuration. During this time, I had talked with registration and they (after a bit of convincing and confusion ) I was given the OK to practice on the SuperMoto track to see if my bike (and I) could get around the course successfully.
Session 2 on the Road Course went well and I was able to figure the new sections out without much effort. Immediately after the Road Course practice, I was headed out for my SuperMoto practice. This was my only chance to try the course to verify I could race. There was some confusion at Grid-Out and I was delayed on my practice. After getting it cleared up, I had just enough time for a few laps (3 laps actually). The 'Nay-Sayers' were mocking me and thinking I was just silly, but I won them over by the second lap after managing the dirt sections quite effectively. I was ready for the races.
GP3 After winning the heat race, I was grided on the Pole for the race. I had an 'OK' start and went into turn 1 in 3rd. Following in 3rd for the first lap, I watched to see where the other riders had strengths and weaknesses. Making my pass on the front straight into the lead, I stayed up front for the remaining 5 laps bringing home the win. It was a fun race with Brian Bartlow from Kawasaki, who is always an excellent competitor. SuperMoto 35+ This is a race for anyone over 35 years old. I was able to pull off a 4th in the heat race out of 10 bikes as I continued to improve in the dirt section with each lap. In the Race, I got a poor start as I was leery to go into the dirt in front of so many more capable bikes. I figured I'd let the pack settle out and see where I turn up after 2 laps. I was able to push up to 5th in a few laps and had a battle starting. I would get gapped in the dirt, then make it up on the pavement. We played this yo-yo game for most of the race as I slowly reeled him in closer. On the last lap, I was just hoping for a mistake so I could capitalize and my chance came in the second dirt section. He stalled over the doubles and I was closing the gap. With that I could make the pass on the pavement and finish 5th. Unfortunately, in a quick decision he decided to cut the course once he was fired up and made a straight dash for the table-top to keep his lead. The corner worked noticed this and understood that by cutting the course, he was able to maintain position. The race director docked him a position for the infraction putting me in the rightful 5th spot. I would of preferred to make the pass on track, but it was still one of the most fun races I have ever had. !!!!
My win in GP3 was exciting, but getting the opportunity to run my SV on the Motard course with all the dirt sections and jumps made the day absolutely spectacular!!!! I have to thank Brock at SuperMotoUSA for trusting me out on course and letting me have so much fun. We compete with Motard bikes on our road courses all the time so it was great to see SuperMotoUSA return the respect in kind. A lot of people had a blast watching the roadbike taking the jumps, but I had the best time of all being out onboard!!!!!
AFM Round #6 - Infineon Raceway 8/9/2009
Going into this weekend we did a little more adjustment to the forks and had the bike ready without any stress. I was ready to get the bike into the low 1:46's and possibly hope for more in search of my WIN and to secure my championship. I usually have a lot of "angst" built up going into a race weekend and that energy helps me focus and keep me aggressive. It's a good energy and a positive aggression. both anger and relaxation slow me down. Well. I was not angry, but I was very relaxed and the lack of angst had me worried.
Saturday morning practice went as expected. The morning was smooth and in the 1:48's and after a little suspension adjustment and a fresh set of Michelin tires, I was dipping into the 1:47's. I figured once I added my pre-race 'angst' I would be ready to battle.
Race #3 - 650 Twins - 3rd place - Again!!!! It's a great finish, but not what I wanted. I started off the morning wanting to be on the a lake relaxing in the sun instead of being at the track. that's not a good start. I tried to get myself worked up but just didn't have the instinctual drive I am used to feeling as I grid up. The green flag dropped and I made a good charge up the hill toward turn 2. In the first turn pack, it's tight racing and you have to be willing to push forward right from the start or you lose critical ground. I found myself more concerned with the bikes around me and the spacing going into the right hander than I did my position in the race. "What's in my head man!!!". By turn 4 we settled out with me in 4th. I spent the next 4 laps thinking about why I'm in 4th and not up front fighting for the lead. You'd think I would of ACTED instead of just THOUGHT. but no. my brain was not in that mood. At the half-way flag I was behind 3rd by about 20 bike lengths. I was finally able to focus and was not going to give up my 3rd place position that I've 'owned' most of the season. I was able to real in 3rd place and make my pass on the last lap to cross the line with my 1:46's and the right mindset for FIV. I knew what I had to do, I knew I could hit my 1:46's consistently and I was ready.
Race #7 - Formula IV - 3rd Place - AGAIN!!!!!!! This time it was not real fault of my own, but equally as frustrating. I got a good start and kept very aggressive. I was on Will's rear wheel as we worked to get past Jay and not let Dave get away. End of the first lap, Jay fell down in T11 and we all got safely past... TIME TO CHARGE!!!! I held will directly in my sights as we focused on Dave in the lead. [I need to take this moment to mention that in order to get all of the races off on a given Sunday, we grid multiple classes on track at the same time and send them off in separate "waves" to space out the traffic. We are paired with 250 Production. They are slow and they can be very annoying, and have determined the outcome of our FIV race on more than one occasion] As we come around T4 I see the last place bike in the 250 Prod class and figure we are in for a clean pass out of 5 and into 6. I see no problems and plan my drive down the back straight to set up a pass on will in Turn 9. As we come up out of 5 will passes the slowest bike in the 250 class just as a YELLOW FLAG COMES OUT!!!!!! [This is where I scream!] For those that don't know, there is no passing under a yellow flag. If you do. you are disqualified from the race. DONE, OVER, DQ, NO POINTS, NADA, NOTHING! So, Will gets by just in time and he has open track to keep on Dave's wheel. ME... ME!!!!!!!!!!! I'm grabbing a handful of binders and grab an additional downshift to slow down enough to not pass. Then, I proceed into T6, all the way through the long left hand sweeper that sets up the longest fastest part of the track down the back straight into turn 7 AT HALF THROTTLE!!!!!! All the while watching Dave and Will just run away. By the time I am around the incident that caused the Yellow, they are nowhere in sight. They are running 1:46 lap times. My best is also a 1:46.. So. at my best I can keep up but have no chance to CATCH UP. [This is where I scream again.] for the next 6 laps, I have no one around me. The leaders have a full straight-away lead on me and I have such a large gap on 4th that I can never see a bike . I just hold my 1:48 pace knowing that the race is now out of my control.
It was a very disappointing performance for me. Yes, I know 3rd is a great finish. Being on the podium is what every racer wants. My disappointment is initially in my performance for 650 Twins. I was not pushing myself and I was not riding to my ability. I had to beat myself up and force myself into the last few laps. Then in FIV I was just a victim of bad timing and frustrating gird combinations. Going into this weekend I had the FIV Championship well protected and had a big enough lead that made the last two rounds important, but not critical. Now. with Dave's win and my poor performance I am only 6 points in the lead and the Championship is up for grabs. Whoever wins. gets it!
