Kenny will be wrapping up his rookie season on the RS125 in a few weeks at the WERA West season finale in Las Vegas. He’s done really well, currently leading two novice championships and holding third in the expert Formula 3 class. He has also been granted an AFM racing license and had the pleasure of racing with them at Thunderhill in August and this past weekend.
The 2-stroke 125 GP bike is an amazing motorcycle, and we really love it. It’s a high-performance, purpose-built machine that is great for developing a young rider’s race craft. Unfortunately, the class is dwindling and there are only a handful of bikes on the WERA grid. There aren’t any new kids coming into the class, and parts are getting more and more expensive. When we went to Thunderhill there were only two other bikes on the grid and Kenny hardly even saw them on track. We were pretty disappointed.
Friends of ours recommended that we check out the Ninja 250 class. We were skeptical at first, because the 250 is a larger, heavier bike with less horsepower. But there are huge grids of 20 or more bikes in multiple classes in both WERA and AFM. And if there is one thing I know, nothing motivates a kid more than competition, something we have really been missing. So we rented a Ninja 250 from Feel Like A Pro.com and did a track day at Thunderhill. Kenny enjoyed riding the bike, as well as the camaraderie he found among the FLAP riders.
So for the final AFM round of 2012 this past weekend at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA,, we decided to race the 250 and leave the 125 at home. On Saturday Kenny got in a full day of practice, with one race in the afternoon, Clubman Lightweight. He started at the back of a 20-bike grid, and worked his way up to 13th. A modest result, but he had some great battles along the way, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. Kenny was just getting started.
On Sunday he had three races, all starting from the back of the grid. First up was 250 Superbike Novice and Expert. With a combined total of 27 competitors, it was by far the largest grid Kenny has ever lined up on. He fought his way through the pack to finish 5th in the novice class. Next was the 250 Production race, with the same number of racers. Kenny finished 4th in class.
The final race of the weekend was 500 Twins. Kenny gridded up with seven other novices and nine experts. Once more he battled his way through the pack, and after a few laps made a pass for the lead. He put his head down and tried to get away, but made a mistake entering a turn, ran wide, and dropped back a couple of positions. He fought hard to catch back up, and came onto the start/finish straight for the final time in 2nd position right behind the leader. He tucked in tightly and executed a textbook draft pass to win the race by a half a wheel. In doing so, he set the fastest lap of the race, his personal best on the weekend.