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May 21, 2014

More On The Army Of Darkness Winning The USNE/WERA National Endurance Race At Hallett

Army of Darkness (from right), Sam Fleming, Taylor Knapp, Ben Walters, Sr., Ben Walters, Jr., Tim Gooding and Melissa Berkoff.

Army Of Darkness Rides Michelin Tires to a Historic BMW National Endurance Win

After six grueling hours of racing, Army Of Darkness succeeded in taking their Michelin-shod BMW to the top of the podium at the combined WERA/CMRA/USNE event at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, OK on May 17th. Track neophyte AOD riders Taylor Knapp and Ben Walters faced a grid of local knowledge experts but fast riding and near-perfect pit stops saw the team to victory.

"(Crew chief) Tim (Gooding) and Melissa (Berkoff) were tireless at preparing the bike before the race. All day Friday I kept asking for fork improvements and the work they did allowed me to brake deeper and deeper and turn harder and harder. I was able to carry so much more speed on the Traxxion front end that we ended up having to switch from the B Michelin Front to the C (harder) Michelin front at the two hour mark," Knapp explained.

"Our newly built aluminum endurance tank sprung a leak just before the start of the race but Tim whipped out his 'Instant Gas Tank Repair' epoxy and had it all sealed up well before the green flag. Tim and I had a little miscommunication at the first pit stop when he yanked the rear stand before I quite had my balance on the cambered Hallet pits and I dropped the bike. The new brake lever guards we got from Moto-Heaven saved the lever but I still lost a little time to a retech. The rest of the team says that ruins my ‘never crashed the endurance bike’ record," Walters said.

"David Hirsch and Walt Schaefer from Michelin have helped us out for years so it was really great to be able to finally have everything come together and show the true capabilities of the tires and the team. We've struggled with some self-imposed reliability issues for the last two races and it was great to finally have all the hard work and hard riding put us on top," said team captain and reserve rider Sam Fleming.

David Hirsch from Michelin observed, "I've been working with these guys for twenty years now and I'm not just their Michelin guy, I'm a big fan of the team. I always enjoy working with these folks and winning this race is a great testament to the effort."

With this victory by Army Of Darkness, the first ever national endurance win on a BMW, the nascent USNE/WERA/CMRA series has had a different victor running a different brand of tire and make of motorcycle at each round, showcasing some of the most competitive racing in the country.

AOD is sponsored by: Walt Schaefer Cycle Supply, Michelin, JRI, Traxxion Dynamics, Battley Cycles, Moto-Heaven.com, Hel, Speedcell, Thrust, armyofdarkness.com, and David Hirsch/Island Racing Services.