This site provides news, articles, pictures, and other information about my racing, as well as specific information about racing 400cc motorcycles and the Honda VFR400 (NC30), the bike I currently race. I also started racing a GSXR1000 mid 2005. I race with the AFM. AFM runs races at Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point), Thunderhill Park, and Buttonwillow Raceway.
To see the latest on the VFR400/RVF400 engine development, see Mike Norman's web site/blog here.
Upcoming Events 2009
I will not be racing for 2009. After 11 years of doing this I'm taking a break from the racing, but not from the race track. I will be active in Mark Elrod's race season as he makes his attempt at the 450 Superbike championship, as well as tries to improve his standing in Formula IV. His race bike will be the platform for testing most the current engine development work that Mike Norman is doing, and I'll be acting as mechanic and friendly support for Mark. You know, stuff like "Dude, you so should have passed that guy!!"
I'll be attending many of the Keigwins @ the Track events this year as an instructor or just riding for fun. I teach the Keigwin AFM NRS classes, plus I'll be teaching at the K@TT Two Day Schools through out the year.
As always, racing has it's ups and downs. For 2008, the downs seemed to win out. I started the season ahead of schedule, engines built on time, new Tyga body work, paint job, etc. By the end of the season, all my bikes were out of comission including back up motors.
The 450cc engine with billet crank was working great. I think we have proven the billet cranks work for the 450cc engines. But this time, the piston let go. I moved to my backup 400cc engine, but it appears to have developed a leak in the head which results in blowing water out the radiator. Water got on my rear wheel and high sided me out of turn 11 at Infineon Raceway. My first ever high side on a VFR400. With no working engines, and my bike, plus new body work and paint severely damaged, I just decided to hang it up for the rest of the season. I have already accomplished more than I ever hoped, so it was time to take a break. I'll be fixing up my bikes through this year and either race some more next year, or just have fun at track days with them.
Race Results 2008
Though I missed the last three 450 superbike races of 2008, I still placed 3rd overall in the class. My pit mate, Mark Elrod, finished first overall - good job Mark. So, that was 4 first place finishes, one second place (the weekend my 400cc motor was over heating), and 3 no shows for 450 Superbike.
I was 9th overall in Formula IV, my worst overall in that class. But, that's not saying much as I only finished 4 races out of 8 for the season.
Race Results 2007
I was first overall in 450 Superbike, with 6 wins, 1 second place, and one no show out of 8 races. I was 7th overall in Formula IV. I also started racing Formula 40 this year, just for fun and practice. It's a challenge racing a bunch of 40+ year olds on 600's and 1000's when I'm on a VFR400. Oh, and don't assume these guys are slow. Half the fastest riders in the AFM are over 40.
Race Results 2006
AFM Round 8 - Buttonwillow (reverse direction) - Oct. 21/22: It was the last AFM race of the year, and we ran the track in the reverse direction. Hence, it's a new track for everyone. The track was a lot of fun to ride, though racing it wasn't quite as good as I had hoped. Regardless, challenges are always fun.
After two race weekends of using borrowed bikes, I finally got my VFR400 back together. I wouldn't have the power of Mark's 450 to help me this time, but the comfort of racing my own bike compensated. I finished 450 SB with a 1st, after a great battle with my old rival (and my suspension tuner), Phil Douglas. It was a good way to end the season, and a good conclusion to my 2nd 450 Superbike championship. Formula IV was all about maintaining points. Lacking the HP vs. the SV650s, I placed in the low teens, but did well enough retain a 3rd for the season, my best overall finish in Formula IV.
AFM Round 7 - Infineon - Sept 29/30, Oct. 1: It's the AFM 4-hour endurance race weekend. I rode on a 2006 R6 with John Daly and Craig Weirman as "Keigwin's Speedos". Wow, what a cool bike. It was an all Keigwin @ the Track Instructor team. Our team was leading at the 2 hour mark, but continuing my stream of horrible luck, I high sided the bike coming out of Turn 9 (my first ever high side - still not as bad as my crash last month). I was OK (got the wind knocked out of me), and I was able to ride the bike in. We replaced a foot peg, swapped the rear tire and got back out, some 14 laps behind the leaders. We finished 11th in the 600cc class, and 27th overall. Finishing the 4-hour is a big achievement by itself, but I was very disappointed I had let the team down when we might have won.
