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Oct 29, 2013

Even More From This Past Weekend's Various Motorcycle Road Races

Jimmy Merck (148) in action at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo by Vicki Sulpy/VHS Photography, courtesy of Jimmy Merck.
Merck Wins Four National Championships at the GNF

WERA’s 41st Annual Grand National Finals were hosted at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL this past weekend as the culmination of the WERA National Challenge series on Sunday as well as the winner-take-all Grand National Finals for the Sportsman series on Friday and Saturday.

Teams were greeted with chilly temperatures for Thursday morning’s practice session. Cold conditions in the first sessions did not provide optimal conditions for any last minute adjustments, and Merck’s GSXR 600 and GSXR 750 were deemed ready for battle.

Friday brought cold temperatures again, with two races in the afternoon for Jimmy – B Superstock Expert and B Superbike. After practice in the morning and some adjustments, it was game on for the winner-take-all races. First up was B Superstock – after a great launch, it was a two rider battle, with Merck lapping in the 1:31’s and came up four seconds short at the flag for a second-place finish.

B Superbike was up next. After another great start, Jimmy was on the gas. With laps as low as a 1:30.3, Merck came up with the win at the finish with only .3 seconds separating the top three. Merck’s results for the Sportsman series were good enough to win the Mid-Central Regional B Superstock Expert Championship!

Saturday, competitors were again greeted with chilly temperatures and frosty conditions. With some final adjustments to Merck’s GSXR 600, it was showtime. Up first was C Superstock, and after a not so great start, Merck battled but came up short with a second place finish. Next was C Superbike, and with another great launch and some great battles, Jimmy came up a few seconds short for another second place finish.

Sunday’s weather was gorgeous, and the track was perfect for the points culminating WERA National Challenge Series. The pressure was on as Jimmy had to win or take second in all of these races, and needed other things to happen in order for him to take home the number one plates.

Up first was 600 Superstock, a 12 lap feature race. With 23 riders lined up for the start and lap times dropping, Merck was well poised for battle. A great launch saw Merck quickly in the lead, and after some battles, Merck checked out to an over seven second lead at the flag with lap times in the low 1:30’s, securing the 600 Superstock National Championship!

Next was 750 Superstock, where Merck needed a first or second place finish to secure the championship. Consistent launches and lap times had Merck well poised to accomplish the goal, and the 750 was on rails. After more hard-fought battles, Jimmy set his best time so far for the weekend at a 1:29.3 and finished on the box in second, securing his second National Championship for the weekend!

600 Superbike was up next, and lap times kept dropping. Jimmy rocked the start, put his head down, and never looked back setting again his best lap time of the weekend on his GSXR 6000 (1:29.7), winning the 600 Superbike National Championship!

750 Superbike, Merck’s last race of the day, was one of the better battles of the weekend. Jimmy blasted off the line, again head down, and on the gas. With a win needed to secure the championship, the pressure was on. Merck’s consistency paid off, running 1:29’s, and it was Merck at the line by .127 for the win and his fourth National Championship! The fastest lap of the weekend on any motorcycle was a high 1:28!

Merck started off the year with the goal of winning four National titles. 52 race entries with 50 podiums earned Merck an impressive four National titles and one Regional title. None of this would have been possible without his father, and Jimmy would like to publicly thank him for his hard work and dedication this year.

Jimmy would also like to personally thank his sponsor Dan Covington of Truck System Technologies (TST) who offer top of the line tire pressure monitoring systems. Jimmy would additionally like to thank John McGarity for his outstanding trackside support throughout the year. “Without Brian Livengood’s expert tuning skills, I couldn’t have put these bikes on the box consistently - stay tuned for next year!” exclaimed Jimmy. And the folks at Dunlop – Tony, Mick, Cory, Paul, Shane, Steve, Sterling – thank you for your support! Jimmy would further like to thank Traxxion Dynamics – Max McCalister and Martin Musil for their hard work keeping him on rails!

Jimmy is proud to work with Mark with Vesrah, Vesrah Brakes, Nielsens Enterprises, Dunlop and Race Tire Services, Graves Exhaust, Livengood, Traxxion Dynamics, Penske, Maxima Oils, Shoei Helmets, Pilot Leathers, Chris with MPH, DID Chains, Bazzaz, Spiegler Brake Lines, Vortex Sprockets, Pit Bull, Cycle Gear, CayloR-Made Motorsports (Opie Caylor and Dave Krier), his father Jimmy SR, and girlfriend Bobby.




More, from a press release issued by Pilot Travel Centers Racing:

THREE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES FOR REESE WACKER AND THE PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS RACING TEAM AT WERA GRAND NATIONAL FINALS

Pilot Travel Centers Racing Team with Reese Wacker #78 earned three National Championship titles this past weekend at the WERA Grand National Finals held at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama, October 26-27, with five podium finishes overall.