I plan to have PLENTY of angst come Round #7
AFM Round #5 - Thunderhill Raceway 7/12/2009 Friday - FRIDAY? I don't generally write anything about Friday. I'm usually working 1/2 day then spend the early afternoon traveling. Well, for this event I took advantage of the Friday track day put on by ThunderHill in hopes of finally getting my suspension dialed in. The first 4 rounds have been spent chattering past the apex unable to really drive out of the corners like I want to. I began leaning out last winter with the plan to loose about 20lbs and ride faster. Well, I got 1/2 the equation right, but discovered after further testing that I can't do the "faster" part without changing my suspension. We had the forks set up PERFECT for the past two years so you don't change a winning formula... well... apparently my loss of weight had it's own feelings about that formula.
Friday was spent non-stop riding and wrenching. If I was not on track, I was adjusting or measuring. Then over lunch I was swapping front ends from the B bike in hopes of a better combination. After a few more measurements it became obvious I needed internal help. (no... not me!...the forks!) Zoran is on vacation over in Europe so I went begging to Dave at Catalyst Reactions and he got to work on my springs. After another endurance paced front end swap I was able to get 4 laps in on my second to last session... and it felt good. A short rest and a few adjustments and I was ready to take the last session with a vengeance.
My best times in the last round were a 1`:59 so I wanted at least a 2:00 after my exhausting day... well... the bike was MINE again :D. She felt stable in the turns and I was able to really get on the throttle early. I clicked off 1:59 after 1:59 with little effort and tons of confidence. After a visit to the top of the grassy hill beyond turn 9 due to a poorly timed false-neutral...I was read to come in to the pits to eat and rest. AND TAKE SATURDAY OFF!!
Saturday - I slept in, wondered the pits, ate breakfast and by lunch began prepping the bike for Sunday. A good polishing made it look pretty again and a thorough cleaning of the brake calipers brought back all the feel in the front brakes. It was nice to relax and take my time as I finished the prep work and put a new set of Michelin tires on. She was definitely ready for Sunday
Sunday - We were race #1 again so I set my alarm to get up early to get my body ready for an early race. I felt good heading out for morning practice....until turn 2. I had a loss of power and had to limp the bike around course to get back in the pits. I was back into my endurance paced mechanical work to tear the bike down to find the issue. After a few minutes I found the issue on the rear coil, buttoned the bike back up and got two more laps in before the session ended. Now tired, hot and light headed from not enough food.... I had to go to the riders meeting and get ready for Race #1.
Race #1, 650 Twins - I'll have video of the race once it is rendered and pulled together in a great new piece of software that a friend is trying out, so I will post that up as soon as I have it. But for now all you have are my works :D. I had a good start and went into T1 in about 4th. I made quick work of the traffic and was in 2nd by the entrance of T3. Will came past me at the end of the first lap putting me back in the all-too-familiar 3rd. But this time I had my MoJo back. I was able to keep in close with Will and Dave but never really had the opportunity to make a pass. It was an exciting race with most of the laps in the mid 1:57's. It's amazing what it takes to get an SV650 down to those times. Not changing positions after the first lap, I crossed the checkered flag in 3rd. Not unhappy, since I know I rode to my abilities.
Race #9, Formula IV - I had a good start again and went into T1 in 3rd place. I made my pass into 2nd by T6 and had my sights on first. Will pulled past me on the front straight putting me in the all-too-familiar 3rd place. I was determined NOT to finish in 3rd, so I had to make a charge. Will and Dave had opened up a small gap and the afternoon heat made the track a little slower, but I put my head down. By the 1/2 way mark I was back on their rear wheel and made my pass for 2nd. We had a few exchanges over the next lap but I was comfortably in 2nd as I made my white-flag charge on Will. I was able to steadily close the small gap over the course of the lap and coming down the back straight I was pulled in right on his rear wheel. All I needed from here was a strong exit out of T15, a good draft and a well timed pass at the line.
BUT...... I didn't get my great drive out of 15 :cry:. Instead I ran a little too wide as I set up my exit and hit the rumble strips forcing me to re-adjust for just a split second, but that's all it takes. So now I am only concerned with Dave doing to me, what I had planned for Will... SO I LOOK....... First left...No Dave? HEY, who's that guy back there... I don't remember seeing him. I look right... not Dave.... so I put my head down and keep shifting toward the flag, happy with my 2nd place.
THEN RIGHT AT THET LINE I see a flash of green and a bike come into my peripheral!!! Just a fraction of a second ahead of me. NOOOOOOOOO!O!OOOOOO!O!O!O!O!!O. In my split second bobble to correct for my wide turn in T15, Chase had a PERFECT drive out and ran me down like the dumb squirrel who runs under your truck tire on a deserted back road... 3rd!!!!!! I was back in 3rd AGAIN!!!! Oh well, it made for a much more exciting ending.... being beaten by 1/1000 of a second. AND I was able to slightly extend my Championship lead in Formula IV.
What a weekend. I find 2.5 more seconds a lap and still come home with the same results :LOL I had a ton of fun, I could not of done it without the help of all my sponsors as well as the gracious help from Catalyst Reactions on Friday. The new Michelin's really work well on the Thunderhill pavement. The Sunoco fuel definitely gave my bike a little more kick and I look forward to further testing with their fuel.
AFM Round #4 - Thunderhill Raceway 6/14/2009
Two-Thirds is not quite a whole, But I'll take it... Saturday - I didn't do the Friday Practice at Thunderhill so Saturday was my only day to work on suspension and figuring out where I've slowed down this season. I had decent sessions but still had my front end chatter through T2 and had a hard time keeping the bike pointed up the hill in T8 without having to back off the throttle. I was able to get my times down close to where I wanted, but I never saw the 1:59's I would need on Saturday to find the 1:58's on Sunday. My Michelin tires held up great and gave me incredible traction and good wear on the new surface so I went into Sunday feeling good... not great, but good.
