Rain Doesn't Slow MRA Races At High Plains Raceway
The third weekend of Motorcycle Roadracing with the MRA on June 11 and 12 saw strong attendance, a Saturday rain delay, Great weather Sunday, and some of the best racing action of the year so far.
One of the new 2011 classes is Formula 40, and it started the weekend off with a great race for the crowds. John Burr seized the holeshot on his Triumph 675, followed closely by Tim Young and Aaron Fisk, with a hard charging John Fifield just back from a morning practice crash on his Yamaha R1.
In what turned into a thriller, Fifield made short work of the three racers in front of him, and quickly stretched out a comfortable lead. Riders were battling throughout the field, but from the back of the pack Aaron Petrie was coming on his big Honda CBR1000RR. Petrie laid down his fastest laps as he cut his way through, and as he broke into second place he focused on closing the gap with Fifield. By crossed flags Petrie was glued to the R1’s rear wheel; the two duked it out corner by corner over the next 3 laps, with Petrie pressuring constantly but unable to make a pass. The pair held those positions right to the end, and as they came up the front straight for the checkers Fifield took the win with Petrie barely a bike length behind. Another great Formula 40 ride came from Chris Coonshead, who charged from the back of the grid on his Yamaha R6, and claimed the 3rd spot on the podium.
In premier Race of the Rockies, it was déjà vu all over again. Dalton Dimick was first into turn 1 on his BMW S1000RR, but Shane Turpin was right behind him on the BMS 1098R, and on the very first lap relegated Dimick to second place. This is getting to be the routine in this race, but with the talent on the track, it’s never a given that things will stay that way.
Dan Turner was enjoying a flying weekend on his GSX-R1000, and as Dimick slowly lost touch with Turpin, Turner reeled in the BMW. Rob Christman had spent valuable time during the previous days dialing in his new ZX-10R, and he was laying down fast laps in 4th, with Josh Galster running his little R6 flat out in 5th place. As the laps ticked down Turner closed in on Dimick and overtook for 2nd, with Christman trailing them at a distance. From there it was a short run to the finish line, with Turpin claiming the win, Turner in 2nd and Dimick bringing snagging the final podium spot.
The Production 250 Cup is proving to be one of the most fiercely contested races every race weekend, and the class offered spectacular battles yet again. In Saturday’s race, Geoff Cesmat got a big holeshot and looked like he might gap the field, but points leader Tracy Schram put his head down and broke the class lap record to prevent Cesmat from getting away. For the rest of the race Cesmat and Schram alternated breaking the fastest time on a 250 at High Plains, pushing each other to ride harder every lap. It was Schram who set the final new class record on the last lap, at 2:09 on the 2.55 mile circuit, and he eked out the win over Cesmat by just .016 at the line. It was a photo finish for the leaders, with Jonathan Kuo turning a personal best time to take 3rd.
On Sunday, Shannon Moham’s typical dominance of his races got a rare monkey wrench thrown in during Modern Vintage GTU. Moham later described having an uncharacteristic “moment” on the grid, when he jumped the start in a big way. There was only a second’s hesitation as he realized his error, and then he dropped the hammer to make as much time as possible, knowing the meatball flag was coming.
Sure enough, on the next lap he flew by start/finish seeing his number on the board, and prepared for his stop and go penalty. He had a huge lead over Aaron Hersh in second, and if he executed the stop and go smoothly he could limit the time lost. But it was not to be. As Moham ripped down hot pit lane, he failed to come to a full stop for the penalty, and as he charged back around the track trying to make up lost time, he was meatballed again for the rolling stop.
Arriving on hot pit for his second stop and go of the race, he came to a careful stop, and then pulled the trigger, cutting his absolute fastest last laps of the race. Even after serving two penalties, Moham was able to work his way back to a remarkable second place finish. Fernando Arroyos rode a great race to 3rd on the box.
The MRA’s fourth weekend of racing is slated for July 9 and 10 at Pueblo Motorsports Park in Pueblo, Colorado. This will be the only visit to Pueblo Motorsports Park by the MRA in 2011. Race tickets are just $10 at the gate and kids under 12 get in free. As always, serving military members get in free to all MRA races. For more information go to www.mra-racing.org or call the MRA hotline at 303-530-5678.