Race Bike - Coming Together

 This off season was not cheap!  I traded my upgraded (lighter) wheels for front fork internals, bought a new rear shock, got a second set of wheels which should help maximize useful tire life rotating tires around, got a new exhaust and engine mapping unit, and pre-purchased all my practice track time for this season.  The good news about the track time is that I can resell my spots for a small profit, in the end recouping much of the cost of the initial investment and largely riding for free.  This is not a sponsorship really, but it's one way I've found so far to change the economics of racing slightly.  I also have found a couple stores like national chain Cycle Gear who let me file my race resume for the year and achieve a 20% discount on anything I purchase from them. The result?  The race bike is coming together...!


2010 AFM Season - Round 1 - Buttonwillow

My poor neglected blog.  I'm too busy to write, or not having blog-worthy adventures.  Or maybe a bit of both.  But this summer promises great things!  Planning a trip to Peru in April to hike the Inca trail, and motorcycle race season is again underway.

Last weekend began the 2010 AFM season, with round one of seven at Buttonwillow Raceway.  Buttonwillow is four hours south of San Francisco, or two hours North of Los Angeles, in the town of... drum roll... Buttonwillow, California.  With a population of 1,200, this is a rural and agricultural town that has built a small ecosystem of motels and restaurants in support of the racetrack.

While not riding much at the track in the last four months, I've been working on bike upgrades, and trying to figure out how to tune the economics of racing.  I'm finding all kinds of parts and used tires and other things to sell online out of my garage, figuring out how to get contingency prize money for races, trying (unsuccessfully mostly) to get formal sponsorships, and trying (quite successfully) to turn customer loyalty into discounts on things I need to ride - like practice time at the track.  Also I've been upgrading my race bike with faster/ better parts.  I've got a pretty good race set up now actually and my bike is capable of performance far in excess of what this rider is able to produce on it.

First race weekend for the season I didn't have any hopes other than not crashing and having fun.  Both goals were met!  I am downloading some laptimes and trying to make interesting visualizations of lap data to post later, but in summary I had three races this weekend.  The one class I take most seriously is the Clubman Heavyweight class designed for riders like me who have less than six race weekends completed.  The other two classes I race in, Open Production and Open Grand Prix are densely populated with experienced riders - I am racing there to simply get experience and learn and practice.  I did well in the Clubman race - ended up third out of nineteen riders.  I was 34 out of 40 in Open Grand Prix and 14 out of 18 in Open Production.

All in all the weekend was a great success.  You can follow the season results at the official AFM site, or simply keep checking back here as race weekends complete.  If you live in the Bay Area, consider coming out to watch!  Three races are up in Sonoma County at Sears Point aka Infineon Raceway - April 25th is round two...