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Sep 7, 2010

Updated: Even More From Last Weekend's Various Races

Leon Morris (84) leads Darren Fry (48) in the Ducati 848 Challenge at Castle Combe. Photo by Bonnie Lane, courtesy of Ducati 848 Challenge Press Office:
Leon is King of the Castle

Leon Morris took a win and a second place in the Ducati 848 Challenge races at the Fowlers Motorcycles Pro Bike meeting at Castle Combe at the weekend, keeping his championship hopes alive, albeit by a slim margin. Stockbridge-based Morris lived up to his word by sharing the honours with Buildbase/JHP Racing team-mate Darren Fry who also took a win and a second. Podium regular, Mark Cheetham, took third place honours in the first race, with Barry Poll taking the other well-deserved podium place in the second race.

The historic circuit, celebrating 60 years of racing this year, was playing host a huge and appreciative crowd who were treated to some great racing all through the regular New Era classes - plus the Historic GP Championship and a parade of Classic Racing machines. But in the red morning light at the Wiltshire circuit it was local hero Morris who shone brightest with a blistering start from the second row to slingshot through the slimmest of gaps between Fry and the other front row starters in the SOT class. He would lead the race until lap 5 when Fry finally reeled him in, and the pair were to race wheel-to-wheel for the remainder of the race, Fry only crossing the line less than half a second in front of his team-mate.

In what is now becoming a regular 8-lap bout, Barry Poll and Mark Cheetham on the Shorrock Motorcycles 848 resumed their on-track rivalry to challenge for third place, Cheetham taking the place this time around. Further back, Aaron Brown, joining the series for the first time after 16 months away from racing, was getting to grips with the largely stock Ducati UK rental bike to post a credible fourth place, just ahead of Ben Garner on the Green Thumb/Ducati Manchester machine and Peter Hasler on the Boast & Appeal bike. Brown has now reserved the rental bike for the remainder of the season, so he could be pushing for honours when the series heads for more familiar tarmac. Stuart Poyser and Sean Hourigan both put in assured performances following their stop-start season so far, Vauxhall-based Hourigan returning from an ankle injury which had prevented him from competing the previous round.

There was to be no repeat in race two as Morris took the win over Fry, but it was hard-fought as both were separated by no more than a bike length for most of the race. It was an issue with the front brake lever that finally did for Fry, allowing Morris to retake the lead into the entry of Quarry corner after the two split either side of a back-marker as they pulled onto the start/finish straight. Morris crossed the line to take the flag having also recorded the day's best time for the series with a 1:13.52 lap. The action was no less exciting for third place, as Barry Poll fended off the strong challenge from Mark Cheetham, both riders swapping places through the Castle Combe chicanes and not giving an inch of track throughout the whole race. Poll made amends for race one by taking the third place, much to the delight of the paddock for the Lincolnshire man who has come on strongly in the latter half of the season.

Morris, on 211 points, keeps alive his chances of winning the championship with two rounds remaining, but with a 49-point lead it will take an error from Fry to deny him the inaugural Ducati 848 Challenge title. The championship now takes a deep breath before the penultimate and final rounds take place on consecutive October weekends at Cadwell Park and Oulton Park respectively.

Championship standings: Fry 260pts, Morris 211pts, Cheetham 178pts, Poll 139pts, Hasler 114pts, Garner 79pts, Poyser 60pts, Hourigan 53pts, Fagan 39pts, Walker 25 pts, Langford 24pts, Brown 24pts, Wilson 10pts

More, from a press release issued by Vesrah Suzuki:


For the first 2/3rds of the AMA Pro Racing Daytona Sportbike Race 2 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville NJ things were looking very promising for Vesrah Suzuki with both team riders in the lead pack of 10 riders running nose to tail. Cory West was at the front of the group after getting off the line in 3rd place and led for several laps before settling into 2nd place. Teammate Chris Fillmore never lost touch with the large lead group and was gaining positions as competitors dropped out. Disaster first struck Cory with a mechanical issue dropping him out of the race and then struck Chris several laps later with a crash.

Cory remains in 5th place in the Daytona Sportbike season championship but now has only a 1 point lead over 6th place while Chris is in 9th place in the championship. The team heads next to the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park looking to keep both of the team's Suzuki GSX-R 600's in the top 10 in the point standings.

