© 2017, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
By David Swarts
Kosco Harley-Davidson/Buell's Michael Barnes won his second consecutive Buell Lightning Series race during Formula USA's Summit Point Cycle Fest Sunday, shortly before a severe thunderstorm shut down all on-track activity at Summit Point Raceway and ended the event entirely.
Barnes took a narrow victory in the nine-lap Buell race over Summit Point homeboy Bryan Bemisderfer, then immediately jumped on to his Team Hooters Mountain Dew Suzuki GSX-R600 for the Pro Honda Oils 600cc Sportbike race.
Barnes led the first four laps of the shortened (from 16 laps to 10) Sportbike race before rain began to fall and made the oil-covered infield section exceptionally slick. Barnes continued at speed, even though he later said that he probably would have crashed on the next lap, while others in the lead pack raised their hands at start/finish asking race officials to stop the race.
Officials did stop the race, saying afterward that they did so not because riders raised their hands but, instead, due to dangerous lightning conditions; after the red flag, riders began talking on pit lane about who would and who wouldn't race on the slick, wet track when the race was re-started.
Before any decisions were made, the rain turned into a full-fledged thunderstorm that included high winds that blew pit-lane canopies away, produced hail and delivered a torrential downpour of rain that sent rivers through the pits and flooded corners on the track with 12-inch-deep lakes.
At 4:00 p.m., the storm passed as quickly as it started, racers surveyed the damage to their equipment and race officials started assessing the situation.
At the time on-track action was stopped, seven of a scheduled 12 races had been run. Races yet to run included the Sportbike and Unlimited Superbike feature events.
After a series of discussions and meetings between Formula USA officials and regular riders, a decision was made to pay out the entire cash purse for both Sportbike ($10,000) and Unlimited Superbike ($20,000) classes to riders according to how they qualified. Rejected options included running a make-up event at Pocono in August, or running the Summit Point race on the Friday prior to the Pocono races. The idea of holding the races over to run on Monday, May 27 at Summit Point was quickly ruled out because cornerworkers and F-USA staff members would not be available.
All riders who qualified for the Sportbike and Unlimited Superbike finals also received eight Championship points, except for Larry Pegram and Michael Barnes, who earned a single extra point each for qualifying on the pole position for the Unlimited Superbike and Sportbike classes, respectively.
Racers entered in F-USA NRRS classes that were gridded by series points received an entry credit for a later event.
Buell Lightning Series Final Results (all on Buell 1200s):
1. Michael Barnes, 9 laps
2. Bryan Bemisderfer
3. Richie Morris
4. Clint Brotz
5. Jeffrey Johnson
6. Anthony Fania, Jr.
7. Steve Luxem
8. Jeff Harding
9. Joseph Rozynski
10. Sam Rozynski
11. Douglas Burton
12. Darren James
13. Shawn Smith
14. Gregory Avello
15. Michael Myers
16. Patrick Wakefield
17. John Spinelli, -1 lap
18. Alan Cheese, -1 lap
19. Jason Smith, -5 laps, DNF, mechanical