Sunday - We were race #1 again so I set my alarm to get up early and go for a short run to get my body ready for an early race. I felt good in morning practice and was mentally ready for a great race day. Race #1, Formula IV - I had a good start and went into T2 with the lead pack. I was able to keep myself in striking distance of the lead for the first few laps but with a little less horse power and still not fixing my "slow" sections, I was loosing about 1 second a lap by lap 3. I settled into a lonely 3rd and just kept my focus on the track and my lines.... being sure not to make a mistake and give up my lead over 4th. My problem areas were T8, T11 and my exit onto the front straight.... 3 of the most critical spots on the track. My suspension was working better after Saturday's changes, but still not what I was hoping for. Race #5, 450 SuperBike (TWF SV500) - Jon Forman (Still healing up from wrist surgery from a MX fall) offered up his SV500 for 450 SuperBike and I jumped on the chance to go have some fun. The 500 is set up for around a 180lb rider so I figured it would be a bit soft at 225lbs, but it felt really good running at 2:05's on the little bike. I had a good start and worked my way up to 4th battling with Vic Anderson ( from Z2TrackDays) for most of the race. Apparently I defended my position more than Vic was used to so I frustrated him (in a good way) more than once. By the end, Vic relegated me to 5th... then 60 yards before the finish I got pulled by one of the more powerful in-line fours and was pushed back to 6th. Even with that finish, it was one of the most enjoyable races I've had in a long time since I was simply racing for the fun of it. In a rude way, I'm kind of hoping Jon doesn't heal up so I can do it again :D (sorry Jon, you know still love ya!) Race #9, 650 Twins - I had a good start and went into T1 in second place. At the end of the first lap I made my pass for the lead, but at the same time Will had the same thoughts and as I made my pass into one, so did he ,putting him in the lead and me in second. I tried to keep my head down and keep right on Will's rear tire but again... the horsepower and his un-fair ability to get on the gas SOoooo much earlier made that a daunting task. Dave quickly followed suit and moved in second, once again putting me in third... but this time I wasn't alone. I saw a wheel from fellow TWF rider Ricky and Z2 instructor Jay. We had a fun battle for the last couple of laps and I was able to hold on to 3rd.
For the second event in a row, I was not as happy with my results as I would of liked. This event though, I know I pushed hard and did my best so I didn't feel nearly as upset with my results. Riding the 500 helped me with some ideas for my suspension settings, Zoran and I talked at length about my weak areas and came up with what I need to do for the next round. There was no time for the new motor I begged for... but the reality is, I've done consistent 1:58's at Thill on this same bike so I know I can still do them. Zoran has my new Penske shock ready and I'll be sporting the custom braced swingarm as well (it does nothing but add "cool point"... oh...and another 2.3lbs to the bike, so I need to watch what I eat for the next 2 weeks).
As always, Alex at AFMotorsports hooked me up with some great Michelin's, Zoran at Twin Works Factor helped talk me through my suspension settings and made incredible improvements. Charlie at PSR gets continued thanks for the steering damper, brake levers, bars and of course all the stands that have served me very well. Z2TrackDays for their never ending support and David's words of encouragement. MorePoweRacing.com for all the parts and gear which they seem to always get out in time, no matter how late I call them for an event :LOL. I plan to take what I've learned this round and make sure I can write next months report with an even better finish.
New Racer Mentor - This was another highlight of the weekend. Several weeks back, I worked with a Z2 customer that was getting ready to do his first race. We worked together at Infineon, then again for a few sessions at THill and he was making great improvements before ever lining up on the grid. I was excited for his first race and he did awesome!!! In his clubman race he had a moderate first lap, but then turned it on and passed his way up into 3rd. He managed to close a full 8 second gap on second place but it was just a little too late as he got passed back before the finish line. 3rd place in his first race and running 2:03's! It was great to see the nervousness and excitement all come together for a very successful weekend. I would like to thank Todd for letting me share in all the excitement and I look forward to a lot more.
AFM Round #3 - Infineon Raceway 5/24/2009
Hopefully it's not too arrogant to say it was only an 'OK' race weekend.
Friday was a Z2 Trackday event at Infineon so I showed up late Thursday night ready to set up "home" for a long weekend. Friday went smooth and was a good day. I focused on my B-Group program trying to keep my energy for Sunday. I had some really good sessions and ended the day on a great note as I worked the last two sessions with a new racer who was an amazing listener and applied everything we talked about and made really good improvements. It was a great way to end the day. From there it was time to start prepping the A bike for Saturday's practice.
Saturday Practice Again, to be sure I had my energy for Sunday, I chose to only run a few sessions on Saturday. I switched to the softer A compound of the new Michelin Power Race One's and only needed to get a few sessions to feel them out and make sure my suspension was ready. the softer A compound felt really good and gave me great drive out of some of the trickier turns like Turn #2 (off camber and over a slight rise). the tires gave me great confidence and the lap times I was looking for so I came back in with a smile on my face feeling good about Sunday.
Sunday morning started off nicer than Saturday, but the fog was still in and the track was still a little damp. Morning practice went well. I only did 1/2 the session to get myself and the bike warmed up a bit. We had race #1 so I stayed suited up and was sure to keep hydrated. Formula IV - 4th Place - Once again grided behind the 250 Production race, I knew that passing those back-markers is always 50% of the race. A smooth pass vs. a blocked line can make or break the whole race. Gridded in Pole Position, we used the AMA style start boxes which puts each line at a slant. From this perspective, I could not see the other bikes on the front row. Apparently I use that reference for quick adjustments to my starts. By the time I saw them, the second row had already pulled past me as did part of the 3rd. I went into turn #1 in about 12th place knowing I had my work cut out for me. By the end of the first lap I had charged past the field and sat right off the rear tire of third place. During that same lap we caught up to the leaders of 250 production. going into a tight turn 3a and 3b, 1,2 and 3 made a clean pass on both of the backmarkers, which left me to force my way through the tight turns. I managed to get one on the entry, but had my line blocked by the other. By the time I cleared the congestion and lofted the front end over the hill on the exit of 3b.... I was able to watch 3rd place duck behind the hill through turn #4. 20 bike lengths ...I lost 20 bike lengths in the matter of 2 turns. After all the work of lap one, the workload was back on my desk. With my head down and pushing hard for the next 4 laps I was able to pull back onto the rear wheel of 3rd, but now with only 2 laps left the challenge of actually making a pass was becoming formidable. Despite my efforts, the challenge was too much to make a move. That's when I saw the flash of "CODE-BLUE" take me on the inside of Turn #7. Fellow CODE4 rider Scott Lesniewski had pushed past me on the inside. :D. I set up my entrance to focus on the exit and was able to take 4th back on the exit. There were two more chances for Scott to try again... and sure enough, I see him on the outside of me in Turn #9. Equal on the brakes, I had the inside line and Scott was forced to take the curbing and sacrifice his exit. That was the last chess move as the loss of momentum would take turn #11 out of the equation. I crossed the finish line in a solid 4th. Not the happiest I've been when seeing the checkers, but mature enough in my racing career to know it could be a lot worse. 650 Twins - 3rd Place - Leaning from my FIV start and listening to the advice of fellow Z2 instructor Berto..... I went out to "do something different". I changed my pre-race "routine" and tried to put more focus on just having fun and listening to the bike. The flag dropped and I had a great start. As I shifted into 2nd and then 3rd, heading up the hill toward turn #2, I found myself in the lead.... right were I like to be :D. By the second lap, Will had made a pass on me and I was seeing a wheel from Dave Raff. By the end of the second lap, I was in 3rd. [I would NOT let go of this podium]. We had quite the battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th sliding into turn #7 more than once three-abreast. (oh, that reminds me of a joke... see below ) The last two laps I was able to mount a couple of charges on Raff but was forced to pull back in the interest of safety and the ability to type this race report with more than one finger. The last lap, last turn.... I had one last change to "do something different". I took the gear box down to 1st coming into turn #11, fighting the expected resistance the rear would give me. Settling in, I took a tight exit and got on the gas early.... making it a drag-race to the flag. Then.... I realized the bike was not quite where I needed it to be. the rear was sliding out and I was milliseconds from a high side and a much worse fate than 3rd. controlling the slide and the throttle I was able to get it back in "control" with only a slight cowboy bucking. Second, third, forth and fifth gear found me crossing the line safely in 3rd, now happy for the finish.
