Hustle Hard Racing Race Report - 2019 AFM Season, Round 3. Buttonwillow Raceway
AFM Round 2, back at Buttonwillow, this time without Chad Swain.
Once again we were back outside Bakersfield for the final race of the season in SoCal. The weather was entirely on form, the exact conditions we come to expect at Buttonwillow Raceway in Spring, perfection! There would be no climate-related excuses for the boys this weekend, but there would be plenty of excuses flying around!
Round 2 was always going to feel a little strange. Our rider Chad Swain was busy; I can't recall as to why Chad was absent, he had to attend an auction or traffic court... maybe he overslept... regardless, Spooner would not be at the track this weekend. The first excuse.
That meant Daniel Velazco, Shane Austin, and novice Liam Sutherland would be left to carry the flag for Hustle Hard Racing. Romell Rogers was also going to make his first appearance with the team for 2019. Rogers recently retired from the Airforce and was excited to throw a leg over his R1 and turn some laps in 2019.
Romells presence also meant we now had a 40-foot trailer to crash in. It was pure luxury, and the privacy of the trailer allowed us to spend more time preparing for the next days racing, and less time on the drink. Or at least that's the story we are selling.
Thanks for sharing Romell, I am sure that's precisely why you got yourself all that extra space, to fill it with teammates.
I, Shane, would be driving up from LA and had intended to pick up Brandon Hope, and Devin Husband on my way to meet the boss man, Mark Harper at the track. Which seemed a great plan, until the two idiots from Idaho missed their flight! There were a few excuses tossed about for this one, but basically one or both of these guys might be illiterate. That left Mark and me to set up camp, it certainly brought me some joy to crawl into my warm bed at the hotel knowing those two were lying on the floor of the airport, it almost made setting up without them worth it!
Friday was all good. I can not speak for my teammates, but the SV and I were getting on just fine in practice. Two seconds a lap quicker than where I left off at Round 1. All the onboard video and advice from Spooner was paying dividends!
Finally, Brandon and Devin strolled in, looking rested after there quick flight from Denver. Daniel and Liam had their bikes in good order, but I was not quite as ready. The starter on my bike had packed it in, and a change was in order. Romell also needed to do a bit of prep, whilst he and Mark got down on the R1, Liam and I got to work on the SV 650. I use we in the royal sense, I did nothing, I figured if Liam is qualified to work on fast jets, who am I to tell him how to turn a spanner. The starter on an SV must be more comfortable to work on than an F35. A few moments later and my machine was back starting at the push of a button. Time to rest up and mentally prepare ourselves for AFM Saturday.
In qualifying, I ran a 2.02 good, or rather bad enough for 7th place in Formula IV. Daniel would qualify 25th in Formula Pacific with a time of 1:55.5 and Romell impressed, shaking the rust off quick to qualify 22nd in FP with a 1:54.6
As a Novice Liam Sutherland doesn't get the opportunity to qualify for his races and is often gridded behind 60 other bikes. For his first race on Saturday, he was lucky, he only had the better part of 40 machines in front of him. Sutherland managed to push his way up to 21st in class, more importantly, he kept the bike clean, meaning we could go into Saturday night with our eyes on the prize.
That's right, Devin Husband had a title to defend. Biggest cock in the paddock, the inflatable bird representing the winner of the slow bike races needed to stay in our pits. Devin did not squander the opportunity. Once again, Mark was generous enough to provide Devin with his CRF 150, the perfect weapon for the task. After all the smoke cleared, and the engines cooled Devin once again held firmly onto the cock. Dragging it by the neck back to our pits for another 6 weeks, the dream would be for us to have to haul it to every round this season, so hopefully, the streak continues in June at Thunderhill.
Sunday started with me taking out the 711 machine to compete for the Legacy Lightweight win. There were only five bikes on the grid, but the fast man in our class, Jordan Edginton was out there on his SV, I hoped to cling on to his back tire for a lap or two and learn as much as I could. That plan did not work. I had lost him by the exit of turn 1 and never saw which way he went, I did, however, finish second on track, securing my first piece of AFM hardware.
Velazco and Rogers were up next in Open Superbike. Once again, the big bike class was stacked with top-end talent. Hustle Hard Racing supported rider Jayson Uribe had been setting the pace all weekend and continued to do so on Sunday. Uribes Ride Red Honda made its debut wearing its fresh Cerakote Carbonin fairings and looked as fast as he was riding. The made in the USA Cerakote finish is an incredible product..... It is incredibly durable, and you are going to see a lot more of it around the paddock.
Jayson would beat up on the field all day, winning all of the 1000cc races.
Velazco rode really consistent laps on his S1000RR and was rewarded in Open Superbike with a 16th place finish, Rogers came home a few spots behind in 19th.
In the marquis event of the weekend, Daniel would turn his fastest lap of the weekend, 1:54.02, propelling him to a 20th place finish. Romell would also turn his fastest lap of the weekend dipping into the 1:53's on his way to a 22nd place finish. He shook the rust off quick! Now he just needs to put a baffle in that exhaust. I am still wiping the blood from my ears. Alternatively, Romell could just buy me a hat with gutters.
On Sunday Liam Sutherland also went quicker, his most impressive performance coming in the 600 SBK race, Liam clawed through several bikes, gaining 6 positions in his class to come home 13th on his Kawasaki ZX6R.
In Formula IV I ran my quickest lap of the weekend, a 1:59.001, I blame the fly I hit cresting Phil Hill for keeping me out of the 58's. With that minor disappointment aside it was a great day for me, 2/4/9/7 were all improvements over where I placed last round, and I am now keeping the guys at the front in sight! Hopefully, I can catch them at Thunderhill!
Thunderhill Raceway is coming up quick, and we will be reuniting the band for AFM Round 3, June 28th 29th and 30th at Thunderhill East.
That is if we don't sell the S1000RR first. If anyone is in the market for a bad ass, contingency eligible S1000RR, get at us for details.
Regardless, we will be there once again at round three supporting the AFM and all its riders.