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
"(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.
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.