2015 AFM Round 4 – Thunderhill

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Back in the groove

Round 3 this year was not my best performance and it bothered me to be off by so much.  I lined up to have new brake rotors for this round and managed a few track days a week before the race weekend.  It’s amazing what 15 gallons of gas will do do to your confidence when spent on practice.  With a positive attitude and fresh confidence I attacked the Saturday practices on very well used tires.  This was actually intentional.  I need to get better at sliding the bike around both front and rear.  I was able to beat my previous rounds race times all while feeling comfortable.  Still I had not replicated the 1:58 I posted last year however I had high hopes for Sundays races which of course would be on fresh tires.

F3 – slow bikes are slow

This was not the most exciting race I’ve ever run.  I managed better times than the round before, however with a whopping 27hp it is very hard to keep up with bikes that make 50% more power.  I was left for dead and all by myself.  However my main competition low-sided in turn two bumping my finish to 2nd place and taking the lead in overall season points.  I am looking forward to Sonoma where I am far more competitive against the faster bikes.

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750sb – “warm-up” race

This has been historically one of my worst performing races.  I ride it for the needed practice and I am racing against many of the same people in a few other of my race as well.  My goal for the race was to warm up and loosen up without over-exerting myself.  This is of course all good in theory.  However once the flag drops and I see familiar bikes and make the decision to put them behind me.  I spent the race Kate on her 750 taking numerous looks but failing to make a pass stick.  On the last lap she botched a shift out of 11 and I got the run out of turn 12 to take the position all the way to the finish.  This ended up netting me 2nd place!

600sb – lonely

It’s amazing how even a podium finish can be so lonely.  After a good launch and sorting through the pack I found myself all by my lonesome.  usually this is an indication that I have lost the leaders and have a solid mid to rear place finish.  To my surprise this was actually second!  I ran the race mistake free and despite the lack of excitement it proved to be my best finish in this class.

F1 – shoulda coulda woulda

Take pit signals with a grain of salt and never back off.  I ended up climbing my way through the field clawing my way to the front.  Being as this was my third race of the morning I was getting tired.  I knew that this makes me prone to making mistakes.   As the last lap approached I was gaining on an unknown rider in front of me.  I could not see any number plates so I assumed that this was a trailing expert.  To my dismay I later found out that this was in fact #1 in my race.  I decided to not go for a pass to prevent from doing anything stupid and making mistakes.  However this slowed me down and caused the 3rd place rider that I had passed a lap earlier to out brake me into 14 and take away 2nd.  It was still a good race and a good finish.  I can’t complain about a podium but I will always feel that I can do better.

Legacy Middle – passing practice

Despite being my worst finish of the weekend, this was one of my most exciting races as well.  Being gridded up behind the SV650s meant that we quickly caught the back of the novice grid.  This lead to an incredible amount of passing practice.  I would keep chasing those in my class and I would run right up as they caught traffic.  They would make a pass and if I was unable to complete the same pass then I would be left behind.  This went on for the entire race.  It highlighted how important of a skill passing is.  I need to keep working on how to be more confident and more creative.  This is also where getting better starts can help me put riders in the position I was in where all your time is spent catching up and not much is left for passing.

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Can’t wait for Sonoma in September!

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