If you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it.
This is one of my all-time favorite sayings; I can’t remember where I heard it first, but it has been a saying that I repeat to myself often in different aspects of my life. I actually carry it on a card in my wallet as constant reminder that nothing is impossible. This saying is a catchy twist on the actual quote of Napoleon Hill, "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" and is the perfect words to sum up the results of Ritz Racing’s AFM Round 4 weekend at Thunderhill Raceway.
As is typical for us this season we were not able to get off work to make Friday practice, but we did get off work early enough to get up to the track and get set-up before dinner which was a nice change. After dinner, a couple beers and a few hours of socializing I headed off to bed. If you recall my story from Round 3, I had 2 lessons; 1) don’t drink too much alcohol and get a good night sleep on Friday and 2) get some heat training time in to get my body used to working out in the hot temperatures.
Leading up to this round, Jason and I spent several days training on our bicycles in the heat of the day. We also had a couple outdoor climbing days with plenty of time hiking and basking in the sun. It paid off, I had more energy on Saturday and didn’t run into the issue I had last round with mid-race exhaustion. Still, Saturday practice was the low of my weekend. There was a very low turn-out at this round, which meant they re-organized practice groups and I got dumped back down into Group 3. I wasn’t thrilled because all the people I race with were in G4, but they had personal best lap times just a tad faster than me. I was willing to accept my fate and just ride with the goal to be fastest in G3, until the AFM decided to start combining groups to give us more track time. It was a kind gesture and meant to benefit us, but there was a large delta in the pace of the fast end of G3 and the slow end of G2. I went out for a few laps and watched multiple bonsai, group passes and resulting run-offs and crashes as racers reacted to being stuffed, I pulled in as I felt it was unsafe to continue. I filed my complaint with Barb and she sent me out with G4. This was good, as finally I was able to get some clear track and find my rhythm.
Saturday afternoon’s AFemme class kicks off the weekend racing for us and once practice is done I get to be the center of attention since Jason doesn’t race on Saturday. Ben and Jason got my bike ready, tires swapped, fueled up and brake’s checked. All I had to do was listen to my music and get focused. I was grid position 2, front row next to Joy Higa on pole. As the 3 board came out I clicked my bike into gear, it didn’t feel like it engaged, so I gave it another try… 2 board, it still felt like it didn’t engage so I let out the clutch a little, careful not to “jump the start” and felt the bike pull. I guess it is gear…. 1 board, sideways, green flag…. Jenn goes NOWHERE. Every girl on the grid, including the novice wave on the 4th row, went by me as I stood there working to get my bike in gear. Now I had a game of chase on my hands, I can run with Joy if I am there on the start, but chasing her down when she had a 10 second head start is another story. I also had Melissa Paris out there on her 2-stroke 250 and I wasn’t sure what lap times she would be running today. I wasn’t willing to give up just yet though, as you never know what could happen, so I charged, making my way past each girl ahead one at a time. By turn 6 I had worked past everyone except Mackenzie Ancien in P2 and Joy in P1. I caught up with Mac and made the pass just as we were completing the first lap and then I set my sights on Joy. I was hoping the lap traffic would play in my favor and I would be able to close the gap, but not today. I finished second.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
I came in after the morning warm up session and told Jason I just wasn’t feeling “it” this morning. Whatever, “it” is I couldn’t figure out how to get there. I was over-thinking, trying too hard in my head before I even took to the track. I so badly want to get in the Top 10 again and run with the front pack, I felt so anxious. We headed down to the rider’s meeting, after the regular business we filmed a little AFM message of well wishes and love to Dave Stanton and CT Racing handed out some DS53 support stickers. I headed back to the pits, put my DS53 sticker on my swingarm and posted a picture to Facebook, with the comment that having the Fassst 53 on-board had to be good for at least a second off my lap times. Jason and I went into the trailer to cool off before our races and put the “Jenn Raceday Music Mix” on the stereo. A little dancing and singing and we were ready to go racing. J
Race 4 – Open Production
By Jason – I was the first race on Sunday and it turned out to be a blast to the past. Greg and I have been called the twins for several years now. Even though we don’t match anymore we still get the nickname. If you are going to be linked with someone throughout your race career, then he is probably one of the best out there. All rear end smooching aside, we play by a different set of rules when we ride together I heard from the announcing crew it was a fun race to call. We both had so much fun during the race. All said and done it was an awesome race with a great racer. The finish was only separated by .001 with me just edging him at the line.
