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Mar 14, 2011

ASRA Team Challenge: Team Stiles Takes Overall Victory At Roebling Road Raceway

Michelin Team Challenge Round One Roebling Road

Bloomingdale, GA Perfect weather at Roebling Road welcomed Round One of the Michelin Pro Series and Michelin Team Challenge. With temperatures hovering in the low seventies, a cloudless sky, and a light breeze, the weather was flawless for the start the 2011 ASRA season. Saturday's Team Challenge race was punctuated by two red flags during the course of the event, neither resulting in major injuries. The second restart was flawless for rider Meghan Ryan who not only showed perfect timing and speed, but also carried her starting advantage for the full lap and set the tempo for Team Stiles in their final dash to the GTU class and Overall victories aboard their Yamaha R6.

Team Stiles comes into the season off a good result in 2010 having finished runner up to RNR Repsol by only four points. In this first round the team expected a good finish in GTU. They did not expect the overall win according to team owner and manager Mark Stiles, "The GTU class win was what we wanted today; the Overall win was just a bonus. We're out to win the GTU championship this year. Meghan's restart after the red flag was just awesome. That's the best start she's ever done. She ran her quickest laps after that restart and Scotty was his usual fast self. It was everything I expected from him."

Team Stiles took the GTU class victory and the Overall top spot as perennial Overall and GTO favorite Eric Helmbach tucked the front and took a tumble in turn three. Helmbach, riding solo for Chester Auto Repair, managed to get back to the pits and get his front master cylinder repaired, but in so doing pulled the bike behind the wall and was forced back to lap zero according the the rules. Thus Helmbach handed the overall win to Team Stiles and the GTO top spot to Tim Ivanoff's Thrashed Bike Racing. Ivanoff commented on the class win aboard their Buell, "Our expectations were a top three finish overall and we bettered that, finishing second. And we expected to finish second in GTO, but with Eric's mishap we were gifted with the opportunity for the GTO class win and took full advantage. Walt Sipp performed as expected. I am so pleased that he volunteered to come help us. He and Joel Spalding put in an excellent effort for out team."

When asked about the incident that played to Thrashed Bike's GTO victory, 2010 Team Challenge Champion and BMW rider Eric Helmbach said, "I was looking forward to the race and defending my number one plate from last year. The bike felt great. I took off at the beginning of the race and got a good lead, but at about the quarter way point in the race I tucked the front over here in turn three. I salvaged a third place in GTO and it was good for the points despite the problems. It was a pretty good turnout for the event, so we'll see what happens at Carolina."

The Michelin Team Challenge frequently attracts CCS and ASRA champions as new teams start up in the chase for the title. 2011 is no exception in this regard. In GT Lights we see a new team for 2011, Saddlebaum Racing, comprised of 2010 Michelin Pro Champions Jim Fotinopoulos, Mark Miller and Jim Cohrs. On the way to the track they all decided to familiarize themselves with Roebling Road by entering Fotinopoulos' training bike, an SV650, in the Team Challenge event They had no idea they'd get hooked on the format. They had so much fun on the bike and just running as a team that they've made a pact to try and run the remainder of the Team Challenge series for 2011. Said Fotinopoulos, "We were just on the way down to Roebling and said why don't we run the Michelin Team Challenge to get a little more time on this track because it's our first time here. We thought it would be very good learning tool to slow things down a bit on a slower bike and really learn the layout of this race track. And its beautiful, flowing track. We had no expectations except to have fun. But by the tenth lap or so Mark had a huge lead and it looked like we could win this thing."

The class and overall top thee finishing order was as follows:

Overall
46 Stiles Racing Meghan Ryan, Scotty Ryan, Mark Stiles Delavan, WI
222 Thrashed Bike Racing Tim Ivanoff, Walt Sipp, Joel Spalding Breaux Bridge, LA
22 Premier Racing Daniel Dougherty, Adam Horton Mohrovia, MD

GTO
222 Thrashed Bike Racing Tim Ivanoff, Walt Sipp, Joel Spalding Breaux Bridge, LA
33 Integrated Racing Johnny Wiecek Leesburg, VA
1 Chester Auto Repair Eric Helmbach Califon, NJ

GTU
46 Stiles Racing Meghan Ryan, Scotty Ryan, Mark Stiles Delavan, WI
22 Premier Racing Daniel Dougherty, Adam Horton Mohrovia, MD
4 RNR Repsol Rick Beggs, Rachel Sasse Sterling, VA

GTL
17 Saddlebaum Racing Jim Fotinopoulos, Jim Cohrs, Mark Miller West Orange, NJ
76 Moto Corse Miami Daniel Dougherty, Adam Horton Miami Beach, FL
11 Old Glory Speed Shop Dennie Huff, Brandon Creto Hanover, PA

The Michelin Team Challenge is sanctioned by the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA), the professional arm of the Championship Cup Series (CCS). CCS is the largest grass roots motorcycle roadracing organization in the United States with a schedule of 50 events for 2011. As the professional arm of CCS, ASRA sanctions the Michelin Pro Series and Michelin Team Challenge. Both the Michelin Pro Series and the Michelin Team Challenge are 8-race series' run at historical motor racing tracks located throughout the United States. ASRA and CCS are constantly pushing the envelope to deliver the best club level roadracing in the Americas. Go to www.ccsracing.us, www.asraracing.com or call us at 817-246-1127 for more information about all three race series and find out how you can start racing today and join a community of riders like no other.
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