Mark Junge Team Owner Vesrah Suzuki

"Having both riders run in the lead group was exciting but things can go south quickly as was the case with our luck today. I have to thank Penske for all of their support this weekend and my crew for all of their efforts."

Cory West Vesrah Suzuki #57

"I got a much better start today and ended up 3rd on the first lap. We made some changes to help with rear traction before the race and my Suzuki GSX-R 600 felt really hooked up. I made some passes and got into the lead a couple of laps but spent most of the time behind the leader in 2nd place. I just wanted to let the laps wind down before I showed my cards but unfortunately my engine expired with about 7 laps to go. I'm happy to have run at the front today and I'm proud of my team and the Penske techs for getting my bike to work so much better than yesterday. It is disappointing to get a DNF today but I feel good about how well I rode. I'll be ready for the final event at Barber and hopefully we'll have Lady Luck on our side!"

Chris Fillmore Vesrah Suzuki #55

"Today's race was kind of bittersweet I was in the lead group for the entire time and feeling very comfortable until with 3 laps to go I miss-shifted thru turn 4 which upset the chassis, pushing the front which caused a crash. So we learned a lot this weekend and my confidence has grown. We now have settings for the forks and shock that feel very good to me. I feel confidant that going into Barber I can put the Suzuki at the front. I want to apologize to the entire Vesrah Suzuki team and their sponsors as the bike was excellent today and because of a mistake I didn't get the position to end the weekend well."

Vesrah Suzuki wants to thank all of their sponsors for their support for the 2010 season Vesrah, American Suzuki, Rockstar Energy Drink, Nielsen Enterprises Suzuki, Traxxion Dynamics Fork Components, Dainese Leathers, Boots and Gloves, Arai (Cory), Shoei (Chris), Graves Motorsports, Hotbodies Racing Bodywork, Sudco Int., Bazzaz, Factory Pro, Maxima Racing Oils, Vortex, DID Chain, Penske Racing Shocks, GPR Stabilizers, Trek Bicycles, GP Tech, Active & Road Rage Designs

More, from a press release issued by ANT Racing:

Pittsburgh, PA (September 7th, 2010), AGV/Dainese, Monster Energy's James Rispoli had a fantastic week. James placed fifth on the Indy Mile dirt track event last weekend, then the young gun from Attica, NY headed to the Bonneville Salt Flats and broke two 750cc AMA Land Speed Records. Not done with his week of work, James flew into Pittsburg on Thursday and made his way to Millville, NJ for the AMA Superbike national. Three racing venues in seven days!

With Hurricane Earl holding off, it created a beautiful weekend in Millville, NJ. James posted a final qualifying run that put him in eighth position and on the second row of the AMA Pro SuperSport grid. In Saturday's race James took a hard fought fifth place finish, being drafted out of fourth at the line by 0.77 seconds. With the bike exhibiting some handling issues and a new clutch grabbing at the start, the crew set out to make changes long into the night. After consulting with Lenny at Race Tech and Michael Tjon the team came up with a game plan. The changes were massive, but confidence was high.

In Sunday morning's practice James went out on used tires and posted almost a second faster than his race pace on Saturday. He came in, asked for a minor adjustment and all looked good for a show down at the O.K. Corral.

In the race James was fifth after the first lap and started to pick off riders and set lower times each lap. By lap five he was in second place chasing down Nash. James was hard on the breaks and faster in a couple of sections. Nash eventually pushed too hard and lost the front giving up the lead. James and Puerta battled the rest of the race with James clearly going in deeper on the brakes especially in turn one to continue to lead. James set his fastest time in section three on the last lap which set him up for a great drive on to the straight several bikelengths ahead of Puerta. James took the checkered flag as Puerta drafted up short. James captured his first AMA Pro SuperSport win.

"I am so proud of that kid" was the first thing sponsor David Ashi of had to say. "James wanted this so bad and we are all so excited for him. The crew and the sponsors that help out along the way continue to be very supportive. This is not a high-budget operation and to compete against the bigger, well-funded teams and come out on top is an incredible accomplishment. Lots of people in the paddock helped James and our team get to the front. We are now going to concentrate on getting to Barber, the final round, and keep the momentum going."

