I feel as though I am about to give a duplicate race report, but that said here we go. I was all packed and ready to go for the weekend. There was one small hitch, my wife’s parents were in town and will come to the track with us. This is a hitch only in the sense that I am very much a creature of habit, and this is not a habit. They are very nice and helpful, but I am one of those do it yourself so you know it is done right people. After convincing them I would rather do everything myself, we showed up at the track early on Thursday. They turned out to be very helpful and I don’t have to do everything myself.
So am still getting everything back in place from my round one wreck. Sam drove my bodywork to me late Wednesday night, thank you by the way. So my plan was to install it at the track. I went to install it and found I had no hardware. This was not the start I wanted. I left the old bodywork on for Friday. Greg McCullough and I rode Friday, with the intent to get better. It was a day of testing, but for some reason I was not able to get really excited about riding. Struggling to find a happy place in my mind, the day was not as productive as one would have hoped for.
Saturday needed to be a better day for me. I got off to a decent pace, but actually got slower every session. I tried to replicate some AMA lines I had seen, but no dice. I tried to make some suspension adjustments myself, but that was like asking a 4th grader to do calculus problems. After not listening to my mechanic Tom, I finally gave in and followed his advice. Sheepishly, I asked Ken Hill to ride my bike. He was working with another rider, but agreed. It only bothers me to ask, because I need to know how to do this for myself. Ken rode one lap at the end of the day Saturday, one lap and he knew the bike was not right. I had been on it for 2 days, and in one lap he told me where to start adjusting.
After a massive adjustment on the rear shock by Ken Hill, I went out and rode the few laps left for me in practice. It was better, not perfect, but much better. He suggested I make some measurements that night and possible adjustments. I still had to fix my body work and I was exhausted from fighting the bike all day. With a ton of help from friends, family, and team we were able to mount the bodywork and sponsor stickers with out the factory hardware. I was too scared to change anything else on the bike. I have watched racers tell reporters that they had a tenth place car before the race, and always thought how do they know that? Well, Saturday night I went to bed with that question answered. I had what I felt to be a tenth place bike.
Sunday morning and Race 2 was 600 Production and due to new gridding and lack of points I was still well back in the field. My start was horrible and left me a ton of work to do. I don’t remember many race specifics and that is weird for me. I just remember finding some things in that race. I remember the start and the finish, but the middle is a blur. Most of this is probably because I spent the whole race talking to my self. Rather than tell you what little I remember about every race, I will tell you what I what really stuck with me at the end of the day.
Turn 1, I am not comfortable close to the wall, but I can lay the bike over further than I think, be on the gas at the apex. When my confidence was high enough, I remember being so fast in turn 1.
Turn 2, use the front tire to scrub speed, slow the middle of the corner, lay the bike over more, and get on the gas the bike will take it. I rush this corner almost every lap, but when I get it right the exit is great and my front tire will take more than I give it credit for.
Turn 3, I will give up a little bit here because I am going to get it back. If I am patient with turn 3, then I can get on the gas sooner in 3a and close up on people into 4.
Turn 4, stop over braking this corner, let the front end scrub speed and keep you RPM’s up for the drive out.
Turn 5, break off the gas for a second and then spot your exit. Get on the gas harder, I am loosing time here. It will go faster if I just let it.
Turn 6, be patient don’t rush the middle, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, see the 3rd light pole at the exit and then gas. I have to be more patient and also lay the bike over more, the tires will take it.
Turn 7, don’t be so late on the brakes. Stay out wide longer and use the brake to turn the bike in the middle. Stay outside the snake line and smooth and hard on the gas.
Turn 8, brake into the fast left, get the bike turned and use the gas to steer the bike.
Turn 9, slow down on the entrance a touch so you can keep it tight on the exit.
Turn 10, stay tight spot the exit and trust the tires as you get on the gas.
Turn 11, don’t charge this corner. Keep it tight on the apex and keep your exit only as wide as you need to keep the RPM’s in the power range.
This is what I said to myself for 8 laps in a row, 4 different times on Sunday. It was like a recording. Many times I said it out loud. I do remember some of the bikes in front of me, but more than that it was where I was gaining on them. If I followed my plan then I was gaining, if I deviated from that I lost time. This is not the turn by turn report some look for, but it is what I remember the most about my races.
Sunday I rode as hard as possible for as long as possible. Everything was left on the table, so to speak. Shawn had told me all weekend, not to worry about the race and that I just needed to finish. I can say that I rode as hard as I could, without crashing. I was exhausted and just not able to execute every lap perfectly, but I stuck to my plan. Michelle told me my best lap was in the last race on lap 4 or 5. I leave round 3 knowing that there are areas I can actually improve on and that feels good.
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.