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DUNLOP/WERA National Endurance Series  Round 5

Grattan Raceway, Grattan, MI

July 17, 2004 by Dan Schmitt

 Returning to Grattan Raceway is like a great homecoming for Team Chicago. Steve Karson and I learned how to go fast at this race track in Michigan. Yes, we raced at Blackhawk Farms earlier in our careers, but Grattan teaches you so much. And like they say, ‘you ain’t racing ‘til you can run with the fast guys from Michigan!’ Over the years I have become part of the family with E. J., the track owner. I have spent many enjoyable weekends at Grattan.


Reaching the halfway point in this ten-race series, the challenge of Grattan Raceway is the tight technical corners and the fast straightaway with a few rises and descents. Some of the local heroes came out to mix it up with the national teams. With the flip of the green flag, this six-hour race began at 10:30 AM. Tray Batey on the Vesrah Suzuki and Reuben Frankenfield on the Team Velocity R-1 swapped the lead as the teams negotiated the two streams of water crossing the track, left from the 3-inches of overnight rain. Fritz Kling on the Taylor Knapp Racing R-6 ran third with fourth. Roger Bell was smoking the field on the Bell’s Suzuki II SV, running fifth. Army, Neighbor, Chicago, Xtreme/Maxxis, FDK, HMR II, Deals Gap II, and Dixie Mafia ran in a tight pack for the next half-hour just a few clicks back.


At the one-hour mark, Bell’s make an early pit stop, moving Army of Darkness to fifth, taking FDK to sixth. Neighbor grabbed seventh. During the second hour, and with Joe Gill riding the Taylor Knapp R-6, they scooted to second overall, with Velocity third. But before the hour was out, disaster struck Taylor Knapp as the temperature began to rise to 250 degrees. With the water gone and the oil cooked, their primary bike was out. They went to their back-up bike to salvage some points. Neighbor and Army continued to run together in sixth and seventh as Vesrah continued with a one-lap advantage. I followed Steve and raced the second hour. I had to be a little cautious in the first and sixth corners, as water ran across the track from the three inches of rain that fell the night before.


At the halfway point, continued to run steady 1:26 laps on their Yamaha R-6, and held off the attack of Army in fourth. Team Velocity held on in second with Vesrah first. A few teams ran off the track, B & S Roadracing in turn one, and SMP in turn 5, but the majority treated the water respectfully, crossing in a upright manner. Phil Caudill took over the Team Chicago R-6 and moved us to 12th overall, we still need a little more horsepower.


Another slow front tire change, running SuperStock legal, moved Team Velocity back to fourth during the fourth hour. Team Xtreme/Maxxis Tires made the big push to seventh as Amchu Racing took sixth. Bell’s Suzuki continued on the boil as they moved back to fifth overall, first in the Lightweight class. We changed the rear tire as Steve took over again and it took one-minute and ten seconds, not as fast as we used to change the rear tire on the older R-6. We need to practice a little more.


During the fifth hour, the contest in the Middleweight SuperStock class heated up for second in class. Deals Gap Resort II on a R-6 Yamaha moved to striking distance of Neighbor for second in class. Team Chicago was a lap back. Cherokee led the class, second overall and running strong. Vesrah had a seven-lap advantage when disaster struck. Coming out of the ‘hairpin’, turn ten, Mark Junge tried to pass on the outside, got pinched off, the bike went into a wild tank-slapper, and Mark’s thumb got caught between the handlebar and the gas tank. With a bursted thumb, requiring ten stitches, Mark limped back to the pits. Losing time in the pits, the overall was up for grabs. It was now Frankenfield on the Velocity Racing R-1 and he began to ride like a man possessed, knocking off 1:22 laps. This last hour charge moved Velocity to second overall, but with the checkered flag, Vesrah held on for victory. Cherokee retained third, one lap up on Army of Darkness. Frankenfield stated, “They sent me out on a seek and destroy mission. They put on a new rear tire, and I ran down Army and Cherokee.”


Phil took over after I rode and spent the last thirty-five minutes trying to run down Deals Gap and Neighbor. He ran out of time and we had to settle for fourth in class, eleventh overall. We have now moved to thirteenth in the Overall point standings. Hopefully, before the next round, the Hindle pipe will arrive and I will install the new HyperPro rear shock. Next issue, I will report on the horsepower gains from the new pipe and the injection controller from 4 & 6 Racing.  

Next Round, Summit Point, July 31


 OVERALL: 1. Vesrah Suzuki, Suz 1000, 2. Team Velocity, Yam 1000, 3., Yam 600,  4.Army of Darkness, Suz 600,., 5. Neighbor of the Beast, Yam 600, 6. Deals Gap Resort, Yam 600, 7. Bells Suzuki II, Suz 650,  8. Dixie Mafia, Suz 650, 9. Amchu Racing, Suz 600, 10  Team Xtreme/Maxxds, Suz 1000, 11. Team Chicago, Yam 600, 12. Blue Ridge Performance, Suz 650,  13. Need a Sponsor, Suz 1000, 14. Touring Sport Racing, Apr 1000, 15. Yeager Racing, Suz 650


HSB: 1. Vesrah Suzuki, 2. Touring Sport Racing, 3. HMR II

HSS: 1. Team Velocity Racing, 2. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, 3. Need a Sponsor

MSB: 1. Army of Darkness, 2. Amchu Racing, 3. R.E.C.H. Racing

MSS: 1., 2. Neighbor of the Beast, 3. Deals Gap Resort

LSB: 1. Bell’s Suzuki II, 2. Dixie Mafia, 3. Blue Ridge Performance

 POINTS  OVERALL (after 5 rounds)

1,Vesrah Suzuki, 543, 2. Army of Darkness, 520, 3., 417, 4. Neighbor of the Beast, 379, 5. Bell’s Suzuki II, 375, 6. Team Velocity Racing, 374,  7. Team Xtreme/Maxxis, 357, 8. B & S Roadracing, 356, 9.FDK, 350,  10. Blue Ridge Performance, 313, 11. Dixie Mafia, 293,12. Yeager Racing, 291, 13. Team Chicago, 264, 14. Deal’s Gap Racing, 262, 15. Canton Racing #1, 256


Photos by Sean Jordan



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