Fontana, Round 3 2005

The Topline Printing Racing Report: Bittersweet Weekend in Fontana

There's never a good time for an engine failure, but the rare failure of the crankshaft that took Young Gun Chris Peris out of third place in Formula Xtreme at Fontana was a heartbreaker. The teenager had qualified third quickest, next to the Hondas of Zemke and DuHamel, and launched into a strong third place off the line. Two laps later the Topline Racing Yamaha sat quietly against the front-straight wall and Peris' third-place point standing was history.

"The engine was about 100 kilometers short of our scheduled replacement, but most of the miles on the engine were from Daytona", Fernando Peris reflected later. "Daytona miles are tough. The saddest part of the whole deal is that we had the new replacement engine sitting on the ground in the pits, and had plans to change it out Saturday night after the FX race. We only needed 12 more laps out of it, and Chris would have had his first AMA podium. To say THAT'S RACING was never more true."

The Topline Team bounced back from Saturday's disappointment to finish ninth in the star-filled SuperSport field. Chris ran a strong seventh during the opening laps and was overtaken by two fellow competitors as the race wore on. With about 8 laps to go in the 17-lap event, Chris ran a string of laps quicker than his qualifying time and put his Yamaha on the rear fender of May, hoping to make a bid for eighth and perhaps seventh place. Unfortunately, the plug for the electronic shifter worked itself loose and began to intermittently kill the engine, in turn killing any chance for eighth. "Yeah, it would have been great to try and race Geoff and Ben for seventh, but just running close to those guys means we're going in the right direction", Peris said. "Max McAllister of Traxxion Dynamics has really helped." McAllister adds, "I believe that once you've got the chassis combination right, it shouldn't change much track-to-track. We got this thing dialed in at Daytona (fifth place in the 200) and haven't touched too much since. I continue to be impressed with Chris' ability to feel even the smallest changes. Each weekend, I pick out a different guy that typically runs in front of Chris, and tell him Don't finish behind this guy! He always comes through, and basically only has 18-wheeler-type guys left to pick off. There isn't any privateer on the circuit he hasn't got covered at this point."

"We are really seeing some excitement in the paddock about Chris", according to Lead Mechanic Willy Vaas. "Yamaha Factory and Graves Motorsports have been keeping a close eye on us, and have been very generous with little bits and pieces of information and occasional parts when we need them. They even gave us passes to the factory hospitality tent this weekend, which was A LOT better than track food! Dunlop has assigned a technician to give us advice on tires. So even though we are still just a privateer team with a pickup and a trailer, we felt a lot of love this past weekend from the big guys."

Topline Racing left Fontana with high hopes for the rest of the year. "We have a lot of fans in California because I've been racing just about every month at Willow Springs", Chris said. "We kept a couple of bikes in Southern California and I'd fly in during the winter to stay sharp; even though I live in Calgary, I felt like a local!" Peris came to Fontana slightly more relaxed even though he had to drive the truck and trailer by himself from Barber, he had just written his final exams for his first semester of Business Administration at the University of Calgary. The Topline Team has high hopes for Infineon Raceway in two weeks, when the AMA Pro Series returns to action.