Andrew's AFM Round 5 Race Report

AFM Round 5, August 4-5, 2012 at Thunderhill Raceway

It was going to be a long trip up to Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, Ca, but it would prove to be well worth the experience as Andrew would be racing against the fastest SV650 racers in the country on a track he had never raced.

Andrew used the Friday practice with Zoom Zoom Track Days to get comfortable and learn the track on his AP Moto Arts-TrackDaz-CT Racing/Pirelli shod SV650 Superbike and SV650 production bike. On Saturday Andrew rode very well in all of his timed sessions to get within 3 seconds of the fastest times from the previous race and secure a fourth row start in all of his races instead of starting from the back.

Saturday night brought cloudy and cool conditions with slight sprinkles. This opened up in the morning to clear skies and one of the best racing days weather wise we have seen all year. Andrew's first race was 650 Twins. Gridded in the 4th row Andrew got the best start he could, but by the end of the first lap he had worked his way into 4th. He then got locked into an amazing battle for 3rd with one of the AFM regulars where they swapped positions lap after lap. It was impossible to determine who would win the battle, but Andrew was determined and crossed the finish line in 3rd with only a few bike lengths lead.

Next up was 650 Production. Andrew knew this would be a difficult race since he didn't race a production bike all year, but he was excited for the challenge. He started in the back on the 3rd row and got a great start. He got up to the front quickly and was battling for lead with the same rider from the first race. Back and forth they went lap after lap, but Andrew got the drive out of the last turn and ran it down the straight to take the win!

The final race was F4 which is basically the same grid as 650 Twins. Andrew knew he could run with the leaders for the win. Back in the 4th row he got a good start and charged to the front on the first lap. He was doing well until he got to turn 13 where the back end stepped out on him. Knowing he was looking at a bad highside he stayed on the gas and saved the highside, but it turned into a violent headshake and then threw him to the ground where he tumbled off the track. Andrew quickly jumped to his feet and ran over to safe area away from the track. The medics got there and were very concerned about the large mark on the helmet, but Andrew was ok with no injuries due to the excellent protection from his Suomy helmet and NJK leathers.

"I felt great after the first 2 races and I knew I could go for the win in F4. It all happened so fast, but I knew if I let off the gas that I would get tossed so I stayed on it and ended up riding it to the ground. I'm really bummed because I had a great bike and setup to win. I have to say a huge thanks to Andy for bringing me 2 awesome bikes that we didn't make any changes to all weekend and Suomy and NJK Leathers for keeping me safe and to all my other sponsors because without their support I couldn't be racing!" said Andrew after the weekend.

Andrew's next race is CVMA Round 4 September 22-23 at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. Due to the extreme summer temperatures at Chuckwalla in the summer, CVMA is changing to a winter series format so this will also be the first round of the 2012-2013 season.

Andrew would like to thank his sponsors, family and friends including:

Andy Palmer and the entire AP Moto Arts team, Dustin Coyner and Trackdaz, Chris and Corey at CT Racing, Racers Edge Performance, Woodcraft, Motul, NJK Leathers, MC Pro Design Catalyst Racing Composites, Loyal Coaching, Suomy, Group 22, and Cycle Gear