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Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Tom's Race Report from Infineon

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



Like Pat, I was really looking forward to racing at Infineon again. My wife Sally would be coming to this one, as she does all the Cali. and Vegas races (I wonder why she doesn't like going to Deming, NM?(haha) We would fly up and my brother-in-law Paul and sister Valerie would drive the rig up and back. They always wanted to see San Francisco and figured this would be a good opportunity to help us out and see the city. It was a plus for them when they found out that Ball Sac Racing pays all expenses to whoever drives our rig, as we have always done. Which is a fair trade off for that boring long drive! So we all fly up to Sacramento and head to the track Friday night. Paul and Valerie get to the track about the same time and we drop the trailer at a good pit location.

Saturday morning it was mixed clouds, no rain. We get to the track, register, and tech in about 10 minutes. Amazing since there are 1500 race entries and about 450 racers! First practice session I get right to the 49's and feel good. The bike is running great. Second session, get to the 47's right where my best time from last August was. I feel great, like the track and look forward to racing! I plan on wasting the tires that are on the bike from the previous race and put new ones on Sunday morning. Towards the end of the day Saturday I decide that turn 2 is my most favorite turn of all the tracks I have been on. Just as you crest the hill, it's off camber and I was having such a blast counter steering and spinning the tire all the way to the next turn sideways with the front in the air, hands down the most enjoyable section of track for me ever!! It was a great practice day (other than David (the flying Pole) Siminski crashing) got down to 1:46.5, a second better than my best, still not the 44's I wanted.

Sunday morning, new tires. Go out in the first practice and run a 1:51!! Damn! Now I'm pissed, what the hell is going on??? My first race is Unlimited Superbike, I'm gridded 33rd. on the 7th row. The flag drops I get a good start and a bike is stalled on the second row!! I just brush his leg!! That was scary! I get to Turn 2 around 40 something and I'm happy to be there! I put my head down and finished 23rd with a best of 1:46.5.

Next race is F-40. This is the race I had a mechanical in the first round so no points. I really wanted to run up front with these guys, I think they will pull me along and make me better. I'm gridded again on the 7th row, 34th. Good thing I'm on the outside. I run on the outside of Turn 1 hard on the gas, up the hill and force my way into Turn 2 around 15th! The plan worked (thank you Mark Ledesma for all those horses!!) We all settle in and I make a nice pass going into 7 on the brakes. It seems a lot of these riders are not used to hard braking, point and shoot tracks like we have in AZ and NM. They do have track knowledge in their favor and also the long fast sweeping turns, which we are not used to, they do very well. It makes for some fun racing. I was dicing with a 250 that was flying. I was amazed how I didn't pull him on the straights like I did everybody else. Don't get me wrong, when it came power to power he was no match but he got such an unbelievable drive. I think I got lost just watching him. I figured it was better to follow him and learn, than to power by him on the straights and hold him up. I learned a lot and finished 12th with a best of 1:45.6.

Last race was Unlimited GP. I had a good start position since I finished this race at Buttonwillow in 16th. That's where I started on the 3rd row. This was actually my best race. I got a good, not great start and started to pick guys off. The bike and tires felt great. I had battles all race long with mostly Gsxr 1000's. Once again, my best times come the last race of the day? Once again, I feel the best the last race of the day? Do I need to do more races? If it's warmer will I do better earlier? I just miss the 1:44's with a 1:45.0, more than 2 seconds better than my best. I finish in 7th place! Should have a good starting spot next round! Rob Mesa won the race with a 1:41.5. I know I can shave a few seconds. It just comes off so slow! I probably need bigger balls, I'm still not willing to ride on the edge of disaster. I did improve quite a bit this round. Very rarely would I drag the rear tire into a corner sideways, I mostly drug it in straight up and down. I am getting way more comfortable dragging it in pitched over. I also improved getting on the gas earlier because of Turn 2. Turn 2 got me comfortable with the rear spinning much earlier on exit. You notice I say comfortable a lot. I know I can get to really fast times yet be comfortable doing it. It just takes tons of laps and experience. The other alternative is big balls, riding out of a comfort zone. that is not an option, I can do this without crashing. Any crash I have now is because I lost concentration and had my head in my ass. That's why everything has to be just right in my thick head and why it will take time. When I get there, I'll be there for good!

Thanks again Pat for all the help. Paul and Valerie for driving the rig. The "flying Pole" for keeping us entertained. Brian for all the web site work. Michelin Tires (they really are the best), Alex at AF Motorsports, Motorex, LP, Veshra, Sidi, Vortex, Sunrise Crane. Mark Ledesma at North Valley for a bike better than me. And Sally for all the support in helping me make this dream come true. I am having the time of my life and it's great to share it with her.




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