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Old 07-09-2018, 10:25 PM   #16
horsepower
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I don't remember my first race, but I definitely remember my last and I miss the feeling of all that came in between.
At no other time in my life did I look forward to each day. Most of our days are just days, work, sleep, repeat. Racing brings the best of life and the tests of life.

Thank you everyone for sharing such well-written stories that no doubt would have inspired this young racer to pursue his passion to its fullest.
My condolences to his family and to his AFM family.
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:10 AM   #17
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It's always hard to hear about a fellow racer getting hurt or worse. I was at Sears when my roommate, Doug Kamholz went down and got hit by another bike breaking his back. Very scary.
I started out in the NRS using a borrowed ex-AMA Superbike GPZ750 . I was the slowest guy in school but they passed me because I had "good lines".
First race was on an 86 FZ600. Got lapped by the leaders. As I watched them pull away bucking and weaving I told myself "I'm NEVER going to go that fast!"
Years later I was one of them.
Racing and racers are special. It's painful to lose even one.

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Old 07-10-2018, 08:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by eeeeek View Post
Here's my story.

.............

The smile on my face when I came off track almost hurt, it was so big. The Twin Works crew was even cheering me and I pulled into my pit. I had only managed 2 points, but there were my 2 points, and a 15 year obsession was born.

RIP #780
The friendships and family which are forged during this "hobby" in my opinion are far more valuable than any one thing we can own or buy. It's why we feel the way we do about those we lose.

I did not know Jason but we all know the feeling he had when it came to racing. Those butterflies, the self challenge, the competition. Indeed, RIP #780.

Vik, you were extremely instrumental in fanning that obsession for racing for not only myself but quite a few of us. I recall running around during the weekends in Lancaster 100 miles from nowhere, working out how on earth I was going to afford to get into racing, finally saving enough to buy a setup racebike and starting trackdays with one single purpose...to race.

The rest isn't important (writing all of this I got an attack of cutting onions myself so I'm ending this post now) but I know my AFM family are supportive, caring and we are in this together.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:34 PM   #19
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While we were not at T-hill this weekend, the news resonates hard and fast that a family member has been lost.

I have always known I have been surrounded by incredibly talented people in the AFM, and I am so humbled to be able to read the posts and sentiments.
Talented...good....kind....lunatics. You are all awesome, and I thank my lucky stars that I decided to set an (at the time) unattainable goal for myself to race.

The only two things I remember about my first race were that my hands were shaking so hard I had a white-knuckle grip on the bars to try to keep them from flapping about like a bird.

The other ting I remember was coming back into the pits, and seeing my better half and my dearest friends Hypergirl and DTrides there cheering for me like I had set a world speed record (which I did, if you are a slug stuck in molasses). That was the best. The absolute best.

Jason will be with alot of us, each time we round turn 8....RIP
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:48 PM   #20
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Thanks Vik for this tribute. My sincere and most empathetic thoughts to Jason's family and loved ones.

The loss of life in our sport is part of what we experience as racers that we all accept when we head on track for a track day, practice or racing. I've experienced it on the field in rugby competition as well. I am no stranger to dealing with this and clearly, there are many other long timer races that share the same stories.

Like many others within the racing community, I too have been around so much sadness - the hardest for me being my very close friend Eric Arnold, Allan Price whom I mentored during his return to AFM and the amazing Peter Lenz. I had worked with Peter at Thunderhill through a suspension school in prep for his Indianapolis experience and his dad Mike shared that Peter had not been this happy in a long time.......

When the helicopter does not leave asap to leverage the "golden hour" your heart sinks. It sinks a long way inside no matter what your relationship is with the person who is receiving treatment. When it stays for an extended period of time you find things to do.

The other part of this nightmare is survivor guilt. For those that pass, you become stories for years to come, loved in the hearts of many. For the other person involved that did not get hurt (if this is the case), the survivor may need a lot of help as well depending on their personality as they have to keep living. Please keep this in mind if there was another rider involved.


My first race was at Portland International Raceway in 1995. I had built an FZR400 out of a series of boxes and ridden it at PIR the previous Fall just to get some on track experience. That experience was terrible in getting out of the throttle 3 times before turn 1 and having bikes blast past me buffeting my bike around endlessly making things worse. If an instructor had not stopped me from leaving and helped me unload my bike, I wouldn't be here now.

