In 1996 and 1997 I raced with AFM, plus did a reciprocity event with WSMC at Willow Springs in ‘97.
The AFM circuit at that time was Sears Point, Thunderhill, and Buttonwillow. I have no idea if that’s changed.
I raced an ’85 Ninja 600R in Super Dinosaur class in 1996 and the beginning of 1997. Miserable crap that it was, and my inability to spend money to keep it running, made for some exciting moments. To be fair, there were better riders in the class, too.
After that crap blew up in a fairly spectacular manner in 1997, I safety wired my 1995 Gixxer 750 streetbike and raced that instead in 750 Production class. In retrospect I should have raced the Gixxer from square one, but live and learn. The bike wasn’t competitive, nor was I, but I had a great time. Damn, 750 Production was fun.
When money permitted, I attended dP Safety schools with my race bike to hone the skills. At the end of the 1997 season I attended a Buttonwillow school that stands out in memory due to training I received from instructor Chris Steward. He took me under his wing, being bored that day I guess (light turnout, only a couple of us in the ‘A’ Group).
I’m not sure why, but I learned more about riding fast that day than ever before or since. Like I said, that’s the fastest I’ve ever ridden: October 27, 1997 when Chris pushed me to absolute, 100% personal-best on that Gixxer 750. We were scooting right along that day. I couldn’t quite catch him, but for just a couple minutes there one session I gave him a run for his money, he riding a (then-new) Suzuki TL1000S like he stole it. Obviously it means a lot to me, and I hope to meet Chris again one day and thank him for the instruction.
Just this year, thanks to the ’03 ZX636B and a fitness program I started in May, I’m riding fast again and hope to go even faster. It’s been a long time, with a couple years riding on the damn street again (I don’t enjoy street riding, usually) and gaining too much weight. I’m not ready emotionally or physically to race with WMRRA (WA club), though it’s a possibility for ’04 I suppose.
I’m a huge believer in taking instruction (training) from guys who’ve forgotten more about riding fast than I’ll ever know. Schools are places to learn. Anyone who fails to learn when training’s available does themselves a disservice, IME.