Race 5 – 600 Production
By Jenn - Watching the start of Jason’s race and the fun battle he had with Greg got me amp’d up for my own race. As I pulled up to the inside grid spot, P9 on the third row, I recalled the last round when I had the same grid spot and how traffic pinched me off in turn 1. I decided on my plan for the start this time and pulled my visor down as the 3 board came up. I made 100% sure the bike was in gear, ha, lesson learned and brought up my rev’s as the 1 board came out. Green Flag and we were off. I moved over to the right off the start and found an opening as we rounded turn 1 and pinned it down the short straight to turn 2. I dropped into about 9th or 10th position as we rounded turn 2 and I held with the pack. As we completed the first lap the front 5 broke away and dropped their lap times down to the 51’s and 52’s. I hung with the 2nd group in a 9 bike pack from 6th position back to 15th. I was passed by a couple of others and dropped back to 13th by time we crossed the start/finish. There was quite a bit of shuffling within the pack in the first few laps, on the 3rd lap Naylor Kinzer came by me and worked his way ahead of Anthony Manciu forcing Manciu to check up just enough for me to get in his draft, Manciu and I battled for 12th position, Kinzer and Bret Nelson were having a battle for 10th just in front of us. On the last lap Kinzer managed a pass on Bret and they both dropped their pace as they made the checkered flag charge and started to pull a gap. Still, I knew they were within my reach, feeling motivated and confident I managed to stick a pass on Manciu and put my head down to chase down Bret. I dropped a full 1 second lap faster than Bret, but it wasn’t enough to get him at the line. I was really happy with how my race went, but it wasn’t until the lunch break that I made my way into the score sheets to see that I had dropped my lap times 2 more seconds again from last round getting into the 1:55’s. I was so excited, I couldn’t help but wander around the pits a little and gloat over my new found speed… Now I just needed to back it up in 600 Superbike.
R6 – Open Superbike
By Jason – I finished in 5th place with all the FP guys out there….throughout the duration you could find me racing to find the front or the back of one person or another. I am sure that more happened in this race, but I am going to claim temporary insanity due to the rest of my day.
R9 – Formula Pacific
By Jason - 3rd Place, first FP podium...Ricky Corey, Jeremy Toye, & Jason Lauritzen on the box. Yeah I like the sound of that. You can’t write the drama that went on in this race. The race had crashes, missed shifts, jumped starts and more drama than an episode of My Babies Teen Mama Who Loves Her Cousin or whatever new reality TV show just came out. The reality of my situation was getting stopped by tech and told, “Don’t go to your pits, go to the FP Podium.” I have a huge list of people who have helped me, but my wife gets the first bit of love. I fumbled my podium speech, but Toye and Ricky were very patient. I was so happy that I was able to thank all my sponsors, plus Dave Stanton. It was the best part of my whole day. Dave is continuing to support me by sharing his advice and experiences; I am truly honored to be someone he spends his time and effort on. Thank you to everyone for my first FP podium, and I hope to give you many more.
