The future influences the present just as much as the past.
Over a month has passed since AFM Round 3 and it seems yet again I struggled with how to write this race report. In my true perfectionist attitude I find it quick and easy to write about my race weekends when things go poorly… but when things go well, I just don’t know what to say. I shrug it off as if it happened by accident. But the truth is I work hard at my racing; I have spent a number of days with Ken Hill Coaching and have him on my speed dial for the quick call when I need help with my riding or with my confidence, I started cycling a couple years ago to build my endurance and strength, I recently started taking dirt track classes with California Supermoto Schools and I also just started racing Supermoto USA… all in the pursuit of improving at Road Racing. So why do I find it so difficult to pat myself on the back when it actually works out and I have a good race?
AFM Round 3 is the perfect example of this phenomenon. Haha… Just 4 weeks earlier I fractured my back in the Supermoto race at West Coast Moto Jam. The doctors initially told me I would need 6-8 weeks to recover, but “just in case” I scheduled a follow up exam with my Neurosurgeon the Friday before AFM to see how the healing was coming along. When he told me that the fracture was healing very well… and was barely visible, my eyes lit up… when he told me I could start rehab, he might as well have told me I was cleared for racing, because that is certainly how I interpreted it. Saturday morning I suited up and headed out for practice. Honestly I felt fine, a little stiff and I was definitely weak in the core muscles (very noticeable under braking) but I was moving around on the bike ok and I felt confident on the track. I only ran about ½ of each of the practice sessions and I skipped the last practice session altogether, just to make sure I didn’t overdo it before the Formula AFemme race later that afternoon.
Since round 1 was rained out and I missed round 2 from my injury I was gridded up on the 3rd row for AFemme, it has been awhile since I wasn’t gridded on the front row in this class and I knew I needed a good launch to get up to the front if I wanted to do battle with Joy and Zoe. These two girls have always been fast and they have up’d the ante since they were both now racing liter bikes. But… Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror.
Going in my favor was the fact that I knew Joy was still struggling with set-up and figuring out her liter bike; and it was Zoe’s first race on her 1000, though she got hooked up with one ready to race from Viet’s, her practice lap times showed that she was improving each session out, but she wasn’t beyond my grasp on the 600. So I needed a good start and I hoped I would have the endurance to keep the pace throughout the full duration of the race.
I pulled up to my chalked grid position, front wheel in the box… 3 BOARD: push my gloves up tight… close my visor… 2 BOARD: bike into 1st gear… toe under the shifter ready to click 2nd off the line… 1 BOARD: rev the engine… SIDEWAYS……. GREEN FLAG! I was on the inside on the grid and attempted to hold the inside line into turn 1. I had a good launch, but still had the pack around me as we entered turn 1. I was pinched off at the apex and had to give up the line into T1, but found an opening into T2 and pulled up onto Zoe’s rear wheel as we swept thru the long radius of turn 2. Joy was out front leading the charge. Three chick’s in a row we lapped the course. Zoe passed Joy as we started lap 2 and left me on Joy’s rear wheel. I struggled to set up a pass on the corner exit drive, as the 1000 could easily pull from me on the exits… and my two favorite passing areas; on the brakes into turn 14 or on the brakes into turn 1 weren’t going to work either as I couldn’t hold close enough on the long straights to get by. It was time to get creative. On the 3rd lap, I closed in tight heading up into turn 5 and sat right behind Joy as we crested the hill and swept down and thru the right hand sweeper.
I was expecting to take the inside line and force her outside as we transitioned to the left handed T6, but Joy took me by surprise when she held a tighter line leading up to T6, I moved to the right and went the long way around her on the outside of 6, taking the line as we hit the exit apex and I was full throttle, no looking back. As I came by the front wall I saw Jason there giving me the pit signal that I had opened a decent gap, now I just needed to manage my pace and effort so I didn’t overdo it and have problems with my back or my strength in the second half of the race. From there I began to encounter lap traffic and battles in the other classes. I worked to make quick, clean passes and not get bogged down to where I would be caught by Joy or Lisa. I didn’t have a chance at catching Zoe by this time, unless she had a big mistake, so I kept my pace and finished strong in 2nd position.
It wasn’t until I sat upright on my bike for the cool down lap and began my wave thanking the turn-workers for their efforts that I noticed my back was sore. It was a long and wonderful day. I decided I wouldn’t attempt to race the 600 classes on Sunday, as that might just be over-doing it. Haha!
A second place result was far better than I had hoped for going into the weekend, having just taken off the back brace the day before and with completely atrophied core muscles I figured making my way onto the podium at all was a high-reach goal. Combine that with the fact that the competitive level in the AFemme class has grown significantly in the last few years, even with last year’s champion Christie Cooley leaving the sport to pursue her passion in the “other” two wheeled sport, our class continues to grow and become more competitive. We have the largest female class grid in the US and that is even after we split the class into Novice and Expert. (Sidenote: I think the splitting Expert and Novice for this class is lame, btw.) So I feel very honored to be on the podium within such a talented group of ladies.
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
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.