AFM 2005 round 5, Willows California
"Size isn't everything"

So I brought Tracy and Matt to the Zoo last weekend. Great time. On the long drive home the subject of puberty came up. Oddly enough Matt said he was looking forward to it. Tracy and I gave each other a strange look, and then asked him why? "Well, um, isn't that when........ you know, my 'special purpose' is gunna start to grow?"

Tracy faced forward scratching her head, and wore a look on her face like she just bit into a sour lemon. A long pause followed....... and then I chimed in, "Listen Buddy, it aint the size of the wave that makes the difference. It's the motion of the ocean..... Hell, I'm hung like a Fruit Bat and look who I landed!"

Now I had both of them scratching their heads.....

Five days later (this past Friday) Mike held our 999R's main bearing in his hand while he explained to me it wasn't actually supposed to be in the 97 pieces it was, at the moment, so as a result we'd have to ride our 749R in both races. We were about to put that quote "Size doesn't really matter" to the test.

We've been having some emotional problems with our team's "Mojo." No one can figure out what happened, but somehow, some time after or during the national at Infineon, "Elvis left the building." Truth is everyone saw the clock ticking over the last weeks, but no one stepped up and got the job done the way we all knew it needed to be. The result? No big bike for Infineon, and no big bike for Thunderhill. And then of course I crashed chasing Pfeifer in our most important race last weekend - Dork. So now we're a big "behind" in the Open Twins points - Double Dork.

Saturday practice went well on that little 749R. The bike is just amazing to me. But even though the bike felt great in the turns, I intentionally left the battery out of our transponder. I think fear of the straights was the reason. After all "Thunder"hill wasn't named after its tight, technical nature. The way I saw it, with a straight that long we would be served as the main entree all day Sunday. Our goal was to gather as many points as possible, don't throw it away, don't blow it up, and then pack up Sunday night to go search for Elvis in the upcoming weeks.

Open Twins: In our first runs around Thunderhill last year, I went off the track just about every time I tried to lead. So when Jack told me this would be his first weekend here, we came up with a fourth pit signal for our team. Hands together = put the hammer down. Hands half apart = maintain pace. Hands out wide = slow down. And then the new one, hands over both eyes = Jack's following, learning the line, so slow down till he passes and let him struggle to learn the track on his own (maybe we'd be able to keep up). The flag dropped and that bike just came to life. We nailed the start. Our first pit signal was - hands half apart. I was surprised to see that on the first lap, and even more surprised to see it again on the second lap. By the fifth lap I was doing the superfreek. Couldn't believe we were still in the lead. Just then I noticed our pit signal for the last lap was getting a bit tighter. "Just hold on one more lap" I thought. Approaching the Cyclone we came up on a lapper. Intentionally I didn't pass him there. Instead I slowed and followed until just the last second going into six. What a better place to throw a lapper at someone, than just as they need to get a good drive for the fast section in the back. We ran home and took the win.

So far the score was "The motion of the ocean" - 1 "Size" - 0

Formula Pacific: Ever feel a LITTLE uncomfortable on the grid before? No? Try lining up on the front row of FP with a little Duc. That'll fix yu'. We absolutely nailed the launch. By the end of first gear all I could see was clear track in front, Dave Stanton to the left. That was it. By the end of second gear things still looked damn good. And then we hit third. Holy mother of........ In the next 75 feet we went from second place to about 49th, and we weren't even into the brakes yet! All I saw was asses and elbows and handlebars and Siglin and Stanton and Kunzleman and madness - sheer madness. We managed to get a few spots back as the rest of the lap panned out. Oh, and we lost a few more as well. Hill went by somewhere, and then Kim somewhere else. They tell me we came onto the front straight in front of a pack of three. I had no idea about that. Thought everyone was already ahead. Didn't see a sole until just after start finish. All of the sudden me and the bike got pushed over from the left side just as some manned rocket ship passed us with at least fifteen miles per hour. Then the rush came from the other side, and we got shoved the other way. Finally once more on the right and I had just about lost hope that I'd ever get a chance to brake for turn one. Instantly I was nine years old again, watching Charlton Heston rattle around in the movie Earth Quake. But he survived, and so did we. By mid race we began reeling some of these missiles in again. I really think the men were just tiring. Don't know for sure, but I imagine those 1,000's are a handfull to manage for ten laps. We worked our way back to tenth, using the tight sections to our advantage (sorry about the Cyclone pass Dave!).

Final score "Motion of the ocean" - 1.5 "Size" - 1

So there you go, brother fruit bats, don't feel so bad about yourselves. Size ISN'T everything. Just hit your marks and do the best with what you've got.
Everything else will fall into place...


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Eric "GoGo" Gulbransen, Tracy Gulbransen, Matthew Pilla, Motorcycle racing, AFM, Ducati 749R, 999R, race story, MotoItaliano