My rugby team mates at Oregon Sports Union Jesters thought I was out of my mind and stayed away.

When it came time to race I was ready as I had spent the previous year being mentored by much older racers. I was also very calm - courtesy of a lot of international rugby competition experience. I knew my bike was up to the task, tires were new, pressures were good and the only liability was me. To that end my task list was as follows:

1. Finish
2. Never react - plan everything from shifts to brakes on and off, corner entry and apex points
3. Make a pass definitive (if it happened)
4. Catch the rider in front and see where he was faster or I was so I could plan a pass
5. Hold your line and DO NOT worry about faster riders behind you or how fast they pass you.

I treated the first green flag as a traffic light with moderate rpm's and a steady drive away from my grid spot. With a mile long straight ahead, there was plenty of time to sort out bikes and passes but as we neared turn 1, it was the brave or experienced that made it to the front of the pack. I set myself mid track and followed the experienced racers in based on the fact that they would be smooth verses the brave that might lock it up in a panic and take me out.

The 4 lap morning qualifier races were over so quickly and the 10 lap main races required a lot less focus and concentration.

My first 10 lap race was a blur in all honesty. If you asked me to recount it now I could not tell you who I raced with, where I finished and how I felt after the race.

I do remember leaving the track that Sunday afternoon knowing that I had found the replacement for my beloved rugby career that was soon to end. More than that, I remember that I had moved from a rugby family to a racing family and there were zero differences at all between the two.

I was pulled over on the way back home by a State Trooper who asked me why I was talking to him. I honestly had no idea until he stated that drafting was for the track, not on the freeway. He let me go with a smile when I shared it was my first race weekend.......

I have been very fortunate to be a part of this family and contribute to it since 1995. I a very proud to be a part of this family as well for the laughs and the tragedies.

As racers we are a different breed. We beat our own drum, carve out our own path and take the bruises along with the highs from competition and successes.
We also accept what we are heading into can terminate or decimate our lives at any time.

A toast to Jason:- thanks for being one of us, blazing your own path and living part of your life by racing with the AFM family.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:01 PM   #21
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A lot of very cool posts.
Salute to all of you for that.

American Family of Motorcyclists sort of rings in my head. We are.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:13 PM   #22
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Thanks for this thread Vik,
10 years removed from my last AFM race I still feel part of the family. In my sporting life the AFM will always be home. No matter if there ever comes a time when I recognize no one at the track, still it will feel like home.

Rich and Jimm were friends of mine, loss touches all, reminds all.

We are family, no matter how far removed.

Last edited by RacerRob; 07-17-2018 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:03 PM   #23
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We are all family, no matter how far removed.
Thanks Rob. I miss the old breed.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:05 PM   #24
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No joke. Nice to see Mr. Mesa pop in.
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In the end, I figure that it just doesn't make sense to get offended for others.

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Old 07-09-2020, 08:40 AM   #25
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Bump.
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In the end, I figure that it just doesn't make sense to get offended for others.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:52 AM   #26
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2 years.... good to read through this again.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:13 PM   #27
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Well said Vik . Very awesome of you to start this thread.

I’ll add my short journey .

I had approximately 11 years of street riding experience until one day I fell into a pack of riders we later dubbed ourselves “The Wolf Pack” which was a spin from hangover . One of the guys decided he wanted to do a trackday in Spokane Wa with Inland Speed at Spokane Raceway.

I’ll never forget the feeling there. It was mesmerizing, then A group hit the grids and all those numbers . I remember the loudness of the pipes in the group. I was intrigued to say the least but when I started talking to them I realized 2 things. They are just normal people and it was appalling how slow I really was .

I joined WMRRA got me a race number 929. I never got to finalize that position because I moved to California. I figured I’d finish Pershing the dream with AFM.

I did one trackday and then a NRS with ZoomTrackdays and actually flunked. It was disappointing but I took what I was told and did 11 more track days and attended race 7 nrs with AFM under the 99 dollar special. I passed and raced my first race as race number 887. This way I could start my first season with lap times posted.

