I’ve mostly been away from AFM the last two years. This year, I made an effort to be at all the rounds I could; two of em, to be precise. There are so many new bikes, new faces, and new names that I kinda feel like the old-out-of-place-guy. But no worries…I’ve got a camera, and I know how to fucking use it. :D

This round, Tomas came and helped me out on Saturday. I had to shoot some stuff on the west side, so I couldn’t give my full attention to AFM on Saturday until about 2:30pm… So some of these pics are Toaster’s pics.  He’s pretty much a BAMF with a camera too.

Also, Kevin came and busted out the video equipment. For those of you know don’t know Kevin—most of you, I’m sure—he’s pretty much spent most of his last 10 years with 4theriders behind-the-scenes…he’s the guy that brought you your favorite motorcycle video:

So…no official word on what may be coming yet…but I’ll keep you posted. ;)

Anyhow, I just wanted to post up a few pics that I enjoyed from this weekend. It was the final round, so I feel like it deserves a small recap in photos. Enjoy. If you wanna see every single one of 6084 photos we took, then they’re online here: http://4theriders.com/pics.php?loc=/pics/2018/AFM-R7/

Andrew Lee on his #1 plate Kawasaki ZX10.
andrew lee number one plate kawasaki
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

This weekend, I decided to make a comeback to AFM and take pics. Something I hadn’t done in almost exactly a year. Mostly because I’ve been away at other events, but partly because I know AFM is in good hands with Max and Koi out there doing their thing. This weekend, I just happened to be free, it was along the way to my next event, and because, frankly, I could use a bit of extra cash.

I got to see a lot of faces I hadn’t seen in some time. It’s always great catching up. I also met many new faces…racers whom I’d never seen in events past…everyone’s numbers were different. Half the time, I didn’t recognize who was who out there…on one hand, it was good. I shot all my photos fresh and new, as if i didn’t really know anyone out there. There was no favoritism. I didn’t particularly lean heavily on anyone (except the few that preordered photos and I’d commited their race numbers to memory). I simply did what I know how to do best: made memories of everyone to have and share.

Bear with me, if you’d like; I have no particular path with this post, only a final destination. I’ve got many, many thoughts, and they’re in zero particular order.

I’ve been taking photos of motorcycles, riders, and racers for about a dozen years now. I’m not sure there’s anything left that I haven’t seen. Both good and bad.

On Saturday while on track, I was thinking back to one instance in particular some years ago where Michael Earnest had crashed in the opening laps of Formula Pacific while cresting t3a at Sonoma. I caught it all on camera. He’d hurt himself, but managed to get the bike up and going again and restarted the race. Honestly, I don’t even remember where he’d finished after the restart, but I do remember it like a hero-story. I chased Formula Pacific around the track that race as fast as I could, capturing this “saga” of Michael Earnest. I was at start/finish when the race ended. As Michael crossed the line, he pulled off to the tire wall on the left, put his head down, and whimpered, leaning on the tire wall, unable to dismount his bike, unable to even finish the cool down lap. He was in a lot of pain.

I captured all of this. It’s something I’ll never forget. I was proud of man-kind at that exact moment. I don’t fully even know how to describe it, honestly. Michael was able to do something that not a lot of people can. It may not have been smart, but the pure guts and determination of it all…it was memorable. It was honest. It was pure.

On the flip side, I’ve seen many riders crash to greater and lesser degrees. Not all of them get up. At least, not right away. One of the first things I do when someone crashes in front of me is take pause and listen. Why? Because the next sound they make tells me how hurt they really are. When I hear a string of curse words first thing, I know they’re good. When I hear the moan of pain, I know they’re hurt, but it’s likely not all that bad. When I hear the wet gurgles, then I know it’s not good at all. When I don’t hear anything…well, I just keep listening because eventually they’re gonna wake up and I’ll hear something.

Twice now while shooting photos, I’ve heard the nothing. I kept listening, but they never woke up.

Allen Rice was a track rider on a Triumph 675. He hit the wall at about 50 miles per hour. Right in front of me. I didn’t know Allen. I’d never met him in my life. I don’t ever recall seeing him at the track prior to that afternoon. But I remember his name. I remember the way his face looked as he lay there on the asphalt while medics did CPR. I remember the sound his body made as they did chest compressions. I took one last click with the camera and walked away dazed. I didn’t ride that day as I’d intended. I briefly wondered if I even wanted to ride motorcycles anymore. It was a haunting memory for a long time.

