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Old 09-24-2020, 09:43 PM   #1
BARF Racer
1% Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Novato
Motorcycles: CRF250R Kalex Moto2
Round 3 AFM Thunderhill- Final round 2020

Coming into this race weekend we knew we wanted to continue with the winning we have been doing in the previous races. We have been very optimistic and also lucky with our machine for reliability.

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For the last round we would make another update to the forks to try to get some plushness over the bumps and less chatter mid corner. Rob and I met at the entrance to the track on Thurs. afternoon to try to get a good pit spot and use the Friday practice for testing the set up. After getting the exact spot we wanted and setting up the pit Rob was in charge of the kitchen a cooked some great burgers.

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Friday practice we made a majority of the sessions, we tried different compression and rebound on the front end and also tried some shorter gearing but ended up going back to a taller overall to make the gearing more correct in the corners and still work on the straights. The track day was run very smooth and professional. I think there was a total of 7 sessions and we made 6 of them.
Friday night was my night in the kitchen. I did my usual Salmon with saffron rice. We hung out for a while after dinner but with the days schedule we were all pretty beat.

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Saturday practice started out pretty early and I tried an even taller over all gearing than we had tried yet and I liked it almost immediately. Having a gearing set up that works well in the very fast stuff is really key, Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 8 you need to carry the most momentum in these corners and it makes a big difference in your lap times. One of the last sessions before lunch one of the classic bikes blew up and oiled the track from turn 3 to turn 11. Thatís about ĺ of the track. They spent several hours trying to clean it up, but it sounded dismal. I was skipping the next session to prepare for F4 qualifying and the people that went out in the session said it was way dangerous and were about 10 seconds off normal pace. The decision to scrap the day and use a proper detergent to clean the spill was used that should bring the track back to normal grip. Riding stopped at about 1pm on Saturday and the plan was to fit the Saturday races into Sunday morning.
One of the huge treats of this weekend was that my friend Roland Cushway was working on my friend Sergio Galvanís TZ250. Roland I go way back and he was a key part in me winning my 3rd and final AMA 250GP Title on the Stargel Aprilia RSW250. In the 2002 Championship year we had Roland at several rounds and he helped tune a very fast bike that doesnít come with a user manual. On Saturday evening Rob was back in the kitchen created a killer seafood cioppino with spaghetti and Roland joined us, we all had a glass of wine together. I never thought I would get some more quality time with one of best people in the business. Roland always believed in my efforts and pushed me to be the best rider I could be.

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Sunday morning practice would start at 730 am. Some of the smokey air came back and cloud cover made for a low light first practice with cooler conditions. It was good chance to see the state of the track and assess if there were any sketchy corners after the clean up.
Our first race would be Race 2 from Saturday, Formula 40 lightweight. We had won the previous 2 rounds and were determined to keep our perfect score in this class. The rider that got second in the two previous rounds, Michael Souza was not present. I got a good start and was 2nd into turn one, I made a pass for the lead into turn 2 and put my head down to try to build a gap. I watched the pit wall on the front straight for Robís signals to my gap. I was able to build a 3 second lead and held that to the finish.

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Our next race was Lightweight Twins. At the first round at Buttonwillow there were several MotoAmerica Junior cup riders in this class and it made for a good scrap with these kids and I barely won by .005 of a second. This weekend these kids would be at Barber at the nationals. I still had my friend Valentine and Brian to push me in this one. My start in this race was not as good and I was 4th or 5th into turn one. I made up 2 places by turn 7 and got into 2nd by turn 8, I tried to get under Valentine into turn 10 and over shot and ran wide. I was able to pass her back on the back straight and tried to get some ground between us. I looked down at the dash and noticed the temperature started dropping, this generally means you are losing water. The temp was going up and down and the bike seemed to be slowing down. On the second to last lap, my foot slipped of the peg on a left right transition. I could smell oil and was just hoping it wasnít going to oil the tire. There was also water on the inside of the windscreen. I watched the signals from Rob and saw I had a small gap. I kept the last lap as clean as possible and didnít make any mistakes. For Rob this was really the class he wanted win and I was glad to bring the bike home with another 1st place finish.

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Sadly this was the end of racing for the weekend. We were signed up for the Formula 4 race but would not make this one. At the beginning of the year I went into this season knowing mechanicals could be an issue. I have history with these engines and knew there could be issues but really the bike was amazing. We changed oil, tried to not over rev and worked at making the chassis the best it could be. It felt great racing this bike this season and showed me that I really enjoy riding the small light machines. Barbi drove up to the track that morning and sadly missed my race by 15 minutes, the good thing is that we got to hang out the rest of the day without me being focused for my next race. I really appreciate that she supports me continuing racing for fun, I couldn't do it without you!!

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I like to thank Rob for teaming up with me this season and for striving for the best results we could. There were a lot of small sponsors that help this program and their efforts together allow us to get these results. One of my best friends James Siddall of Superplush still believes in me just like he did over 20 years ago and its great I get to work with him in the same capacity in making the bike and myself better. I would like to thank all the sponsors. AF1 Racing, Dunlop Tires, BARF Racing, X-Lite helmets, Cyclegear Racing, Z2 trackdays, TechSpec Tank Grips, Bill Charles, Motion Pro, Motul, Galfer, Kurvey Girl, Met Tec. And of course Oxymoron for all the great pics!!!!
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