My Michelin's worked GREAT. I just didn't have it in me on this day. The PSR Steering Damper made a considerable difference over 3b and 8b while Phil from Aftershocks helped me keep the bike stable in Zoran's absence. (Z was off playing at the WERA Nationals in Utah with a few of our CODE4 riders). I'd like to think MorePoweRacing for all their continued support, Joe at 4TheRiders for making it all look so good, Z2TrackDays for the added track time and Zoran at Twin Works Factory for being sure I had my shock ready.
AFM Round #2 - Infineon Raceway 4/26/2009
"You win some and you loose some" ...That pretty much sums up the weekend for me.
Saturday Practice - went well. The first session out to get reacquainted with the fun flow of Infineon proved to be smoother and faster than I expected. Starting off with a bang, I had high hopes for the weekend. The day was smooth and I was able to get down to decent times for a windy Saturday and I also had a chance to test the "B" bike out and make a few adjustments as well. I was hoping for another second off my times in my last session, but I just didn't find it. The day ended with a few races to spectate, a great team dinner celebrating two birthdays within CODE4. One was my wife Michelle and the second was Eric Odel. It's always a wonderful end to the day to be surrounded by friends and "family" with an exiting race day looming ahead.
Race Day - with no races until after lunch, I was able to relax for a few hours after running the morning practice. the day started off on a bad note with a bad crash in turn 1 resulting in the Care Flight helicopter being called in. The rest of the morning was not as eventful, while sill being filled with a more-than-average number of crashes. We had a shortened lunch to try and get back on schedule and 650 Twins was the second race after lunch. 650 Twins - 2nd Place I had a great start, heading into T1 in 3rd. I was able to make quick passes and lead the next lap. As Will passed me on the back straight away into T7 I was ready to fight, but quickly in just a few turns he had pulled a decent lead. Then by the end of the third lap, he had stretched it out beyond what I felt was "right". With the lead moving further out of reach, I had a great battle with Dave Raff for 2nd. we had a few laps trading positions as we found our way through lapped traffic, then I was able to pull a small (but comfortable) gap and crossed the checkered for a Second Place finish. But this is where the "drama" picked up. Feeling like the drives Will had out of every turn were not "right", I consulted some key riders and teams and felt it appropriate to protest Will's motor for legal displacement. After many discussions on how to organize the protest to have as little impact on the day as possible, we headed into FIV. The actual tear down of Will's motor would take place after the last race. Formula IV - First Place - I had another good start and fought with Dave for the lead by Turn 7. By the end of the first lap, Will had passed me putting me back in Third. we quickly hit traffic from the 250 Production race that was gridded in front of us and I came out the worst for it. As we completed lap 3, I was in a distant Third and not happy. I had some clear track and was determined not to have the race end like this. With my head down and a single focus, I started clicking off fast laps. I could feel the leaders getting closer at every brake marker. Within 2 laps I had closed the gap and moved into Second. At the end of that lap, I had moved into First and was in the lead at the white flag. I knew Will would not let off, so I kept on my drive making sure to not give him the opportunity to capitalize on a mistake. At the Checkered flag, I was still in the lead and exited for the win. when I looked back, Will was nowhere to be seen. On the last lap, he had blow his motor... the very motor I was protesting for displacement. With the protest already underway, we let the process play out, fortunately now the tear down was a benefit to Will since the motor had to come out anyway. When the dust settled, his motor was legal. I am actually very happy for the results. Will is an amazing competitor and very respectful of those around him. The fact that my protest cleared up any "impressions" other racers had about the legality of the motor, helps me feel that I did the right thing. It was a tough decision (and costly with the $300 I lost in the protest), but I had enough support from those around me to see it through professionally and without "backlash"
So, as I said in the beginning.... "You win some and you loose some". A First and a Second is a great finish to a race day. I ended the day still feeling uncomfortable about having put Will through the protest process, but I look to Round #3 to be much less eventful and even better for my results page.
A big thanks goes out to Alex at AFMotorSports for my Michelin tires, they worked great. Another big thanks to both Twin Works Factory for all the support and help as well as my CODE4 family for their support throughout the weekend. MorePowerRacing came through for me with some critical parts leading up to the weekend and PowerStands is always a huge help at the pits and in the garages. Thanks also to: Galfer, 4TheRiders, Vortex, MotionPro, Zooni Leathers, Z2TrackDays and all of my sponsors.
AFM Round #1 - Buttonwillow Raceway - March 22, 2009
The start of the 2009 season was not as smooth as years past. I ended up working until early hours of the morning all week to get the bike complete, as well as build a race ready "B" bike up from scratch. With all the work complete and all the sleep lost, it was time to pack up and head down for the 8 hour drive to Buttonwillow. Friday was an open practice day, but I ended up only running the afternoon, after opting to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Saturday was AFM practice and the time to really get everything ready. The winter cobwebs fell off quickly with both the bike and I myself feeling ready. The suspension felt good, the new Michelin tires felt wonderful, all we had to contend with now were the high winds and capable competitors.
SUNDAY. RACE DAY Practice felt good, I had my lines and my focus. I was ready to race and 650 Twins was first up. This is the class I came in 2nd for the 2008 season and I wanted redemption.
