Home Forum Results Schedule Our Team Our Bikes Sponsors Gallery For Sale Links Contact Us
Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Tom's Report from California Speedway

4/27/2007-4/29/2007 Fontana, CA - AMA Pro Superbike Series

 

AMA Pro Superbike Series

I can't believe I am here. It doesn't seem that long ago I remember saying to my dad when he took me to Bridgehampton Raceway on Long Island in 1971 "I would love to race a motorcycle like that" It stuck in my mind. I rode for a while when I was a kid. Before I started racing my 2003 RC51 in 2004, the last bike I rode was my 1976 KZ900 in 1979. That first year of racing the RC51 at 46 years old, I realized that this is in my soul.

Teaming up with Ivan Garza and Evan Steel Performance has made this dream come true. Yeah I'm an old guy, but desire and dedication is what we have in common. It's really all about getting the most out of the bike to me. I don't care who I beat or who beats me, I just want to ride at the limit, and beat the track with the bike under me. It's amazing what goes into doing one of these weekends. I have started a body transformation to get in some kind of shape to do this. I changed my diet and workout regiment and still have a long way to go, it will take 1 year.

Thursday

So anyway, I am here. I was on the track today at Promoter Practice going into turn 1 with Haner and Yates. I got so star struck I messed up the next 4 turns telling myself in my helmet "holy shit that was Yates!" The best I ever ran here was a 1:35.2. that's not very good. Yeah there are faster guys out there and could do a lot better than me at an AMA event, but they are not here, I am. So I better at least ride like I deserve to be here. That is easier said than done! But I'll try and let the cards fall where they May (yeah he's fast)! First session I do a 1:33.7. Not too bad. Need to get the used tires off, change the rear spring and the fork springs. Go out and the tire just is not hooking up. try some more things and can't get out of the 33's? Then we find out we got a new Dunlop N-Tec and the pressure should be 8 psi lower! OK now go on a tire that has about 25 smoking laps on it cause it was just spinning with the high pressure but with the correct pressure knock off a 1:32.4. Day over when we hear a slight valve tap and don't want to take a chance before we check it out. Tomorrow we get 1 hour practice. We will put new tires on and try to step it up and get to the 1:30's.

Friday

The guys worked on the bike late into the night. Had to shim a loosening valve. Seems we have the same thing going on with the valve sticking. Tim Kundsen's new GSXR also had the same problem. We have the first practice. We get out a little late, have some adjustments and getting used to the new rearsets we just mounted up. Two red flags cut into the 1 hour practice. We have everything sorted and I'm feeling ready to start pushing when the second red flag comes out and ends the session. I realize how short and important track time is. Tomorrow we'll have 1/2 hour in the morning and a 25min qualifying session in the afternoon. Tonight the bike will get torn down again to check that valve clearance. We will also put 1.0 springs in the front, I am burying the front now and if we go stiffer I should be able to brake deeper. Our best time of 1.32.2 is something we know we can improve on. The last lap before the red flag, the bike was feeling great. We have to go to the one and only riders meeting. So I'm sitting in the room just like any other riders meeting, the guy in charge (Morgan Broadhead) is going over track specifics and news. I'm looking around at The Haydens, Bostrums, Yates , Duhamel, Hacking, Spies, etc. and say to my self "what the hell am I doing here!" This is one of the things that has been going thru my mind, I have no business being here. As I think about it, I come to the conclusion that they set the rules. The rules are specific, be within 110% of the pole sitter and you belong here. So it's really that simple, if we get to the mid 1.31's, we belong. I feel confidant that we can take 1-2 seconds off our best, so yeah I guess I belong in this room, unbelievable!

Saturday

We are still worried about the valve. I get out for 5 laps and get down to a 1:31.6. I really want to get back out and try for the 30's. We decide the smart thing to do is not push the bike in case the valve goes. If we drop the valve it will be tough to get a new motor in before qualifying. We are fast enough with the 1:31.6 if Spies does a 1:23.5 in qualifying. It's better not to take the chance, make sure the valve clearance is still within tolerance change the oil and get the bike ready for qualifying. That's what we do, practice done after 5 laps.

