Jayson Uribe clinches the number one plate for 2020 at the seventh and final round of the AFM season at Thunderhill Raceway Park on October 21-22.
Uribe came into the weekend leading all three of his championships, and had the overall title well within his grasp. He did, however, need to finish the Formula Pacific race within the top 20 and beat the incredibly consistent Jordan Edginton in Open GP. With that in mind, the Graves Kawasaki tandem of Andrew Lee and Valentin Debise opted to focus solely on the ZX-6Rs and not run their ZX-10R’s.
With no track day event on Friday, the weekend was much more compact than usual, and the number of incidents on track Saturday morning reflected that. Early in practice, Deion Campbell had a fast crash in turn two. Campbell was airlifted to Chico, California, with multiple injuries, including a fractured shoulder, a fractured T1 vertebrae, as well as a lacerated kidney. At the time of writing, Campbell was still awaiting further surgery on his kidney, but he is expected to recover. Campbell has been a consistent contender in 2019 and kept Uribe and the Graves riders on their toes. Hopefully, he will continue to be at the front of the pack in 2020.
The star of Saturday’s qualifying was Debise on his number 53 Graves Motorsports ZX-6R. Not only did Debise put the bike on the pole for the 600cc Formula One race, but he also put the bike at the front for the Formula Pacific race, qualifying just under one-tenth faster than Uribe on his 1000c Honda.
The big bike races kicked off on Sunday with Open Superbike. Although Uribe was the only rider to dip down below a 1:49, he finished second to Wyatt Farris, who took the win on his ZX-10R. Ezra Beaubier rounded out the podium with a solid third-place finish. The second-place finish meant Uribe had his first championship of the weekend, with two races yet to come.
In the next one, Open GP, Uribe had to finish ahead of Jordan Edginton. Edginton, the 2019 AFM #5 plate holder, has had a great year, competing on all types of machinery: the guy has ridden everything from a 2008 Ninja 250 up to his R1 Superbike, and won on all of them. Edginton did all he could, finishing second, but Uribe took the win and his second championship of the weekend. Giya Myshlyayev took third on his ZX-10R ahead of perennial fast guy Cory Call, who made his debut for 2019 on his 2020 BMW at the final round.
In the marquis event, Formula Pacific, Uribe needed a top twenty finish to secure the #1 plate. Starting second behind Debise, Uribe played it safe and finished where he started, clinching his third and most prestigious championship of 2019. Debise did anything but play it safe, pushing his ZX-6R to a new 600c track record of 1:47.642. Almost more impressive was his consistency, running in the ’47s for eight of the 11 flying laps. Farris finished third, Beaubier fourth, and Lee secured fifth on the new-to-him ZX-6R.
As one might expect based on his performance in Formula Pacific, Debise won all three of the 600cc races, starting on Sunday with a win in 600 Superbike. Brandon Crawford came in second and Debise’s Graves Motorsport teammate Lee in third. Crawford managed to come across the line just two and a half seconds behind Debise; an incredibly impressive feat, especially when you take into account the difference in machinery. Crawford’s ZX-6R was built in 2009 and purchased for a price less than a weekend tire budget. Crawford will be one to watch in 2020.
In Formula One, Lee managed to get around Crawford, coming to grips with the 600 and dipping down to the low 1:48s. Crawford finished third, and Debise was once again on the top step. The final race would mirror the first, with Debise taking the win from Crawford in second and Lee in third. It should be noted that Lee, having not raced on the 600 all year was forced to start mid-pack, and had to slice through the field to reach Crawford and Debise at the front.
With Rocco Landers at Red Bull Rookies Cup tryouts, the battle on the 400’s was between Brenden Ketelsen, Marc Edwards, and Nikolas Thompson. The day belonged to Ketelsen, who took wins in 400 Superbike, Lightweight Twins, and the Calishine Ninja Cup. Edwards got a taste of victory for himself, edging out Ketelsen in Formula Two by four one-hundredths of a second!
Full results from Round 7 can be found on Speedhive, racehero.io and at afmracing.org
The AFM would like to send out a huge thank you to all the workers, volunteers, racers and teams who made the 2019 season a great success.
Keep an eye on our social media @raceafm for the 2020 race schedule.