650 Twins - Second Place I had an average start, going into turn 1 in about 5th place. I was able to move into 3rd by turn 5, but had a nice battle with for 2 more laps before moving into 2nd. By this time, the leader had pulled out a comfortable lead and I was not able to make up the difference. Crossing the line in a comfortable 2nd, I was already starting to focus on my start for Forum la IV. Formula IV - Second Place I tried a few different techniques in the hot pits and felt I was ready to take the green flag. When the flag dropped, I had a very controlled start and went into turn 1 in second place. This is what I needed to win.... I had Will Fox behind me and only one person to pass. I made my move into the lead by the end of the first lap and tried to make a break. Unfortunately, will had the same good luck I did with the back markers from the first wave race gridded in front of us and made a pass on me by the end of lap 2. We stayed together for another lap, but he was pulling half a second on me each lap with a better line through "lost hills" and a little more horse power. We settled into a comfortable pace crossing the line with a good gap back to 3rd.
The weekend was very successful and I was happy to take home two podium finishes. I would not have the bikes together without the constant help from Twin Works Factory and parts coming in from MorePoweRacing.com. I love the feel of the new Michelin compounds, and I must say... my new "Snake Eye" helmet from GrafikAir.com got a lot of attention. Special thanks to Charlie at PowerStands.com for working with CODE4 to get work tables and additional stands out to us for all the off season work.
AFM Round #8 - Buttonwillow October 19, 2008
AFM - 2008 Formula IV - Champion AFM - 2008 650 Twins - 2nd Place AFM - 2009 #6 Plate
Saturday Practice - The bike was feeling good, but I was having a lot of clutch problems. I had a bad chatter on the starts and the clutch was getting very "grabby". After working on it all day between sessions, I finally found a combination that was tolerable, and I left it. The day's practice went OK. I was no where near the times I needed to be, but I felt strong and was planning on using the "race day push" to find the times I had at the season opener. I ended the day feeling OK, but a little worried about the clutch.
Sunday - Morning Practice. I left the hot pit area feeling good. I had my head on right and I was ready to work on a few more track markers and brake points and get my body warmed up for the day's events. BUT... by turn 6 I found myself sliding across the pavement at 85mph rotating my hips to keep my back-side from over heating from the friction. SIDE NOTE: This was probably the longest slide I've had on asphalt and my ZOONI Leathers worked flawless!!! Thanks Juan! The bike and I settled a good distance off course in a pile of dirt. The bike was relatively undamaged, but the shovel fulls of dirt in the carburetors was going to be an issue. After 3 hours of straightening and cleaning, the bike was ready JUST IN TIME for my first race. I never had a chance to test it, it was just bolted back together and off I went back out on track ( by way of a tech inspector to give everything a once over )
650 Twins - 4th Place This was a tough lesson! I only learn the hard way, so 650 Twins was my "school or hard knocks". I went into this round with a 17 point lead. I knew that all I needed was 3rd and the Championship was mine. So... I settled in third ( mostly due to my attitude, but partially due to my crash.. the bike did not run as well afterward ). The last two laps, I had 4th show me a wheel, but I was able to stay in 3rd to see the white flag. The last lap was like all others. I spent my time doing the 'math' of the points system and being OK with third. The last turn, I saw a wheel again but held my brake marker and entered the last turn. On the exit, I was focusing more on the Championship than I was the race, so I ran a little wide... too wide. When I hit the rumble strips on the outside of the exit, my rear tire spun up and I lost all my drive. I will never forget the look of surprise in Scott's eyes as he suddenly shot 2 bike lengths ahead of me. Again, the 'math' kicked in and I knew I was in trouble before I even crossed the finish line. My lack of focus on the race at hand, cost me the championship in 650 Twins by 1 point. As I mentioned.... I only learn the hard way.... and now I've learned. (and am still beating myself up daily )
Formula IV - 5th Place
This race was less eventfully. I had my head on a little more correctly, but found myself limited by the frustration of 650 Twins and the lack of performance by my post-crash bike. I just didn't have the horsepower that I'm used to and was being pulled on every exit. I held on to 4th for a few laps, but was easily relegated to 5th by the 4th lap. I crossed the finish line in a lonely 5th, but solidly in the points lead for the Championship.
Additionally, I ended the season as the tops points earner for the club giving me the #6 plate for the 2009 season. The 1-5 plated come out of Formula Pacific and 6-10 are awarded to the top points earners for the club.
Going into the season, I had two goals ONE was to win a championship and the SECOND was to earn a top 10 plate. I accomplished both of my 2008 goals, but I end the season bitter sweet by loosing out on my "stretch goal" of a second championship simply due to my loss of focus. I have a TON to be happy and proud about from the 2008 season and I look forward to another highly competitive year in 2009.
MorePoweRacing.com and PowerStands have been HUGE this year in there product support. TwinWorksFactory built me the bike and gave me all the track side support I needed to make it happen. 4TheRiders.com helped document the year in pictures, including my Podium speech at Infineon for a 1st place in 650 Twins. GrafikAir for my every popular 'eye-ball helmet'. Lastly, Z2TrackDays, my "other family". The support they have given me and the instructions throughout the year have been incredible.
AFM Round #7 - Infineon September 28, 2008
What a weekend!!! This was a 4 day event for me. Friday was our practice day, Saturday was more practice and the endurance race, Sunday was for Sprint races and Monday we had a Z2TrackDays trackday event. 4 Days living at Infineon :D
Friday Practice went well, I used my same tires from Thunderhill ( well abused by the new pavement ) and just focused on smooth lines and getting a better drive out of Turn 4. I was also looking for better brake markers into 7 and 9 since they proved to be weak points at the last Infineon round. The day went well, but by lunch, I had a lot of clutch chatter. My next session out I only made it two when my clutch started slipping. I spent the next hour getting it all done and ready for another session just to go out and have it still slipping. A second try and a few different clutch plates and the bike felt great again. I was close to my race times so I was happy with how Friday ended.
Saturday was the endurance. I was not riding, so I spent the day helping in the pits for both CODE 4 teams and the TWF team. At the day's end. I wished I had ridden, so I went for a jog around the tracks perimeter to get my good attitude back :D
SUNDAY. RACE DAY Practice felt good, I had my lines and my focus. I was ready to race and 650 Twins was first up. This is the class I just moved into the lead for the Championship so a win here was pivotal.
