Lafayette's Stanton ready for AFM Sears Point weekend

Lafayette's Stanton eyes second straight AFM Motorcycle championship. Local rider one of the favorites during first weekend of Cycle Gear Sonomafest 2003 at Infineon Raceway. SONOMA, Calif. -- There's nothing like a three-year break to get the...

Lafayette's Stanton eyes second straight AFM Motorcycle championship.
Local rider one of the favorites during first weekend of Cycle Gear Sonomafest 2003 at Infineon Raceway.

SONOMA, Calif. -- There's nothing like a three-year break to get the old batteries recharged, at least if you're Lafayette's David Stanton.

Stanton, an Acalanes High School graduate, took a three-year break from motorcycle racing from 1997-2000. He had been racing competitively since 1989 in the American Federation of Motorcyclists (AFM) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

"I had to take some time off," said Stanton, 33, who works in software development at PeopleSoft in Pleasanton. "It was becoming like a regular job. It just wasn't fun anymore. When it becomes a job it loses that euphoric feeling. I had to take a step back."

As it turns out, that ¡step back' was the best tonic for Stanton, who returned to competitive racing in 2001 and has taken the AFM by storm, culminating in winning the coveted No. 1 plate in the premier Formula Pacific class for the 2002 season. Stanton will be one of the favorites when the AFM kicks off Cycle Gear Sonomafest 2003 at Infineon Raceway, April 26-27.

Sonomafest is a nine-day motorcycle bonanza, highlighted by the AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, May 2-4. More than 800 AFM riders will take center stage that first weekend in 23 divisions, and Stanton will be one of them. Practice takes place on Saturday, with main events set for Sunday.

Stanton will debut his 2003 Arclight Racing Suzuki GSX-R 1000 and is looking to rebound after a seventh-place showing in the AFM's first race of the season in March at Infineon Raceway. The AFM features an eight-race series for 2003, with three events in the Sonoma Valley.

"I was essentially riding a 750 Superstock bike and was running in fourth place and saw the leaders getting away from me," Stanton said. "I got frustrated, pushed it too much and ran off the track. This time I'll have the new bike and I'm looking forward to it."

Stanton began his passion for motorcycle racing as a student at Acalanes High School. His neighbor had a number of street bikes and dirt bikes, and Stanton began riding. After watching his first AFM race, he caught the bug and attended a motorcycle race school at Riverside International Raceway in Southern California.

"After I watched that first race, my eyes got huge," he said. "I knew that was what I wanted to do. Everything developed after I watched that first AFM race in Sonoma."

Stanton took first place in his debut AFM race in the Novice class in 1989, and it has been a wild journey ever since. He took three years off from 1997-2000 to focus on his career and family (he has a 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son).

In addition to AFM, Stanton will also compete in the AMA Superbike events on the West Coast, riding for Arclight Racing. He will participate in the U.S. Chevy Trucks Sueprbike division, as well as Formula Xtreme. He has a number of top-five finishes at the premier AMA level, but has never won. To pull a double victory at Sonomafest in AFM and AMA would be the ultimate storybook ending.

"Even to get to the podium for AMA would be great," he said. "I'd like to do that before it's all said and done with my career."

With the batteries recharged, don't count Stanton out.

WHAT: Cycle Gear Sonomafest 2003: AFM Two-Wheel Challenge.
WHEN: April 26-27.
WHERE: Infineon Raceway.

NOTABLE: Lafayette's David Stanton is holder of the No. 1 plate and the defending AFM Formula Pacific Champion.

OF INTEREST: The weekend will also feature motorcycle demo-rides by Aprilia and Buell.

TICKETS: $5 Saturday, $10 Sunday, $10 weekend ticket. Children 12 and under free. All tickets can be purchased at the gate.

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Series Other bike
Drivers David Stanton