Canaan, NH August 26-27, 2017
The final round of the Penguin Racing School’s NESBC race series came to Canaan Motor Club this past weekend and a record number of riders were treated to picture perfect weather and some fantastic racing all weekend long. Saturday’s event featured the deciding round for each of the 6 NESBC classes, none of which had leaders who had clinched their championships. The Team Challenge, which features teams of 4 riders from different classes working together to score the most total points and features a $1500 cash bonus for the winning team, was literally wide open with a tie at the top of the standings and 6 of the 7 teams well within striking distance of the title. Sunday featured the inaugural Northeast Dealer Challenge, which featured ten teams with four riders each from shops all over New England (each with at least one dealer employee) fighting it out for the title of “Fastest Shop in the Northeast”. The challenge would be split into two divisions (A & B) and the excitement (not to mention the smack talking) was in the air everywhere.
The Formula 300 race by Kawasaki featured a number of series regulars, plus a new addition to the field that brought a lot of extra excitement. Rick Doucette, the winningest rider in the history of the Loudon Road Race Series, was making his debut at NESBC and the crowd was excited to see how he’d fare in the stout Formula 300 field. From the inside of the front row, Dan Rosato grabbed the early holeshot, followed by Roger Ealy Jr and the familiar #6 of Doucette. Rosato had recently carded a few finishes that were off the podium, but discovered a problem with his rear shock between rounds. He took off with newfound confidence, but could nor shake his two drafting partners. Ealy and Doucette had a furious battle, swapping positions (and perhaps a little paint) several times in the first half of the race. All the while, machines of Phil O’Donnell and Michael Vallante started to close up a bit on the lead trio, hoping to join the fray. Behind Vallante, another tight trio followed, giving the crowd non stop action throughout the field. As the race wore on, Ealy lost about a second to Rosato and Doucette, and O’Donnell and Vallante were in a dogfight of their own. On the final lap, Ealy made a big move to close on the leaders, only to crash exiting the turn two horsehoe. This left two pairs of riders who were all over each other on the last lap. Doucette made a big charge on the last lap but Rosato eked out the win in a well ridden race by a nose. Battling for the final podium spot, Vallante also make a big run at O’Donnell only to come up a couple feet short at the line. Clarence Beaudette got the best of a three rider fight to secure the final purse paying position. When the points were tallied up, everyone was looking for points leader Chris Woodman, who had a mechanical failure and retired just after the halfway point. His 9th place finish was just enough, as we managed to secure the season championship by a single point over his season long rival Phil O’Donnell.
Next up were the Intermediate A by Arai & Intermediate B by Bazzaz classes, both of which had riders locked in battles for the season titles. In the larger displacement Arai “A” division, season points leader Scott Briody grabbed the holeshot on his Kawasaki and tried to make a run for it. However, from the second row the hard charging Danny Weems was a man on a mission, and he took over the lead on lap two. In spite of riding the oldest (and dare I say ugliest) bike in the field, Weems showed that the rider matters far more than the machine, and he set sail on his way to victory and never looked back. Behind Weems was a three way battle between Briody, the Ducati of Chris Hall and the Suzuki of newcomer Vincente Frontinan. In the end Frontinan pull clear by a little over a second, followed by Briody who had secured the season title with a third place finish. In fourth was Hall who rode one of his best races of the season, followed by a great showing by the Kawasaki of Tony Wells who had just bumped from the Street Bike class and was riding with the more experience Intermediate riders for the first time. In the small bore Bazzaz “B” division, points leader Fletcher Rood got a tough start and was mired back in the pack. The field was led by the strong starting SV650 of Stephanie Miskell, followed by the Kawasaki 300 of the recently bumped Teague Hobbs and the KTM of Julie Infurna. On lap 2, the hard charging 14-year-old Hobbs surprised the field with a charge into the lead. Miskell had her work cut out for her as a pair of motard bikes ridden by Daniel Zimmer and Fletcher Rood began to close in on her. Rood was the first one by and he managed to charge all the way into the lead on lap 4. Undeterred, Hobbs showed some great maturity and made a decisive move in traffic that got him back to the lead to take the white flag. The hard charging Zimmer caught Rood on the final lap and stuck it up the inside to take the 2nd spot away before the pair crossed the line for the final time. Rood’s third place was enough to secure the championship ahead of the 4th place Miskell, but both riders rode extremely well all season long.
