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Ball Sac Racing Race Report

Tom's Report from Infineon Raceway

5/18/2007-5/20/2007 Sonoma, CA - AMA Pro Superbike Series

 

AMA Pro Superbike Series

Well, I'm going to try and finish one of these things! Ivan, Evan, Phil and Tray left Tucson Tuesday. I'll fly out Wednesday night. We need to do promoter practice at all of these AMA rounds, especially at the tracks I have never been o before. Ivan has never been to Infineon, I have quite a few laps there so I'll try to show him around. By the time I get to the track it is closed. I leave the rental car outside the gate and walk in. The guys have the whole pit set up and the bikes ready for the morning!

Thursday

The track is different from the one I am used to. AFM used to run up the hill in turn 1 instead of the up against the wall over the curb Turn 1 AMA uses. They say it's a 2 second difference and I believe it is all of that! I ran off in turn 1 a bunch of times because I went in too hot. I break into the 45's in the second or third session. We try to make some changes to the set up, something I am learning how to do and we go the wrong way. I do 47's the forth and fifth session. So we put it all back and start from scratch. Thursday night we talk about what we need and rear grip is what we need more of. We lower the rear and put on a softer spring.

Friday

The bike is hooking up better but real tough getting through the esses. We don't want to loose the grip, but need the bike to steer quicker. The boys work their magic and in the short 1 hour session we get a good set up and down to 1:46.1, 1 hundredth ahead of Ivan and 1 tenth in front of Page. We feel Saturday we can continue in the same direction and drop the times.

Saturday

feel good about dropping the times. I try a different pair of gloves cause the ones I have are getting old and too loose feeling. We have 30 minutes to work on stuff. We decided to put race gas instead of the 110 in the bike to get that little extra and so I can feel the difference before we try to qualify in the afternoon. After the first lap I'm thinking the different gloves are not right. I am not smooth on the throttle, something that I pride myself on. Then I notice the bike is hesitating and basically running like shit. As I come off the throttle the bike stalls. I roll, into the pit. We think I may have hit one of the buttons that changes the map, not the traction control, some other button. We turn up the idle in a rush to get back out and the throttle stays on going into Turn 2! Luckily I don't crash and the session is over. We go back to the pit and check the map and the bike seems to be running OK.

Qualfing

I'm ready to hammer it. We know it will be close, Spies puts down a 1:36.5. I roll out and in the first lap I realize the bike is doing the same thing. I go as hard as I could and come in after about 8 laps and ask Tray where we are. He says I'm only at 1:45.8. I ask if it's enough and he says, it's close. I tell him if I try to go any faster with the bike the way it is, I'll crash. In the mean time while all this engine shit was going on we were still working on set up. We wanted the rear to hook up better coming out of the carousel. So we make a change and I go back out to see how it is. Turns out we made it. A 1:46.1 would get us in the show and with 1:45.8 we are there, 2 for 2! Now to figure out what is wrong with the bike! Turns out the new fuel we put in the bike was bad and put a carmel substance in the intake tract. First thing sat morning I used the new fuel, Ivan didn't use it till qualifying and he had the same problem towards the end of qualifying. Evan, Phil and Tray cleaned all that stuff out Saturday night. They search for new plugs and find some.

Race Day

1/2 hour practice. I just want to leave the bike and ride it. We do a 1:45.3 with a soft tire that had 18 laps and is toast. I hit the B traction control mode and do the fastest time, it works great when the tire is going off! Gridded on the second to last row #28. Get an OK start and on the first lap behind Page, Garza and Puetz and Biernacki. I see Ivan getting away and pass Puetz on the brakes into turn 11 and head off after Page who is not that far away. I pass him going over the hill in turn 2 and head off after Biernacki. Around lap 9 I pass him coming onto the front straight. Then as I am going after Ivan I get a blue flag in turn 4. I figure it is Spies, Yates, May, Bostrum and or Holden. I go way to the inside after 4 and nobody passes? I stay way to the outside of 5 and the carousel and nobody passes?? I stay way to the outside of the back straight at 1/2 speed and nobody passes??? Then as I exit Turn 7 the whole fright train passes with Page, Puetz and Biernacki with them!! I'm pissed and head out for them and pass all 3 back again finishing 22nd from 28th and finishing my first AMA race getting down to a 1:44.5.

Once again a great weekend and a lot of work to get there. We hope we can have a weekend we can just make small setup changes and get better each time on the track without something popping up. It takes a lot of pieces to just get on the grid and we have done it twice in a row. We have a great team that all works together and that is why it gets done.

Huge thanks to ESP, Evan Steel Performance. They have the ability, knowledge and perseverance to get an old fart like me on and AMA grid (and not be the last guy in any of the scoring charts)! My teammate Ivan, we work well together and help each other get better. For Pat's constant encouragement and advice. And my wife Sally's total support and help. From loading the trailer with food, packing clothes, transport to and from the airport, to the great feeling I get cause I know she is in my corner and behind me all the way in pursuit of this dream I have be realizing. See ya'll at Road America!
 

Tom
#151

 

     
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