Joseph Pusateri was a racer on a Kawasaki 636. Another human I’d never met before. It was my first time shooting a WERA race. I clicked away at 6 frames per second as he lowsided, seemingly gently, in a pretty slow corner. I remember thinking to myself that that should be a guaranteed sale. Everyone loves to get their crashes on camera. Except…he didn’t get up either. Instead, he lay slumped in an awkward position next to his bike. The medics came. Then the coroner.

I can’t even remember anything else about that weekend. I don’t know if the races continued. I don’t know if they were cancelled. I don’t know if I even took more pictures after that. The only thing I can remember was thinking about Joe’s wife running out onto the track, fighting with the corner workers and medical personel trying to get to Joe. I cried then. I’m fighting back tear now.

Inherently, motorcycles are dangerous. I’ve joked about how dumb we are as motorcyclists in the past. Really, we are. We’re not smart beings. To take the risks we do, day in, day out. On the track at speeds “normal” people would consider ludacris. On the street dodging cars and thousands of other hazards every day. In the woods, avoiding cliffs and trees. On the motorcross track jumping 100 foot triples. It’s risky. And to put yourself at continual risk like that…it’s not smart.

But it’s what we do. It’s what we need to carry on. It’s in us like the blood that runs through our veins. Smart or not, it’s what we motorcyclists need. I can’t refute that. If i said I could quit riding, that would be a lie. I’d never be happy again not riding.

I’ve seen SO many people injured doing what we do. Bad. Life alteringly bad. Dave Stanton, Mario Bonfonte, Eric Arnold to name a few. Eric ended up taking his own life rather then carry on. I’ve wondered to myself many times how I could cope. IF I could cope. I really don’t know those answers. I only know the questions.

In all this, I’ve learned to hit the “off switch.” At least, I try. I guess it’s never truly off, but I’ve been able to close off most of the dam, so that it’s only a trickle that gets through anymore. I’ve even been accused in my personal life of being “robotic” at times. It’s true. I can be that way when faced with emotional things. I try and set aside emotion and instead rely on logic to get me through hardships.

Sunday was no different. Jason Blancas, racer #780 passed away at Thunderhill during a race. From what I’ve been told, he made contact with another rider in turn 8 and was highsided from his Yamaha R3.

I wasn’t in turn 8 when it happened. A few of my friends were. Glenn was there. As he told me about it, the lost look in his eyes was soul crushing. I didn’t say much. I only hugged him and fought back tears myself. Taylor came in to the building in tears. She was on com in t8, relaying information as best as she could, holding her composure like a true professional until it was time to come in. It was only her second time corner working at AFM. She just had her 18th birthday. Another corner worker came in, whom I don’t know her name. She was also sobbing.

I kept smashing the “off switch” over and over until until it finally stayed in the off position…and I went about my day, hoping no one would ask me about it.

So many lives change in literally a fraction of a second. Jason is gone. I didn’t know Jason, but many people did. I’m sorry for the loss you feel with his passing. I’m sorry for everyone who was there, trying to save him, if he could even be saved. I know that every single person at AFM feels it. I know the corner workers and the medical staff and race direction did the best they could in any role they could fill. I thank you guys and gals for everything you do. You are all amazing. Your efforts at keeping everyone as safe as possible in this crazy sport we choose to do will never go unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you.

Rest in peace, #780.

jason blancas 780

Please follow and like us:

It’s late in the day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. The sun is low in the sky, yet still shining brightly through a thin layer of clouds. The winds are steady, cold, and piercing through my hoodie I’m wearing. Dust is swirling across the track and upwards into my eyes, my nose, and everywhere as far as I can still see on the horizon. There’s grit in my mouth that I’m constantly spitting out. It’s cold. Very cold.

chuckwalla cvma sunset
Where I shall stand
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

As some of you may already know, I was involved in an altercation at AFM round 3 with Monte Izatt. As “punishment” for my actions, I was informed today that the Board decided that I was to sit out the next round (AFM R4 at Thunderhill). That I’m not permitted to even be on the premises during the event.

Firstly, I’d like to apologize to all my season pass holders. I’m sorry that I won’t be there to shoot for you guys. It really bums me out. I’ll figure out a way to make it up to you guys tho. And if you have any specific needs or concerns, please contact me and let me know.

