Streets o’ Willow, October 4/5th

November 4th, 2008

With only two rounds left in the West Coast Challenge season Sarah and I find ourselves tied for third in the points.

We get the news that we’ve secured Second place overall in the Superside America National Series which consists of only Formula 1 class sidecars and only a few choice major events on the 2008 schedule.  While we did not podium in these events, we did consistently finish every single race high enough in the standing order to rack up some serious points.  Not something our competitors could say who either DNS’s (did not start) or DNF’ed (did not finish) the Superside events.  As Sarah likes to say, “You gotta be in it to win it!”  and we always see the checkered flag.  So we find ourselves at Streets of Willow on an upbeat note.

It could not have been a more beautiful weekend.  It was nice for Willow Springs.  Not that much wind, and not horribly cold for this time of year.  All the regulars were out and we packed the grid for what was shaping up to be a good event.

This was the first time we’d been back to Streets since last season, and it’s Sarah’s favorite track since it takes horsepower out of the mix and it’s tight technical nature pits driver against driver on pure skill and crazy factor.  Given Sarah’s pechant for crazy and total disrespect for her own mortality this track brings out the best and/or worst in her.

Practice was going well, but there were a couple spots on the track that were driving Sarah nuts because I could tell she just was not carrying enough speed.  She was either on the brakes way too soon, or not on the gas soon enough or hard enough on exits.  So after batting her eyes at Wade she was able to talk him into taking us out for a tow-around for a session with Wade and Christine so we could pick up some speed, brake markers, and lines.

It’s at this point I’d like to mention that ‘Wade’ is Isle of Man TT roadracing legend Wade Boyd.  One of our first introductions to Wade was out at Reno-Fernley in 2006 where he and Christine went around the outside of us in a sharp left with smoke coming off the front and rear tires and Christine about two feet up in the air… for fun.

So Wade takes us out for a tow, and already I can feel us carrying more speed up through one around the top of two.  Sarah chops the throttle and slides the back end of the CSR around two and chases Wade around the bottom of three and up into four/five/six.  I can feel the tires on the CSR chattering happily to be running at such a nice pace.   Wade takes us on a nice in/out/in line through the high banked bowl that slingshots us out onto the back straight and pulls Sarah into the tricky turn ten blind chicane session about twice as fast as she’s ever gone before.  I get my right foot into the upright as we approach the left kink rumble strips and lift the chair wheel up and over the rumbles as we fly smoothly through the kink like we’re shot out of a cannon still on Wade’s line.  Four more laps and the speed continues to build as Wade and Christine up the pace each lap.  Sarah continues to drive harder and the CBR1000RR engine in the CSR starts to sing, tires start to howl, a symphony of speed and motion begins to play as we shave seconds off laps.

Here’s video from the session.

We’re ready to race.

Practice on Sunday is uneventful.  We actually take it easy and only do a few laps at a moderate pace just to shake down the CSR and warm ourselves up physically.  It’s a long wait from our practice sessions to our actual race around 3:30 in the afternoon.  Finally after quite some time our race is called, we suit up and roll out.  Sarah wastes no time putting on the speed even for the warm up lap.  We’re one of the first out on the track and she gets heat in the tires.  Due to our points lead we’re right up on the front row next to Rick Murray in his LCR.

The tension is high as the two board goes sideways, Sarah raises the revs, the one board is out, and then the flag drops.  Sarah gets the best launch of the season, and only Rick and Bill out pace us from the start.  Wade manages to catch up, and we’re in 3rd up the hill with John sneaking by on the inside around the top relegating us back to 4th.  The rig fishtails violently as I’m making my right left transition between the fast switchback of five and six.  I find myself suddenly going down the track backwards half out of the CSR one asscheek on the ground right leg and arm catscratching at the air. I use every ounce of strength I can muster to pull myself back in with my left arm which was the only thing holding me on at that point.

We do our best to stay on the pace of Rick/Bill/Wade but they are just blistering today.  We hold 4th place with two laps to go, and it looks like a lock.  So I think.  I look back and see Sean’s bright yellow F1 closing the gap on us fast, something has lit a fire under his ass.  He closes up on us going into the turn to esses and that’s when I screw up.  I bobble my timing on the left-right  transition and lift the chair wheel.  It’s nothing major but it’s just enough to spook Sarah and throw her off her drive.  Sean uses this to his advantage and sneaks by under us to drive onto the front straight.  Now we’re playing a game of catch-up as we pass by the white flag hot on Sean’s tail.  I know Sarah’s gameplan, she’s going to set him up and out drive him on the exit of the bowl on the back straight, or beat him on the brakes into the turn ten esses.