650 Twins - FIRST PLACE With a grabby clutch, I was worried about my start. I had to focus on getting of the clutch as fast as I could and let the motor do the work. I went into Turn 2 in about 4th and was happy with that start. I quickly moved into 2nd by mid lap and was focused on reeling in the leader. By the second lap, TWF team mate Jay made a pass on me and it was GAME ON! :D He and I had a great couple of laps with some really close racing. Racing with Jay is always a blast. but fighting each other, we didn't make any grounds on 1st. The last lap, I pulled him in to set up for a pass when the leader high-sided out of 7 putting Jay and I in a battle for 1st. I was able to make my move in 9, keep a good protective line in 11 and crossed the checkered in FIRST. This was a HUGE win for me in the championship point standings. I think this was my most excited "Victory" lap I've been on all year. It was also the lunchtime podium celebration so we were brought up to winner's circle and presented our trophies and speeches to the crowd. It was a great experience.
Formula IV - DNF I had a 60 point lead over Will going into this round. All I had to do was finish. That proved harder than I thought. On the first lap exiting Turn 9 my throttle cable broke send me back into the pits. And with 75 points to the leader. there goes my championship. [Recently I have become a person with really good bad luck] After calling Meesh to sulk, I realized I could watch the finish so I went down to watch Will take the win. And. No Will. Jay ( TWF teammate ) takes the win with fellow CODE 4 rider Scott Lesniewski taking 3rd, But no Will. It turns out he blew his motor mid race so there are no changes in points for me. I STILL HAVE MY 60 LEAD!!!!! Talk about good-bad luck! :D and a great Birthday present.
So as the day ended, I stretched my lead for the Championship in 650 Twins, Keep my points lead for the overall #6 plate AND manage to maintain a 60 point lead in Formula IV without even finishing. That's a good day!
AFM Round #6 - Thunderhill September 7, 2008
The pressure was on for this event. I had some "making up to do" and I was ready to ride. I had done some testing the previous week on the new pavement and was pretty close to my set up. This weekend was about re-learning the track and figuring out where to go fast.
Saturday Practice was 'work'. Every session was something new. and a fun fight with Twin Works Factory team mate Jay Avasino. I tried a few different compounds and some suspension changes and felt good. but didn't feel fast enough. We were only getting to the low 2:00 mark and I knew I needed more for a win.
Morning practice was more of the same, more suspension changes and new tires. And still low 2:00. At this point it was just going to come down to the race.
650 Twins - 1st Place - This was my first race of the day. I had a decent start, but went into turn 1 in about 6th. Turn 2 held a lot of surprises with a lot of bike movements from the pack, so I got a good drive, made my passes and was in 2nd by turn 3. I followed Dave Raff for two laps and made my pass with a draft down the front straight and pulled a slight gap. Two laps later, on the last lap, he mounted a charge. By the back straight he had made up 5 bike lengths and made a pass into turn 14. I expected him to run deep so I took a shallow line to be certain I had a good drive out of 15. right on his draft. I made my move and crossed the finish line in first by only a wheel. It was a very close and exciting race. With a win in this class, that puts me back in the lead for the championship!
Formula IV - 2nd Place - This race I got a good start. I was in 2nd by turn 2 and making my way toward the lead when . again. TWF team mate Jay came past running strong. Jay and Dave fought it out for the lead for 2 laps then Jay broke away, leaving it between me and Dave. In the heat, my bike was not running as strong as the morning race, but after a mistake by Dave, I was able to reel him and make the pass for second.
With the new pavement, this weekend was a big test for tires and suspension. My Michelin's held up GREAT and I was very happy with how they gripped. Zoran did an amazing job as always on my suspension helping me work through some chatter issues. I want to thank PowerStands, 4TheRiders.com, MorePoweRacing.com and Z2TrackDays for all their help and support.
AFM Round #5 Infineon Raceway August 17, 2008
Saturday Practice started off well. The morning sessions were smooth and I was happy with my times. I was not feeling the normal "angst" that I feel pre-race-day so i was a little worried, but my times were good and the bike was working great. late in the afternoon I put on new tires. Alex at AFMotorSports.com had me try out the new 'D' compound and I was happy with how much traction it provided. Now I just had to give it more gas and use that extra traction. Well, in my last practice, I failed to give it more gas, but I ended the day happy and ready for Sunday.
Sunday> started and I felt OK. Not energized and pumped... but OK. I had to figure out how to work around this. We had Race #1 and Race #5. Race 1 was 650Twins, a class I desperately needed a win in to overcome my off-track experience at the last Infineon round. Race $5 was F4. I felt like I could rest on my points lead and just protect the championship. DOES THAT SOUND LIKE A RACER????
Race #1 - 650 Twins I got off to a good start, the new WoodCraft rear sets solved my shifting issues! YAY!. I moved quickly into 3rd and was battling with Dave Raff for most of the race. Will Fox had pulled out in the lead, not too far, but not in striking distance. Dave and I had a good bunch of laps and I just couldn't find my opening for a pass. On the white flag lap my time was running out. I could pull him in, but I could not make a pass. I tried to go tight into Turn 9 but almost ended up eating his rear wheel and had to back off. So Turn 11 was my last chance... take the inside and make it a drag race to the finish. Dave got a little out of shape and pushed wider than he'd of liked which opened my door. A very small door, but I made it fit. As Dave got his bike to settle down, I turned in sharp on the brakes, stood it up and made a mad dash for the flag finishing 2nd behind Will Fox.
Race #5 - Formula IV Sitting on Pole, I had a decent start, again following Will into Turn 2 with fellow teammate Jay Avansino. We quickly settled into a rhythm with Jay and Will battling it out and me with a front row seat in third. They pulled a good gap on me by lap 4 and I realized I had just been sitting back WATCHING. Cheering Jay on and booing him when he made a mistake. It was a great battle, but it would of been better to be a part of it, instead of resting on my points and watching. by lap 6 I had some energy and I started making a charge, but it was way too late. I was clearly relegated to third while fellow Twin Works Factory rider Jay took the win!
the weekend was still very successful. I took home a 2nd and a 3rd in very competitive classes. ( I have to tell my self that over and over to not kick my self in the butt for not giving the weekend the proper respect ) Jay and Will ran extremely strong and ran incredible races. Luck was on my side and my top 10 points standings held up so I am still in position for the #6. That is my new focus. WIN and keep the #6 plate.
As always my Michelin's worked great, Zoran(Twin Works Factory) kept my bike running perfect. Joe at 4TheRiders made the day look incredible and I had the full support of our Z2 family. CODE4 was as incredible as always and I want to thank Modesto Ducati ( Des ) for my Lasagna. I think I had more comments about my GrafikAir custom eyeball helmet than any event so far. i love that thing!!!!
