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Jun 17, 2001

Harwell Wins Big In WERA Cycle Jam Sportsman Races At VIR

Arclight Suzuki's Scott Harwell was the star of the show Saturday at the WERA Cycle Jam at Virginia International Raceway during Saturday's Sportsman sprint races. Hailing from nearby Hickory, North Carolina, Harwell scored two wins and a third on Metzeler DOT-labeled tires. Jason Peters and Brian Stokes each took home two wins while Paul Harrell set a new motorcycle lap record in front of a huge turnout of racers and fans.

Harwell's first win came in A Superstock on his GSX-1000. Harwell caught and passed early leader Larry Denning at the halfway point. As Harwell slowly built his advantage over Denning, Shogun Motorsports' Paul Harrell was charging from the back of the grid. Harrell broke the track record on lap six with a 1:30.43, passed Denning on the final circuit, and crossed the line second behind Harwell. After the race, Harrell withdrew because his Yamaha YZF-R1 was not legal for the A Superstock class. Harwell and the Shogun team are using the WERA weekend as a testing weekend for the Formula USA event to follow two weeks from now.

Harwell's second win came from an extremely hard-fought battle with Vesrah Suzuki's Glenn Szarek. With both riders on Metzeler DOT-equipped TL1000Rs, Harwell and Szarek spent more time leaning on each other at VIR than following one another. Harwell made an inside move to pass Szarek on lap six of eight and held on to the lead with the help of some lapped riders, Szarek was one bikelength behind Harwell at the finish line with BCM Motors/Project Monza's Bill St. John on his Ducati 748/800.

M&M Racing's Brian Stokes took a pair of wins as well. Stokes got the holeshot in B Superstock and ran away with lap times as low as 1:31.4. Harwell was in second, but Szarek came from the second wave to pass Harwell in the new braking area, created by the track from feedback from motorcycle racers, leading to the "Roller Coaster" on the last lap. Szarek took second
with Harwell third.

Stokes got the best start in C Superstock on his GSX-R600 but had to battle the entire eight laps with CAD Racing's David Yaakov and 4&6 Racing's Larry Denning. Yaakov held a small margin at the start/ finish line for the first six laps. On lap seven, the three riders were side-by-side and bumping fairings as they came through the front straightaway's 140 mph kink. The lead trio exchanged positions for the last two laps, but Stokes used the draft to take the win by a wheel over Denning and Yaakov at the stripe.

Denning came back later to win handily in C Superbike with used Pirelli tires on his Yamaha YZF-R6. Later riding his R1, Denning led Formula One on lap two. On lap three, Shogun Motorsports' Joe Prussiano riding his F-USA-spec Yamaha YZF-R1 went past Denning on the front straight and held on for the win. Denning took second ahead of Fasttrax's Douglas Duane and Team Xtreme's Jamie Lane.

Jason Peters won in 125 Grand Prix and Formula Two on his Trip Bellinger-built Honda RS125. In the F2 sprint, Peters was able to win over RS250-mounted Jason DiSalvo. Cruise America Grand Prix Racing's DiSalvo was in attendance to earn an invitation to the WERA Grand National Finals in October, but jetting problems slowed DiSalvo to second place in Formula Two. Steve Reeves, the winner of the WERA Formula Two National at Talladega last month, finished third in Formula Two today.

Sunday will be round four of the WERA National Challenge Series with practice starting at 8:30 a.m. and racing starting at 12:30 p.m.