Well I had a bit of a delay in getting this race report written and on line… I have been BUSY, between my day job, track days and motorcycle repairs it has taken me a little too long to get this posted, but alas… here it is.
Boy-o-boy had I been looking forward to this race weekend. As you may recall, Round 1 at Buttonwillow did not go as well as I had hoped and I went into this weekend not only hoping for, but expecting better results.
I enjoy riding at Infineon Raceway (aka Sear’s Point) the shorter, but more technical track is perfect for the SV racers, where horsepower is not necessarily the deciding factor. A good suspension set-up and the ability to maximize drive out of the corners is what will make the difference for you at IR.
Friday evening after the track went cold, the garages were opened and we were able to set up pits for the weekend. Jason and Greg, along with David BenJamin, would set-up Z2 Team pits in Garage 3. I would set-up next to them in Garage 4 with TwinWorks Factory, joined by Jeff Frost, Jon Forman, Tom Dorsey, Ricky Ford, and Shandra Crawford. Throughout the evening, many of my other racing friends continued to arrive, I be-bopped around the paddock saying hello and giving hugs to everyone. One of my favorite things about racing is seeing all my friends, we spend so much time together and AFM racers are so supportive of one another, it really is like one big family.
Saturday morning…. Oooh, ooh, ooh, it is race day for the women signed up to run the new Formula AFemme class, as well as the Novice Clubman, and Formula 40 races. All the ladies are buzzing about the good grid size we got for the first round, there were 12 entries on the AFM website when we last checked it on Friday. Not a huge grid, but decent considering it is a new class to encourage more women to get involved with road racing. Check out my separate post for Saturday’s events… where you will learn about how my bike died.
I have borrowed Ricky Ford’s B-Bike again for Sunday’s races. I am able to get one practice session on it first thing in the morning following registration and tech inspection. Morning practice went well and I was ready for the races, however I was not going to find myself on the track again until after lunch since 650 Twins was Race 6 and Formula 4 was Race 11. There were some delays to the day with a couple of bad accidents in the morning races requiring heli-flights for the injured, my best wishes to them for a full recovery.
The remaining races were cut from 8 laps to 7 in order to complete all the races scheduled for the day prior to 5:00 pm when the track “goes cold.” So during the down time I got my grid positions for 650T and F4… I guess it really did pay off to race BW last month and now I am happy I did it. 650T - I am in position 14, on the 3rd row, out side. This is a fantastic grid position for me; I could see a clear path to and through turn 1. I would focus on getting a good start and then ride clean, smooth lines; there were quite a few faster guys (and girl - Zoe) gridded behind me. I got a good launch and held a decent position up into Turn 2, where I gave it up and let a couple racers pass because I am not yet willing to bang bars in that corner. It’s just a little too sketchy there for me. Scott Lesnewski came past me at the entrance to T3, I ride with Scott on Z2 track days occasionally and am confident using him for a tow up and over 3A. Then Gator came barreling in on the top of 3A and I thought for sure he was going to hit me, but he managed to hold his line and block me down the hill, nice move Gator! He held his line and made a clean pass, so I couldn’t help but give him a hard time and congratulate him at the end of the race. Gator (Christian Sommer) is one of our good friends and pitted with us most of last year, until he broke his collarbone skate boarding in the pits and took himself out for the rest of the season. It is good to see him back out there this year, although he is no longer using the skate board as pit transportation. The next 3 laps continued in a similar fashion, I ran very consistent lap times and was feeling comfortable on the loaner bike from Ricky, as the faster racers would come by I would try to latch onto them and learn better lines. It was pretty cool to come out of turn 7 and look to the right to see half the class still behind me, this is a huge improvement for me from last year. In the last couple of laps, I had a little battle with Tom Short and Mickey Fimbres as they made their way past me, then on the last lap in Turn 8 I came up on a Formula 2 lapper, not realizing there was anyone coming up behind me I decided to wait to make a more courteous pass on the straight down to 9. William Wickersham was tight on my tail with better drive coming out of the 8‘s and he flew past me down the hill and beat me to the checker flag. I gave up 9 positions from my starting position, but still managed to beat my buddy Justus to the finish line. My result was 23rd out of 48 starters, well on my way to my goal to get in the top 20.
The F4 race is next to the last race of the day, I pulled up to my grid position18, on the 4th row, outside again. This should be another good start, but... Brad Woods has a mechanical on the launch apparently losing oil from his engine, he is a bike length ahead of me and to my left as we make our way thru the fast turn one, Woods rear wheel gets oil on it and he goes for a bronc ride bouncing right, then left, then right again… I am sure he is going to end up on the ground directly in front of me so I check up until I see him ride it out and off to the right side of the track. I now have no drive up the hill to turn 2 and I have dropped to the back of the pack. Throught the course of the 7 lap race I manage to work my way back up a few positions, but can’t quite catch Tom Short and Justus Hoffman who are in my sights, but just out of my reach. The drive to come back from such a bad start helped me get to my best lap time of the weekend and I finished 24th out of 33 starters. Side note: It was a real bummer to see Christie Cooley sitting on the inside of turn 4 with another blown fuse on her SV. Hope she can get the mechanical sorted out before Round 3 next month.
One of the three well-known California road racing clubs; AFM offers a place where you can participate in races, watch as a spectator, or even take part as a turn-worker on the course. There are competition classes for almost all motorcycles; you can race what you own, build a bike specifically for racing, or maybe even pick up a pre-set-up bike through member want ads. Competing in expert club racing can be used to qualify for a pro racing license. Explore the website for further information.
Women race with the men?
Yes, races are structured by bike size. Women race in the same classes as men that have the same sized bike. However, there is a growing interest among women in racing , so many racing clubs have added a women’s class to encourage the ladies to give it a try.
Formed in 2001, SMUSA is now the premier Pro/Am supermoto series in the country. Many of the well known American road racers such as Bobby Fong, Joey Pascarella, Cameron Beaubier, Elena Myers, Tyler O'Hara, Garrett Willis and others all competed in Supermoto USA's Nor Cal Championship where they developed their skills.
PC Dirt Track in Sacramento, Ca holds a series of the oldest and most traditional type of motorcycle racing, flat track - sometimes referred to as “dirt track” racing. A uniquely American type of motorcycle racing. Riders finesse their machines sideways through the turns, just inches apart from each other.
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. The AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. No one who has ever seen an AMA Pro motorcycle race ever forgets it.