The next season I attended all the races under my lifetime to me number 427 and even placed 3rd overall as a novice in NF40 mostly by default from the class being low on racers. I was the slowest but honestly I didn’t want to be the fastest. I just wanted to be part of something this awesome .

I had my ups and downs and now I’m 12 years into trackdays with plans to return to the grid where it all started at WMRRA in April . I look back and I feel lucky. I’m lucky cause I love you all . I love the sport . It hurts my heart anytime I see a yellow , red or black flag. Occasionally god has different plans but rest assured that racer was free and even though life looks dark for those left behind they can have comfort in knowing their loved one lived life on their terms and even though some don’t see it we would rather live a few years free than a lifetime with a void that we can’t fill.

I pray for all of those that experience grief from racing or 2 wheels in any form.
Life is short. The past few years have been really humbling for me. I’ve lost it all and got it back again. I almost died last spring from some health issues I didn’t know I had. God has a different plan for me. I’ve made some life choices, gotten fit, am healthy and my mental health has taken a turn for the best. I shedded so much anger , grief and false feelings of entitlement . So I can relate in a different way to the dark side of life.

Good luck racers . Peace be with you and thank you for letting me play the game.

Here’s a couple pics me working up here in Washington at the ridge.
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Old 08-16-2020, 04:01 PM   #28
firstbuell
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agreed, Vik

a great thread, initiated with a fine story
(always good to call out your Buell bois history)

I'm inspired to pipe in with tale(s) of my own,
& will do so soon
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Old 08-17-2020, 05:13 PM   #29
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OK, this story isn't mine -
it's copied/edited/redacted from an OG flat track FB discussion, just now:

================================

OP:
Some VERY Strange stories about D--l---r--.
He was at the mid-'60s Sacramento AFM race, but wasn't riding. 😲
Normally he rode the 450 and A-- B------ rode the 350.
D--l---r-- came up and said, Hi to me. I wondered, why isn't he riding?
A few days later he was arrested for Murder 😲

Respondent:
I heard that he killed someone and was eating him.
Something to with LSD. Oh those whacky sixties.
The cops pulled him over and found a chewed-on arm
in the car. What did you hear?

OP:
I didn't really know him,only to say, Hi.
Guy was incredibly fast on 2 Wheels 👍
After the Sacramento race and seeing him,
later in the week the News reported that he'd been stopped
and found with the deceased's severed arm,
wrapped up in a blanket in the backseat of his car. 😲

Respondent: That's the story I got.

================================


so, what kinda oil do AFMers use these days?


more stories (mine) to come......
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Old 08-18-2020, 03:30 PM   #30
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I had my first race last year at Thunder Hill.
It was the culmination of spending time with our good friends (#969 & 970) Chris and Dustin and some gentle nudging form Hyper (the wife).
We did many track days starting way too early in the year (read cold and wet)and finally did our racers school with Carters @ The Track (good folks!).
Race day was lots of nerves hoping I would remember everything and trying to stay cool and collected so I could support Hyper as it was her first race weekend as well.

Got thru practice ok in the morning and we were all impatiently waiting for the grid assignments to be posted.
We all walked down to the club house and noted our starting positions.
No sooner than we get back to our pits we hear an announcement there have been changes to some of the classes grid assignments.
I volunteered to go back down for the up dates and asked Tumbleweed if I could borrow her electric scooter to make the run.
"sure" she says and off I go on her little scoot.
I take pictures of said grid changes and hopped back on and proceeded to boogie back towards our pit....
I probably was going a bit too fast, with a bit too much adrenalin, but hey , it was my first race!
I caught up to a fellow racer who was on bicycle so I went for a out side pass.
Right then I see a pot hole and worried that this little wheeled unit would not like going thru that so I yarded up on the bars....and then proceeded to loop out (had the throttle pinned.
I went down hard face first (wearing sandals, shorts, T-shirt....you know ATGATT!).....
I came back to the pit one bloody mess.. Hyper and friends cleaned me up best they could and got me a ice pack for the swelling on my face.
The ice reduced my mellon just enough to get my helmet on and make my grid in Clubman.
Didn't place very well, hurt like hell, but I finished!
First race in the books at 60!
I feel like i accomplished something that day that no one could take away from me....all because of a little help and encouragement from my homies.
DT
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