Pat's Race Report from Arroyo Seco Raceway

04/10/05 Deming, New Mexico

ASMA Round 2


Mike was on his way to Cabo San Lucas and Brian just had a new baby, so it was just Tom and I heading to Arroyo. A couple of days before, Allen decided to come along. It was to good to hear that Allen was coming. I did my first few track days with Allen and we both progressed at the same rate and then Allen was too busy with work to commit to anything other than the occasional track day. I still owe Allen a paint job on his bike. He lent me his race bike twice last year and I had the misfortune of crashing it for him. He's afraid to get it all nice and pretty again. Rian (BSR pit man) came along also. Rian is going to MMI to learn how to be a motorcycle mechanic. It great to have a non-rider in our pit to help with the mechanical aspect of motorcycle racing.

Tom crashed his CBR1000rr the weekend before at Buttonwillow and it was not ready to race yet. I offered Tom the use of one of my bikes (2005 749r or 2005 999r). Tough choice. After not crashing at the first two rounds, the bikes only required oil changes and cleaning. I was able to get a Power Commander map from Mark Hatten for the 749r. With the supplied map, the bike would sputter and spit at anything over 8500 rpms. The Termigoni ecu works pretty well, but with the Power Commander, we can smooth out any flat spots and use a Quickshifter. At the last round, we disconnected the Power Commander and were not able to use the Quickshifter.

With only three bikes in the trailer, we decided to take Tom's small trailer and stay at a hotel in beautiful downtown Deming. We get our earliest start ever. We leave BSR headquarters at 3 PM at arrive at the track before 10 PM. We usually arrive around 1 or 2 AM. At the track we notice that the pits are not very crowded. We hope that more racers will arrive on Saturday morning for the track day. It looks like the high winds kept a lot of people away. On Saturday there's hardly any new arrivals. We get unloaded, registered and set up our new 10' x 20' BSR canopy from Holiday Canopies. After an hour or so, we decide to take the canopy down, because of very high winds.

I did the first session of the day on the 999r. The original plan was for Tom to ride the 749r. For the second session, I rode the 749r to check the map in the Power Commander. Everything worked and then I decided to ride the 749r the rest of the weekend. I find that I make less mistakes on the smaller bike and I'm able to ride “more” of the bike. The 999r is way above my abilities and so is the 749r, but I'm closer on the small bike. I'm trying to really work on my riding skills this year and the tight esses section of this track is easier on the small bike. Tom and I go out together for all the remaining sessions. We alternate follow and leader. It's good to work on riding skills together. I find that I'm able to catch up to Tom (999r) going into the bus stop and through the esses and once we hit the back straight, he pulls 10-12 bike lengths going into the big carousel. Tom tells me that I suck going into the two carousels after the straights. I knew I was not going as fast as I should into those corners, but he could have been nicer about it. It's actually nice riding with teammates and friends who help you with your riding. At the end of the day, I'm able to stay close to Tom for 2 or 3 laps and then he pulls away pretty good. I kept waiting for him to make a mistake, but I didn't see many. I had 15/39 gearing on the 749r and was hitting the rev limiter too early leading onto the straights. On Sunday we'll switch to 15/38. Before this weekend, I stocked up on rear sprockets from Vortex. The wind was constantly blowing with gusts in the 40 mph range. The wind even blew over our heavy tool box!

On Saturday, there were only 5 -8 experts on the track at a time. On Sunday a few more racers showed up, but there were probably only 12-15 total expert racers in attendance. We had two sets of new tires to put on the bikes on Sunday morning. The tires were working good on Saturday and I decided to not put new ones on. It was still cold and windy and my first race was Middleweight SuperSport. This was my first time racing the 749r. I stalled it at the start and was last going into turn one. I finished 5th, exactly where I should have finished. First and second place was the current and former track record holders. In third was the guy that came in 36th in the Daytona 200.