But we see a standing yellow flag before the bowl turn and in the distance, Rick’s LCR moving very slowly on the track along the back straight.  Passenger-math tells me unless Sarah can pull off some magic between ourselves and Rick in the next few seconds we’re hosed.  Sean sneaks by Rick with a hair-width to spare and we get hung up behind Rick with nowhere to go.  A perfect block, bye bye fourth place.  I express my displeasure at being relegated to 5th by venting on the bodywork, Sarah shakes her head as we cross the checkers.  But that’s racing, and any race you get that emotional about was a good one.  Last season we were jumping for joy when we finished a race, this season we’re pissed off at losing a position in the top five out of a full grid.  One point off third place in the championship into the last race of the season.

You’ve come a long way baby.


Portland, Land of sky-water

November 4th, 2008

 Saturday was dry, but obviously cold and damp.

We were able to practice on a dry but very green track, which made for interesting lots-of-grip-oh-hello-no-grip-at-all conditions.

Sarah dug the track, as it was fast, and fairly easy to learn.  All the regulars were there…  As well as some of the SRA-NorthWest division who was hosting the event.

Practice was decent, the track was green with the fresh asphalt still needing to break in. But things went well.

Odd thing… They sent us out -first- on Sunday morning, while the track was still pretty much soaked from the night before. I think the logic was, “Send out the sidecars, they’ll dry out the track for the motorcycles.

So here Sarah and I are flying around the track with puddles and standing water in places… on slicks. Trying to be gentle and get the tires up to operating heat range without flying off the track. We’re making good progress around the track. Fourth lap in we’re flying down the back straight, Sarah is going down through the gears on her brake marker and setting up for the fast left/right chicane of turn 7/8.

Sarah clips the rumble strips of 7 with the chair wheel at about 80 sending the whole rig into a counterclockwise spin. I drop down into the platform and clamp on for the ride and around we go. We 360 down the track clear to 8 ending up just on the outside left edge, still on the track. Sarah pops up, looks back, and asks if I’m ok… but I’m too busy laughing my ass off and screaming, “AGAIN!!! AGAIN!!!” She throws it back into gear and we pull off into the pits with me waving to the spectators and corner workers who at this point are cheering and giving us a standing ovation.

But, about an hour before our race the skies opened up and it hammered down. We figured we’d just end up running in the rain, even if it meant we’d be running a slow race, or a fast last-man-standing race. But, the plug was pulled on our race due to safety concerns, and we got our money back, so at least there was that.

Sarah’s mom lives about 15 minutes from the track, she came all the way out just to watch us race, bummer.  But that’s racing, and what can you do? We got in some good track time on PIR, which is a great track. Had loads of fun with the OMRRA folk and the SRA-NorthWest peeps who we don’t get to see enough of. And we got to work on traction control and smoothness in low/no traction wet-weather situations. This was our first wet-weather track experience on a F1 rig.

The video breakdown on Sunday afternoon practice before the rain rolled in.  Shot with my VholdR wearable Helmet Cam

I did end up giving Jerry SandsquidXX from Bay Area Riders Forum three E-Ticket level laps of PIR on the F1 before they finally flagged me off the track.  He’s a great sport for holding on during the experience, especially after how I left the hot pit and entered the track. =D

A good weekend overall, everybody who showed up to race got 5 points just for showing up despite the race being pulled, which puts us tied for 3rd place in the championship points standings right now with Streets of Willow two weeks away at Willow Springs Raceway.

My favorite shot from the weekend.

Thanks go out to the guys over on ADVRider for the additional photos and showing up to the track to support us, it was great having you there.


Five small points…

September 16th, 2008

Separate us from third place overall in the Championship Points Standings for 2008 with three rounds remaining in the season.

2008 Current Porints Standings after Miller Motorsports

And second place honestly isn’t out of reach.

The Miller Motorsports round in Utah was a spectacular four days of non stop fun.  We were treated like royalty by the fans and our wonderful hosts at the Miller facility.

We had a great weekend, AHRMA is great, the crowd was huge, everybody loved the sidecars… The press day on Thursday was great, we ran tight formations around the track for the cameras and gave lots of taxi rides to the media and willing victims who talked to the media afterwards. We were interviewd by a couple different ‘hot rod/motorhead’ type shows…

The racing was intense, Miller is an amazing track. It’s our little slice of heaven for sure.

