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Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Brian's Report from Las Vegas Classic Course

9/3/2006 - 9/4/2006 Las Vegas, NV - with CCS

 

 

I can't believe its Sept and I'm doing my first race report. Last time I rode a motorcycle was March with CCS. I've been too busy with a new job, with my one year old son, and with grad school (getting my MBA). Needless to say, I was very anxious to go to Vegas and race. Half to get on a motorcycle again, and the other half to see my friends at the track and have some fun. I made 2 goals this weekend...have fun and don't stress the results/times. I'm out of racing shape and had no aspirations to set personal lap time records.

I had a lot of work to do on my bike before I could race it. The week before Vegas, I installed a new steering damper (old one was leaking), removed and cleaned my calipers, did an oil change, flushed the brake fluid and checked over the whole bike. I had to do all of that in one day because it was finals week at ASU for my MBA and I had a lot of work to do before I could leave. Luckily, I have some great teammates at school, and we were able to get our work started early in the week (thanks guys!!). I got done with my final at 12pm on Thursday and headed to Pat's to load the trailer. I rode up to Vegas Thursday with Tom, Pat and Tom's wife Sally. We got to Vegas at a good time and dropped off the trailer outside the track before heading to the Aladdin Hotel. After a little entertainment at the hotel, and after Brian Short and Adam Garibaldi showed up, it was time for bed. We let Pat sleep in our room since he had come up a day earlier than planned.

Friday morning we got to the track before 7 to find that CCS had opened early and there was no line! Right into the track and time to setup. The BSR pit is awesome. This was my first time using the new awning, and it was awesome. In the first couple practices, I purposefully only did 3 or 4 laps. I wanted to force myself to take it easy, plus I knew it was going to be a hot and long weekend. My times were way off my personal best, but I knew they would be considering my shape, time off, and the temperature. Even the fast guy for the weekend, Dale Kieffer was off his best time because of the heat. I think I only did 1:28 or 27s!! I was having fun though. Near the end of the day, I decided to try the 190 rear tire (DOT) which I had never tried before. I mounted it up for Saturday practice and took Pat's new 750 out. I hate riding other peoples bikes because I would hate myself if I crashed them, so I did 29s on it!! haha. It was eye opening though. The newer models feel TINY compared to my 2004. It was amazing on the brakes and so flick able. I will get one of those for my next bike. As a SuperSport legal bike with only a slip on and NO power commander, it was fun...but still less powerful than my Vesrah bike ;-) I think my fastest time of the day was a 1:27...3 seconds off my personal best (in better weather). I was having fun though. Friday night we went to a nice, but expensive, steak dinner. Good thing I paid for my share with Craps winnings! ;-) Mike and the girls showed up late, so I barely got to see them. It was nice to see Mike even though his broken collar bone is still healing and he could not ride. Heal quick Mike!

Saturday morning we showed up and I was more ready to start pushing. In the 2 practice sessions, I figured out 3 things. First, I really like the 190 rear! Second, my brakes sucked. Third, my gearing was wrong, and the change I tried was working out. I was able to run 1:25, 2 seconds faster than Friday, and 1 sec off my personal best...better than I expected this weekend. I felt I could easily do 23s in a race if I got behind a rabbit to chase.

The brake pads are awesome, but no matter how well we bled the brakes, they still faded pretty bad after 5 laps. Dale Kieffer had a Brembo master cylinder in stock at his shop, so I drove to Racers Edge to get it during lunch. Luckily, Jim Cox had the right banjo bolt for the Brembo (different than stock) and Mike was able to help me get it installed with minutes to spare before my first race of the weekend and first in 6 months. We were kinda rushed but we made it.

First race was an unlimited race and I was gridded 3rd on the front row. I bogged off the start, but was still 4th heading to turn one. It was right after we all hit the brakes hard that I heard screeching and saw an amateur come flying by desperately trying to recover control of his bike as it raised the rear and stepped out at the same time. I honestly thought Brian Short was gonna die as he was about to get t-boned. As the amateur went over the bars and hit Brian, I broke HARD and swerved inside trying to avoid the mayhem as it slid away. Just as I thought I had made it, the bucking bronco bike ghosted down the track and swerved right into me. There was nothing I could have done...it hit me on the front left and took out my front tire. Since it came from the left across my bike, it slammed me to the ground on my left as it took my tire out. I hit the ground hard and rolled...right down the middle of the track. As I rolled, I saw bikes coming at me and just tucked everything I had as tight as I could...I even got a wedgie. Thankfully, they all avoided me, including Bertinelli who I actually felt my hand hit the side of his bike. Thanks for not target fixating!!!

