Posted by: caryandjohn | July 13, 2010

AFM Road Racing 7/10-11

Turn 6, Thunderhill, July 3, 2010

Turn 6, Thunderhill, July 3, 2010

Hi All,

Cary continued to spend the effort, time and money to become an expert roadracer with the American Federation of Motorcyclists (AFM) by meeting up with the Feel Like a Pro  gang on July 3, 2010. The next AFM event was set for the following weekend (July 10-11th). Kalle and I had already left for Uncle Gary’s July 4th party, so Cary loaded up her Honda VFR and rode up to the track after work on Friday, splitting lanes from Berkeley through Vacaville, to arrive at the WORLD’s Most Expensive Motel 6 by around 10 p.m.

Cary was up early the next morning to meet Brian Bartlow and begin her day of practice on team Feel Like a Pro’s 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250.

Brian Bartlow, aka "Mr. Wonderful"

Brian Bartlow, aka "Mr. Wonderful"

Brian continues to be very helpful to Cary in her quest to get into the low 2:20s at Thunderhill, at which point she should be able to race with several of the other men who are renting racebikes from Brian.

Just about ready to start draggin' a knee in Turn 2!

Just about ready to start draggin' a knee in Turn 2!

Cary had a safe day of practice on July 3rd, loaded up her Honda streetbike at the end of the day, and met us up in Placerville at Gary and Linda’s at about 7:30 pm, just in time to have a wonderful dinner of pork tenderloin, bbq chicken and all the fixin’s … yum!

On Saturday, July 10th, we loaded up the Honda Civic at 4 am, filled up with gas, and were on the road at 4:30 … we got to the track just after 7 am and began to get ready for a windless (compared to the last time I was there) but HOT day … Cary would have her Clubman race after four rounds of practice. Things went smoothly, Brian had all his Feel Like a Pro bikes rented, and it looked like there would be 17 250 Production bikes on the grid on Sunday, thanks to Brian’s eight rental bikes.

The Feel Like a Pro stable of 2009 Ninja 250 racebikes ...

The Feel Like a Pro stable of 2009 Ninja 250 racebikes ...

Boy, was it HOT. Cary lined up for the Clubman Lightweight race, and did well, racing safe and doing a best lap of 2:28.3 … yay. The big news for the day was that Cary began dragging her knee through Turn 2! Working with Brian she realized that her increased speed and lean angles were causing her to drag her pegs in certain turns, making it necessary to hang off the bike more. This she did, which in consequence necessitated sticking her knee out more, which lead to: success! Dragging her knee … I joked that she can retire now that she has the kneepuck of a racer; ha!

Clubman Lightweight lap times ...

Clubman Lightweight lap times ...

We spent the rest of the day trying to relax … we enjoyed haning out with the gang at Feel Like a Pro, and watched our friends Mark and Jake race their EX500s in the “Tag-Team” endurance race. We had dinner with Micky and Kate and Robin and my old friend KC of BRG Engineering.

At the end of the day we set up our tent in the grass behind the garages in front of Turn 11, where it was nice and quiet, away from all the generators …

Our private, quiet campsite by Turn 11 ...

Our private, quiet campsite by Turn 11 ...

While it was HOT, we slept pretty well … Cary’s fancy-pants inflatable Coleman matress let her down, but we were able to reinflate it at around 3:30 am … by this time it was cool enough to need a blanket, so that was nice …

Cary on her way out to race 250 Production ...

Cary on her way out to race 250 Production ...

On raceday, Sunday, Cary had a good first practice session. Brian had put a new rear tire onto her bike after the first practice session on Saturday (thanks, Brian!), and Cary was excited to have four new racers gridded behind her for the start of the race (Cary had 2 (two) points thanks to her finishes at Buttonwillow and last month at Thunderhill, so these four racers (with zero points each) were behind her on the grid). The start of the race went well …

Start of the 250 Production race ...

Start of the 250 Production race ...

Turn 2 at Thunderhill ...

Turn 2 at Thunderhill ...

Cary had a good, safe race, doing a best time of 2:29 … one of the new racers who I thought may have been able to step up a bit and race with Cary crashed out on the first lap of her first real race at the bottom of Turn 5 … ouch! Cary will need to find maybe another 5 seconds a lap before she can run with some of the other guys in the class. A group of them are running at around 2:23, and the five or six of them have been having a super time racing together …

Cary in Turn 4 (?) at Thunderhill ...

Cary in Turn 4 (?) at Thunderhill ...

We watched our friends Micky and Robin race in 650 Twins, and also watched the rest of the 250 gang race in 250 Superbike, which at this point in the season was mostly 250 Ninjas … Brian, CJ and Wesley were all fun to watch, with Brian and CJ trading places for second and third place in 250 Production and 250 Superbike. Wesley also stepped it up this weekend, just getting nipped at the line by long-time 250 Production guy Mark in 250 Superbike … We also enjoyed the company of Bobby and his father, Fred, as well as Ryan and Joan, Lisa and Jay, and the rest of the gang.

In any event, we had a good weekend. Cary’s next event is in two weeks at Sears Point, where she may have to qualify again, by running a lap time about 5 seconds better than her best at Sears Point so far … or she may be gridded on the basis of having qualified at Thunderhill … we’ll see. She’s been at Thunderhill at least eight times since her last appearance at Sears Point, and her racing has come a long way thanks to all that effort … I’m pretty excited to see how all that racing and tracktime will make itself apparent in her lap times at Sears … hopefully Cary will be able to practice there on Friday, and have some other racers to run with in 250 Production and maybe 250 Superbike …

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