LRRS Finalizes Class Champions at NHMS
October Race Weekend Closes Out 2012 Season
The final event of the 2012 Loudon Road Race Series season was held Oct. 6 and 7 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Racing in New England during the month of October often proves challenging with the cooler temperatures having a different impact on conditions than the summer months. Over the course of the weekend, the competitors faced Mother Nature's full menu of warm, sunny weather changing to afternoon rain showers on Saturday. On Sunday, the races went off under grey skies and chilly temperatures although the track remained dry throughout. Weather aside, the on-track action was as exciting as ever with many season championships on the line, having yet to be decided.
In Expert GTL, the class champion Rick Doucette (Plaistow PowerSports Suzuki SV650) and second-place Scott Mullin (Souhegan Valley Motorsports Kawasaki EX650) are always set to do battle. Add in the return of Todd Babcock on his Spears Racing Suzuki SV650 Superbike, and the stage was set for a great show.
Gridded by points, both Doucette and Mullin started on the front row with Babcock buried deep in the field due to limited points earned. At the green flag, Mullin grabbed the holeshot with Doucette looking content to shadow him. As the laps began to tick down, Mullin and Doucette broke away from the pack as they have all season and were set to bring the battle to the checkered flag.
Doucette often enjoys stalking Mullin, letting him lead and applying pressure to try to force an error by his competitor. This happened on many occasions during the season, but this time there was a twist with the hard-charging Babcock working his way through the pack.
At the halfway flag, Babcock was in third position. With the motivation of seeing the leaders up ahead, he was able to chip away at them, and with four laps to go Babcock arrived behind them and was set to play the spoiler. As the trio worked its way through traffic, Babcock went to work.
Getting to the inside of Doucette in traffic entering Turn 3, he was able to overtake second position, and a lap later he slipped past Mullin to take the lead entering Turn 1. Doucette worked his way by Mullin and turned the fastest lap of the race at 1 minute, 16.267 seconds. Babcock could feel the pressure and was able to fend off Doucette in the final laps to hold on for the victory.
"Early on, I didn't know if I could catch them," said an elated Babcock. "Once I could see them and was able to run them down, I tried to make my way past them quickly and see if I could break away. Ricky (Doucette) was all over me as soon as I got the lead and I just tried to not make a mistake. It feels good to be back."
Middleweight Grand Prix Dash for Cash
The mid-day rain showers left the track wet for the "Dash for the Cash" Middleweight Grand Prix. With limited sunshine the track was slowly drying and the racers were faced with the big question of which tires to run. As the riders gridded for the race everyone chose full rain tires for the event.
Due to the conditions, some usual suspects were missing from the grid. Most notably, 2012 class champion Eric Wood elected to sit out of the race due to the rain. Christian Chronin, winner of the earlier Expert GTU race, also was not present. Both were expected to battle for the podium.
At the wave of the green flag, Scott Greenwood led the pack into Turn 1 with Cory Hildebrand, Jason Carter, Riley Rodgers and Brian Killmeier close behind. With the track drying, it was clear to all riders it was going to be a tire management race as the rain treads would surely deteriorate over the course of 12 laps.
Greenwood was setting sail at the front, running laps in the 1:21 range and stretching a lead over Carter. Carter, in turn, was pulling away from the battle behind him. Riding in third, Rodgers was having an eventful day with an earlier high-side crash in Turn 10 during the morning practice that caused extensive damage to his Yamaha R6. His bike was repaired before he suffered a small low-side crash in an earlier race.
Riding a bit sore and battered, Rodgers locked himself into third and began pulling away from Hildebrand and Killmeier, who took a few laps to feel out the conditions and acclimate himself to rain tires. On Lap 5, he passed Hildebrand to take over fourth with an inside line entering Turn 6.
The front of the field locked into its positions for the remainder of the race. As the checkered flag waved, it was Greenwood over Carter, with Rodgers, Killmeier, Hildebrand, Justin Landry and Bob Poetzsch rounding out the Expert Division. Roger Ealy Jr. (sixth) was the top-finishing amateur and was able to hold off Joshua Gallusser (seventh) and class champion Dave Tasker to claim victory and collect $100 for his efforts.
"It's been a long year and it feels good to finally get a win in 'The Dash,' " said Greenwood in victory lane. "I enjoy racing in the rain. Some people dislike it, but for me it's fun. It takes a lot of focus and concentration to go fast and you have to try to be mistake-free.
"The track was fairly wet at the beginning, but I had concerns as we did the warm-up lap. The track from Turns 4-7 was dry, but other more wet areas that are tricky here were still pretty wet. The rains were the right choice and while we abused them in these conditions, the Dunlops held in there and helped me get the win. Thank you to my family and sponsors for their continued support and I am looking forward to next year."
The Loudon Road Race Series banquet will be held at the Radisson in Nashua, N.H., on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.
2012 Overall Expert Top-5 Finishers
1. Rick Doucette
2. Scott Greenwood
3. Jason Carter
4. Cory Hildebrand
5. Eric Wood
2012 Overall Amateur Top-5 Finishers
1. Dave Takser
2. Roger Ealy Jr.
3. Justin Torres
4. Shane Lewis
5. Antonio Marchetti Jr.
Expert Class Champions:
125 Grand Prix Shawn Spear
Formula 40 Dennis Levesque
Formula 40 Lights Rick Doucette
Formula 50 Lights Douglas Fogg
GTL Rick Doucette
GTO Cory Hildebrand
GTU Scott Greenwood
HW Superbike Eric Wood
HW Supersport Rick Doucette
LW Grand Prix Rick Doucette
LW Sportsman Alexander Guilbeault
LW Superbike Rick Doucette
LW Supersport Rick Doucette
Motard Trevor Chiappisi
MW Grand Prix Eric Wood
MW Superbike Eric Wood
MW Supersport Scott Greenwood
P-89 Lights Eugene Berrio Jr.
Production Twins Branch Worsham
Super Singles Matthew Gendron
Super Twins Eric Wood
Thunderbike Rick Doucette
Ultralight Superbike Eugene Berrio Jr.
Unlimited Grand Prix Cory Hildebrand
Unlimited Superbike Scott Greenwood
Unlimited Supersport Scott Greenwood
Amateur Class Champions:
125 Grand Prix Jake Vader
Formula 40 Dave Tasker
Formula 40 Lights William Morey
Formula 50 Lights Brady Ward
GTL Shane Lewis
GTO Roger Ealy Jr.
GTU Brendin Tanner
HW Superbike Dave Tasker
HW Supersport Dave Tasker
LW Grand Prix Shane Lewis
LW Sportsman Jake Vader
LW Superbike Shane Lewis
LW Supersport Shane Lewis
Motard Gennaro Ameno
MW Grand Prix Dave Tasker
MW Superbike Brendin Tanner
MW Supersport Roger Ealy Jr.
P-89 Lights Alan Perry
Production Twins Daniel Kapnis
Super Singles Gennaro Ameno
Super Twins Christopher Bouchard
Thunderbike William Coolahan
Ultralight Superbike William Morey
Unlimited Grand Prix Roger Ealy Jr.
Unlimited Superbike Antonio Marchetti Jr.
Unlimited Supersport Justin Torres