CCS Race @ Firebird International Raceway, Arizona
Well -after spending the majority of the week leading up to the race rebuilding the transmission in the CBR once again there was another race weekend upon me. It was a local CCS race at Firebird International Raceway (in Chandler, Arizona), for those who don't know Firebird has three different race tracks that we use. This race was at the 'east' track, which is pretty slow and very tight. Just before practice Saturday we were informed that one of the corners was being changed the tightest turn on the track was being changed to a third gear short sweeper. I immediately liked the sound of it. At the end of the first practice I was very surprised to find that one corner can change the entire feeling of a track, and lap times were already faster than before. By the end of the first day of practice I had set the fast time at 55.9 and felt good about the upcoming race day.
Sunday morning came with a quick 10 minute warm-up and the races were underway. I had only entered in 2 races GTO and Unlimited GP. After practice we had a 15 minute qualifying session where I ran a 55.7 and my teammate (Mark Ledesma) ran a 55.6, it was starting to look like we were going to have a really fun race. The start of GTO was disappointing to say the least both Mark and I had really bad starts (we have been struggling to get the CBR 1000's off the line all year) however Mark's was worse than mine - he stalled his bike. I was off the line in about 6th place and by turn one I was in second. By the end of the second lap I was leading and pulling away. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful I managed to get a gap of around 10 seconds and held it to the finish.
Unlimited GP is generally the most fun race since it is the fastest riders on the fastest bikes. The start of the Unlimited GP was not much better that GTO but I again was into turn one in second and turned into turn two and went to the gas (when I say I went to the gas I don't mean I kind of wound the throttle I mean I stabbed the throttle with the ferocity of a caged lion that has not eaten in a week) well needless to say the rear tire had some qualms with that and tried it best to spit me off. Somehow I managed to somewhat keep it under control and landed on my knees on the fuel tank (not the optimum riding position).
Shortly after gathering myself up I realized I was still in second place and on the gas again. Well after another similar situation in turn three on lap two I put my head down and began to chase down the leader, Brad Hendry. By lap three I was on him and planning a pass when he lost the front in turn five and crashed. After that I pretty much just put it on cruise control and monitored my gap back to second and brought how my second win. I was really glad to bring home a couple of wins for my team North Valley Honda/ Red Baron Racing. This was my last ride for the team and it is always nice to end on a good note.
I enjoyed the new layout so much that I went back out the next weekend to a track day and re-set the track record with a 55.30 lap on my personal GSXR 1000.
Once again I would like to thank all my sponsors for all the help year after year.