R11 – 600 Superbike
By Jenn - I splurged again, I fear this is the beginning of an expensive habit, and we had CT Racing mount up a fresh rear tire for this race. I rolled to my grid position ready to give it my all. From P10 on the third row I got off the line with the group and held 10th behind Mackenzie Ancien, who got a great jump off the start. I played chase behind Mac for the first lap, as she runs great defensive lines and gets good drive onto the straights. As I came down the front straight I could see that the top 5 had made their break-away again and the second pack had started to pull a pretty big gap on us. I made my pass on Mac between turn 2 and 3 on the 2nd lap and put a target on the group in front of me. My lap times dropped each lap and I was closing the gap, as I came down the front straight Mike Canfield was on the wall cheering like mad, was he cheering for me… or was he cheering for the bike right behind me, (I knew was there because of Ben’s wall signals.) I decided it was for me. Ha! Carry on. As I rounded turn 15 and saw the white flag waving at the start-finish tower I knew I only had about 1 minute and 55 seconds left to catch the group, who now was only a few bike lengths ahead of me… I couldn’t believe I had reeled them in and was still closing. With every corner I was closer, as we rolled left through turn 4 I picked the bike up and had a great drive, I decided I would take my inside line (that I used to make the pass on Joy for the AFemme win last year) and see if I could get closer to Kinzer… but as I got about mid-way up the hill I realized I had far more speed than I have ever carried on this inside line before and I was not going to get my braking done in time to turn in. I kept the bike upright and on the brakes past the apex and had to make a decision, ride through the dirt and down the steep hill or turn and try to make the corner. Unfortunately my choice didn’t work out so well, I turned in and felt the front tire lift and slide. Down I went, sliding down the asphalt on my hip and shoulder, with the bike still between my legs, we slid down the pavement as one for a ways until finally sliding into the dirt on the inside. There the bike and I parted ways and slid to a stop. I bounced up and headed up to the turn workers booth, only thing hurt was my finish result. I still had great lap times, dropping to low 1:56 on the lap before my crash and I had so many people compliment me on my race. I was thrilled when Corey Neuer and Wyatt Farris came over to my pit to check on me and tell how great they thought my ride was. I am bummed that I crashed, but I haven’t had a crash since the first round of 2011, I wasn’t hurt and my bike wasn’t badly damaged, so as they say, I got off fairly easily. To have made the improvements I have made in the last 2 ½ years without a crash is incredible and I really feel great about my progress and my results. I can’t tell you often enough how amazing the coaching I get from Ken Hill is, plus my guest instruction from Scott Russell didn’t hurt either. I have him to thank for helping me find my way thru turn 3. I am like a walking billboard for FasterSafer results. The other thing you won’t get me shut-up about is the improvements I have made since I started dirt tracking at PCDTX and racing SupermotoUSA, Brok McAllister introduced me to the joys of controlling the slide and bike handling skills. But sometimes, you do still need to slow down enough for the corner. Haha!
R12 – Open GP
By Jason – Still crazy excited about my first FP podium, I remember very little about this race. Well, let’s hit the highlights then, shall we? Great start, Lenny got by, I repassed Lenny, and then I saw a gap signal telling me someone was closing and fast. I saw a wheel once in T2 and then pushed the rest of the race. It turned out it was Martin stalking me. I managed to push and open a small gap on the last lap, enough to take another win for my sponsors.
Overall the weekend was a great success for us, it was a great time with several personal victories. We must thank the Catching’s for an amazing dinner. They put together a wonderful meal with fantastic company and it is really nice to not have to cook at the end of a long day, this is definitely going to be a new ritual for us. Thanks to Correne Cook for the massage therapy and giving us each some much needed treatment to loosen us up for racing. Correne does great work which is evident by the fact that her table generally cannot be found without someone on it. And last but not least, thanks to all our sponsors for the support. We hope to keep bringing you great results and representing you in a positive light.
Open Production – P1 1:52.369
Open GP – P1 1:51.509
Open Superbike – P5 1:51.112
Formula Pacific – P3 1:51.150
AFemme - P2 1:59.733
600 Production – P12 1:55.895
600 Superbike – DNF, last lap crash 1:56.213
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.
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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.