About is owned and operated by Ant Systems. In business since 2000 the company produces the most innovative rear-view daylight LCD systems in the market today for sport bike and race car applications. Made from the highest quality 6061 billet aluminum and hard anodized, each system features a full 75 degree viewing angle. There is also an optional GPS and rear-view available in the Ant Dry Rider with GPS model. Ant-Racing works with Gator Customs, Nick Anglada of Nick Anglada Originals, McCoy Motorsports, MSP and a host of other professional builders and amateurs alike. The Company takes great pride in knowing these artists choose our product to feature on their work of art! also markets a full line of ANT-Racing Custom Apparel for the discriminating buyer. For more information contact or call (412) 381-2922

More, from a press release issued by Harley-Davidson:

Holden Scores AMA Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Victory at NJMP

PJ Jacobson and Kyle Wyman Earn Maiden Podium Finishes

Milwaukee (Sept. 7, 2010) RMR/Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing rider Jake Holden scored his first victory in the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 series with a dominating flag-to-flag victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 6.

With Holden's teammate and pre-New Jersey series points leader Danny Eslick sitting out the round to concentrate on his tight battle for the championship in the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class, Holden looked to have clear sailing early in the weekend. A strong showing by newcomer PJ Jacobson, who qualified in second position on the Celtic Racing entry, hinted he might be Holden's toughest competition, but at the start of Sunday's 12-lap feature race it was RMR/Rossmeyer's Kyle Wyman who got the holeshot into turn one and led part of the first lap.

"I was smoking my hush puppies on the start. I almost looped it," said Holden, who was third into the first corner after his bike wheelied off the starting line. "I knew I had to get out there and possibly make a gap because I knew these guys were starting to pick up the pace. I felt like I was pushing the envelope there for a bit after I got by Kyle and PJ trying to break a gap. Then just put my head down and went for the win."

Once he gained the lead, Holden checked out as Jacobson and Wyman diced for the second step of the podium, waging a back and forth drafting battle in the race's late stages. Wyman moved back into second on lap 10, only to be repassed by Jacobson on the penultimate lap, setting up what looked to be drag race off the final corner to the checkered flag. But on the final lap, Wyman was unable to make the slingshot pass work and Jacobson held onto to second place by a 0.203 second margin.

"Kyle and I had an awesome battle. I didn't really know what to expect near the end with the tire wearing a little bit. It was definitely a fun race," said Jacobson, who ran most of the race with a broken shifter.

"I got a lucky break getting the holeshot there and getting out front first, but then Jake came by me in turn five, and then PJ came by me in the last corner there on the first lap and I knew I had to tag onto one of those guys and try to go with them," Wyman said. "I brought [PJ] back a little at the end and got by him. He came back by me on the next lap and we were really close. I thought I was going to be able to do it at the end. On the last lap coming out of turn nine with his broken shifter he kind of missed a shift and I was right up underneath his rear end and had to check up a little bit and then I couldn't get the drive out of there."

In fourth place, editor Steve Atlas posted a strong fourth place result for HOG Racing in his series debut, followed by Harv's Harley-Davidson's Travis Wyman in fifth, RMR/Rossmeyer's Joe Rozynski in sixth and James Gang/Hoban Brothers Racing's Paul James in seventh. Michael Corbino (RMR/Rossmeyer) and Matthew Heidel (Shar-Tuff Racing) rounded out the order.

The five-round Vance & Hines XR1200 series concludes September 25-26 with the final round of the 2010 AMA Pro Racing season at BarberMotorsportsPark in Leeds, Alabama.

Company Background

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit

More, from a press release issued by Acorn Woods Communication on behalf of Yoshimura Racing:

Rockstar Makita Suzuki Finishes Solid Weekend of Racing in New Jersey

* Tommy Hayden finished second on Sunday in a near repeat of Saturday's battle on the track.
* Blake Young pulled together a fourth-place effort on Sunday, returning to racing this weekend after a three-race absence due to injury.
* The GSX-R1000 took eight of the top-10 spots in the race on Sunday.

Brea, Calif. September 7, 2010 Rockstar Makita Suzuki and their championship-winning GSX-R1000s took to the track again on Sunday for the second half of the AMA American SuperBike Round 9 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park doubleheader. Tommy Hayden and his No. 22 GSX-R1000 put on a spectacular show for the fans as he fought for the lead throughout the race, finishing second. Blake Young just missed the podium with his strong fourth-place ride. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 had a great day on Sunday as well, taking eight of the top-10 spots in the class.