Once again, I raced Mark Elrod's bikes on Sunday, riding his 400cc Production bike in 450 Superbike and his 450cc Superbike in Formula IV. I finished 1st in 450 Superbike after a couple laps of dicing with Mark. It was close, and I beat him only because he missed a shift at the last turn. Good job Mark because he rode very well otherwise. In Formula IV, I was so worried about crashing yet another bike, I just took it easy and all I cared about was finishing. I finished 14th. Pretty pathetic for me, but that is all I needed to do to maintain 3rd overall in the class.
One more race to go. Again, mainly I just need to finish to maintain 3rd overall in Formula IV. As for 450 Superbike, I have that championship in the bag.
AFM Round 6 - Infineon - August 12/13: What a bad week. My VFR was destoyed in an accident teaching at the track earlier this week. Mark Elrod let me use his bikes for the race weekend, and I finished reasonably well on the unfamiliar bikes. But, then I crashed my GSXR1000 later in the day. See a race report with pictures here.
AFM Round 5 - Thunderhill - July 15/16: No 450 this weekend - it's a 70 HP 400 for the rest of the year. I finished 1st in 450 Superbike. Admittedly, the competition has been slim there. Mark Elrod is coming up to speed and got 2nd (both with the help of his 450, and also just because he's finally coming back into form). Formula IV was a battle, though, finishing 6th after a typical horrible start on my 400cc bike. I'm still 2nd in points in FIV, but only because Tom Dorsey was run off the track and finished poorly.
On the GSXR1000, I didn't race Formula Pacific because my hand cramped up (due to the heat and lack of hydration). In Open GP, I gridded up in the wrong spot and had to start the race from the back of the grid. Starting about 27th, I passed my way to 9th. It was fun, but I should have gotten a top 5 this time as I should have started on the 2nd row. Doh!
It was a hot weekend, so I'm just glad I made it through without any serious drama. Hot weekends seem to always bring drama.
AFM Round 4 - Thunderhill - June 17/18: The bad news is, I have confirmed that the VFR400's crank cannot handle the power from our stroked 450 motor. I broke another crank a week ago. I entered this race weekend with a Mark Elrod's 450 in my chassis, but this is my last race on a 450cc bike - well, this year at least. The VFR/RVF cranks are just too weak. Mark will finish the season using his 450 as the crank should last, but we have to find another way to make these engines work for next year.
The good news is, I won 450 Superbike again, and got 3rd in Formula IV. I'm firmly in the lead in points in 450SB now, and I'm still 2nd in points for Formula IV. On the 1000, I got 5th in Open GP, and 14th in Formula Pacific.
AFM Round 3 - Infineon - May 27/28: After much needed suspension work by Aftershocks and some improvements to the bike, I finally finished on the podium in Formula IV with a 2nd. Add another win in 450 Superbike, and it was an excellent weekend. I'm now 3rd in points for Formula IV, trailing by 2 points, and in good shape if I can maintain consistency. For the liter bike, I got a 20th in Formula Pacific and 7th in Open GP. Respectable finishes, but I'm still lagging due to a poor grid position and bad starts.
My VFR's 450 cc motor this year is down on power compared to last year, but I'm starting to find the power again. It's still up in the air if the crank will last the season, but we are optimistic. A mid season inspection is still planned just in case. This week, my pit mate, Mark Elrod's 450 will finally be back together. He's had a rocky few months coming back from his season ending crash last year, but Mark should be coming up to speed soon.
AFM Round 2 - Infineon - April 22/23: At AFM's 2nd event of the season, I won 450 Superbike, but only managed 8th in Formula IV. Two so-so finishes in F4 isn't good, but due to inconsistency by other riders, it put me 4th in points - good enough for a front row start for the next race. I crashed the GSXR1000 in Formula Pacific (about a 120 MPH get off in Turn 1 at Infineon) which resulted in a DNF for FP as well as Open GP. Luckily, I was fine, and the bike wasn't too bad either.
