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Oct 19, 2011

Team Becker Moto Works Wins SRA-West Sidecar Race At Streets Of Willow

Rosamond, California: The penultimate round of the SRA-West Formula Sidecar Championship brought together the fastest three-wheeled racers in the western United States for a six-lap sprint on the Streets of Willow course. Hosted by the Willow Springs Motorcycle Club (WSMC), eight teams made the starting line. Although WSMC would run their series in the counter-clockwise direction, the SRA-West teams would run in the traditional clockwise configuration.

As usual, defending champions Team Becker Moto Works (William Becker/ Eric Becker) gridded on the last row, with second place Team Johnny Killmore (John Wood/ Giorgina Gottlieb) on pole. Wood and Gottlieb would holeshot and attempt to build enough of a gap to hold off the hard-charging Becker duo. Before turn 3 though, the bright blue of Wood Brothers Racing would fill their mirrors. Driver Chris Wood was showing his old form, jumping from near the back of the field to chase the leaders from the outset. The neon green novice jersey worn by his passenger made it clear that full time passenger Phil Wood was not able to make the event. Subbing though was first-timer Aaron McEwen, son of long time SRA-West passenger Gary McEwen. The younger McEwen seemed to take to the sport naturally, moving with confidence as the leaders drew closer.

Team Johnny Killmore got the message and set out on a tear, pushing below their practice times by a full second and setting the gap at about 10 lengths. Wood Brothers would not concede though, and held the gap, closing at times, until Team Becker Moto Works- already up to third place- began to draw closer. Under pressure from behind, Wood Brothers Racing started to lose out just slightly until the halfway point, when an inside move allowed the Beckers through to second. Wood Brothers would not fade though and for a lap it appeared a 3-way battle for the lead might develop. It was not to be however as Team Johnny Killmore managed to squirt away yet again when he saw the famous red and yellow paint filling his mirror.
The Elder Becker poured on the coals and reeled in the leaders like a jet fighter closing on a mosquito. On lap 5 Becker made an aggressive inside move in the middle of turn 3. Team Johnny Killmore attempted to force the nose in on the brakes for turn 4, but had the door firmly shut in their face. With clear track ahead Becker would pull out a 3 second lead in the final 1.5 laps to put the stamp on another victory in an almost flawless season.

With one race to go, nothing short of a mechanical failure would wrest the title from driver William Becker, and passenger Eric Becker has already mathematically taken the passenger championship. The season will wrap up at Willow Springs International Raceway on the 2.6 mi main course, November 19-20. For more information on sidecar racing in the U.S. log onto www.sra-west.us.

RESULTS:
(Driver/ Passenger, Chassis/ Engine)
1. William Becker/ Eric Becker, Becker/ Suzuki
2. John Wood/ Giorgina Gottlieb, Windle/ Suzuki
3. Chris Wood/ Aaron McEwen, ART/ Suzuki
4. Sean Bakken/ Gary McEwen, Spike/ Yamaha
5. Steve Stull/ Brandon Mathews, Baker/ Honda
6. Gary Woolf/ Unknown, Woolf/ Suzuki
7. Don Sayre/ Julie Godman, Baker/ Suzuki, -1 lap
8. Leon VanOrsedale/ Kevin Kautsky, RGM/ Kawasaki, DNF