NEMRR Round 6 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway, September 9-10
The penultimate round of the 2023 NEMRR series marked the return of several top riders who has been away preparing and competing at MotoAmerica events. The two-day event was run under a variety of weather conditions that produced some exciting racing that saw some new faces on top of the podium in several classes. NEMRR also had the opportunity to honor the memory of long time competitor and NEMRRR/LRRS official Larry Hanlon. Larry was a tenacious racer who raced at the club level for many years, as well as competing in some national level events. He was a pioneer bike builder and changed the landscape of lightweight racing in New England as he built the first “motard” machines using the venerable CR500 engine, which he both ran in the dirt bike chassis and grafted into the frames of Grand Prix machines. Larry was paralyzed in a racing incident but continued serving the racing community as the assistant starter for many years. In keeping with his competitive sprit, Larry continued to win championships as his “Larry Lap” fundraisers led him to be the top donor to the NH Brain Injury association – a major supporter of people with spinal cord injuries. The ashes of Larry were carried by close friend Kevin Buck on a final lap around New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon.
The weekend started off with bright sun, temperatures in the 80’s and a flurry of first time winners in the Expert ranks. The four GT endurance races are always among the first to run each NEMRR weekend, and the only 2023 repeat winner was Renee Franco, returning from her maiden MotoAmerica event at PittRace to win the GT500 class. In GTL, Adam Guyer carded his first win of the season after his previously undefeated father Brett had some late race difficulties. In GTO, Chris Arrighi took his Aprilia RSV4 to win the first Expert GTO race of his career after a race long battle with Yamaha R6 mounted Bill Coolahan. Similarly, Geoffrey ‘Frenchie” Bonnard scored the first Expert GTU victory of his career over young upstart Micheal Lee.
In the Amateur ranks the standout for the weekend was David Lacroix, who collected wins in both the wet and the dry over the course of the event. Lacroix powered to victory in Unlimited Superbike, Unlimited GP, Formula 40 Middleweight and the Middleweight Grand Prix Class, where he picked up the purse money for as the top Amateur performer. In the process he ran times that qualify him for Expert status, which he may choose to advance for the final weekend or to postpone to the start of the 2024 season. Congratulations on a job well done.
NEMRR also features a Super Street class, which is a half step between track days and racing. Riders who have participated in a track day in 2024 can join the regular NEMRR racers in their own class, which allows riders on track day prepped machinery to experience a NEMRR weekend. This weekend’s Super Street classes were won by Randy Morissette, who showed remarkable adaptability as he powered to victory on a borrowed Suzuki GSXR machine in both the dry race on Saturday and on the wet race on Sunday.
The premier Michelin/MotoRace Dash for cash was another great contest this weekend as Eli Block returned from his MotoAmerica effort at PittRace to rejoin the championship battle at NEMRR. With 4 different victors in the first 5 events, the anticipation was palpable as the racers took to the starting line. At the green flag, it was again the mighty Triumph of Ian Beam that led the field into turn one, followed closely by Harlan Hildebrand. As the first lap unfolded Eli Block rocketed past 3rd place Paul Duval and past Hildebrand to cross the line in 2nd place. NEMRR #1 plate holder Rick Doucette continued his streak of abysmal launches and found himself again buried deep in the pack. Block settled behind Beam for the first half of the race, sizing up the best place to make his move, as the Kawasaki of Hildebrand hung in closely in third place. Meanwhile, Doucette was making his characteristic charge through the pack in hopes to catch the lead trio in time to make a move. After the halfway point Block made his way past Beam on the brakes and then set the fastest laps of the race as he stretched out the lead. Meanwhile, Doucette had caught the leaders and made his way to the back wheel of Beam, but in a repeat performance of week 5 could not find a way through on the last lap and settled for the final podium spot.
The final round of the 2024 NEMRR season will take place on September 30th – October 1st at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and will feature double points for all classes. Race licenses are discounted for all participants joining the series for the first time, and all classes, including the Super Street class will be run. Following the races on Sunday there is also a NEMM (New England Mini Moto) planned that allows kids of all ages (3 years old and up) to experience riding a motorcycle on the track. For more information visit www.NEMRR.com.