AFM 2019 Round 6 at Thunderhill Raceway
Round 6 had new challenges, despite being the third round of the season at everyones favorite track. Highly variable winds and temperature brought a challenge to practice, as morning warmup was complicated by a stone cold track and sudden gusts. In the afternoon the sun would come out and the winds would settle, but this would require further adjustment to compensate for braking points moving around.
Sunday brought far better conditions, but many folks were a little off their game since practice Saturday had been such an erratic affair. The morning was tough, with cold pavement getting the best of me in my first race, and in the last corner! But, racing is not about relaxing when everything is going smoothly. It’s about getting down to business and making things happen when everything is going wrong!
A battle with #586 Dan Riser for third enters the final lap. I’m able to snake past lap traffic into turn 14, but the bike powerslides coming out of turn 15. I’m able to recover initially, but the recovery ends up being so violent that I lose the rear again, and low-side. This was a very disappointing end to this race, but the bike did start right up again. With only 90 minutes left before grid for F1, there was no time to wallow, and the team and I got right to work getting the machine fit to fight again.
With the bike fixed up just in time, I rolled out to the grid. Unfortunately there was no time to get the camera set up again, so there is no video. I was mainly happy to just be back out on the bike, so I focused on riding clean laps and minimizing risk.
I settled in behind #823 Robert Brittain and #768 Nick Lundquist, and battled with them for the entire race. I set up an overtake on Nick as we wrestled with lap trafic in turn 7 on the last lap, putting me at 5th over the finish line.
I get a good start, and try to stick with #108 Kevin Murphy for as long as possible. I lose him, and am then overtaken by #765 Giya Myshlyayev in the 3rd lap. I’m a second or two off his pace though, and fall back to my own race, finishing 9th.
Running consistently off pace at low 55s, I set up behind #14 Stephen Rue and hang on for a 5th place finish.
With a hot launch into Turn 1 pretty much side by side with #823 Brittain and #15 Wooldridge, I engage in a fierce battle for 3rd with Brittain. While I am able to gain an advantage on him in turn 8 and 9, he routinely pulls me into turn 1. We end the race with Rob beating me to the line by only 1 millisecond of separation between transponders!
At 130 miles per hour, 1 millisecond translates to only 2.28 inches. This means that had I located my transponder on the fork leg, rather than the sprocket cover, I would have gained nearly 15ms! When I got home, you can guess what the first modification I made to the bike was. In any case, this was a thrilling battle, and a great way to end the round.
CT Race Tires for helping me get tires swapped while we swapped parts. Frank was less troubled about the goat-heads in my wheels than I was about the goat-heads in my shorts!
Jim and Nickie at Catalyst Reaction
Shoei Helmets for producing such a high quality lid, that allowed me to walk away from a nasty tumble ready to jump back into the fray!
Attack Performance For the high quality rearsets that broke away, instead of flipping the bike
Tazio Ottis and Bridgette LeBer for cannibalizing Bridgette’s bike for parts, and helping me get the needed parts swapped onto my bike during the lunch break.
#966 Grant Cowan For mechanical support, along with Tazio. These guys were the only reason the bike made it onto grid for F1, we got everything fixed with just 10 minutes to spare!
Dave Thomas and Jeanne Marie Are my crack medical staff, whether I’m falling into a folding chair or off of a motorcycle.
#20 Michael Kim For lending me the foot control components and fuel tank mount I needed to get back in the game!