My next race was race #8, Southwest Thunder/SuperTwins. This is the race Ducati is paying contingency in. I was gridded on outside front row. Tom and Aaron Grigsby (Aprilia Mile Factory) were next to each other on the second row. I get a decent start (no stalling) and thought I had the lead into turn one, when Tom comes up the inside and parks it. We go through Yucca, the bus stop and the esses nose to tail. When we hit the straight, Tom pulls a bike lead. It's amazing what 25 horse power can do. Tom thought it was Aaron right behind him and put his head down to ride harder. I'm happy with second. A first and second is worth $800 in Ducati contingency. At the end of the second lap, Aaron comes by me on the pit straight and goes into turn one too hot and runs wide. I sneak underneath and take back second. Going into the bus stop, Aaron comes up the inside and re passes me. Out of the bus stop, I pull along side on the inside hoping he takes the wide fast line. He doesn't and I have no choice to go in right behind him. I stay close through the esses, he pulls 10-12 bike lengths on the straight, I make up half of that on the brakes. Around the carousel, I'm close, he pulls away on the pit straight and I'm back close on the brakes. My plan was to be close around Yucca and out drive that big fast Aprilia into the bus stop. Well, unfortunately for me, I get the best drive of my life. I'm leaving a 10' black stripe at the exit and feel it start sideways. I try to save it and before I can, I'm 10' feet in the air, land on the track and my bike runs into me. I get a mouth full of gravel as I roll to a stop in the dirt. I knew that if I didn't get up right away, they would red flag the race and the big lead Tom had would be gone. I wanted to lay on the ground for a while. I make it to a sitting up position and the race is still going. Roger (track owner) ( arrives on his pit bike. He tells me that was the “Most vicious high side he has seen in over a year”. I try to tell him I'm ok, but he starts asking me: where are you?, who is the president? I end up with a right ankle sprain, a possible broken left hand and my body hurts everywhere. The bike is a different story. At this point, the bike has 355 miles on the odometer. The bodywork is rashed everywhere. The broken hard parts include: right handle bar, brake master cylinder, right frame slider, swingarm slider, right footpeg, rear brake lever and probably many more parts. The clutch cover survived great. It is a heavy duty unit from Speedy Moto.

My last race of the day was the Team Sprints. It's a race with two riders and one bike. It has a Le Mans start with the first rider riding for 10 minutes and then a rider change for the remaining 10 minutes. I was unable to ride this race. I was going to ask Allen to ride the bike, but I figured I'd let him off the hook. I asked Kane Lasky (track record holder at 1:08.92). Kane and Tom were in the previous race, so we had Kane ride first. He had a bad start and was in second behind Rob McClanahan on a new 2005 Suzuki GSXR1000. Kane was picking up time on Rob. Kane passed Rob on the brakes, going into the big carousel only to miss a shift and let Rob by. Kane was all over that big Suzuki through the esses and on the straight Kane drafted past halfway down the straight. I know what you're thinking, “A Ducati passing a new GSXR1000 on the straight?” I saw it with my own eyes. To the Suzuki's credit, Rob is a first year expert on the bike's maiden trip to the track and Kane is the track record holder. Kane only had one warm up lap before his stint on the bike and was able to come within 2 seconds of the lap record he did earlier on his own ZX-10R. At the rider change, Tom was a little slower getting out of the pits. In Tom's first lap, he put 5 seconds on second place. At the start of lap two, Tom came into turn one too fast and rode off the track crashing my 999r. He was out cold. They red flagged the race and sent the ambulance. He came to and had no idea where he was or what happened. I tried to tell Tom that he crashed my 749r earlier in the day and then crashed the 999r. He was buying into it, until Allen said it didn't happen that way.

Tom started to remember what happened. Next time we need to run the pit board. Tom was still sore from his crash the previous weekend an now is more sore. The 999r survived the crash well, with only bodywork damage.

We skipped the awards ceremony and headed straight home. Rian had everything loaded and ready to go. We made it home before 10 PM.

I want to thank Rian, Allen and Tom for the help this weekend. Roger for running a fun race series (too bad he can't control the weather). Mark Hatten, for the help with the 749r

And the sponsors:
Ducati, Section 8 Superbike, Speedy Moto, Motorex, Vortex, Suomy, Sidi, Moto Wheels, Universal Forest Products, Vesrah, Lockhart Phillips, All Out Graphics, Desert Truss

Pat Bushell


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