This weekend I attended AFM round #2 at Thunderhill Raceway park in Willows, CA about two hours away from home. I had to miss the trackday on Friday because of school, but I knew that I had enough laps on that track so I wasn’t too worried about it. On Saturday I got about 3 practice sessions during the day. In the first session I was in group 4. It was a pretty slow group, and there was a lot of traffic in it. I was feeling really comfortable and was already doing a 1:58 which is pretty good for me to start off the day going that fast and not feeling uncomfortable doing so. In my second session I moved up to group 5 which is the fastest group and I felt really good. I did a few 1:56’s on my own and Chris Siglin and a few other fast guys on 1,000’s passed me and I did a few 1:55’s following them. I felt really good in practice and I was happy to be getting up to speed so quickly! At the end of the day I had a half hour endurance race. It was a Le Mans style start, and I got a really good start and got the holeshot in my wave. I had a very big lead on my class, the middleweight class and started passing the heavyweight guys. I made it up to third place overall when I noticed my bike losing power and I looked down and saw that it was overheating. I slowed down for a few laps and it didn’t really help that much. It was about 100degrees outside and my bike was running at about 105 to 110 c. I didn’t really know what to do because it had never happened to me before, so I just slowed down and tried to let it cool off. I figured out where my bike got hot in the slower areas and cooled off in the fast areas where it had some air flowing through it. At the end of the race the heat was really starting to get to me and I started to drop back a little bit. I ended up fourth overall and I won the middleweight solo race! This race kind of motivated me and showed me what it is going to be like if I go the route of racing AMA next year and what training I will need to be doing, and be able to be going fast for all 20 laps and not drop off the pace at the end.
On Sunday I had one practice session in the morning then four races throughout the day. I felt good in my practice, Mike had my bike dialed in and I was ready to go. My first race was 750 production. I had to start on the back row in last position because of my blown motor at my last race I had no points in this class. I got a good start from the back row and was up to 4th by the end of the first lap. On the second lap I got by one more rider and was now up to 3rd place. The two leaders were quite a ways ahead and I knew that I could catch up to them. Every lap I was getting closer and closer and on the fourth lap I passed for 2nd. On lap 5 going into turn one I passed Berto for first but I wasn’t able to make it stick because I wasn’t able to get a good drive out of the turn. I was now in second place, but going into turn 14 Berto protected the inside and I knew I could out break him so I set up to go to the outside and then moved to the inside to make sure he wouldn’t try to get back underneath me. Luckily I made the pass where I did because when we came through turn 9 on the next lap the race was red flagged. The scoring went back to the last completed lap so I ended up with an exciting win! When I was catching up to the leaders I did a few 1:52’s and my fastest lap was a 1:52.6!
My next race was 750 superbike. I had to start last again because of my bad luck at round 1. I got a pretty good start but I knew that I would have to get by people quickly if I wanted to win this one too. I was a little worried because I saw that Berto got ahead quickly and started pulling away. I knew it was going to be hard to catch up to him. Berto ended up crashing on the first lap and I was up to 3rd by the end of the first lap. I got around the 2 riders in front of me on the 2nd lap and was up to first place. After I got around those 2 riders it was hard for me to keep pushing, and my fastest lap time was a 1:54, but that was the fastest I had to go to win the race. That was my second win of the day. That race was the “lunchtime podium” race, and my first time actually being up on the podium in roadracing! It was pretty cool, and I got hosed with champagne because I couldn’t figure out how to open mine! It was a good time though!
My next race after lunch was 600 superbike which I once again had to start from the back row in 21st position. I got a decent start and was up to 10th by the first lap. I got kind of hung up on the first lap, but I was trying to make my way up to the front quickly. I was up to 6th by the 3rd lap and on lap 5 I passed two guys going into turn one. I was now up to fourth and 3rd was Wyatt Farris who was a little ways ahead and I was closing in on him. On the last lap I made the pass for 3rd going up the hill after turn 8. But going into turn 10 I missed a shift and I didn’t know it; I hold the same gear all the way to turn 11 and coming out of 11 my bike bogged because I was in such a high gear. I ended up in fourth and I was a little disappointed because if it wasn’t for that mistake I would have been in third. I still was happy with my finish and glad that I got through the pack all the way to 4th!
My last race was the F1 race. This was the only race I finished at round 1 so I finally got to start on the front row. I was third into the first turn. I followed the front 2 riders for the first lap. Going into turn 1 again I passed those 2 riders, but wasn’t able to get a good enough drive and one got back by me. I was in second now, and on the 3rd lap I made the pass for first going into turn 14 under breaking. I was up to first now and I pulled away from the riders behind me. I ended up in first! Overall, I ended up with four wins and a 4th place this weekend. I had a few very exciting races and a very good weekend at Thunderhill!!!
I would like to thank all my sponsors for helping me out this year: My mom and dad, Mike Pascarella, STAR School, the Jon Block Group, CT Racing, Motorex, Regina, FMF, Cycle Gear, AGV, Dainese, Arnette, Pacific Track Time, EDR, Chicken Hawk tire warmers!