The first race on Saturday for the Sportsman Series, A Superstock, began with an unexpected challenge when Reese rode to the grid for the race start and noticed the zipper on his leathers had broken. Hastily running back to the pits for a quick change, he made it back to the grid with mere seconds to spare before the race start. Not one to be affected by such unexpected happenings, Reese put his head down and grabbed the checkered flag for the win and the team’s first national championship title of the weekend.

Two more WERA Sportsman Series races were on Saturday: Formula 1 and Superbike. Gridding for the Sportsman series depended upon total points for the season. Since the team did not run many of the races, this caused the gridding positions to be pretty far back in the field. Reese started on row 9 for the Formula 1 race. He gained spots steadily throughout the race and was in fifth place by the seventh lap of the eight lap race. He took third place at the checkered flag for a podium finish. For the Superbike Race, Reese started the race in row four. After lap two, he was in second place, and was able to keep his pace for the remainder of the race by capturing his third podium of the day with a second place finish.

The WERA Grand National Finals culminated with the National Challenge Series races on Sunday. The team was vying for championships in both classes for the Open Superstock and the premier WERA Superbike Class. For both Open Superstock and Superbike, Reese took the hole shot and the lead the entire race for both races. The WERA Superbike Class race was a premier twelve lap event. Reese lead the race through lap five when a red flag incident dictated a total restart. Again, after the restart, Reese lead the entire race to the checkered flag. Reese captured two more National Championship titles on Sunday for Open Superstock and the premier WERA Superbike class in the WERA National Challenge Series. Reese Wacker and The Pilot Travel Centers Racing Team had a triumphant ending to the racing season by adding three more National Championship Titles for the team.

“I am ecstatic for three more National Championship Titles!” exclaimed Wacker. “Thank you to my team and to all of my sponsors for their support throughout the season. Without them none of this would be possible. I can’t wait to see what next year brings for the team.” The Pilot Travel Centers Racing Team is thrilled to end the season so well and is eager for the 2014 season. This brings a total of 13 National Championship Titles for Reese Wacker over the course of his racing career to date.

About Pilot Flying J

Pilot Flying J is committed to making life better for America’s drivers. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has over 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. It is ranked by Forbes as the 6th largest private company in America. The Pilot Flying J network provides customers with access to over 60,000 parking spaces for trucks, over 4,400 showers and over 4,000 diesel lanes, of which over 3,000 offer DEF at the pump. Pilot Logistics Services is one of the largest independent energy logistics companies in North America, selling and distributing over 1.3 billion gallons of refined petroleum products and serving over 15,000 customers. Together, Pilot Flying J and Pilot Logistics Services employ over 25,000 people and generate sales of 9 billion gallons of petroleum annually. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.

About Smith Transport

Smith Transport is a Pennsylvania-based Company providing a complete line of Logistics Services to businesses located throughout the Continental United States and Canada. The Company is uniquely postured to provide a Totally Bundled and Customized Third Party Logistics Package or Individually Tailored Service Offerings to meet the precise needs of the Customer. Visit www.Smithtransport.com for more information.

The Pilot Travel Centers Racing #78 is pleased to work with the following partners: Pilot Flying J, Smith Transport, I65 Truck Accessories, Jack White Studios, Inc., Wacker Racing, Speed Machines Design, Next Moto Champion, JRI Shocks, Pilot Leathers, Motorex, ARAI Helmets, Vortex, Pit Bull, Chicken Hawk Racing, FMF, Dunlop, Sidi, Hazardous Racing.

Follow us on Facebook for updated racing information: www.facebook.com/ReeseWackerRacing




More, from a press release issued by Gino Rea Racing:

Gino Rea in the points again whilst battling for 11th at Motegi GP in Japan

Gino Rea once again rewarded the Argiñano-Ginés Racing Team with valuable Moto2 World Championship points finishing 14th at the Motegi Grand Prix.

Gino has been replacing AGR's permanent rider Alberto Moncayo at the flyaway rounds and has secured AGR's best results of the year, including their first points of 2013.

Gino was almost involved in the huge first lap crash involving Rabat and Redding but managed to avoid it, reminiscent of the close call at Sepang. Rea had a great start moving into the top 10 after qualifying an impressive 14th, until the race was red flagged due to the incident.

In the restart, Gino made his trademark 'Speedy G' start again and although he was pushed wide into turn one, Gino managed to progress into 8th position. The Londoner would then fight to the end, battling in a group for 11th position. Rea passed Sandro Cortese on the final lap to secure 14th position.

Gino comments: "I'm very happy to bring the team more points, especially after another close call with the big incident. I avoided it very narrowly just like in Sepang, I looked back and saw Redding in the air.

