National Endurance Series Race 4
Springs Raceway, Rosamond, California
2005 by Dan Schmitt
Willow Springs Raceway is
the oldest purposely-built roadcourse in the USA, built in 1953. WERA returned
this year, after an absence of five years. The last time I raced here was at the
24-Hour in 2000 with Phil Caudillís Moto-Heaven Team. In 1999, Team Chicago
raced the 24-Hour, and the points from that race and the rest of the season
earned us our first National Championship.
Twenty-seven teams met the
challenge of this six-hour endurance. With the wave of the green flag, Team
Velocity took the lead, followed by Vesrah Suzuki. Before the first lap was
completed, Tray Batey took the Vesrah Suzuki to the lead. Yamaha R-1 mounted
Fastrack Riders and Kawasaki 1000 mounted Advanced Kawasaki charged through the
pack to make it a three-team battle for second overall.
I got lucky coming to
California without a rider. I knew I would be able to recruit a good local rider
to help out in this six-hour race. You have to remember, the WERA endurance
rules only allows for five riders per team during the season. I can only add one
more rider, so I was lucky to get Ed Sorbo to join Team Chicago for this
six-hour race. Ed is a former AMA 250 GP racer who finished second in that
championship a few times over the last ten years. This guy really knows his
stuff and jumped right in to help set up the Team Chicago Yamaha R-6 for Willow.
Starting from the middle of
the pack, Ed charged to eleventh place by the fourth lap and we were looking
good. Our full load of fuel was good for fifty-five minutes and our first pit
stop went well. It was now my time to take on the challenge of Willow Springs.
Prior to our pit stop some of the teams running larger bikes came in to pit.
Advanced Kawasaki was running in the Heavyweight SuperStock class and after
their first pit stop, they charged to second overall. Fastrack Riders grabbed
third with Army of Darkness in fourth. Bellís ARNCHU Racing held down fifth.
Phil Caudill took 4 & 6
Racingís SMP Racing 600 Suzuki to sixth. Ghetto Custom, Team Xtreme/ Maxxis,
Dixie Mafia, 5150 Racing and Dalke Motorsports were jockeying for seventh, all
running within twenty seconds of each other. I was running in thirteenth,
turning faster laps than when I was here five years ago, but not running as fast
as Ed. One of the tricks to turning a fast lap at Willow involves running into
turn eight and nine wide open. I ran in fast, but not wide open, so my lap times
were slower than Edís, but I was getting better mileage from the R-6. At the
two-hour mark, I came in to hand off to Ed.
Just before the halfway
point, Team Eclipse crashed in the fast turn eight, bringing out the red flag.
After a fifteen-minute break to bring in the downed rider and broken motorcycle,
the green flag flew again. Vesrah took the lead with Advanced Kawasaki a close
second, but two laps down. Army ran third with Team Velocity Racing in fourth.
Red Star was on the charge, moving to sixth. Ed Sorbo moved us up to twelfth. We
had a pretty descent pit-stop changing both wheels and a full load of fuel. It
took around ninety-five seconds, pretty good for a legal SuperStock bike. I took
over with new tires and went about one second faster, but still not fast enough.
In the Lighweight SuperBike
class, Ghetto Customs held the upper hand. Deals Gap Racing and Blue Ridge
Performance continued to battle for second in this class. Vesrah held a
three-lap advantage over Advanced Kawasaki at the four-hour mark. Dalke
Motorsports led the Middleweight SuperStock class and we were in second place in
the class, twelfth overall. I handed the Team Chicago R-6 to Ed and there was
one and one-half hours left in the race.
As the temperatures
continued in the high seventies and the winds began to pick up, Vesrah Suzuki
continued with three laps over Advanced Kawasaki. During the last hour, Fastrack
Riders crashed, losing sixth place overall. Army continued in third, with Red
Star closing fast but coming up short at the checkered flag. Our electrical
problem came back to haunt us. We started with a new battery, but after five and
one-half hours, it began to discharge. Ed came in for another battery, but we
did not charge the back-up battery, so the bike just would not pull over eight
thousand RPM. Mad Kaw Racing chased us down and took second in class. We
finished third in class but dropped to twentieth overall.
With a protest filed after
the race, Advanced Kawasaki was docked seven laps for using an illegal front
fender. They entered Heavyweight SuperStock, a class that limits modifications
on the bike. They made seven pits stops and were docked one lap per pit stop.
This moved them from second overall to fifth. In class, they went from winning
the class to second. WERAís return to Willow was well received by most of the
regular teams and they look forward to returning in 2006.
1. Vesrah Suzuki, Suz
1000, 2. Team Velocity Racing, Yam 1000, 3. Army of Darkness, Suz 600, 4. Red
Star, Yam 600, 5. Advanced Kawasaki, Kaw 1000, 6. Team Xtreme/ Maxxis Tires, Suz
750, 7. Bellís ARNCHU Racing, Suz 750, 8. SMP Racing, Suz 600, 9. Ghetto
Customs, Suz 650, 10. Dalke Motorsports, Suz 600, 11. Elijay Racing, Suz 750,
12. Mad Kaw, Kaw 636, 13. Deals Gap Racing, Suz 650, 14. 5150 Racing, Suz 750,
15. Blue Ridge Performance, Suz 650.
RESULTS: By Class
H/S/Bk: 1. Vesrah
Suzuki, 2. Team Xtreme/Maxxds, 3. Bellís ARNCHU Racing
H/S/Stk: 1. Team Velocity
Racing, 2 Advance Kawasaki 3. 5150 Racing
M/S/Bk: 1. Army of
Darkness, 2. Red Star, 3 SMP Racing
Motorsports, 2. Mad Kaw, 3. Team Chicago
L/S/Bk: 1. Ghetto Customs,
2. Deals Gap Racing. 3. Blue Ridge Performance
Overall (after 4 rounds)
1. Vesrah Suzuki, 448; 2.
Red Star, 373; 3. Team Velocity Racing, 370; 4. Army of Darkness, 336, 5. Darke
Motorsports, 275, 6.Team Eclipse, 266, 7. Ghetto Customs, 253, 8. Team Xtreme/Maxxis,
248, 9. Bellís ARNCHU Racing, 237, 10. 5150 Racing, 229
by Dan Shaffner firstname.lastname@example.org
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