////EDIT FOR UPDATE/// Max Klein of OxymoronPhotography has graciously stepped up and offered to take care of all my season pass holders! You’re a gem, Max, thank you!

Secondly, I’ll simply itterate the events that led to this decision:

The altercation was initially spawned from a post he’d made on my 4theriders facebook fan page, which read:


Read More →

Please follow and like us:

This is the first time I’ve ever posted a race report…I’ve done a few races with SRA West, but this is our first as a Father/Daughter race team!

My dad, Mo, is a first time racer. He’d only had about 20 minutes of seat time EVER in the sidecar at the airport where he works a few weeks ago. So going all the way down to LVMS and racing with WERA this weekend was a totally new adventure!
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

Well, I never really wrote much this year for AFM…In fact, I only did one write-up, and that was last round (R6 @ Infineon). I’d thought about it, but never really found much motivation for it.

I read once—in a blog—that if you are going to have a successful blog, that you need to write shit constantly…and that you shouldn’t spend too much time on it…just get it done, blast it out, rinse, repeat….F-that. I spend, like, 4-5 hour per blog that I write. At LEAST!

I’m not really sure WHY it takes me that long…I mean, I type decently fast, I never pre-plan what I’m going to actually say, I barely proof read my posts… I simply think of a topic and go PEW PEW PEW! Why the hell does it take me so long?

In this case, my topic is the the entire 2012 year of AFM.

Lawdy lawd, where do I begin? I’ve got the memory of an elephant—that’s been mortally wounded and had it’s tusks poached—so it’s not like I can actually remember many specifics about round 2…or 3 or 4 or hell, even round 7, just a few days ago.

R2 at Thunderhill.

Someone crashed…that’s all I remember.
crashed r6 crash thunderhill sparks lowside
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

So, this year has been pretty slow in the riding realm for me so far… Normally, I’d have done at least a dozen or so trackdays by now…at LEAST. But not this year. So far, I’ve ridden exactly THREE trackdays. A Saturday/Sunday at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans back in February, and now last Monday at Thunderhill.

joe riding ducati 848 evo at NOLA
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

So, I spent all weekend at Infineon Raceway for AFM’s round 5 or something-or-another. Your typical hodge-podge of petrol powered, 160+ bhp screaming monsters for bikes with loud exhausts, greasy engines, and greenhouse gasses up the wazoo.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it. :)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Electric Bikes: This is it?” It was about my dismay at the progress being made and all the hoopla that seemed to be surrounding the electric bike market.

Lots of talk, very little awesomeness.

I’m really starting to think that may be changing…and it appears as though the “little guys” are paving the way…

Little talk, LOTS of awesomeness!

For starters, Brammo, a small company out of Oregon, was at Thunderhill Raceway yesterday with their Empulse RR race bike. Steve Atlas was at the helm, piloting it around Thunderhill’s 15 corners. I was there taking pictures.

brammo empulse rr thunderhill steve atlas
Read More →

Please follow and like us:

On a beautiful February day, I mounted up a few GoPros on Cameron’s bike…He’s currently racing AMA Daytona Sportbike, and kicking ass!

This is the end result of the cameras I mounted on his bike.

Please follow and like us:

Hey everyone. I just wanted to post a quick update on a few changes for 2011. I’ve been getting a lot of email and phone calls and texts and the likes asking me “ZOMG, IS IT TEH TRUES!@!>?”

Yes, it’s true.

4theriders is no longer shooting for Zoom Zoom. Why? Simply put: we’ve just got different ideas and are headed in different directions. :) We’re still friends. There’s no bad blood. Dito of GotBlueMilk will be shooting for Z2 instead.

Also, something I’ve not yet announced publicly until now: 4theriders will be the official photography company for Reno Fernley Racetrack! Whooooo hooooooo!! For those of you that know me, you know that I freggin LOVE RFR. It’s my favorite track!

And as icing on the cake, RFR has told me that they’re making some big changes to their infrastructure! I hear that there’s going to be new pavement in sections and some other goodies that everyone will love. I don’t have “official word” on what’s been done yet, but I’ll definitely keep you guys posted when I know. :D *STOKED!!*

How about a 24 shot panoramic view of RFR as seen from the bowl? Click for the big picture…I mean BIG!

reno fernley raceway racetrack panoramic
Read More →

Please follow and like us: