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BELL: Successful First AVS ‘Training Camp’

AVS’ Townsend Bell files his first Sportscar365 column after pre-season training…

Photo: Townsend Bell

AIM VASSER SULLIVAN driver Townsend Bell took some time to document an off-season training camp he and his returning teammates Jack Hawksworth and Frankie Montecalvo participated in to prepare for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

For years, I’ve always admired race teams who organize off-season training camps for their drivers.

Whether it be in hot southern locations during the winter or in cold snowy conditions, I’ve always thought I would enjoy doing something like that.

I took the initiative to create my own version of the training camp with a little bit of Southern California flavor and motocross inspiration because Jack Hawksworth, Frankie Montecalvo and myself all have a real passion for two wheels and watching Supercross on NBC.

We invited other members of our AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team, but we were the only three that could make the inaugural training camp.

Jack flew in all the way from England and Frankie flew in from the East Coast for a fun four days to take advantage of the Southern California weather in December and spend time together training.

We had a combination of motocross riding at some of the great Southern California tracks and did some hiking and trail running in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Malibu. During our downtime we were planning and strategizing for the 2020 season.

The hardest thing about organizing all of this was to figure out where to get a couple of extra motorcycles.

Our friends at Kawasaki were kind enough to loan us some bikes and Lexus let us borrow a LX 570 and we drove to three different Southern California race tracks in four days – Fox Raceway, State Fair MX Park and LACR MX track.

The fun part about going to the motocross track, especially with someone like Jack who is such an intense competitor, is we were able to mix not just staying in shape but a little bit of competitive spirit with all three of us ripping around, organizing our own motos and having a go to see how we match up just like we do in the race car.

The great thing about motocross is it’s easily the most physical motorsport on the planet in terms of what it demands from every ounce of your upper body and lower body. And, a lot of the same principals of going fast in a race car transfer over to the motorcycle and vice versa.

With limited testing available during the IMSA off-season, it was a great way to keep our bodies and minds sharp.

Photo: Townsend Bell

A year ago, I didn’t know what to expect with a new team and race car and trying to figure out how to build the chemistry as a team and what the dynamics were going to be like.

Frankie and I raced together in the past, but it was our first time working with Jack. He has been terrific from day one working with us to drive at AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and propelling our Lexus RC F GT3 race cars forward.

It’s been rewarding for us to work so closely together and also get to know each other away from the track and realize we all had some of the same interests.

The inaugural training camp was a success! We were well worn out, but super zen at the same time just because we had a blast.

It really was terrific and hopefully we’ll get to do more of this going forward.

The bond that Frankie, Jack and I continue to build will only help us on the race track this season. It would be fun to get all the drivers into the next one.

It’s always tough to juggle schedules, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. We’re looking forward to being back on the track in Daytona and getting the 2020 season underway.

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Townsend Bell (@TownsendBell) is a championship-winning open-wheel and sports car racing driver, competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus team. Bell also serves as a commentator for NBC Sports' coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series.

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