AFM Round #4 Thunder Hill - July 5-6
4th of July celebration at the track. As Northern California is plagued with almost 1000 fires, it was a smart idea to keep the fireworks at home. We ended up celebrating with friends and a 4th of July picnic lunch on Saturday. The smoke was not as bad in Willow CA as it had been in Reno so we appreciated the comparative "Fresh Air"
Saturday Practice went well. I hit my goal lap time on my first session out so I felt the day was going to go well. The rest of the session the Michelin's held up great even though they didn't have much tread left. BUT. then in the second to last session. The bike handled horrible. Sliding, almost crashed twice. so I had to call for ... ZORAN!!!!! He checked my suspension and found it to be "mysterious" Some how my spring had been tightened and my rebound and compression tampered with. :( I guess, sadly, that comes with running up front. He did some quick adjustments and the bike was quickly back to perfect.
Also, as usual, my "Eye Ball" custom painted helmet my Mike at GrafikAir.com got TONS of attention. I love wearing that helmet :D
650 Twins - First Place - my first start was average and I went into T1 in third. I had moved into second by T2 and was looking to chase down the lead when we quickly had a RED flag on the first lap. So. Total restart.<br>
My second start was much better. I went into T1 in 1st place and didn't look back until T13.and Dave Raff as RIGHT on my tail. The rest of the race, I had no need to look back as Dave showed me a wheel in just about every turn on the course. It was an exciting close race that came down to the last turn.. with me crossing the line in first with TWF Team Mate Jay Avansino in a close third.
Formula 4 - Second Place. I had a good start, but over-rev'd the bike and it wouldn't go into 3rd. After 3 tries, I finally got it in, but was now in about 8th place in T1. I made quick work of a small group and was in 3rd by T3. By the end of the first lap I was in second but First had pull too large of a gap as I was fighting with traffic. I was able to reel him in over the course of 4 laps, but not enough to make a strike. With a flawless race, I was not able to capitalize on any of his mistakes and ended up second at the line behind Raff.
A first and a second. I am VERY happy with those results. The Michelin's work incredible on Sunday as did the suspension set up by TWF's Zoran. My CODE4 team mates were incredibly supportive as well. I want to thank Charlie at PowerStands for all his help. MorePoweRacing.com for all their support, Z2TrackDays for the advice and track time to tune the SV and 4TheRiders.com for making all us look so good.
WERA - Miller Motorsports - June 6-8
6 hour Endurance - I ran a 2006 GSXR 1000 in the SuperStock class with the Twin Works Factory Team at this round of the WERA National Endurance Series. Zoran with TWF set the bike up and had it ready for the trip. I ended up with about 12 minutes of practice time on the bike before the start of the race, but that was enough to figure out how it turned and how to control the horsepower out of the turns.
We had a good start, good consistent run, no issues.. Quick pit stops.. Pretty uneventful race ( as a good endurance race should be ). By the half-way point we were in 7th overall and 2nd in class. We did a Front/Rear tire change at the 4-hour mark and easily remained in 2nd. By the 5th hour we had 7 laps on the 3rd place team and had moved into 6th overall. The finish was smooth ( with just a splash of gas in the last leg ) and we crossed the line 2nd in class and 6th overall.
Formula 2 - 1st Place - This round of F2 is part of the National Series. We had a 10 bike grid ( full grid for WERA ) and we had quite a hand full of fast guys. I had a good start but went into T2 behind a fellow TWF rider Jay. I was able to pass him into T5 and hold the lead for another lap. He challenged me on the front straight and was able to hold on for the lead with 2 laps to go. I could reel him in, but was not able to pass him, then I figured out my strategy. I wanted to draft down the front straight on the last lap so I could take the lead in T1 and hold on for the checkered. and that's how it happened. I was able to take the lead in T1 and hold on for the lap to finish 1st.
Light Weight Twins SuperBike - 1st Place - I had a decent start but ended up 3rd on the straight. (LONG straight away at Miller). I was able to pull into 2nd by the T1 brake markers again, following Jay. Going in DEEP on the brakes, he ran a little wide so I was able to come up on the inside and take the lead. I had two bikes challenging for the lead in T5 on the second lap, then I had Jay pass me in the following right hand sweeper. I kept him in tight, drafting him on the straight and moving back into the lead. On the last lap, he tried the same move in the sweeper, but I was ready for him and I carried a little more speed into the apex to maintain the lead. At the end of the race we had pulled a good gap on 3rd, but I crossed the line in 1st with Jay right on my rear tire.
This trip out to Miller is really a group effort. Twin Works Factory and CODE4 pair up like family and really helped each other out. It's a great group of riders and support teams as well as close friends. Our Michelin tires worked great all weekend, the PowerStands were great in the endurance pits and all the parts from MorePoweRacing.com really helped out. Thanks to all my sponsors for helping to make this a great event!!!!
AFM Round #3 - Infineon - May 25,2008
Saturday - It was looking like bad weather but we thought we would at least get ½ a day in for practice. I planned to work on my lines in turn #7 and #11 to find a smoother faster exit. In an early morning cold session, I put down about 5 slow laps just warming up and finding lines. then the rain started. The weather only got worse and the sessions were cancelled shortly after noon. I only had my ONE slow session to prepare for Sunday.
Sunday - The sun came out, the air warmed up and we were ready for a wonderful day of racing. Formula IV - Race #1 -1st Place - First race of the day. I typically am not 'race ready' that early, but I worked on my mindset and went out in morning practice with a vengeance. It felt great and I was ready for the start. I had a good start but went into turn #1 in 3rd. by the end of the first lap I was able to move into 2nd but in that time, First had opened up quite a lead ( about 20 bike lengths ). Two more lap of protective lines, and I had not gained any ground. I decided to try my open lines and work on exit speed. Within 2 more lap I had pulled in the leader and with a backmarker in turn #4 I was able to pull within striking distance. I made a pass in turn #9 and just started charging. The bike worked great and my Michelin's were flawless.
650 Twins - Race #9 - 6th Place - This was a bad race. We had two Re-Starts ( that's 3 separate starts to the race ) due to multiple crashes. The first two starts I did well, and was in 2nd or 3rd by the end of the first lap. But. then on the final restart, we had 4 bikes challenging for turn 2 and I got the worst of it. As the bikes came together up the hill, I had my front wheel hit tearing the bar out of my hand. I was able to get control and keep the bike up, but by that time I was headed into the dirt on the inside of the turn. After bottoming my front suspension 3 times and loosing the front end twice, I managed to keep the bike upright and re-enter the track on the exit of 2.. In about 30th place. I trusted my front end was OK and starting passing. By the 4th lap I was in 5th when I got passed by another front runner who was forced off track with me. BUT. at this point in the race I had thought too much about the aggressiveness of turn 1 that I was angry and 3 seconds off my pace. I settle for the idea that 6th was better than laying in the dirt on the inside of two and cross the finish line in a frustrated 6th.
