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Successful Weekend in Sonoma for Dave Raff and Spears Racing!

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A while back we looked at the calendar and noticed that AHRMA was holding a National event on the Thursday and Friday before the regular AFM Weekend. Growing up in the Sonoma area I had been to AHRMA races in a kid and although the vintage bikes were interesting, what really got my attention was watching the Sound of Thunder race with the big modern twins thundering around the track. Fast forward to 2013 and I have now been racing for 8+ years and I just happened to have a modern v-twin and I’m signed up for the Sound of Thunder! After 2 very quick practice sessions to set the bike up we found ourselves gridding up our 848 Ducati next to 10 or more Ducati 1098 / 1198’s as well as a couple 1200 Buell’s. Those two days were a blur but at the end of the AHRMA event we walked away with 3 Wins and a 2nd! This was a big confidence booster going in to Sunday’s AFM races.

With a very positive 2 days with AHRMA I was able to skip the AFM Saturday practice so I could run home, watch my son play some T-Ball, and then bring the family back to the track Saturday night just in time for the awesome team dinner! Good friends / family and of course some Lagunitas Beer!

Sunday morning couldn’t come fast enough. The AHRMA competitors were fast but the AFM club has some of the fastest riders in the nation. I run Open Twins and 750 Superbike with AFM on my Ducati 848. My first race was Open Twins where again I was outgunned. Only two 848’s on the grid and the rest are the big 1200’s! Off the start I found myself quickly up to 2nd place right on the rear wheel of Eric Gulbransen. Eric and I traded back and forth for first for 8 full laps all while pulling a big gap back to 3rd. On one lap alone we passed each other 5 times. To say it was intense would be an understatement. Eric got me at the line by 0.001 seconds but we quickly found out he was docked a lap for passing under a yellow! Not exactly the way we wanted to take the win but we’ll take it. We not only took the win but we also had the fastest lap of the race!

750 Superbike has many of the top young guns on 600’s and 750’s. We were 3rd in points going into the round and starting on the front row. I knew I had the lap times to contend for the win but we still had to pull 8 solid laps out with no mistakes. This wasn’t to be. After a poor start I made my way up to 4th and was being held up by the 3rd place rider. In an effort to not let the leaders get away I pushed for a pass on the second lap coming down the hill into turn 9. As I went to the riders outside just before the braking zone he swooped out and we made contact. It put me just off the pavement into the dirt where I desperately tried to scrub speed and get back onto the pavement. With a tire wall fast approaching I had no choice but to lay it down and hope for the best. My bike and I hit the tire wall hard but fortunately I popped right up uninjured! It was nothing more than a racing incident and I don’t blame the other rider involved.

4 Wins, a 2nd and an overall awesome weekend! I can’t thank my supporters enough! Gregg Spears put in some extra hours on the dyno getting my Bazzaz system dialed in and working crisply with the beautiful Titanium and Carbon FMF exhaust system! Have you seen these things? They are a work of art! The new version Pirelli Tires were amazing! Barry at KFG Racing got my GP Suspension sorted out in record time, I literally could put the bike anywhere I wanted. It didn’t work too well in the dirt… so I’ll have him work on that for next time!

I couldn’t be happier with where I am at with this new Ducati 848. About a year ago I was helping Moto Forza Ducati in Southern California with their Ducati Demo Day and I fell in love with the 848. Thanks to some help from Moto Forza I was able to go back down a week later and pick one up! A couple races last year to feel it out and now in 2013 we are a definite contender for the championship!

Dave Raff
Spears Racing