"In the restart I managed to get up to 8th and I tried my hardest to keep the pace up, I was loosing the front and having some chatter issues which slowed me. I made a bit of a mistake on the last lap which I'm annoyed at. I passed Cortese and planned to pass Pons and maybe Schrotter but I didn't realise it was the final lap. We also used the hard rear tyre which didn't pay off as the race was shortened, so considering the situation, I'm pleased.

"I would like to thank the Argiñano-Ginés Racing Team for the opportunity and I'm glad I could bring them their best results of 2013. Now I'm looking forward to being back with my Gino Rea Montaze Broz Racing Team at Valencia for the final round."

"I'd also like to thank all of my personal sponsors and everyone who contributed through www.GinoReaClub.com; all who have made this year possible."

The next MotoGP race will take place next weekend at Valencia, Spain on 10th November where Gino will race his FTR machine with the Gino Rea Race Team.




More, from a press release issued by Bel-Ray:

Bel-Ray Racer Jonas Folger Races to Third Podium of Season at Motegi

FARMINGDALE, N.J. -- The penultimate round of the 2013 World Championship series took place at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan. Situated in the northern Kanto district, the circuit features a 1.5 mile oval and a 2.9 mile road course constructed to international standards. Built by Honda as a testing facility in 1997, the road circuit began hosting MotoGP in 2000.

Beginning from 9th place on the grid, Bel-Ray Moto3 racer Jonas Folger avoided the chaos at the start of the race that saw a crash take out several competitors. Folger gained two places on the first lap and two more the next lap around. On his way through the field Folger set two consecutive fast laps and eventually found himself on the podium in third place. This was his third podium of the season. “Today was a crazy race, especially on the first few laps where everything was pretty confusing,” said Folger. “Despite the strangeness of the race, I felt very comfortable on the bike. I was able to follow (Alex) Marquez and in fact he was taking me to those ahead of us, but in a moment I made a mistake. On the last corner I accidentally left the bike in neutral and that made me lose a second. It was not easy to go as fast without a slipstream. I guess that without that mistake, I would have been in the fight for the win. I think that we did a good job this weekend and I am happy with the podium, which I hope to repeat in Valencia.”

In Moto2 competition, Bel-ray racers Nico Terol and Jordi Torres suffered opposite results. Starting from 24th place on the grid, Terol was one of the fastest riders in the field, overtaking 12 racers in the first two laps for an eventual 6th place finish. “I’m very happy, because I really enjoyed the race. Yesterday we had a bit of a disastrous qualifying session on a wet track. This morning, in the dry, I had a good feeling with the bike. I like this circuit and I knew I could have a good race,” said Terol. “I passed riders calmly, before getting to Jordi (Torres). I had a little bit faster pace than him and (Mattia) Pasini, so I got ahead and pushed. I was just lacking a couple more laps to move up more positions. I am very pleased with our performance today. It’s just too bad that we started so far back, otherwise we could have fought for the podium.”

His teammate, however, did not experience the same results. Starting from 16th on the grid, Torres too moved through the field and was inside the top 10 before crashing on the 8th lap; he would not finish the race. “Early in the race we recovered many positions, but then I realized that it was difficult to stop the bike on the straights. I had a couple of scares, so I preferred to keep my pace up and be cautious rather than try to gain more positions. When Nico (Terol) passed me I tried to follow him, but on the fast corner after the tunnel I lost the front in a strange way and crashed. It was a shame to finish the weekend like this.”

Bel-Ray’s entries in the MotoGP class are Randy DePuniet and 2013 CRT class champion Aleix Espargaro. DePuniet bested his teammate in Japan with a 13th place finish while Espargaro did not finish after crashing during the race. Espargaro started the race well and was inside the top five off the start. Issues with his brakes began to haunt the Spanish rider and caused him to crash just past the halfway point of the race. “It was a shame about the race today, because I got away really well and was fourth or fifth off the line -the bike was going great. In the end I crashed, but fortunately I escaped unhurt. In less than two weeks we have the race in Valencia, the home race for the team, and we’ll see if we can win there again.”

Teammate DePuniet overcame rear tire grip issues to persevere and finish as the second best CRT racer at the event. ”This morning’s free practice session was difficult, and I was nearly a second and a half off Aleix (Espargaro). I was a little worried about how the race would go, but my start was good. It was a good race, but I’m disappointed because I think I had the ability to be the top CRT. Now we go to the last race in Valencia, where I hope to do my best and round off the year in a good way. I am satisfied with the fact that I did the best I could, and my team also. We made some adjustments between the morning warmup and the race, and took things the right way. That makes me optimistic for Valencia.”

The series takes a weekend off before concluding in Valencia on the 10th of November.

To learn more about Bel-Ray specialty powersports lubricants, visit www.belray.com/powersports or call (732) 938-2421.

Follow Bel-Ray racers all season long at www.belray.com