Hendry and Rizzo Dominate at Pueblo Motorsports Park
Pueblo, CO – The fifth race of the 2023 MRA Championship Series took place at Pueblo Motorsports Park over the weekend of July 29-30th on their 2.2 mile road course. Pueblo, Colorado is known for its hot and windy climate this time of year, and this weekend was no exception. Racers endured temperatures nearing 100 degrees and winds guts up to 20 mph throughout the weekend, which posed a significant challenge for some racers.
The Race of the Rockies Qualifying on Sunday was conducted under decent conditions as temperatures had not yet risen to the 90’s. Ray Thornton, staying true to his form, claimed pole position with a best time of (1:31.11) followed by James Wilkerson (1:31.23) and Brad Hendry (1:31.55).
The start of RoR did not go well for Thornton as his bike’s power shut off within 20 feet of the launch. Thornton power cycled his bike multiple times and finally got it going, but at this point he was 54 seconds behind the leader. Wilkerson led the opening lap and was looking very strong, but midway through lap two a mechanical issue caused him to retire from the race. This opened the door for Mike Applegate to take the lead at the end of the second lap, in close pursuit was Hendry and Jason Martinez. By lap three Hendry was all over Applegate and executed a perfect pass to take the lead. Once out in front Hendry put his head down and started clicking off consistent lap times in the 1:30’s and ultimately maintained his lead for the remainder of the race. Thornton was able to carve his way through the field, passing seven riders, which helped him salvage a few championship points. Hendry took his first RoR win of the season, with Applegate coming in second and Martinez in third. Despite coming in seventh place, Thornton maintains a sizable lead in the RoR championship.
In Race of the Rockies GTU, Salvatore Rizzo got an excellent start and led the opening four laps. Jared Dear, last year’s RoR GTU class champion, made it back for his first race of the year and was in close pursuit of Rizzo. By lap five, Dear took the lead and did his best to hold off a determined Rizzo. However, on lap 13, Rizzo seized his opportunity and took the lead back from Dear. Once out in front, Rizzo was able to pull a small gap on Dear and maintain his lead for the remainder of the race. Further back in the field, Tyrel Diekmann was sitting in a comfortable third, but Dennis Stowers was chipping away at the gap every lap. By lap 13 Stowers passed Diekmann for third place and managed to hold him off until the checkered flag. Rizzo secured his first RoR GTU win of the season, and with only two rounds remaining in the championship, he is within striking distance of Ken Yee’s points lead. Rounding out the podium was Dear in second, and Stowers in third.
Next up, the MRA heads to High Plains Raceway in Byers, CO for Round 6 on August 26-27 for a full weekend of racing including the SuperStreet event on Saturday afternoon. SuperStreet gives street riders the opportunity to experience motorcycle road racing with minimal cost and preparation. See https://www.mra-racing.org/superstreet/superstreet-information for details.
The MRA welcomes racers from other clubs across the nation. If you’re a currently licensed racer, we have several reciprocity agreements in place along with very competitive pricing on license & entries to our 20 classes. Click here for MRA membership & entry information.
The Motorcycle Roadracing Association is dedicated to promoting safe and competitive motorcycle road racing events for enthusiasts in Colorado and the surrounding area. For more information go to http://www.mra-racing.org/.