Tommy Hayden went into the race on Sunday hoping to capitalize on the momentum he built up with the pole position and a second-place finish on Saturday. After a few minor changes to his Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, Hayden took the first spot on the grid prepared to stay up front for the entire race. Tommy did just that as he rocketed his motorcycle to the front off the start, using the smooth power of the GSX-R to put himself in the best position possible to make a run for the checkered flag. He battled with another racer throughout the 23-lap event, trading between first and second. On the last lap, Tommy made a thrilling pass but couldn't make it stick, ending the day in second place.

"For the most part, the race went the way I expected," Hayden said after the race. "I could tell it was going to come down to the last lap again today. I didn't expect to be able to get away, but I wanted to put up a fight. I felt like I did that, but it wasn't quite good enough." Tommy is still firmly planted in second place in the championship points race, 22 points behind the leader.

Blake Young hoped that his return to the racetrack after a three-race absence would go well, though he wasn't sure if he'd be physically prepared to battle it out for 23 laps on the track. After Saturday's strong performance aboard his GSX-R1000, Blake lined up on the grid focused on riding another fluidly smooth race. Young got a great start, powering his way into second behind his teammate Hayden for the first lap. Young eventually fell back to third place and stayed there for the majority of the battle. Toward the end of the race, another competitor was able to overtake him and Young finished in fourth place again. Overall, it was a successful return to racing for the 22-year-old Wisconsin native.

"We made some changes last night and after the warm up today I could tell we were headed in the right direction," Young said after the race. "I set my goals a little bit higher today, and I wanted to cut the gap in half between us and the leaders from yesterday, and I was pretty happy that we did that. My crew on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team worked really, really hard for me and I want to thank them for being patient with me and getting me back up to speed on my bike."

Tommy and Blake will get two more chances to show what their GSX-R1000s are capable of in the 2010 AMA American SuperBike class at the series finale doubleheader hosted by Barber Motorsports in Alabama on September 24-26.

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

San Marino Grand Prix debrief with Tohru Ubukata

Round 12: San Marino GP Post-race debrief
Misano World Circuit, Tuesday 7 September 2010

Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Medium, Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard

The Grand Prix of San Marino was won by Dani Pedrosa who dominated proceedings all weekend and led from the green light, setting a blistering pace and a new lap record. Jorge Lorenzo finished second, and Valentino Rossi kept Andrea Dovizioso at bay to finish third.

Whilst rain was forecast for Sunday's race, it failed to materialise and conditions were dry and warm all weekend.

For the race, all riders used the softer compound rear tyre and the harder compound front, apart from Alvaro Bautista who used the softer front to good effect, finishing eighth with the sixth fastest laptime.

The race was overshadowed however by a tragic accident involving Moto2 frontrunner Shoya Tomizawa who lost his life in a crash during Sunday's race.

Q&A with Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

On Saturday it looked like race tyre choice may be mixed, but almost everyone ended up choosing the same compound options. Why was this?

"The temperature this weekend was such that both compounds of front and rear tyre could perform well it was in the overlap between the temperature operating ranges of each option. We saw on Friday and Saturday that riders were using both specs in order to assess their race tyre choice and the performance of each was good, so it was possible that both options for the front and rear could be used for the race.

"During the two free practice sessions, all riders confirmed the consistency of the softer option rear tyres over race distance, and because the softer compound offers more grip as well, this is what ended up being the favoured race tyre. If there are no race-distance consistency concerns with the softer option, it will generally be favoured for its extra grip and traction.

"With regards front tyre choices, most riders chose the harder to give more stability as the harder rubber is stiffer and thus gives them more front-end feel and confidence. Alvaro showed however that even the softer front tyre worked quite well over race distance, and he was able to set the sixth fastest time overall."

More, from a press release issued by Öhlins USA:

Taylor Knapp, Top Privateer in AMA Superbike Series, and on Öhlins

Hendersonville, North Carolina: Privateer racer Taylor Knapp knowingly knifed his way to two more top-ten finishes at the New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) round of the AMA Superbike Championship, putting himself seventh in this season's points. Knapp is now the top-ranked privateer in the Superbike class, ten points clear from his nearest rival.

