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Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Pat's Race Report from Infineon

4/23/2006 Sonoma, CA - Round 2 with AFM



I have been looking forward to going back to Infineon since I was first there in August. This time, my wife Michele would be flying up there with us.  She doesn't get a chance to make it to the races very often. Tom, Sally and Dave “The Flying Pole” Siminski would be joining us for the trip.  Tom's sister Valerie and her husband Paul drove the rig up to Infineon (12 hour drive) while the rest of us took the “Rock Star” route.

For this race, I left the Kawasaki 650 at home and took the 749r as a back up bike only.  I intended to only ride the 999r.  At the last round, I wasn't able to ride the big bike because of a starting problem.  Jason from Section 8 Superbike sent me out a new battery and a trick set of jumper cables to aid in the starting process.  I found that the Power Commander on the bike was contributing to starting problem.  I took the Power Commander off the 749r and the 999r started right up.

The last time we were at Infineon was last August for the 4 hour endurance race. I also did my first sprint race with AFM on the 749r and my best lap time was a 1:52.  Not very fast, but I had limited time on the track.  My goal for the weekend was a 1:48 lap time.  Most of the AFM races conflict with our local CCS races.  CCS has a very limited turn out.  Most grids have less than 10 riders and many have less than 5.  Tom and I decided to race with AFM this year for the added competition.  The grids at AFM are HUGE!  Some have more than 60 racers in a single wave start!

The weather was supposed to have a little rain in the forecast.  It would suck to come this far and not be able to race (AFM doesn't race in the rain).  For Saturday practice I was put in group 3 and Tom and Dave were in group 4.  AFM groups practice by previous lap times.  I would have liked to be in group 4 with the faster riders.  I found it very hard to get any clean laps in.  My best time was a very easy 1:50 in the last practice of the day.  I put a new set of Michelin slicks on the bike after practice.  I still had my race tires from the February WERA round from Fontana on the bike.

On Sunday, we had only one practice session before our races.  I went out and on the second lap while pushing up my braking marker in turn 8, I overshot the corner and stalled the bike.  The bike wouldn't start and my practice was over.  My first race was race #1, 750 Superbike.  I had a #35 grid position. Normally it takes me a little while to get going in the morning.  Tom told me to take four 200 mg Motrin an hour before the race and I'll be fine.  Those older guys know all the tricks about loosening up sore muscles.  It seemed to work, I felt loose and ready to race.  I got my typical bad start and went to work after the leaders.  I started passing a few people.  I could always see a few riders up ahead to keep me motivated.  At the half way mark, I could see a group of three riders about a straight away ahead.  I thought I'd be able to catch them before the end of the race.  On the last lap I pulled right up to them going into turn 8.  I thought I could pass them on the brakes going into turn 11 and out motor them to the finish line.  Before I make my move, the guy in the front crashes and hold up the other two while I go on to the finish line in 17th place.  Afterwards, I found out that I did a 1:46.7 on the second to last lap.  I found that pace to be very easy and was hoping to improve on it in the next race.  My times were right in line with Tom and Dave's.  It felt good to be riding hard again.  Riding that little 650 might actually be helping my riding.

My next race was race #4, Formula 1.  My grid position was #63 on a 63 rider grid.  I was dead last.  I try to start my bike and nothing.  It won't even turn over!  I'm unable to participate in this race.  I immediately go to plan B, which is prep the back up bike (749r) for racing after lunch.  In a last ditch attempt, I find a guy named Jerry with a set of starting rollers.  I put the bike on the rollers and the bike fires right up.  It looks like my starter is fried.  I'll be ok in the next two races as long as I don't stall the bike!

Open Twins was next.  This is the class that I'd like to do well in.  It's all similar bikes, mostly Ducatis with a few Hondas and Aprillias also.  I'm gridded in the 15th position.  I get a decent start, not great, but not bad either.  We're nose to tail for the first lap.  Coming out of turn 2 on the second lap a rider crashes right in front of me.  I have to avoid the bike and the rider sliding across the pavement.  I miss the bike and also miss running over his leg by 6 inches!  While I was avoiding the fallen rider, 2 or 3 racers got by me.  I was able to catch up to them and pass them within a lap.  My little off track excursion put me out of touch of the group in front and I finished 10th.  My best lap time in this race was a 1:47.1.  Not as fast as I would have liked.  I was hoping for a 1:45.

My last race was Open GP.  Tom would be starting one row ahead of me towards the inside and I was at the far right.  I thought I could get a good start and rail on the outside and pass a few guys before turn two.  I thought that if I could get up with the faster riders, they'd tow me around and get me in the 1:45s.  At the start, I get this big wheel stand (too anxious) and have to back out of the throttle.  I settle in two riders behind Tom and follow them around for the first lap.  They'd gap me a little on th straight and I'd get them back on the brakes.  My new Brembo Monoblocs are AWESOME!  Coming up the hill for turn two, I get a little greedy on my drive out.  I spin the rear tire up on the exit and the bike is full sideways and spits me high in the air.  My hands are still on the handle bars and for a second I think I can save it.  I then decide it would be safer if I let go.  As I let go and am sliding on the pavement, I can see the bike on a ghost ride for 300 yards along side the track.  It finally falls in some tall grass.  The bike never touched the pavement and only suffered a bent subframe and broken windscreen.  That's the way all high sides should be!  I was unhurt with only a sore hip and a raspberry on my left elbow.  The bad thing about this incident is my wife was a spectator in that corner and saw the whole incident.  She was much more shaken up by the crash than I was.  She has vowed to stay in the pits at the next race.  Tom finished 8th in that race and I should have finished 13th or better if I didn't crash.

Thanks to Tom, Dave, Michele, Sally, Paul and Valerie for the help in the pits and driving the rig.
Thank you to the continued support of my sponsors: Section 8 Superbike, Duc Shop, Speedy Moto, Moto Wheels, Lockhart Phillips, Universal Forest Products, Motorex, Michelin.












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