AFM Round 1 - Buttonwillow - March 25/26: AFM held the first event of the season at Buttonwillow March 25/26, 2006. For the first time in the last 5 events at Buttonwillow, no motors blew up, I didn't crash, and I didn't have any mechanical issues. It's about time!
On the VFR450, I won 450 Superbike and placed 5th in Formula IV (after a horrid start). On the GSXR1000, I got 8th in Open GP and 21st in Formula Pacific. It's a good start for the season considering I was barely prepared for the weekend. Next race is in a month.
Race Results 2005
I finished the season #1 in 450 Superbike! Finally a championship. After the amazing rollercoaster of constant improvement, multiple wins, and lap records, but with catestrophic DNFs and other bad luck, I can finally say I won a championship. After three years of "almost", it seems a bit anti-climatic. But, this is what I spent the last four years working for. So, it's a good thing.
I faired much worse in Formula IV, with 3 DNFs for the season (due to a crash and two mechanical failures). What can I say. It was my best ever result in 450 SB, but my worst in FIV.
The best part of 2005, however, was the fun I had on the GSXR1000. It took a while to figure it out, but it all came together at the last race with competitive lap times and a dice for 3rd in Open GP. I still have a lot to learn, but that's where most the fun comes from.
I attended 45+ days at the track in 2005 between AFM racing and working as a Keigwin's @ the Track instructor.
G-Force officially shut down last summer, but several of us are sharing the rent at a new location where we have setup the shop to work on personal stuff now. I'm cutting back on the VFR400 development, but new stuff is still happening. I'll try to post updates when I can.
Below are summaries of the first 3 races of 2005. But first, here's a wrap up of the rest of 2005. I crashed during Formula IV at Thunderhill, AFM round 5. That pretty much killed my hopes for a championship in Formula IV. Then to add salt to the wounds, my 450's crank broke (again!) near the end of the season, and I had an exahust pipe come loose at the last race causing another DNF. All three DNF's occured during Formula IV. Oh well.
Metalurgical analysis of the crank found that it may have broke this time because of a simple mistake that was easily avoidable. Hmm. The alternative is these cranks just can't take the power, and they have a limited life span. We'll see. I have one more 450cc engine, one more try at this. If it doesn't last the season, so be it. It's been fun while it lasted.
AFM Round 1, 2 and 3 for 2005...
Round 3 - Infineon Raceway - Finally a race weekend with all the right kind of drama. My crash the previous month weakend the 4th gear shifter dogs and they stipped out at a track day a week later. 2005 450cc motor, take 3! I replaced the gear set and shift drum and the motor was working again. I also had the frame straightened, mounted a set of Brembo brakes and found the sweat spot for the Michelin tires I've been using all a year. Result: a close faught 1st place in Formula IV, winning by half a wheel against SV650 mounted Kurt Spencer. I also placed 2nd in 450 Superbike. Most important, though, no motor to fix this time. I can finally start prepping the GSXR1000 and hopefully race it at the next event.
Round 2 - Infineon Raceway - We rebuilt the 450cc motor, and this time we got it right. It's making 88.5 HP. This is the motor we've been trying to build for over 2 years. Unfortunately, I crashed in Sat. practice, and didn't get a lot of practice time. I finished 2nd in 450 Superbike, and 4th in Formula IV. A decent weekend if it just hadn't been for all the stress from the crash.
Round 1 - Buttonwillow - At the end of 2004, the 450cc engine broke a crank, taking me out of the championship chase for Formula IV. It took all winter to get parts and reassemble a new 450cc engine. It was done the week before the 1st AFM race for 2005, but problems with piston to cylinder clearance caused a seized piston. I still managed 2nd place in 450 Superbike on my 400cc backup bike, but finished an abysmal 12th in Formula IV following a bad start, and having little power to get past the SV650s.
The 450cc engine should be back together by Infineon, plus we are doing something special with it. If all goes well at the machinists, the piston clearance issue will be solved, and things should get fun again.
No race reports right now. I'm just too busy with working on the motor. I hope to write a complete report on the 450 motor and AFM round 1 and 2 after the Infineon race. I'll have a lot to add about the 450cc motor then.
You can find my old racing page here.