National Endurance Series, Round 6
Raceway, Grattan, Michigan
2005 by Dan Schmitt
The weather for the sixth round of the DUNLOP/WERA National Endurance race at Grattan Raceway was very warm but threatening. The smell of rain was in the air as the thirty-three teams took the green flag. Tray Batey on the Vesrah Suzuki and Rueben Frankenfield on the Team Velocity Yamaha R1 charged to the lead. Ben Thompson on the Red Star Yamaha R6 ran third with Bellís ARNCHU Suzuki, Dalke Motorsports Suzuki and Army of Darkness Suzuki followed. The ambulance rolled to the second corner where Ghetto Custom went down with another bike and Cal Swigger was in a daze.
At the top of the
first hour, Vesrah held a thirty-six second advantage over the field as the
SuperStock bikes began their first pit stops. Then there was bike down at the
top of the esses and this brought out a red flag and the teams returned to the
At the restart, again
Vesrah and Velocity went wheel to wheel for a dozen laps. Check-Out Racing,
local heroes, charged to fifth overall on their Yamaha R6. The teammates, Dixie
Mafia and Army of Darkness ran together in sixth and seventh.
Red Star and ARNCHU fought
for third on this two-mile roadcourse. Honda factory-backed Team HMR charged
into the top ten.
At the halfway point,
Vesrah held a one-lap advantage over Red Star and Velocity, and a two-lap
advantage at the four-hour mark, but then things started to go downhill for this
Championship team. First there was a loose exhaust bracket and then during a
tire change, the front axle got hung up. These lost precious minutes in the pits
allowed Velocity to get back on the lead lap. During the final hour the weather played a part in the
outcome of the race.
With forty-five minutes to
go, the rain finally came to the back-forty section of the track. This slowed
the field down and quick decisions were being made in the pits. Velocity held a
twenty-five second lead over Vesrah and decided to put a rain tire on the rear.
Vesrah quickly changed both ends to rains. With half the track wet, the Velocity
set-up seemed to work better for Mark Crozier. Plus, the Vesrah Suzuki was
leaking water from a stone-caused leak in the radiator, so John Jacobi had to
watch the temperature gauge and the drying track conditions. Velocity led by
eight seconds for a few laps and then it stretched to ten. Jacobi made the
decision to back off and save the engine.
Frankenfield of Team
Velocity stated at the end of the race, ďWe held it together, we made the
right decision, and as the track dried out, Mark was able to leave Vesrah
1.Team Velocity Racing,
Yam1000, 2. Vesrah Suzuki, Suz1000, 3. Bellís ARNCHU Racing, Suz750, 4. Red
Star, Yam600, 5. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, Suz750, 6. Army of Darkness, Suz600, 7.
Dalke Motorsports, Suz600, 8. Four Feathers Racing, Yam600, 9. Apex
Manufacturing, Yam600, 10. BP Pipeline, Suz750
H S/Bk: 1. Vesrah Suzuki,
2. Bellís ARNCHU Racing, 3. Team Xtreme/Maxxis
H S/Sk: 1. Team Velocity
Racing, 2. BP Pipeline, 3. Zyvax
M S/Bk: 1. Red Star, 2.
Army of Darkness, 3. Apex Manufacturing
M S/Sk: 1. Dalke
Motorsports, 2 Four Feathers Racing, 3. Dixie Mafia
L S/Bk: 1. The Notorious
P.I. G. 2. Blue Ridge Performance, 3. Ghetto Customs
after 6 rounds
1. Vesrah Suzuki, 614; 2.
Team Velocity Racing, 603, 3.Red Star, 522;
4. Army of Darkness, 510, 5. Bellís ARNCHU Racing, 439, , 6. Darke
Motorsports, 436 7. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, 422, 8. Team Eclipse, 406, 9. Dixie
Mafia, 358, 10. 5150 Racing, 337.
PHOTOS BY James Murr,
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