Sep 27, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>RPM, the WERA South Central affiliate, drew 1700 spectators to the first-ever motorcycle road race at the new, 1.8-mile Grand Bayou Circuit at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana, September 15-16, according to RPM Race Director Tom Shields, who was RPM's Race Director prior to leaving the organization this week.<BR><BR>During the event, Bradley Champion recorded the fastest lap of the weekend--setting the official motorcycle lap record--at 1:15.17, aboard a Richmond Suzuki-sponsored Yamaha YZF-R6 on Metzeler DOT-labeled tires.<BR><BR>Bent Racing's Ty Stranger-Thorsen and Jim Bishop took the overall endurance race win at the new track, on their Ice Motorsports-sponsored 2001 Suzuki GSX-R600, and clinched the RPM/Coca-Cola Endurance Series Overall Championship. Bent Racing finished first or second overall in every RPM endurance race the team entered, and also won the Mediumweight Superbike class Championship.<BR><BR>"The keys to our season were that Jim Bishop and I never got into on-track battles, we never spun the rear tire except in the final stints, we prepared our bike meticulously, and we prepared for every scenario like unexpected tire changes which we could do in 30-35 seconds," said Stranger-Thorsen.<BR><BR>Of the No Problem Raceway track, Stranger-Thorsen said, "It's a very technical track. There are no standard passing places. You have to set up a pass over a couple of corners and take the line away from who you are passing. I like that. There is one bad place, the turn one-two combination, where you do not want to crash. We definitely need some Air Fence in that corner. It's like turn eight on Texas World's 2.9-mile course. Before they had the Air Fence there, you just knew that you couldn't crash in that corner. But I was never uncomfortable racing at No Problem Raceway."<BR><BR>Shields agreed with Stranger-Thorsen's assessment, saying, "Yes, we really do need some Air Fence in that one corner, but the ownership of the track is so great to work with. I asked for more pavement to be added to the inside of the final corner at our test earlier this year, and it was done. We are really pleased with No Problem Raceway."<BR><BR>RPM plans to host open track days and new rider schools at No Problem Raceway on the first Monday of October, November, and December in 2001 and hold two race events at the new track during the 2002 season.<BR>