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Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Pat's Report from Barber Motorsports Park

5/12/2006 - 5/13/2006 Birmingham, AL - with ROGUE



I paid for this trip a couple of months back, but I didn't plan on attending. My sister moved her wedding up one week and I would need to go there instead. I thought I had sold my spot to someone, but two weeks before the event, I got a message saying he could not make it. So, I was scrambling to figure out travel arrangements to see if I could go to Barber and the wedding. Michele and I were to fly to New Jersey on Friday morning and go to the wedding on Sunday. There weren't any flights out of Birmingham on Saturday evening. I checked Atlanta and Delta had a 8:00 PM flight to Philadelphia. Now, how do I get to Atlanta from Birmingham? I call Mark Sutton at Duc Shop and he agrees to come out on Saturday morning and help me with the set up of my bike and give me a ride to the airport. I sweetened the deal for Mark and told him he could take the 749r back to his shop and do a complete rebuild on the motor. Atlanta is two hours east of Birmingham with an hour time change in there also. We would need to leave the track by 4:00 PM to catch my flight. I'm able to book a seat on Tom and Sally's outbound flight on Thursday night. I then book a limo from Philadelphia to the hotel in Princeton, New Jersey. Since Michele and I had round trip tickets from Phoenix to New Jersey, I thought the return trip would be easy. It wasn't. If you don't use your outbound flight, your return flight is canceled. I would need to cancel my original reservation and then rebook a one way flight at current, (less than 5 days before) prices. I only use half of my original reservation, get the same seat on the return and it only costs me $111 more. I hate airports and the airlines. I always chuckle when they report millions in losses each year. There is no customer service in the airline industry!

Mike and Allen are driving Tom's truck and the BSR trailer and Tom, Sally and I will be flying. It looks like a 25 hour drive from Phoenix to Birmingham. Tom and Sally drove last year and it looks like next year will be my turn (unless I could find somebody else to do it).

I planned to tackle the two days like a race weekend. The first day I would use the tires that I raced on at the previous race. I knew there would be a lot of traffic on the track, so I concentrated on learning the track and putting small sections together. At the end of the day, when there might be less traffic, I'd try to run some fast laps. I took the 999r out for the first session and did laps in the 1:43s. Not bad for the first session. For the second session the 999r wouldn't start. It seems the starting problems are back. It won't even take a jump start! I miss this session getting the 749r ready for the track. I use the small bike for the next two sessions and have a blast! That bike is a lot of fun! I was able to do 1:41 and 1:42s on the little bike. I have one scary moment exiting turn one. I'm hard on the gas and the rear end steps sideways big time. I'm thinking, S#&T!, here I go again. This one is going to hurt! I save it some how and come into the pits a couple laps later. My teammates noticed that I was pretty quiet in the pits after that session. The next session, the 999r started and I was able to lower my best time to a 1:40. There was still a lot of bikes on the track and I don't like to make race passes at a track day. For the last session of the day, I go out ahead of Tom and Mike. The track seems a little less populated and I start to put some good laps down. I see Tom come alongside me at the entrance to turn 5 and shut the door on him. My next two laps are a 1:38.9 and a 1:38.3. Tom gets around me when I choose the wrong side to pass on the front straight. I was pleased with those times, as I wasn't pushing it or riding on the edge.

I put new tires on the bike and thought with a clear track and a rabbit ahead, I'd be able to get in the 1:36s pretty easily and maybe a 1:35. Those times during a race are definitely attainable.

We head over to the Barber Museum for dinner and this year, there is plenty of food. We head to the motel early for a good nights sleep with fast laps buzzing in our heads. We awake to the sound of rain and a wet race track. I really don't have any desire to ride in the rain. Both my bikes have slicks mounted. I thought that if I purchased a set of rain tires to bring to the track, it would never rain. It rained off and on most of the day. It was still wet after lunch and Mark and I decided to leave around 2:30 PM for the trip to Atlanta.

It was nice to finally meet Mark and Wendy from Duc Shop face to face. The guys at ROGUE are a good group of guys, they even let a guy with two Ducatis ride with them. A special thanks goes to Mike and Allen for driving the trailer. It was a little disappointing not being able to ride on Saturday. When we go to tracks that the AMA professionals race on, it's always nice to see how far we have to improve to qualify for a National event.



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