Qualifying.

Track and air temp get crazy high. Track at 120, air at 90! Spies only does a 1:24.8 making the cutoff at 1:33.2. We have a medium tire on and it is sliding everywhere, all the times are off. We get down to a 1:32.2 enough to get into the show! We shut it down and the guys have a full nights work ahead of them changing some valves. It was pretty cool making my first qualifying for and AMA race. Pat brought a bottle of Dom to celebrate. Brian Short was here as well as Andy and his wife. Thanks guys! At least we weren't last to qualify and hope we can do better in the race tomorrow!

Race Day!

We have 1, 30 min. warm up at 9am then race at 1pm. Evan tells me do 2 laps and come in so we can check the bike. They were up till 1 am changing valves. I go out and try the pit speed limiter. Cool! We changed the engine braking to be less in 2nd and I don't like it. The bike is doing stoppies into turn 12. We make the changes. I get 3 laps at the end, each one faster. At the end we are ready. It took tons of work to get to this point and I can't thank Kyle, Phil and Evan enough. As a team we made the correct decisions from Thursday to Sunday to make sure we get in the race. Thanks also to Brian Short for bringing his new 07 GSXR up Saturday in his van in case we needed a motor.

The Race!

We are gridded #22 on the sixth row. Next to me is Jay Tanner (WERA #1 plate holder), other side is Brad Puetz.The row in front we have 4 across with Johnny Rock Page and Chad Rolland. Next row up is Ivan, Mark Simon and Cory Sarros. The other guy on that row is David Weber. He is in the 1:28's. I feel I can race with everyone up to him. If all the guys in front of Weber finish the race Weber would be 13th. The gap from Weber back to the next group is 2 full seconds. So the race for 14th place will be close with the 10 of us. I get a great start, Simon jumped and got a stop and go flag. First lap our group order is Simon, Rolland, Ivan, Sarros, Page, Savoca, Tanner, Heard and Puetz. I pass Page inside of T9 when he almost high sides. We settle in, I'm behind Sarros who is following Ivan from Rolland. The bike feels great as we get to laps 5 and 6 the tire starts to really come in. I can see the gap is the same and tell myself "don't let them get away!" I start to pick up and when Ivan over shoots T3 I get real close. Sarros gets by Ivan and I say to myself " go get Ivan, if I get him he will step up and we can both go get Sarros". The plan was to go deep into T1, I was comfortable there and was getting faster and faster thru it. I went in deep, too deep, was on my knee and probably should have picked it up and ran over the curbing, but then again it was all the way over. I just needed a little more brake than the bike had. If I didn't apply brake pressure I would have hit the curb leaned over hard and it would have washed on the curb. The forks bottomed and the front tucked and I couldn't pick it up. I was so low I just let go of the bike, rolled to my back and slid till I stopped. I asked the corner worker if I could get back on and he said "yeah, if you can get it started" I pulled all the grass out and saw the shifter was broken, race over. I was running 17th at the time from 22nd and felt like I could run with Ivan, who knows, we'll try again.

There are way too many people to thank that have supported me, rest assured you are not forgotten, I thank you and your support. I could not do this without some really key people. Ivan, Evan, Phil and especially Kyle are the ones that make it happen at this level. They are a professional AMA racing team, that work as a team, to accomplish a goal. Thanks guys!! Pat, what can I say. You know this was a dream of mine and you helped and encouraged me to get it done. We did it!! My wife Sally. We did 26 race weekends last year, 24 the weekends the year before. She came to most of them and we have fun. It was Pat, Sally and me many times, always with the goal of sometime racing in the AMA. She was always there to help and support and never bitch about anything that was always race related. This year when it got serious and we added AMA to an already packed schedule she said Great have fun. She made sure I have all the correct foods, supplies and her blessing to go and get it done. How great is that? Thanks Babe!!
 

Tom
#151

 

 

 

 

 

     
Copyright © 2017 - Site by VaporBlue, Inc.