Racing is all about the competition and pushing the limit, but sometimes the competition isn't another racer; for motorcycle racer Corey Clough, the competition is often the clock.
Corey Clough's Kawasaki GPz550 Motorcycle
Motorcycle racer Corey Clough at Buttonwillow Raceway
Clough races in various divisions with the American Federation of Motorcyclists, and while the races include fierce wheel-to-wheel competition amongst the riders, Clough instead focuses on improving as a rider at each event. This was precisely the case in round one at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in central California.
"I race against faster and newer bikes, so it is usually me against the clock," Clough told K&N via email. "The faster guys make me chase them, and also make me push harder to catch them."
Clough had two highlight moments at Buttonwillow. The first happened when Clough, on a bike he admitted was a little quicker than the rest, won the Formula Vintage race. The win was the first podium of Clough's three-plus year motorcycle racing career. The second highlight came on the final lap of the weekend.
"After crossing the finish line, I looked at my lap timer, which I never do in the race or while I'm on the track, and I see a best lap of 2:10.3," Clough said. "People probably thought I won the race, and it was definitely the highlight of the weekend. I was very happy."
Corey Clough won the AFM Formula Vintage race at Buttonwillow Raceway.
Clough has three bikes already and is working on a newer, faster bike to be unveiled next year. After a stint racing in cars, Clough made the move to motorcycles in 2008. After a few track day events, he enrolled in a new racer program. 2010 marked the beginning of his racing career, and Clough has been at it ever since.
Clough looks at racing as a much safer alternative to riding on the streets. "To me racing is fun, and much safer than riding on the back roads," Clough said. "Everyone is going the same direction, the tracks have run-offs, and the camaraderie with the other racers. All the protective gear I wear makes me feel safe, and road riding with cars and trucks actually scares me at times. "I feel much safer out on the track."
Still, racing isn't without risks, and Clough knows that. During the final race of the weekend, 12-year-old Kenny Anderson lost his life following an accident. Anderson was well regarded in the American motorcycle racing community and had broken a track record earlier in the weekend. The tragedy hit Clough hard.
"This really bummed me out," Clough said. "He was an up-and-coming racer, he was fast. He loved racing. It still chokes me up."
Incidents like Anderson's are a reminder that it's not always about winning. Clough takes pride in improving as a rider with each passing race weekend, and is focused on enjoying life on the bike.
"If I don't win another race, as long as I can whittle away at lap times, make more power with the bike, and be competitive, I'll be happy," the 48-year-old said. "But there will be more trophies to come."
Round 2 of the AFM series is still over a month away. The series travels to wine country and Sonoma Raceway on May 4th. Clough plans on adding a few minor upgrades to his current bikes between now and then and has a goal of chopping three seconds off of his personal best of two minutes even.
"There is a lot of times in between now and the race," Clough said. "You know about idle hands. I don't want to do anything to the bikes, but I will do the usual checks and I might add a quick shifter. Sonoma is a tight track like Buttonwillow, so I don't have to change much."
A longtime and dedicated user of K&N Filters, Clough explained how they help him both on and off the track.
"My late brother got me into using K&N Filters, and I have been using them in all of my vehicles ever since," Clough said. "It's just common sense to run them. K&N Filters last a long, long time."
Clough has a unique way of describing K&N's performance advantage to others.
"I explain K&N Filters to people this way: 'When someone walks, they breathe through their nose, but when they jog or run, more air is needed. K&N Filters allow this all weather breathability without fiber swelling or restricting like the paper filters.' I ask them if they have ever breathed through a wet paper towel, because that's what it's like without K&N.
"Using K&N Filters is just the right thing to do. I like them, and will continue to always use them."
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.