Hendry Wins Again, Rizzo Clinches Race of the Rockies GTU Class Championship
Byers, CO, August 27th, 2023 – The sixth race of the 2023 MRA Championship Series took place at High Plains Raceway over the weekend of August 26-27th on their 1.86-mile North Course configuration. The weather this weekend made for ideal racing conditions as temperature hovered around the mid 80’s and the wind was almost nonexistent, a rarity at High Plains.
The Race of the Rockies (RoR) Qualifying on Sunday went off without a hitch. Ray Thornton, continuing his excellent form, broke the all-time RoR qualifying record for North Course with a time of (1:12.608) and secured pole position. The previous record of (1:12.762) by Ryan Burke had stood since 2017. Brad Hendry qualified second with a time of (1:13.247) followed by James Wilkerson (1:13.277).
The start of RoR saw Hendry, Wilkerson, and Mike Applegate get excellent starts, and going into Turn One nobody wanted to give an inch. Thornton didn’t get the start he hoped for and quickly found himself in fourth place by the time the pack reached the back straight. Hendry, staying true to his form from the last round, easily made his way to the front to take the lead after lap one. Once out in front, Hendry quickly dropped his times down into the 1:12’s and started to pull a gap on the rest of the field. Wilkerson and Applegate were dicing it up for second and third position and by lap three Applegate made a clean pass on Wilkerson. By this point Hendry had opened a 1.5 second lead and it was clear he had the best pace of the field. Applegate fought hard for the remainder of the race but was never able to get within striking distance of the leader. Hendy maintained the lead for the entirety of the race finishing seven seconds ahead of Applegate in second. Wilkerson rounded out the podium in third place. With one round remaining in the 2023 season, Thornton maintains his RoR championship lead by just six points over Applegate.
In Race of the Rockies GTU, Salvatore Rizzo got an excellent start to lead going into Turn One followed closely by Justen Behmer and Kevin Caputo. By the end of the first lap, Dennis Stowers had carved his way from last on the grid to overtake Caputo for third position. Rizzo, Behmer, and Stowers quickly grouped up and proceeded to break away from the rest of the field. For the remainder of the race, the leading trio stayed within half a second of one another. Stowers was unable to find a way around Behmer and neither one could get close enough to Rizzo to make a clean pass. Rizzo secured his second RoR GTU win of the season and clinched the 2023 RoR GTU Class Championship. Behmer finished in second and Stowers in third.
Next up, the MRA heads back to High Plains Raceway in Byers, CO for Round 7 on September 23-24 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 28 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/.