Wednesday, July 15, 2015

AFM 2015 Round 3: Thunderhill

What an amazing weekend! Thunderhill at the end of May is typically a very hot and muggy period of time but we were fortunate to have excellent weather all weekend for the 3rd round of AFM!


Friday Practice

Zoom Zoom hosted the track day preceding AFM for this round and unfortunately they ran into a few issues that made the day less than spectacular.  A red flag on the first lap of the first session effectively shut the track down for two hours and cost the A group two sessions in the morning.

Throughout the day there were frequent crashes and enough pent up aggression to throw the vibe of the day off.  I kept my head down most of the day and just focused on getting my AgileBits R4 on the racing line and working on getting my pace to where I wanted it.  I know where my weak spots are at Thunderhill and I focused on those for most of the day.

By the end of the day my pace was good but not great.  I was definitely wishing for some more seat time but again, with the vibe of the day being off it just wasn't there.

Saturday Racing

There is one race on Saturday for me.  Formula 40 Light is the last race of the day and has a fairly full field.  Given that this was my first race at Thunderhill on my AgileBits R4 I was looking forward to seeing what I could do at race pace.  My lap times during Saturday morning practice continued to improve and I was pleased to see them reaching the point where I was last time I raced a 450 at Thunderhill.

The race was fairly intensive with a large field and a lot position changes.  On the first lap I was in 19th place due to a bad start but by the end of the race I had moved up 5 positions to finish 14th overall.  I was able to maintain a consistent pace all through the race and the bike started to feel like part of me.

Sunday Racing

Racing on Sunday was a bit more of the same from Saturday.  My laptimes remained consistent through the entire day and I focused more on melding with the bike.  Looking for that state of being where I was not a rider on a bike but one unit going around the track.

When you reach that point you stop thinking about clutch, throttle, brakes, etc.  You are the bike, the input from the tires and suspension, etc. all register as part of you; as if you were running your hand along the asphalt and can feel everything.

I did not reach that point on Sunday, but I got closer.  By the end of the day it was extremely clear that I need a lot more seat time on this new bike.  She is great, does everything I ask of her but I need to learn what she is telling me in response.

Time for some track days!

At the end of the day I competed in three races with the following results:

Formula 4 -- 14th Place
650 Production -- 8th Place
450 Superbike -- 9th Place

I expected this to be a season of catch up and it is certainly playing out as expected.

Now to catch up!

Sponsors

As always, I cannot do this without my fantastic sponsors.  Woodcraft has been just amazing with getting me replacement parts and helping me to get the second bike in shape.

EDR has gone over the top in making sure that my bikes are running perfectly for me.

And a huge thank you to the rest of my sponsors.  Each and every one of them I sought out sponsorship because I believe in their product.  I trust my life to their products every time I throw a leg over a motorcycle.  If you are looking for a company to trust, take a look at my sponsorship page.