Team Chicago is a National Team racing the WERA National Endurance Series Team Chicago Challenge is a weekly motorcycle racing television show.

DUNLOP/WERA National Endurance Series  Round 4

California Speedway, Fontana, CA

June 12, 2004 by Dan Schmitt


The passing of President Ronald Reagan was announced as I left Chicago for California. Ronald Reagan was the greatest president of the United States in the 20th century. He was a great friend of the motorcycling community. As the sitting president in 1984, he took the time to answer a questionnaire from the AMA. He hand wrote, ďI do not believe the state has the right to force riders to wear helmets. It is their decision.Ē Ronald Reagan inspired me to run for Congress in 1984. I did not win, but I learned a great deal about politics. Talk radio was a great friend of mine, as I made my trip west.


It was a bright and sunny day in southern California for the fourth round of the Dunlop/WERA National Endurance Series. The temperature was in the mid-eighties as the green flag flew for the start of this six-hour event. Tray Batey took the Vesrah Suzuki to the lead with Bradley Champion on the Velocity Racing Yamaha R-1 in second. HST Racing, also R-1 mounted, was working their way through traffic bringing Army of Darkness, current points leader, and with them. Phil Caudill, the starting rider for Team Chicago, ran in the top ten during the first hour. Before the start of this race, I warned both Phil and Steve Karson that if either crashed during this race, they would be done for the year. Phil was very obedient during his first stint.


Forty-five minutes in, and clipped one of the fake curbings in the first turn chicane. With the bike down in the racing line, the red flag flew.  Vesrah Suzuki took the lead again with the green. A battle for second overall developed between Velocity and HST. When these two SuperStock legal R-1ís stopped for fuel, Army moved to second. As the top of the second hour came, Velocity ran down Army to take second as FDK grabbed fourth with Neighbor of the Beast now fifth. I took the Team Chicago/4 & 6 Racing R-6 out at the end of the second hour. I was not that happy with the track, but it was just okay. We were riding the new, totally stock 2004 Yamaha R-6 and we were down in power to most of the teams. When I turned the bike over to Steve, we were in 14th place overall.


Fifteen minutes into the third hour, one of the Honda boys of HMR Racing lowsided in turn six. This brought out the second red flag of the day. After a brief break in the action, the green flew again. Again it was the Nielsen Enterprise Vesrah Suzuki taking the lead. Disaster struck with Velocity Racing off the track, heading back into the pits. After analyzing the situation, the Velocity crew decided to go to the backup R-1, losing the sixty-three laps gained during the first two hours.


At the halfway point, the two tight skirmishes on the track were in the Lightweight SuperBike class and the Middleweight SuperStock class. Bellís Suzuki II held a one-lap advantage over Dixie Mafia with Blue Ridge Performance closing fast, all SV Suzuki mounted. R-6 Yamaha mounted Cherokee was two minutes ahead of Neighbor with B & S Roadracing another lap back in third. Steve rode his heart out, did not crash, and moved the Team Chicago R-6 to fourth in class, but we were a couple of laps back.


Vesrah Suzuki continued to pour on the coals, gaining a three-lap advantage over Army during the fourth hour. Bellís Suzuki had a problem that let the Dixie Mafia gain the lead in the Lightweight SuperBike class. Team Cycle World on a stock Kawasaki 1000 ran fast and steady to lead the Heavyweight SuperStock class with Team Xtreme/Maxxis Tires one lap back, second in class. Phil move us up to 12th overall with some steady, fast laps.


With the end in sight, HST Racing began their quest for the podium. With Jay Tanner and Corey Eaton riding the last two hours, this twosome turned up the wick. After running down Cherokee, they took after FDK. In the Lightweight SuperBike class, Dixie Mafiaís lead was short lived as they dropped out of the race. Bellís regained the lead with Blue Ridge second and Dealís Gap third. Team Xtreme/Maxxis recaptured the lead in the Heavyweight SuperStock class. Vesrah Suzuki continued to lead overall with Army second. I lost one position during my stint, but we maintained our 4th place in class standings.


During the final hour, HST Racing took their Yamaha R-1 to third place overall. Cherokee moved to fourth, passing FDK. Vesrah Suzuki took the overall win, taking the points lead from Army. Jay Tanner of HST Racing stated, ďWe accomplished more than we came do, we finished third overall and second in class, we had a lot of fun, it was a great ride.Ē


Riding a stock motorcycle on this fast, complex racetrack just proved to me how great the new Yamaha R-6 really is. We were down in power, but the bike handled very well. As the season progresses, we will continue to develop this new bike.


OVERALL: 1. Vesrah Suzuki, Suz  1000, 2. Army of Darkness, Suz 600, 3. HST Racing, Yam 1000, 4., Yam600, 5. FDK, Suz 600, 6. Neighbor of the Beast, Yam 600, 7. B & S Roadracing, Suz 600, 8. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, Suz 1000, 9. Bellís Suzuki II, Suz 650, 10. Team Cycle World, Kaw 1000, 11. Blue Ridge Performance, Suz 650, 12. Deals Gap Racing, Suz 650, 13 Team Chicago, Yam 600, 14. Team So Cal Elite Racing, Hon 600, 15., Suz 650

POINTS  OVERALL (after 4 rounds)

1,Vesrah Suzuki, 418, 2. Army of Darkness, 417, 3., 308, 4. FDK, 297, 5. B & S Roadracing, 296, 6. Bellís Suzuki II, 284, 7. Neighbor of the Beast, 281, 8. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, 275, 9. Team Velocity, 259, 10. Canton Racing #1, 255, 11. Canton Racing #2, 221, 12. Yeager Racing, 219, 13. Dixie Mafia, 205, 14. Dealís Gap Racing, 196, 15, Team Chicago, 186.

PHOTOS BY Power Sports Photography, Ed Dellis



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