• AF1 Hosts Free Trackday for Aprilia, Guzzi and Zero Enthusiasts

    The early morning air was dry and crisp enough that you could bite into it. A brief flirtation with rain in late October had been followed by another wave of heat that settled on the deep South like a shroud. While the humidity remained low, the constant heat sapped the strength and remained an ever present threat to those who work and play outdoors. By the preceding Thursday, however, a cold front swept in from the northern states that plunged the temperature down 40 degrees. Seemingly overnight the local populace found themselves shunning board shorts for jackets and huddling around steaming cups of cocoa while swathed in thick blankets. The near freezing temperatures abated somewhat over the weekend and by Monday the highs had risen into the balmy sixties by the time that the first aural boom from an open exhaust boomed off the forward embankment. It was the perfect weather for riding.

    While "Customer Service" has become a popular media buzzword that has seemingly saturated our culture with a variety if disparate meanings, the team at AF1 have consistently taken an old school approach. From maintaining an interactive online community to hosting after hours Open Houses and Birthday Parties "just because", AF1 has made it a point to foster an open and hands-on relationship with their active and potential customers. The crown jewel of their efforts is a free day of riding at a local track. The event is open to the public, with family and friends of attendant riders actively encouraged to attend; however on track action was restricted to Aprilia branded motorcycles only. As AF1 has expanded both geographically and dimensionally to offer a greater range of product the on track allowances have been changed to match. The beautiful and classically styled Moto Guzzi brand has been making inroads into the US market and was given all day access to the track.

    For 2012 AF1 chose the historic Texas Motor Speedway as the site for their open track day. The venue is no stranger to speed, hosting both roadracing and off-road in a variety of motor sports including NASCAR. First breaking ground in 1995, the road course at TWS features a banked front straight over two thousand feet long and more than three miles of rideable pavement. A minimum of fifty-four feet wide at any point, the track has numerous points of interest including blind decreasing radius turns (that are not so blind at sane speeds) and two sharp turns connected by a short straight with a bump that will pop the front wheel on aggressive exit (experienced) if not launch the whole bike (rumored).

    Another, less advertised and yet extremely crucial feature of Texas Motor Speedway is that it is located at the hub of several medical centers. Of special note is the Baylor Medical Center, a top class hospital and surgical center that provided the emergency vehicles and personnel who were on standby should the worse happen. There are only two types of riders in this world, and while both were represented on Monday they emergency crew spent a mostly relaxing day at the races.

    With an ever-growing list of early responders to the open registration for the event, and inquiries coming in even as registration closed, it became obvious that the turnout for the event would be a good one. By the time that the track went hot on Monday morning all available covered space in pit lane was filled, with bikes sometimes stacked two to three deep. Though Aprilia's most devastating track weapon, the SL 1000, was underrepresented for the day, there was an incredible selection of Italian machinery on hand that spanned a great deal of Aprilia's production line past and present. Two strokes and four, bi-cylinder and quad, the mix of bikes threw up a welcome caucophony as they were started, tuned and eventually turned loose on the tarmac. Each model naturally has a history and the V4 examples competed with the Moto Guzzi's for consideration as (to use a Will Smith term) "the new hotness", but best in show may have to go to Cybeeria's mint condition 2008 RSVR Bol D'or. Named after the yearly moto-endurance race held in France, the Bol D'or edition has claim to two notable distinctions in Aprilia history. First, it truly was a limited edition run with a reported 200 units produced worldwide. Secondly, the paint scheme is the result of an online competition hosted by Aprilia to solicit ideas from their fans.

    No Aprilia? No problem! AF1 worked with the folks at Aprilia to secure demo bikes from the Aprilia fleet. Usually reserved for journalists and travelling foreign dignitaries. Oh, and sometimes elite military personnel on assignment to save the world from giant mechanized lifeforms hell bent on the extinction or subordination - whichever comes first - of humanity. Their presence allowed event participants to sample the latest V4 line that Aprilia has to offer on track where they were quite at home, whether on the banked-for-maximum-speed front straight, the bumpy middle straight or any of the how speed turns. Additionally, the folks at AF1 provided the chance to prove that their new addition of Zero Electric Motorcycles are far from showroom beauty queens. Models were available on hand for paddock rides throughout the day and even made brief stints on the hot track. By far the most eerie occurence of the day was the sight of a Zero whispering away from a stop in the AF1 pits, ninja-quiet amidst the howl of combustion engines.

    Loud engines, fast bikes and a mix of great people - the November 2012 track day was typical of any AF1 event. The good vibes emanating from hosts and visitors alike have really become synonimous of the environment that AF1 has worked to build within the Aprilia community. The great turnout, spirited communication both online and in person, and respect shown to person and property at the event shows how positive the response has been from that community. Still, despite all of the win on Monday there were short falls. For example, no umbrella girls. Some say that it had to do with the 34 degree temperature at sunrise, while others blame the fact that a track day is no where close to a race. This author won't name names, but there was a strong rumor that Ted was hoarding them for himself to bring good luck for his race on the preceding Sunday. Incidentally, he did win the final race of his CMRA season.

    Congratulations Ted.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. NeverlosT's Avatar
      NeverlosT -
      Looks like a great time!
    1. huskyfrk's Avatar
      huskyfrk -
      were there any RS 250's in attendance ??
    1. Wildmanon34's Avatar
      Wildmanon34 -
      When will there be another?
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