This blog post will self destruct in 30 seconds
Hidden deep within the hills of Northern California is a proving ground that only the chosen few get to visit, and then only the best of the best are allowed to ride there. While we have seen the freshly groomed track with our own eyes, we do not know the exact location. We were blindfolded on the ride in, and I am pretty sure the driver of the van doubled back a few times to throw us off.
The track is not that secret of a location (it’s in Calistoga) but you have to know people to get out there. While the best of the best have ridden here (Brad Baker qualifies, right?) most of the time the track plays host to some local talent, and Monday we were invited out for a private test day put on by Scooter City Sacramento.
The Bike: Zaeta. For those of you that don’t know, Zaeta is an Italian brand that was designed as the perfect cross training bike for MotoGP riders with input from Graziano Rossi – yes, that Graziano Rossi. It features a 530 single that in full race trim is putting out about 65 horsepower, and a trick billet frame that keeps the weight under 200 pounds. No, that is not a typo. This thing will do triple digit speeds on a mile course without breaking a sweat – ask co developer and racer Marco Bella who has run it up Pikes Peak.
The Rider: Brian Bartlow. Brian owns many of the 250cc track records in the United States and Canada from his road racing days and now has his sights focused on getting the number one plate in the NorCal Short Track Championship. As the owner of Feel Like A Pro Dirt, he has his own not so secret training facility up in Lake County (stay tuned for our report on his dirt camps in a future post). Brian is also part of the Cycle Gear Racing program.
We rolled up to the track a couple of minutes before the Zaeta arrived. It truly is a beautiful machine, and it looked quick sitting in the back of the truck. Brushed aluminum and carbon fiber abound with the heavily machined billet frame taking center stage. In the rear a single Ohlins shock is offset on the right side, and up front are fully adjustable forks. The motor is a beefy 530 made by TM Racing. It was a fickle beast to get kicked over, but once warmed up it roared through a Termignoni pipe, a deep BRAAAAAAP echoing through the Napa Valley.
Brian went out for a few laps to get used to things and came in for a suspension adjustment. Jim from Catalyst Reaction Tuning was on hand to get things dialed. In addition to suspension, Jim also swapped the handlebars out and before long Bartlow was living up to his “Flyin’ Brian” moniker.
We’d tell you what his lap times were, but where is the fun in that? Come see it for yourself June 21st at the Ukiah Speedway, Ukiah California. Brian will be rippin’ the Zaeta at round 3 of the Nor-Cal Short Track Championship.