Oct 10, 2001
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A press release issued by Munroe Motors, sponsor of AMA Pro Thunder points leader Tom Montano:<BR><BR>Age And Experience Beats Youth And A Fat Bankroll<BR><BR>Thomas Montano, the wily road racing veteran from Berkeley, California, proved the old adage true when he topped the field in the AMA Pro-Thunder Nationals at Virginia International Raceway, Alton Virginia, Sunday, September 30th on his Ducati 748R motorcycle, sponsored by local dealer Munroe Motors.<BR><BR>Pitted against stiff opposition from three nationally accomplished but less experienced riders on factory-supported Buell motorcycles, Montano played his hand to perfection and left the competition floundering in his wake. "I just stayed out of trouble and looked for an opening" said Montano. "Those Buells come out of the corners really hard, but the Ducati had the advantage in a few spots around the track".<BR><BR>The weekend started well enough with practice on Thursday, but then Tom crashed on Friday afternoon just after setting some fast lap times, and the team from Munroe Motors, the Ducati dealership in San Francisco, worked to repair the damage late into the night.<BR><BR>Saturday proved to be a tough day as the team failed to match the speed of the previous afternoon… a chronic front-end chatter was plaguing the handling of the bike, but it would not improve with any chassis or suspension adjustments. Sundays' grid positions were set on Saturday afternoon by the results of two heat races, all entrants competing in one or the other. Buell rider Mike Ciccotto won the faster heat race, thereby earning pole position and the extra championship point, whereas Montano struggled to a third place finish in the other heat, giving him a second row starting position for the race.<BR><BR>On Sunday morning, the team mounted a new set of tires for the pre-race warm-up and amazingly the chatter problem disappeared, allowing Tom to set the fastest time of the morning practice and give the team hope for a good finish.<BR><BR>The race was run right after the Superbike final, and the three factory Buell riders shot off the starting line into the lead using the massive torque of the 1300cc Harley engines. Montano meanwhile took up position 50 feet off the rear wheel of the third rider. The lead swapped between Buells several times over the first few laps, but Montano hung back. On the ninth lap of 17 he started pushing forward, passing Tripp Nobles for third place, then swung past Dave Estok and pole winner Ciccotto to take the lead on lap 10. Nobles started to fade with engine problems and Ciccotto also slowed up a little with handling problems, but Estok hung tough and narrowly retook the lead. On lap 13 however, Estok's machine spluttered right at the exit of turn one, and Montano following closely hit the rear end of Estok's Buell with his handlebars, nearly throwing the Ducati rider to the ground. <BR><BR>"I thought I was going down" said Montano, "Dave put his hand up as his motor lost power, but I couldn't avoid running into him. I'm just lucky the bike stayed upright". With Estok out, there was no-one left in the fight, and Montano rode the last few laps to victory.<BR><BR>The result puts Montano and the Munroe Motors Ducati 748 team in the championship points lead as they head into the final round of Pro-Thunder at Road Atlanta, on October 27th.<BR><BR>For more information, please contact Nick Hayman of Munroe Motors. Tel 415-626-3496 ext 4, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org