Have you ever seen Star Wars? There is this scene where they jump to light speed. Stars are just shooting past, you can’t focus on anything. Well for several race rounds that is how my head has felt while racing. The thing about that is, how do you train your brain? Trust me I had some strange ideas, but I can’t say anything I thought of was going to work. So train everything else around your brain, and you can spend more of your attention on the track and less on your body or bike. This was my plan for round 3.
How did the weekend go? That is a good question. Friday was a low key day for me. Ken Hill had ridden my bike a few weeks ago while training my teammate, Greg McCullough. He made some adjustments and told me the bike was good to go. So I enter Friday with a bike a KFG says is good to race, if that doesn’t give you confidence, what would? So I am confident my bike is good, but I spent most of Friday adjusting the suspension anyway. I had a great base set up and could always go back to it. I made massive adjustments just to see the outcome. Well the outcome was that I can do 1:46 to 1:47 lap times on just about any setup.
Friday afternoon, I talked with Ken Hill about some things I had control over. When was I using the brakes, how much, and for how long? He made some suggestions and Saturday would be more about me and less about the bike. Friday night we went for a bicycle ride. About 8 of us went. My legs still are not strong enough to hang, and just a few laps in I had to bow out to some serious peddle crushers. Still I had some fun and that is why I am here.
Saturday was a good day. I rode some old race tires and by the end of the day felt pretty good. Shawn Reilly gave me some more advice about small issues I was challenged with. That is the one thing about the AFM, there is no shortage of experienced
fast guys. Most of these guys have been where I am at, so they are able to give some advice on how to work through issues.
We had a fair amount of crashes through the weekend and Saturday would claim one of my friends. Sebastio has found a lot of speed this year, but he found the limit on the exit of turn 6. He was a little beat up and wouldn’t ride Sunday. See you next round Sebastio. I have fallen twice this year and was not looking for a third, so riding within my limits is priority #2. Why number two, because priority one was expanding my limits.
Saturday night was great. We had some great pit bike racing and the money went to Eric Arnold. On my way back from the pit races, Dave Stanton said to come by and he would help with turn eight. I have struggled with turn eight all year and was looking forward to his advice. So I grabbed my notebook and over to his trailer I went. I tried to listen and not talk at Dave as he gave me advice. You would have to ask him how I did. He gave me some great advice.
Learning to shut my mouth is high on my list of things to do. Asking for help from Ken Hill, Shawn Reilly, Chris Van Andel or Dave Stanton doesn’t do you any good if you can’t shut your mouth and listen. I think in this way I am like a new racer during and evaluation. You tell him to go out and just ride around, pretend like your not following him. You ensure him your not giving him a Moto GP contract, but he still rides way over his head, because he wants to impress you. I suffer from this problem with my mouth as well as my riding. I am learning to go faster, now if I can just keep my mouth hole in check. Thanks to all of the fast guys who helped this weekend.
Sunday, ahhh Sunday. I was practice group 6 and had plenty of time to get ready. My bike was good to go and I had help from Mike as my mechanic for the weekend. Mike is new to racing, but with some guidance from Sam he did a great job all weekend. Sunday practice went fine and I felt good. My races would be late in the day so I entered 600 super bike to stay warmed up. I dumped this race a few rounds ago to focus on other classes. In the hot pits I looked up and saw Dave sitting up front. He rides a liter bike so he must be testing on our warm up lap. I pulled up next to him and asked for a tow through the corners he was helping me with last night. He agreed and off we went. This put me on the grid early and my tires started to cooling off, but hey take help whenever you can get it.
That race was like practice for me. The lead pack gapped me out a bit after a mistake and I promised my self to ride my race not chase like a newby. After a lonely race I just thought about all the lines I tried and the results. Besides, I was worried about other races later on. Did I mention I ended up 6th, with the best lap of my weekend so far? Not to bad for being all by my self.
I watched an exiting FP race where Mach 1 rider Dave Stanton won. So, one of the guys telling me about lines, just won the hardest race in the AFM. Yeah bring on race 9. Again I latched onto the front runners, but chose to ride my race instead of theirs. After some early action I got dropped back by a few seconds and just stayed in 5th for the rest of race.
Race #12, I am excited and disappointed about this race. 750 super bike is tough. You are giving up some horsepower to bigger bikes, but the fastest guy in this race is on a 600. I got a poor start, but by turn two I was in the hunt. Lenny Hale was out front, but he was not my immediate worry. O’Sullivan, Ezequiel and Billy Scott were. Ezequiel, a young AMA rider passed me out of 6 and I decided early retaliation was in order. A block pass into 7 got the job done, but he passed me back into 11. I had to let him go and focus on Billy. I got around Billy ok, but could not shake him. I made some mistakes every time I deviated from plan. So I chose to sit in 4th and ride my race. I did just that and came home with a 4th and my fastest and most consistent laps of the weekend.
My disappointment from that race came in only one form. I could not bring home a podium. I really wanted to, but I promised myself to ride my own race. To Chris at Pirelli, thank you for having a set of tires that performed for 3 hard races. I really wanted to put a trophy in the Pirelli truck. To my entire pit crew thank you for letting me focus on riding. To all of the mentors who helped me this weekend, I will try to talk less and listen more.
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.