Sarah’s first race on Saturday she was scraping the paint off the ass of one of our faster rivals the entire race. And if the race had not been incorrectly checker-flagged a lap early we’d have thrown our pass on Sean on the last lap on a part of the track where we knew we had a clear advantage and pulled away to the checkers and finished 9th instead of 10th out of a 16 bike grid.  But, that’s racing and it happens.  Sarah and I have decided to forgo the ‘pass on the last lap’ strategy in the future and just go with ‘pass right now and stay in front of them’ in case a administrative error occours in the future.

Sunday’s race Sarah got the best launch of her life at the drop of the green, and we shot out of the box like a top fuel dragster going into turn one right with the pros. Sarah learned how to effectively powerslide the rig through corners this weekend at high speeds and held of a -very- fast competitor for nearly two laps playing some rather dirty pool with a game of high corner entry speed, late to no braking, getting sideways on the power to make us wide, and getting in his line when he thought he was going to sneak by on the inside or outside. He finally got by us on a front straight drag race on pure motor, but Sarah proved the point that she was all over him in the corners. Our very -very- fast rival came over after the race and told Sarah, “You are -definitely- getting a lot faster, girl.”

Losing that position relegated us back to 10th as we were not able to catch back up.   All that drive blew Sarah’s energy reserves.  There was no threat from behind and 9th was slowly walking away as we physically started to fizzle out after four days of hard practice and racing came to a boiling head in our fatigued bodies.

Another well earned 10 out of 16. And another milestone. All laps run, and none of the ‘pros’ came close to lapping Sarah at the end. At this stage in our racing life we’re to the point where we see the 1/2/3 race leaders go by us on the last lap or close to last lap. Our regular 1/2/3/4 finishers came up after the race to tell Sarah, “Where were you? You were gone girl… What bit you in the ass?”

A satisfying weekend in Utah, a good show for the crowd, an impressive professional display of high tech new gear from the SRA… And Portland PIR is this coming weekend.  A new track to us, a shot at some more points, and a shot at third overall in the Championship standings.


F1 Sidecar Champ Steve Norbury has died

September 9th, 2008

Reposted from BSN

By David Miller

Isle of Man sidecar hero Steve Norbury has been killed in a crash in Germany. We have no official word on what happened. Passenger Rick Long is in hospital with suspected broken legs.

The pair were competing in the German F1 Sidecar Championship at Hockenheim.

Our thoughts are with Steve’s family.

Gerd Prilipp, who was at Hockenheim with his son, witnessed the crash and got in touch with us via email.  He said: “We were sitting in the grandstand above the Sachs Curve. Steve came into the motodrome very quickly and at the braking point, the rear wheel locked.

“At the same moment, the sidecar broke sideways and Steve had no chance of catching it. He had nowhere to go and went across the gravel and into the tyre wall.

“One of the two was thrown clear of the sidecar as it went two metres in the air. The stewards were on the scene immediately and straightaway called for medical staff.

“Another rider with a beautiful outfit (who we believe was World Champion Tim Reeves – DM)  stopped and tried to help but there was nothing he could do, so he returned to the paddock.

“After around 15 minutes, the doctors called for the riders to be put in the ambulances to be taken to the helicopter. I think the passenger lifted his head to see how his friend was, which got a round of applause from the audience.

“After the re-started race was finished, none of the riders opened the Champagne on the podium. I would like to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Steve Norbury and his friend in the boat to get well soon.”

Our condolences to the friends and family of Steve, and heal soon Rick… you have lots of sidecar family who will tend to you as you recover.

~ Mike & Sarah

Heading to Miller/Utah Wednesday 3/9!!!

September 1st, 2008

We’re heading to the 2008 Bonneville Vintage GP at dark-30-AM Wednesday.  We hope to make it to the track Thursday at Noonish for the Media event with all the TV/News people.  If you want to come see sidecars, vintage bikes, supermoto, Doug Polen tear ass around a world class racing facility, beards, lunatics.  All kinds of hotness.  Come to Miller!  We’re even getting press. “Miller Motorsports Park hosting ‘Cycle Fest’ September 5th-7th”


New Sponsors VholdR! ~ Challenge Auto Racing!

September 1st, 2008

So first off, we’d like to welcome two new sponsors to the Bad Cat Racing team.

VholdR produced Twenty20, LLC.  The -best- personal digital A/V recording device produced today.