The 23-year-old Knapp, from Lapeer, Michigan, started road racing when he was 12-years-old . Now Knapp has knuckled down to the gnarly challenge of the AMA's class of big bikes, regularly turning in top-ten results on his Suzuki GSX-R1000, equipped with an Öhlins shock and and fork cartridge kit, each derived from Öhlins MotoGP suspension components.

Not only is Knapp a privateer, he is a true privateer by every measure, driving his bike to each event, remapping it at home on the dyno, preparing it along side Crew Chief Tom Goddard, and, as his father, Dave, said, "He's the top finishing rider who polishes his own shock springs."

Knapp hones his skills by competing in WERA events when he has an off weekend from the AMA. At the WERA Cycle Jam, which took place in August at Virginia International Raceway, Knapp won two superbike races with the Öhlins riders Brian Stokes and Lee Acree sharing the podium with him in the National class, and Stokes taking second again in the Sportsman class.

At the NJMP AMA event, Knapp earned an eighth-place finish in Superbike Race 1, and a tenth-place finish in Race 2, from his 12-place qualifying position. In 2010 Knapp's best qualifying was fifth at the Road Atlanta round, putting him in the midst of factory riders. His best finish in 2010 was a seventh in race 2 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and his finishing position average is 10.2, according to the AMA.

Knapp's father, Dave, a former dirt track and road racer, said, "We're hoping teams notice Taylor's great performances this year. He's always prepared and ready to put on a show at every event and he's really earned his way to being the top privateer in the points. Öhlins USA has been a great help to us. I can't thank them and Mike enough. He understands how Taylor needs his bike set up for his riding style." Knapp's knext AMA race is the season-closing event at Barber Motorsports Park, where Knapp will be defending his top ranking.

Öhlins USA distributes and services the world's leading performance suspension for automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles. Öhlins develops its proprietary and innovative suspension components at the highest levels of racing from open-wheel car racing, to MotoGP, to off-road competition on two and four wheels. Öhlins USA also provides training for service centers and dealers.

More, from a press release issued by Celtic Racing:


Millville, NJ (September 7, 2010) -- Celtic Racing/Orient Express racer P.J. Jacobsen built upon the momentum he gained with his impressive Virginia International Raceway performance and came out even stronger at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The rising star registered his best AMA Pro Road Racing weekend yet as he and Celtic Racing/Orient Express posted excellent results on the weekend. Jacobsen finished as the runner-up in his first ever AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 race and scored a pair of head-turning results in the hotly contested AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class.

Having qualified on the third row for the SportBike finals aboard his GSX-R600, the 17 year-old proved to be a strong challenger in Saturday's race. P.J. climbed to all the way to seventh in the end, just off the lead group.

Jacobsen came back on Sunday determined to do even better, and he succeeded. P.J. was the quickest rider in the Sunday Daytona SportBike morning warm-up, a first for the rider and team.

Mixing it up as part of a 10-rider shootout for victory, he rode a calculated race and picked up several positions late, falling just inches short of a podium finish. Finishing in fourth only 0.075 seconds off of the box, P.J. was beaten only by the class' three leading championship contenders on the day.

Jacobsen explained, "On Saturday I got a decent start but the guys were really fast at the front and I just lost them. But today's race was crazy. I've never been in a ten-rider battle before, so it was a new experience. But we had the Celtic Racing/Orient Express bike working well and we ended up getting fourth. We just were patient during the race and it all went our way.

"We were less than a wheel off the box, so we're definitely getting closer every race. The team has done a fantastic job. We're going to put our heads down again at the next race at Barber. We don't have to worry about the points or anything so we're just going to go for the podium."

Jacobsen did get to climb up on the podium at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday as the team entered the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 class. P.J. quickly adapted. In the race, he matched his second place qualifying effort with a second-place ride after winning out in a heated dogfight for the spot.

"I got a decent start and I'd never done a start on one of them so that was a first!" he said. "We had an awesome battle. I really didn't know what to expect towards the end with the tires. It was definitely a fun race and a fun experience riding on the XR1200."

Shane Narbonne added to the team's successful NJMP weekend with a strong showing in the AMA Pro American Superbike class. Having qualified 13th, the young rider continued to improve throughout the weekend.

On Saturday he edged a rival for 11th position at the checkered flag, and then broke into the top ten on Sunday with a clear tenth-place result.

Celtic Racing/Orient Express will be aiming to end the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season on another high note at the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park on September 24-26.
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