Jason and I were both thrilled with our results from Round 4 and we were very much looking forward to Round 5 and building on that momentum. We both had goals leading into the weekend. I wanted to get into the 1:53 lap times… I figured, hey, why not, I’ve been dropping 2 seconds per round that would be consistent gain, and at that pace I’d be in the front by the following round. Jason wants to win FP! Who doesn’t really? Haha! But he actually has a pretty good shot at it and he has been working hard to get there. These are big goals, and while we might not have achieved them this weekend, we are well on our way.
We arrived Friday evening and found ourselves a pit spot on the front row near hot pit lane, I knew it was going to be a low turn-out when that pit spot was still available, but being next to the hot pit sure did make it nice since we didn’t have our mechanic Ben there to help this weekend. It was much easier for Jason and I to help each other out and still run out and give pit signals for each other even though our races were back to back.
As usual I was first up to race in AFemme on Saturday afternoon. This AFemme race will be one to remember; partly because the race was AWESOME and so fun, but mostly because of my AFM Family.
Learning from my “issue” last round on the start I made damn sure I was in gear prior to the flag dropping, thank goodness Greg McCullough texted me to remind me to do this or I may have forgotten again. :P But sadly... my start was not much better than last time. As the 2 board came out I brought up the revs on my bike, but they climbed a little higher than I normally launch at, I tried rolling out of the throttle a little, but before I knew it the 1 board was out and the green flagged dropped. As I released the clutch up she came, front wheel high in the air. I backed down on the throttle and the front set down, as soon as I felt it drop I pinned it… oops! Up she came again. I guess I was practicing my wheelies on this start. Sigh……
There goes Joy, Mackenzie and Josie up the inside with a good start from the 2nd row. I made quick work getting back past Josie into turn 2 and Mackenzie around turn 3 and I was back on Joy’s rear wheel, thankfully, she didn’t get too far away from me on the start this time. I felt great, so much confidence in my bike; those Pirelli’s were sticking like glue and my suspension felt solid. I latched onto Joy and studied her through the race, I found some areas where I felt I could overtake and I also figured out where she was pulling away. I found myself thinking strategy, if I passed to soon or in the wrong place she would take me right back. Joy has been getting that 1000 dialed and she is damn fast.
As we passed the ½ way flags I knew I was going to have to go for it soon. I made a couple tries in different areas, but found myself losing ground instead of gaining. I closed the gaps back up each time and was right on Joy’s rear wheel on the last lap. My plan was to try to make the pass in turn 10 and then try to get the drive on her coming out of turn 11. As we came down the hill toward 10, Joy was not using all the track and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to go outside and try an over/under pass in 10, but as I came up the outside, tires on the edge of the asphalt, she moved over to open up her corner and I found myself hard on the brakes to avoid hitting her, rear wheel in the air. Whooo, that was close!
I settled back in behind her thru the esses, we rolled out of turn 13 onto the back straight and we had a couple of lappers there. Joy moved over to the left side of the track to get to the outside of them. I decided to go up the inside and take the tight line into 14. Just before we got to the bridge Joy saw me pulling ahead of her and moved quickly from the left to the center of the track to get inside the second lapper, it was too late as I had already pulled in front for the corner. Knowing that I was going to be at a disadvantage on my 600 once we were thru the corner and on the long front straight, I decided to see if I could just make her wait for a second before turning in to 14 and hopefully hinder her momentum. I held the lead onto the straight, tuck, tuck, tuck, shift, pinned, tuck, tuck, shift, tuck shift, 6th gear pinned I made it 3/4 of the way to the checkers before she pulled up beside me. I tried to tuck tighter and twist the throttle harder, though there was nothing left for it to give, Joy grabbed another gear and pulled ahead as we cross the finish. Wow! I almost got her.
And ohh emm gee, that was fun. After the race, Joy complimented me on how fast my bike is, Hasi is strong and fast thanks to the fresh motor work at the beginning of the season from Mach Modified. The best part of the day was walking through the paddock after the race and throughout the evening, It seemed like I was congratulated by nearly everyone in the paddock, thanks to Vik and Alan for the enthusiastic announcing, it was a fantastic feeling and I thank every one of you for the kind words. It truly does feel like a big family at the AFM, this 2nd place felt an awful lot like a win.
Saturday after the races the other lady racers and I convened for our 2nd post race mixer to share our stories and chat about racing, then we headed over to the Catching’s for dinner. Great food and a fun atmosphere, we celebrated Alan’s upcoming trip to compete in the Manx GP and had cupcakes and Riley’s brews.