As I got up, I was pissed because of the situation, but I wanted to get up and race. I went to my bike and found another one sitting on it, so I had to wait. Immediately the red flag went and ambulances rolled. When they came to me, I was still pumped on adrenalin but knew my arm hurt. Still, I was stubborn and told them I was fine and would come to them if I needed it later. I saw my bike was up and went over too see if I could ride it to the pits. It looked good, so I took it with my left hand...bad idea. I dropped the bike immediately as my arm shot with pain. I went back to the ambulance girl and told her I could not use my arm. She then put me in the ambulance and did all the checks. Nothing was visibly broken, but it hurt like hell. They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, but I declined hoping it was just a sprain or bruise. The EMT called me the Zen man because my heart rate was low for having just crashed...this isn't my first dance. ;-) After some ice and a sling, I was done with the ambulance. Instructions were to watch for swelling up more than already swollen, which would indicate a break. After less than 1 turn in my first race, I was done for the weekend. I could barely use my arm as long as I didn't twist it. My hand also hurt from swelling and a big bump on it. Last, my neck was sore from the whiplash.

The other riders fared better than could have been. Brian had a badly bruised knee and could barely walk, but was able to race a handful of the races he had planned to do. The amateur seemed fine, except for a freaking massive bruise on his lower back. Amazing luck considering everything. The amateur made a point to come over and apologize to me sincerely more than once, which was appreciated. We are all out there to have fun for a hobby, and you put a lot of faith in your fellow riders on the track. This is no place to wonder if off the track animosity will translate into on the track actions. Its just not worth it. I appreciate you owning up and acknowledging your mistake.

My bike faired well. The crash damage was limited to the normal low side stuff...sliders, bars, pegs and a little road rash on the bodywork. The only thing I need to replace is the front fender that got split in two by the impact. I'm glad that's all it was. My leathers did their job and I think they are ok. My brand new helmet is scratched up, but no concussion this time!!!

The rest of the day I just chilled in the pits and helped out as much as I could with one arm. Thinking it was just a bruise, I felt like a wuss, but I just couldn't use the arm. Knowing I was done for the weekend, I stayed up late and played some craps and blackjack with the guys after dinner. Mike was nice enough to treat me to PF Changs and perkaset (thanks again Mike!).

Sunday, Pat never even planned to race (was planning to enter a poker tournament), so I got up early to go to the track with Tom and help as much as I could with one arm. I woke up with more pain than the night before, and a little more swelling, so I knew it was not going to be good. I didn't want to go to the hospital and distract Tom or the guys, so I had my wife find a place I could go to on Monday...a holiday. I was gimpy, but helped in the pits. Tom was able to run the fastest lap in the unlimited gp and break into the 19s, which was awesome!!! Congrats Tom. Amazing considering the conditions. I rode home with David Siminski since Tom's truck was full because the girls were there.

Monday morning I went to urgent care and found out I have a radial neck break. Basically, that is one of the 2 big bones in the forearm...the one that enables your arm to twist (turn your hand over when you rest your elbow in place). It will require a full arm cast for 4-6 weeks I'm told. Hoping to talk the Dr. into something to make it easier to work. I type all day...typing this report with one hand has taken WAY too long! hahaha We'll see. Hoping my boss is not pissed.

My next race was supposed to be the AFM race at Infineon at the end of this month where I was scheduled to race in the 4 hour endurance race. Airfare is already bought, and not refundable, so I may go to hang out but not race. I'm bumming about that.

A lot of people came by to check up and express their concern. I truly appreciate it. Thank you. I'll be back out there acting as a speed bump or road block as soon as possible. ;-)

I want to say a special thanks to the following people: 
  • my teammates for making the weekend fun and making room for me 
  • Mike for his brake work
  • Dale and crew for coming through this weekend bringing me a bunch of stuff I asked for before arriving (e.g. gloves) and stuff I asked for after getting there (e.g. Brembo master cylinder and banjo bolt).
  • Jim Cox for his spare banjo bolt and friendly conversation
  • Brian Short, David Siminski and Adam Garibaldi for help and fun in the pits
  • David for the ride home
  • my wife for not lecturing me
  • the cute ambulance girl and her teammate
  • CCS SW crew and workers
  • everyone who left the drama at home and had fun

 

I also want to thank our sponsors who make this all doable.

 

Brian

#34

 

     
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