What a weekend again!!!! The Twin Works Factory bike got an oil change and off we were on the track again :D Race day Sunday was my wife Michelle's birthday. In addition to her present, I promised her two wins.. So I had to hold true to my promise.
Saturday Practice. The day started off like any other practice.. SLOW. The bike felt great, I just needed to myself loosened up and get re-acquainted with all my brake markers and shift points. The same Michelin's that I won on in Round #1 and won on down in Vegas, were still on the bike and feeling good ( worn out. but still felt good :). By mid day I felt like I was adjusted and ready for new tires to see what the SV had in her. After a new set of tires, I saw 1:48's on the AMA configuration and felt good with those times.
650 Twins - First Place - Front row start, but a few of us were rolling. so the flag held, and held, then finally dropped. I had a good start, moved to the outside of T1 heading up the hill in a drag race for T2. I had the inside line, took the lead and tried to open up a gap. We quickly hit traffic from the first wave race and I made a point to NOT HESITATE on my passes. After the first few laps, I had a 10 bike lead. Kept my head down. and finished the race leading all 8 laps. We only got into the 1:48's for lap times, but that was enough for the win.
Formula IV - First Place> - This. This was not as easy of a race. I had the pole for the start, but went into T1 in 3rd. I had several parts of the track where I could reel them in for passes, but not enough of a charge to make the pass stick. Every pass was matched with a pass back. 5 laps of this . literally tire-to-tire & faring to faring. It was clean racing, but very aggressive. On the 6th lap I finally got a clean pass to move into 2nd. The next lap as I challenged for the lead, the leader went in too deep for a tight chicane and I set up my pass on the exit. From there, I had one and half laps of mostly clear track and just put my head down and charged for the flag. It was a VERY hard fought battle with Brian Harpe and Will Fox. I'm sure we will see each other a lot more at Round #3.
As always, the TWF bike ran flawless and my tires were amazing! Joe (4TheRiders) should have pictures ready any day now and I'll add them to the gallery. Special thanks goes out to Z2TrackDays for getting Jeff Tigert to work with me earlier this season on some lines around Infineon. That was a big part of my wins. I also want to thank all the riders in CODE4, Dave from Modesto Ducati and my wife Michelle for giving me my inspiration this weekend.
WERA - Las Vegas Speedway - April 12-13
I started the weekend off with a twisted ankle. The swelling was not enough to keep me out of my boots, so luckily the injury had not real impact on the weekend. Saturday's practice started off with a "Hiccup". I had never seen the track before so I was not used to the LONG winding Pit out. After a confusing first lap, I stopped on the live track confused by what I thought was a poorly designed chicane. One RED flag later, we were back on course and I was learning where the track went left and right. With two sessions, I felt pretty good.
Sunday we had two more practice sessions and by the second one I had most of my brake markers set and shift points. I had also found 2 more seconds from my Saturday times so the day was looking good.
Light Weight Twins SuperBike - 2nd Place
I had a good third row start and went into turn one in 3rd behind CODE4 riders Charlie and Scott. By turn 3 I had moved into first and tried to extend a lead. I knew my Twin Works Factory teammate was coming but I wanted to get as much of a cushion as I could. By lap 5 I saw the wheel and we spent the next lap and a half banging on each other until he used the draft on the back sweeper for a perfect pass and pulled a comfortable lead. We crossed the line with me in Second place.
Formula 2 - 1st Place
I had another good start, going into turn 1 in second place from the 3rd row. I chased down fellow rider Scott Lesniewski for 2 laps and after several failed pass attempts, I made my pass and put my head down. I pulled a comfortable lead and crossed the finish line in 1st place.
My Twin Works Factory SV ran flawless. The Michelin tires hooked up perfect and felt great on the new track. We had a good representation from both CODE4 and Twin Works Factory with all of us on the podium for LWTSB. (It was a full Z2TrackDay podium!)
Special thanks to Z2TrackDays, MorePowerRacing, Vortex, Sunoco, Suomy, PowerStands and all the TWF sponsors to help make this a great weekend.
AFM Round #1 Buttonwillow Raceway 3/23/2008
What a start to the season! Saturday's practice appeared to be the start to a troubled weekend. My first session out I found a few broken welds up front causing the bike to handle unexpectedly. One of the welds was for the steering stabilizer. after a quick tear down, I was able to fix a few items, but the main bracket for the stabilizer was un-repairable. The folks at 7's Only Racing (Mazda race shop ) were very helpful in letting me dig through their scraps. After a little cutting and bending, I had was appeared to be a new bracket..... NOPE. didn't' work. As I ran out of track time, the only call was to run without it. I quickly found ( on lap two ) that the entrance to the very fast sweeper was going to send my bike into a violent head shake without it. Back to the scrap pile with my failed bracket... and an hour later I had a true fix. but now the track was cold and the days events over. I was left to Sunday to test and race.
650 Twins - 3rd Place
I had a pole start from my season finish last year, but I blew the start and went into turn one in about 9th. Quickly moved up a few spots at the entrance to turn 2, then a few more on the exit. By 1/2 a lap I was fighting with the leaders. Then next few laps were very close and exciting. Each lap saw a lead change, with me leading several laps. A pass just before the white flag put me in second, so I had to mount a charge for the win. By Riverside I had my pass lined up, and in my sites... when a back marker got between me and the leader. After two failed attempts and finding a safe line by, I had to grab a handful of brakes to barely avoid a collision. Using the brakes on the fastest part of the track is not helpful in setting up a pass, unless you are in 3rd and set up to make the pass into second. And that is what happened. by the time I was back on the throttle, it was too late and I was relegated to third. A very respectful finish. PODIUM :D I'll take that after all my troubles on Sat.
Formula IV - 1st Place
Pole again for the start.. and I nailed it. Went into turn one in first place and tried to put my head down. Talks with Twin Works Factory Teammates and Z2 heads, pointed out my weak points... so I focused. I lead the first 4 laps until a pass was made into Lost Hills. (An area I was trying to work on) I was able to stay close, set up a pass for the lead again on the following lap. At the White flag I was in the lead and determined to keep it. I pushed through all my weak areas and held on till the checkered flag!
The Twin Works Factory bike worked flawlessly. My Michelin's gave me all the confidence in the worked to push deeper and drive harder through the turns while the Sunoco fuel really made a noticeable difference in the motor. The help and support I received from TWFRacing, the Z2TrackDays family and fellow CODE4 riders, helped me keep focused on my lines and still having fun. I want to also thank PowerStands for all their support and MorePowerRacing for all the great parts and getting them out quickly. Look for a lot of photos from 4TheRiders.com to be posted up real soon.