Race 4 – Open Production
By Jason - Yellow was the theme of the day. I didn’t have a great start and then with a bunch of traffic, the race became pretty stressful. Tim Scarrott was all over me for the first few laps and he rode a great race, but with some well-timed passes and a few fast laps I managed to stretch out a nice lead. I was told later that day by Joe Hittner, that his mother-in-law, who doesn’t know much about racing, saw that I wheelied the length of the front straight and she liked it. Glad it a smile on her face. Like Dan Sewell says, remember to smile in your helmet and have fun.
Race 5 – 600 Production
By Jenn - There was a slight delay after Open Production for them to pick up crashed bikes so I actually got to watch all of Jason’s race and help him with his bike when he came in. It was also nice because he was able to help me pull my warmers and get me out for my race.
I started on grid spot P9 again and am starting to figure out how to get thru the first turn from this spot. I got off the line well and found myself with the usual suspects, plus one, Oscar Fernandez who was at the lead of the pack. We had quite a battle behind Oscar as each person took a turn behind him trying to find a way past, it is challenging to pass someone running at your pace, but even harder when there are other bikes all around, jumping into the line you thought you were going to take. We shuffled all through the race, but as Rue found his way past Oscar he started to break away and I got anxious, I knew I could go faster and I wanted to go with him. I just needed to get a pass and some clear track.
On the penultimate lap Nelson found his way past me in turn 5 and around the outside of Oscar in 5a, I stuck tight to Oscar and was able to make a pass as we headed down the front straight past the white flag, but Oscar came in later on the brakes in turn 1 and managed around the outside of me. Nelson was still just ahead of us and as we came down the hill into turn 10 he out-broke himself and ran off track leaving some room for me to battle with Oscar. Down the back straight I was able to pull ahead of Oscar and make the pass stick into turn 14, I set up for the drive and repeated the tuck, tuck, tuck from AFemme, today with better results.
I finished ahead of Oscar in 9th and made a slight improvement on my personal best lap time 1:55, by dropping a tenth of a second from last month.
R6 – Open Superbike
By Jason – Off to a good run, I pulled the holeshot off the start. Toye came by me as we headed into turn 2 putting me in 2nd, turns out he’s pretty damn fast. I tried to hang out with him, but he stretched out the lead and did the old auto-pilot thing. Still second place is a good start to the open bike classes of the day. Michael Earnest made a guest appearance in Superbike and showed everyone that you don’t lose talent like that. It was cool to have him out there.
R9 – Formula Pacific
It was a strange day without Ricky there, but there were plenty of riders ready to step up and fight to get on the box, including me. Tucker grabbed an excellent start and the holeshot, Toye showed his experience and patience in setting up the pass on Tucker and I followed suit. Then I went to school and learned what I could from the fastest guy on track trying to stay with Toye as long as possible. I could see from the pit signals Jenn was giving that there was a lot of action happening behind me, I worked on staying focused and running a clean race. I set a new personal lap time dropping into the 1:49’s on a few laps and despite a couple mistakes in the race I held onto 2nd place.
FP Podium!!! This time with Jeremy Toye in 1st and Deion Campbell in 3rd. This is becoming a good habit, 2nd place is even better than 3rd and if 2nd feels this good, then I can’t wait to know the feeling of the top spot. I can’t help but look over at the guy in 1st and want to be standing there. It is not a lack of respect, rather my desire to beat them is the ultimate sign of respect.
R13 – Open GP
I rode too conservative in this race. Martin rode a smart, aggressive race and deserved the win. We had some close moments though the race. It was clean racing, but in the end my poor choices left me 1 spot short of my goals. Congrats to Martin, he rode excellent. The photos by Oxymoron capturing the race action are awesome. --->
R14 – 600 Superbike
By Jenn - After listening to the end of Jason and Martin’s battle over the mic, I pulled off my warmers and headed out for my last race. I started in P10 on the grid and got a good start, up just behind the race leaders for a moment , in turn 2, and 3 I ended up shuffling to the back of the group with Peter Kemling, Stephen Rue, Bret Nelson and Joe Palmeri. Over the next couple of laps Rue worked his way to the front and was off, next Bret moved past Palmeri and Kemling pulled a gap. I managed past Palmeri and settled in behind Kemling. I didn’t have anything for him this race, I felt like I was going fast, which was a sure sign I was over-riding and not in my rhythm. I was disappointed with my lap times, mostly 58’s and 57’s, which is funny because only 2 rounds ago that was a personal best. How quickly we move on. LOL! I still pulled a top 10, finishing in 8th, so I was happy with that.
Again, overall Ritz Racing had an amazing weekend, we each had new personal best lap times, both of us had fun, challenging battles and we took another step closer to our overall goals for the season.
See you all at Sonoma in a month.
Open Production – P1 1:52.906
Open Superbike – P2 1:50.014
Formula Pacific – P2 1:49.638
Open GP – P2 1:50.168
AFemme - P2 1:56.307
600 Production – P9 1:55.751
600 Superbike – P8 1:57.772
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.