AFM 2018 Round 5 at Thunderhill Raceway
This round brought even faster speeds around Thunderhill raceway! I battled with #775 Nick Csik into the 1:57s, learned from the experts, and got in a cage fight with #830 Sand. This was the first round where I achieved a podium finish in all 6 races!
I encounter #775 Nick Csik in Saturday practice, and we waste no time getting right down to it.
I enter the first turn in 4th with an ok launch, and chase #778 Grant Boldt, #830 Sand, #775 Nick Csik. #426 Eli Maddock comes up from the very back at the start of the second lap, and shows off some fancy overtaking!
Things are looking rough with me in 5th, until we hit traffic, and I am able to pounce on Sand and Grant to take 3rd. I’m able to pass Nick after turn 9 in the second to last lap, but we then hit literbike traffic and I am unable to hold the advantage. He returns the favor at the tower, and takes a clean 2nd place.
I settle in behind #775 Nick Csik once we clear traffic halfway through the first lap. We run into #978 Brian Kellogg and #92 Valentine Welch in the second lap, where I am able to pass Nick and Brian at turn 9.
This evolves into a 4-way battle lasting through the 4th lap. I finally catch Brian at the start of the final lap, and am able to secure 3rd in turn 7. By that time Nick is long gone, so I ride defensively to the finish.
I lead with a first-ever holeshot, and run a fiery first lap. I anticlimactically and completely blow turn 15, ceding 1st to #924 Jackson Burkhart. Things get rough again when I almost highside in turn 6, allowing #830 Sand through.
What follows is one of the most intense battles this season, with position trades pretty much all the way to the finish, where we vie with #778 Grant Boldt for second. I won’t spoil the ending for you!
I spend this race battling #775 Nick Csik and #924 Jackson Burkhart, until Jackson blows turn 9 and goes off-track. I’m able to pass Nick, but he gets me back in turn 14 with an amazing entrance. In hindsight, if I had been less in awe of his brake control, I might have denied him at the exit. Oh well.
I finish second, with a new PB of 1:57.68. No R6’s were harmed in the making of this video.
I run from 5th out of turn 1, and battle Sand for 3rd in the second lap. Nick and Jackson have opened a big gap by that time, but I work to close it.
In the last lap, Jackson runs off in turn 8, and I pass him with some speed delta in turn 9. Unbelievably, he is able to catch me again before 10! That R6 has some really amazing acceleration. I finish 3rd.
I run out of turn 1 behind the rest of the front row. I’m able to get into 2nd in the first lap, then set to chasing down the leader #775 Nick Csik. We catch a tow from the experts, and although I run mid 1:57s with Nick, I am never able to close the gap. An excellent end to a weekend of racing!
To #780 Jason Blancas, and his family
On Sunday, we lost a fellow rider and racer, Jason Blancas. His crash was a reminder to us all of the dangers of motorcycle racing, but more importantly how essential it is to live our lives to the fullest, while we are able.
My heart and thoughts go out to his family, I am so sorry for your loss. He will not be forgotten.
Jim and Nickie at Catalyst Reaction for helping figure out why my front end was feeling so harsh in turn 3. Too much high speed compression damping!