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Jacob Stroud, the 20-year-old son of nine-time New Zealand Superbike champion Andrew, updates AMCN on his AMA Junior Cup campaign.

Well, that was an experience and a half! It felt like a baptism of fire and being thrown in the deep end all in one. Somona in California is a completely different track from what I am used to. It demanded a completely different riding style. If we hadn’t have had an amazing bike right out of the box we would have struggled a lot more.

The track is so tight and technical but had so many flowing sections and if you messed up one corner you messed up a section four corners away as well. There were fast changes of directions that would load the front and unsettle it too much if you shut off the throttle so you had to just crack it half throttle for longer to keep the tyres on the track.

We qualified 22nd after 45 minutes on the track and then made up a few positions in the first race to finish 19th, bettering our lap time by a second and a half.

Dale Quarterley (team owner and American racing legend) is our team coach and he was awesome I could talk to about the track. He has so much knowledge and has raced there his whole life.

The Dunlop tyres were another new aspect and I finally felt more confident on them after working out the very edge of the tyre held a lot of grip in warm-up and that helped me drop another second and a half in time.

I knew I could work my way forward in the second race but starting 19th on the outside uphill was always going to be a challenge. But I did it.

I made it up into 9th after the third lap and worked with another rider to drag ourselves up to the next group. I dropped another second and a half getting there but the unfamiliar heat took its toll in the last couple of laps and I came home in 8th.

I’m happy with the big improvements we’ve made every time we were out on the track. The speed of the riders over here is immense and it has really lifted my riding being here already. The coaching from Dale has encouraged me to try things I would have never thought of myself and that’s been so beneficial to my riding, and I wouldn’t have ended up where I did without him.

Overall the team is run so much more professionally than anything I have experienced and really makes it easy to focus on riding. Quarterley Racing On Track Development is less about race results and more about developing young riders and I just love that.

Looking forward to the next round in Pittsburgh in 2 weeks time, at a track hopefully more suited to my riding style,  and with more time on the track I think we can be a threat.

As always I appreciate the support of my team and love having you on my side. Thanks again Eurobike New Zealand, Spidi, Stylmartin, and Kevin from Kiwi Classic Moto for making it happen. Also, I wouldn’t be here in the first place if it wasn’t for Motorcycling New Zealand Inc and Hamilton Motorcycle Club Inc NZ so thanks for the belief in me.

– Jacob Stroud