101st Loudon Classic: More From New Hampshire Motor Speedway

101st Loudon Classic: More From New Hampshire Motor Speedway

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By NEMRR:

The 101st Loudon Classic was a fantastic event that showcased the talent of both the NorthEast Motorcycle Road Racing (NEMRR) regulars and many of the top racers from MotoAmerica.  The race took place one weekend earlier than has been tradition.  The oldest motorcycle racing event in the USA normally serves as the close of Laconia Bike Week, and instead for 2024 assumed the role of kicking off the historic rally.  Sandwiched between two days of NEMRR racing, the classic Pro day featured four classes of racing action.

In the morning, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott set the paddock ablaze as he shattered the 14-year-old track record on the current New Hampshire Motor Speedway layout with an astounding 1:09.7 lap time during qualifying for the Classic main event. After setting the provisional pole in a previous session, Scott rolled out early and did a single flying lap to kick off the session.  The time was nearly a full second faster than his pole time from 2023!

Following qualifying, the skies opened up and soaked the track. Bright sunshine started to dry things out, and as the final call rang out for the 500 Superbike final riders had to choose between rains, slicks or intermediate tires.  Across the front row there was a range of choices: pole-sitter Eli Block was on slicks, while runner-up Renee Franco was on rains.  Nathan Bettencourt had a front rain and rear slick, and Nathan Muscaro also chose full slicks.  As the riders came around for lap one, it was Muscaro at the point, followed by Bettencourt and Block.  Block on his BARTCON Racing Kawasaki Ninja 400 was the man on the move, easing past Bettencourt on lap 2 and then assuming the lead from Muscaro on lap 6. As Block eased away, Bettencourt found himself in a battle with Henry Bosland for the final podium spot.  As the 13-year-old rising star made a last ditch effort in turn 11 on the last lap, Bettencourt asked a little too much of his worn-out front rain tire and tipped over, allowing Bosland to secure the final spot on the podium.

 

Eli Block (92). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.
Eli Block (92). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.

 

Next up, the Thunderbike race feature a Battle Royale between two NEMRR rising stars who had both spent time in MotoAmerica over the past two seasons. Both both riders were mounted on Aprilia RS 660’s and were pulling double duty competing in the Thunderbike and Loudon Classic events.   Gloddy jumped out to a nearly two second lead in the early
going, and Crossman had his work cut out for him.  The determined Loudon, NH native set after Gloddy with incredible determination and was steadily dropping his times with each lap all the way into the 1:12 range (well below his qualifying time).  Crossman passed Gloddy two laps to go and closed the deal by setting the fastest lap of the race on the
final lap of the contest!

 

Jacob Crossman (218). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.
Jacob Crossman (218). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.

 

The Loudon Classic in 2023 was run under rainy conditions, and NEMRR Executive Director John Grush was determined to run the 2024 event in the dry.  After a roughly two-hour delay Grush, working together with well-known meteorologist and NEMRR racer Mike Wankum, made a call to start the race with a very light rain coming down on a dry track.  As it turned out the call was spot-on, as Tyler Scott led the field out of the gate with a series of low 1:11 lap times.  Scott lead a Suzuki GSX-R750-mounted quartet as he was tailed by his teammate Teagg Hobbs, Vesrah/Steel Commander’s Hayden Gillim, and Wrench Motorcycles Bobby Fong.  As the race entered the middle stages Scott, Gillim and Fong separated themselves from the field.  Fong, who chose a different tire compound than the other two riders in the lead trio, began to just lose touch after the halfway point.  Gillim gave the crowd a show as he put a late-race charge together on Scott, taking over the lead as the two came through lapped traffic on lap 21 and holding on to secure the win and
the $55,000 winner’s share of the purse by 1.5 seconds over Scott.  Scott and Fong were awarded $35,000 and $25,000, respectively, for their podium-level efforts.

 

Tyler O'Hara (129). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.
Tyler O’Hara (129). Photo by Sam Draiss, courtesy NEMRR.

 

Closing out the event was the ASRA Outlaw Bagger race, an event particularly popular with the Harley Davidson & Indian fans at the event.  MotoAmerica star Tyler O’Hara stole the show on his Indian Progressive Mission Foods Indian Challenger.  After his dominating
qualifying performance, O’Hara was offered a $4,500 bonus to give the field a 10-second head start, which he wryly accepted after some contemplation on the line.  As he set off with determination, O’Hara chased down the field, overtaking eventual third-place finisher Emilio Jiminez and runner-up Craig Braymiller by lap 5 of the contest.  From there, O’Hara set sail and thrilled the American Iron fans with both his speed and style during the race and with some epic burnouts in front of the stands after the checkered flag.  O’Hara will likely have a tougher go of it in 2025, as Classic Podium finishers Gillim and Fong expressed interest in bringing their Baggers to the event next year.  On to the
102nd Loudon Classic in 2025!

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Real Steel Motorsports:

Hayden Gillim triumphant at the 101st running of the Loudon Classic on his Vesrah / Real Steel GSX-R750.

 

Hayden Gillim (95). Photo courtesy Real Steel Motorsports.
Hayden Gillim (95). Photo courtesy Real Steel Motorsports.

 

At the 101st running of the Loudon Classic presented by NEMRR held Saturday June 8th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in Loudon, New Hampshire, Hayden Gillim was able to capture the win and the $55,000 share of the purse that came with the victory. Running the same Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R750 that he used earlier this year to get a podium in the Daytona 200, Gillim qualified on the front row in third place with a 1:10.899 lap time.

At the start of the race, which was delayed allowing the track to dry from rain showers, Hayden initially slipped back to fourth place but quickly recovered back to third place. As the 25-lap race went on, Gillim was able to move into second place on lap 15 and set out after the leader. On lap 21, Hayden was able to pass for the lead and never relinquished it finishing 1.513 seconds ahead of second place. Gillim also turned the fastest lap of the race at a 1:10.711 which was faster than his qualifying time.

This effort was proudly supported by Vesrah, Steel Commander Corp. Comstock Energy LLC, Maxima Racing Oils, Fast Line Track Days, KTech suspension, Skip at Orient Express, Dunlop, GB Racing and REB Graphics.

Hayden Gillim – Rider #95: “A last-minute decision to go do the 101st Loudon Classic turned into a great weekend. I talked Mark into loading up the Vesrah racebike from the Daytona 200 and driving up to New Hampshire. Having never been to the track before I didn’t really have any expectations. A top five for me would’ve been amazing. After qualifying, I felt I had pace for the podium and was happy with that. After a bit of a comeback and help from some lapped traffic, I managed to snag the top spot away from some fast competition.”

“Thanks to Mark, Vesrah, Steel Commander, Comstock Energy, Dunlop, and everyone else that made this weekend a huge success!”

 

Hayden Gillim (right) and Mark Junge (left). Photo courtesy Real Steel Motorsports.
Hayden Gillim (right) and Mark Junge (left). Photo courtesy Real Steel Motorsports.

 

Mark Junge – Team Principal: “I had mixed emotions coming back to Loudon as the last time I was here back in 1998 as a rider I had a big crash and broke my leg – For Hayden to come away with the win was a great outcome. We did this race without our normal crew as it was just Hayden and I and I have to thank several friends who pitched in when needed.”

 

 

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