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Nov 10, 2010

Team Excalibur Wins Both SRA-West Sidecar Races In Las Vegas

Team Excalibur's Frank Riolo and Rory O'Conner (21) in action in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of SRA-West.
Sidecars Storm Las Vegas
November 6-7, 2010

The penultimate round of the SRA-West series was action packed and high drama this past weekend. Host club WERA attracted 14 teams from as far as Canada to the 1.75 mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway course.

Saturday's race saw defending champion Becker Moto Works (#84 William Becker/ Eric Becker) holeshot into turn 1, and they quickly began to pull away from second-in-points Team Johnny Killmore (#187 John Wood/ Vanessa McClure). A tremendous battle for second spot developed soon after as several fast teams piled in behind the #187 after starting from the last row. Team Brahma (#271 Oliver Brahma/ Ian McRae) was first around, followed by Team Excalibur (#21 Frank Riolo/ Rory O'Conner). The pair then reeled in the leader, passing on lap 2 of the 8 lap race. While Team Excalibur began to inch away in the lead, Becker began hounding Team Brahma for 2nd. Each time the gap widened, Becker would make it up on the brakes, but on lap 6 the heavy braking would catch them out.

Entering turn 1 Becker would find his brake fluid boiling. Unable to slow the machine and with no room on the outside, Becker opted to dive through the apex, catching the side of Team Brahma with tremendous force. When the dust settled both teams were out and Team Excalibur would take an easy victory, with regulars Subculture Racing (#2 Wade Boyd/ Christine Blunk) and Team Johnny Killmore filling the other slots on the podium. Team Excalibur had much to celebrate, as they had not raced since September 2009, when they placed 4th at Miller Motorsports Park.

Repairs were made and all 14 machines would make the start for Sunday's race. This time Team Johnny Killmore barely managed to sneak into the lead entering turn 1, catching a big slide and bunching up the grid. The pair had spun during morning practice on cold tires and were obviously having similar problems. Becker would use the opportunity to steal the lead at the apex of turn 4. This time semi-retired driver Rick Murray (Team RGM #175, rookie passenger John Maddox) also passed through after an excellent start from near the back row . A chase ensued but was broken up when Saturday' s winner- Team Excalibur- made a late braking move at the end of the back straight, then passed Team RGM a few turns later, setting off after the leader.

The battle for the lead shaped up quickly, with the pass happening on lap 2 of 6. Team Excalibur would eek out a lead over the remaining laps, winning by a solid margin and making it a double win for their first time back in over a year. Becker Moto Works held second place, helping put a few more points into their championship lead after their Saturday DNF. Team Brahma was able to move into 3rd and looked to be reeling in Becker, but the 6 lap event didn't leave them time for a battle.

The SRA-West moves to their season finale at Willow Springs Raceway November 20-21, hosted by WSMC. Becker Moto Works' 13 point lead should give them a solid chance at a second championship, but as Saturday's race shows, anything is possible when two people get on the same machine to tame 170HP.

The SRA-West would like to thank WERA for opening their doors and welcoming the Formula Sidecar championship into their schedule. The staff, the racers, and the spectators made all the teams feel right at home, and eager to return.

For more information on Sidecar road racing in the US, standings, results, and more, log onto www.sra-west.us


RESULTS:

Race 1 (8 laps):

1. Frank Riolo/ Rory O'Conner
2. Wade Boyd/ Christine Blunk
3. John Wood/ Vanessa McClure
4. Rick Murray/ John Maddox
5. Chris Wood/ Phil Wood
6. Hans Schultz/ Donn Sayre
7. Mike Troutman/ Heidi Neidhofer
8. Sean Bakken/ Roger Preston
9. Leon VanOrsdale/ Steve Stull
10. Roy Janes/ Gary McEwen
11. Oliver Brahma/ Ian McRae (6 laps)
12. William Becker/ Eric Becker (6 laps)
13. Gary Woolf/ Unk. (1 lap)

Race 2 (6 laps):

1. Frank Riolo/ Rory O'Conner
2. William Becker/ Eric Becker
3. Oliver Brahma/ Ian McRae
4. Rick Murray/ John Maddox
5. Chris Wood/ Phil Wood
6. John Wood/ Vanessa McClure
7. Wade Boyd/ Christine Blunk
8. Mike Troutman/ Heidi Neidhofer
9. Hans Schultz/ Donn Sayre
10. Sean Bakken/ Roger Preston
11. Leon VanOrsdale/ Steve Stull
12. Roy Janes/ Gary McEwen
13. Gary Woolf/ Unk.