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Nov 25, 2010

Becker Moto Works Wins Second Consecutive SRA-West Championship, At Willow Springs

Team Becker Moto Works' William Becker and passenger Eric Becker (84). Photo courtesy of SRA-West.
Rosamond, California - Cold and cloudy conditions met the SRA-West series as they stopped into Willow Springs Raceway for the final round of the 2010 Formula Sidecar series. Host club Willow Springs Motorcycle Club (WSMC) sent seven teams out for the six-lap race as thick clouds hung over a dry track. The inverted grid allowed Wood Brothers Racing (#47, Chris Wood/ Phil Wood) to get their Arctic Cat, 700cc 2-stroke powered machine into turn 1 ahead of the field. Although the machine has been beset with technical gremlins, the pair of rookies have shown alarming speed and smoothness when the bike is running right.

This was no more evident than lap 1, as the two scrambled away with number 1 plate holder Team Becker Moto Works (#84 William Becker, Eric Becker) in pursuit. Becker would shadow the pair until infamous turn 9, when he set up the inside pass. Without tire warmers both machines were short on traction, and as they both fought for grip, Team Johnny Killmore (#187 John Wood/ Vanessa McClure) made it three wide after recovering from a botched start, moving into the lead in a shower of loose rocks and marbles.

The tight line caused the new leaders to scrub off too much speed though, and it looked like it would be three-wide into turn 1. Wood Brothers Racing would dip the nose inside, but Team Johnny Killmore managed to just hold the lead. All three machines would scramble for position for another lap, until mechanical gremlins would again strike the Wood Brothers, forcing them to retire for what seemed a guaranteed podium spot.

The father-son Becker duo would motor into the lead down the front straight on lap 2, and would slowly grow the gap until finishing just under 3 seconds ahead of Team Johnny Killmore. Rounding out the podium was Roadkill Racers (#101 Sean Bakken/ Gary McEwen), who finished their season in a strong way after missing several rounds due to lingering complications from a huge starting line crash in 2009.

With the final race behind them, team Becker Moto Works claimed their second consecutive series championship. Afterward, driver William Becker downplayed the achievement. "Things turned out the way they turned out. I've never gone after this as a 'have to win it' sort of thing," he said."I was really just glad the two-stroke guys [Wood Brothers Racing] got to run up front, and it's a shame they didn't finish. They're 'in it for the long haul' kind of guys, and I hope to see them back."

After finishing second in the championship, Team Johnny Killmore's driver- John Wood- said, "We started the year with more horsepower and rubber than the bike was ever meant to handle. There's not enough brakes or suspension to deal with these speeds, but [passenger] Vanessa [McClure] and I have made huge strides as a team, finding smoother transitions on her part and better throttle control on mine. In the off season I hope we can get the chassis more sorted out, and we'll see what we can do next year" The duo, in only their second season, have become well known for their frantic style and "chair in the air" antics in left-hand turns.

Rookie driver Michael Troutman managed to put the Cat On A Leash Racing entry into a third place in his rookie season. Renting his race bike and sorting through multiple passengers, Michael has nevertheless gained a huge amount of experience in a short time, and is no doubt looking forward to the 2011 season.

And that brings the SRA-West 2010 Formula Sidecar Championship to an end. The series would like to thank Barnett Clutches and Cycle Gear for their continued support of sidecar road racing in the United States, and a special thanks goes out to the host clubs. AHRMA, WSMC, and WERA have made Formula Sidecar racing feel right at home each time they take to the track. A final and important thanks goes out to the teams. Riding anything at speed is a challenge, but when two people have a vote on how to get through a corner, the challenge is suddenly increased dramatically. Congratulations to all those who managed to haul their hand-built machinery around the western United States this year. See you in 2011!



SRA-West Round 12 of 12:


TEAM DRIVER/ PASSENGER CHASSIS/ ENGINE


1. Becker Moto Works William Becker/ Eric Becker Becker/ Suzuki
2. Team Johnny Killmore John Wood/ Vanessa McClure Windle/ Suzuki
3. Road Kill Racers Sean Bakken/ Gary McEwen Spike/ Yamaha
4. Cat On A Leash Michael Troutman/ Heidi Neidhoefer CSR/ Suzuki
5. Advanced Motorcycle Hans Shultz/ Donn Sayre Baker/ Suzuki
6. Van Orsdale Leon Van Orsdale/ Steve Stull Baker/ Honda
7. Wood Brothers Racing Chris Wood/ Phil Wood Baker/ Arctic Cat


DRIVER 2010 FINAL STANDINGS


1. William Becker- 317 points
2. John Wood- 296
3. Michael Troutman- 236
4. Rick Murray-230
5. Hans Shultz- 219
6. Leon Van Orsdale- 214
7. Wade Boyd- 184
8. Mike Jones- 135
9. Sean Bakken- 128
10. Chris Wood- 116
11. Gary Woolf- 104
12. Frank Riolo- 72
13. Mark Macunga- 54
14. Steve Stull- 50
15. Roy Janes- 41
16. Sara Finley- 40
17. Oliver Brahma- 30


PASSENGER 2010 FINAL STANDINGS


1. Eric Becker
2. Vanessa McClure
3. Christine Blunk
4. Roger Preston
5. Steve Stull
6. Donn Sayre
7. Cyndi Creech
8. Gary McEwen
9. Phil Wood
10. Heidi Neidhoefer
11. Rory O'Conner
12. Alice S.
13. Bobette Burdick
14. John Maddox
15. Tamera Teller
16. Mara Pulling
17. Ian McRae
18. David Andres
19. Peter Andres