May 1, 2002
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From a press release issed by USGPRU:<BR><BR>Nobi Iso of Team Veloce Racing Wins USGPRU Western Region Opening Round at Thunderhill Park<BR><BR>The Western Region of The USGPRU 125 GP National Championships got off to an incredible start at Thunderhill Park in Willows, CA this weekend where 26 teams arrived to contest the season opener for Western Region riders. Team Veloce Racing Owner Spiros Gabrilis was quoted as saying "Kids [who] start and stay on 125s, just say no to 600s," and the huge turnout for this weekend's festivities was a clear indication that true GP racing is on the rise again here in America. <BR><BR>Tada Ito, former All Japan 125 Champion, travelled to Thunderhill for the USGPRU event and made a harsh prediction for the USGPRU/F-USA<BR>round at Portland: "Tada, Nobi. . . 1, 2 at PIR." Yet, during qualifying, Tada struck a bird in flight, crushing the front of his fairing. He blames the bird for his less than perfect qualifying times.<BR><BR>Series favorite and former 125 GP National Champion Vicky Jackson-Bell crashed Saturday in practice. She was plagued with motor problems for the rest of the weekend after a valliant effort was made by her crew to ready her for Qualifying Sunday. She put up a stellar effort, just getting the bike to the grid, but couldn't complete a lap before the motor gave up on her forcing her to retire from the race. <BR><BR>Will Morton nailed the start and led for the first 7 laps until Nobi Iso, who had been held up in the pack for 3 laps, broke away and chased down Morton. After being passed by the flying Iso, Morton stuck to him like glue, but a miss-calculated fuel load caused him to run out of fuel on the last lap in the heat of a nose to tail battle with Nobi. He ended up nursing the bike across the line for a second place finish. <BR><BR>Carlos Neves jumped the start and got a stop and go penalty and he took back to the track with a vengence and plowed through the field after taking the early penalty. Jeff Hanford noted, "I looked behind me and all I saw was a giant #50 and thought no friggin' way, Carlos had a stop and go! How'd he get back there?'" <BR><BR>Shawn Hererra lost the front end coming down the Cyclone on the first lap. In a post race interview he was baffled as to the cause, as he'd been running the same pace in practice without any problems. Herrera was the only crash-casualty during the race and it was a shame to see him toss the BPS Clad RS125 that had been running so fast all weekend.<BR><BR>Stewart Aitken-Cade started in 9th and worked up to 3rd place before he was black flagged for an oil leak.<BR><BR>The best race on the track was between Quentin Wilson, Jeff Hanford, Willard Ivins, Nick Moore, Tada Ito, and Stewart Aitken-Cade. They ran nose-to-tail for the first 6 laps during which lead changes were a regular occurrence. On lap 5, Aitken-Cade passed Hanford on the brakes into 12, ruining the turn for Hanford. Allowing Wilson and Ivins to pass him on the exit. On the same lap, Aitken-Cade was black flagged and retired from the race when his motor began belching volumes of smoke from oil leaking over his pipe from a failed clutch cover gasket. <BR><BR>Fifteen year old "up and comer" Scott Jackson finished 16th in his 3rd ever weekend racing 125s! Watch out for these young kids on the 125s, they're the future stars of road racing! <BR><BR>Carlos Neves won the GP Star Hard Charger Award after his tear through the grid after being black flagged on the start. <BR><BR>USGPRU newcomer James Smith said of the Thunderhill event, "This was the highest quality racing I've had in a long time. Tons of track time with just 125s on the grid. There's nothing like racing purebred GP bikes!"<BR><BR>We'll see you all in June for Round 2 at The Streets of Willow.<BR><BR>Final Results:<BR><BR>1. Nobi Iso, Aprilia<BR>2. Will Morton, Honda<BR>3. Carlos Neves, Honda<BR>4. Quentin Wilson, Honda<BR>5. Jeff Hanford, Honda<BR>6. Williard Ivins, Honda<BR>7. Nick Moore, Honda<BR>8. Tada Ito, Honda<BR>9 Mike Jerrard, Honda<BR>10. Melissa Shimmin, Honda<BR>