Simple, elegant, high tech.  And… my freaking -favorite- feature of all.  ONE BUTTON OPERATION.  The rest of you hear that?  ONE BUTTON.  We currently have a DVR rig with a nice high end lipstick cam.  It never gets used, we used it once at the beginning of last season and it was such a pain in the ass that it’s been sitting in the bag unused ever since.  Why?  Well, first there’s about 20 wires all about six feet long.  Second, a battery pack to drive the camera, gotta hope that doesn’t come unplugged or any of the six AA’s pop out… so gaff-tape that up.  Third the DVR is mounted in a shock proof case with buttons you nearly need a jewelers screwdriver to operate and a menu system that is similar to the Nintendo Contra unlimited free replay code  just to start recording video.  Oh yes, that’s totally easy to do when you’re in leathers with Kevlar gloves on and it’s 100 degrees and Girl Wonder is screaming at you that they’re on third call for your practice session.

Again, the VholdR camera?  Slide the big button one direction… Recording.  Slide the big button the other direction, Not Recording.  Praise the God of Speed, someone understands!

Supposedly it has lots of other very cool features as well, and we’ll get into those quite a bit more as we use the product and update the blog with videos and details.  But the biggest and most important feature is can you simply turn it on and off in a panic situation quickly and easily by tactile sensation?  And the answer is a resounding YES!  Thanks go to Kelly and the team at Twenty20!

Challenge Auto Racing in Scotts Valley, California.


 Challenge Auto Racing is one of only two facilitates in the United States to offer full six degrees of freedom (DOF) auto racing simulation platforms.  To quote directly from their website.


For the ultimate in seat of the pants sensation, nothing beats a six DOF(degree of freedom) motion platform.

Six DOF motion platforms are an aerospace standard used in multi-million dollar fighter aircraft simulators.

Not only can you achieve six distinct types of motion, but when they are combined simultaneously, just about any desired effect can be had.

One of the most satisfying aspects of a 6-DOF motion platform is the absence of any perceivable pivot point. The motion platform lets you feel what the car is doing.

When you lose traction at the rear wheels and the back end begins to comes around, you’ll feel it. Without motion, by the time your eyes tell you the back ends coming out, it’s usually too late.

Motion also gives you a good indication of how smoothly you’re driving, you can feel the even the most subtle weight transfers from left to right, or front to back–something that’s almost impossible to see.



 Our stockcar racing simulator is built from a modified, scale race car capable of 200+ miles per hour. The driver is surrounded by a full steel roll cage and sheet metal interior. The body is proportionate to a full size NASCAR® stock car and 2/3 scale for ease of transport and space conservation.

The force-feedback steering gives the driver a real sense of g-force, and tire slip. This is not the watered down stuff found in other racing centers, arcades, or at home – your arms may experience fatigue.

Another key sensation in racing is vibration, and we’ve got it. We have a real, dynamic mechanical vibration, not a little sub-woofer under the seat.

The stockcar-racing simulator has authentic construction and styling. It features a steel frame and full roll cage with a fiberglass body. The stockcar is also equipped with Goodyear racing slick tires and Basset wheels. The interior is equipped with sheet metal panels. You sit on a Butlerbuilt racing seat, then in front of the seat is a high force feedback steering wheel and the shifter is a B&M Pro Ratchet.

On the panels are working gauges: oil pressure, speedo, tach and a shift light. Then on the dash panel is where you find our engines start button, aux 1-3, temperature light and gearbox select. The racing simulator has a THX 400 watt, 4-Channel surround sound system.

But you’re probably thinking to yourself, “But guys, this is a NASCAR simulator, and you drive a F1 sidecar, how is this going to help you?”

Well the neat thing is with hardware this advanced they make it so you can flick a few switches and (poof) you’re sitting in a Formula 1 car.  Which is of course exactly what we’re going for.  And, with Portland International Raceway loaded up on the Simulator.  It’s time to get to work for our mid-September PIR race.  Thanks go to Eugene and the team at Challenge Auto Racing!



September 1st, 2008

Yes, it actually is… stay tuned!!!

Finally… Business Cards

July 18th, 2008

Mike finally designed us some business cards.  Now we can quit handing out Frank’s cards and saying “Well, this is our competitiors business card.  Go to his site and it links over to our site… and you can see our stuff.”

Not bad =D


Plz 2 b voting for our photo ;D

June 22nd, 2008


Click ‘vote for this photo’ on both

Local paper ‘Santa Cruz Sentinel ~ 2008 Santa Cruz Wheels’ photo contest.

Winner gets a big color photo in the paper of course.  And we could use the press to spread our three wheel religion.


Points are in, I’m 4th overall!!!

June 18th, 2008

West Coast points have been tallied from the Road America event.  I’ve been bumped up to 4th place behind Oliver, and Mike’s hot on Ian’s trail.  We’re both 10 points shy of 3rd overall in the standings. =D

We’ll see if we can fix that out at Reno/Fernly in two months!