The Street Bike divisions featured the largest grids of the day, with 6 rows of riders lining up in the Hindle Street Bike 1 division and 7 rows of riders starting the Dunlop Street bike 2 event. As is often the case, we had two first time winners this weekend. In the large displacement Hindle SB1 class, polesitter Vernon Crawley simply put on a show at his first NESBC event. Points leader Laura Fuoco had to work through the field on lap one and in spite of getting to 2nd place by the end of lap 1, Crawley had already pulled out a 3 second gap. The gap remained the same for a few laps, but Fuoco didn’t give up but conceded victory to Crawley as she managed to close the gap to just over a second at the end. Behind Fuoco, series regular Brian Bloom rode a fantastic race from his 5th row starting spot, taking over the final podium spot from the smooth riding Steve Moriche by the halfway point, who finished about a second clear of 5th place series newcomer Paul Sullivan. The Dunlop SB2 division was a fantastic spectacle, as 12 year old Ben Gloddy rode in incredible race on his underpowered Honda CRF150 to take the victory from CRF450 of fellow NESBC rookie Scott Rounds. The two riders diced back and forth, each making moves that belied their age and experience and left the crowd gasping for breath. Both riders had a great time as they were seen congratulating each other after the event. The strong riding of series regular Miles Allen not only earned him the final spot on the podium, but also earned him the season championship. Rounding out the top was a nice battle between Troy Hodgkins in 4th and Matt Moreau in 5th.
The final and always highly anticipated event of Saturday was the First Trax Motard event. The presence of the talented AMA Supermoto rider Trevor Chiappisi had the paddock abuzz all day before the event. Usual last minute entry Eric Block entered early for the event and tried to take advantage of his front row start, only to be bested by championship contender Adam Clark. As Chiappisi was working hard to work his way through the field, Block made a big move on Clark in the back section and came around in the lead on lap 1. By lap 2 Chiappisi had worked his way into second place and everyone was watching to see if he could catch up to Block, who had a couple seconds in hand at this point. Instead, the focus of the race shifted to a mad-dog 5 rider battle for third place. Riders were 2 and 3 abreast at times, and it was hard to keep up with the action and figure out who was leading. By the halfway point, series points leader Ryan Hobbs was worked his way clear of the fray and began to put his head down to see if he could reel in the hard charging Chaippisi. Meanwhile Bill Morey, Adam Clark, Eric Shaw and Sergio Dimoffetta were putting on a show in the battle for the last two paying positions of the field. Morey provided a fantastic show for the crowed, putting both wheels off the track coming onto the front stretch on lap 6, allowing Shaw and almost Dimoffetta to slide by in the process. Meanwhile, up front the KTM of Block had established itself as the clear leader, and Block put on a show with a near vertical wheelie across the finish line to take the victory. Hobbs got just about to the back wheel of Chiappisi, but the seasoned pro held on to second place and Hobbs finished with a third place and a season championship. Behind Hobbs, Clark came through as the victor in the 4 rider mele, followed closely by Shaw in 5th.
Sunday’s New England Dealer Challenge started at noontime with the “A” division, which was stack with a field of talented racers on a wide range of machines. The technical nature of the Canaan track makes it possible for all types of bikes to run very similar lap times, and no one knew what the results might look like at the end of the day. Each dealer had two entrants in each race, and since every point counted there were cheers happening every time a move was made anywhere in the 20 rider field. For the first several laps of the “A” division contest, the field was incredibly tight. The first 8 riders were separated by less to two seconds and there were 8-10 position changes per lap. With 10 teams competing at the same time, it was nearly impossible to tell which team had the advantage. By the halfway point a lead trio began to emerge, with the unlikely trio of the KTM 450 of Eric Shaw, GSXR600 of Anthony Furia and GSXR1000 of Bob Bloodgood battling for the lead. Close behind was the Motard of Sergio Dimoffetta and the Kawasaki 636 of Scott Briody. With each machine having such different strengths in different areas of the track, the race was fascinating to watch. At the end of the “A” group battle, Team Manchester Honda had established themselves as the leaders, followed by Adreanaline Cycle Team, with the Rays Cycle and Souhegan Valley Motorsports Teams tied for third. With the championship anyone’s to win, the “B” group riders moved to the starting line. Although every point counted, the crowd could clearly not keep their eyes off the two riders at the front. Battling back and forth were the CRF150 of Ben Gloddy and the GSXR600 of Eric Cormier. The big Suzuki had the advantage down the straights, but the young Honda rider used the light weight and nimble handling of his mini motard machine to close the gap in the tight stuff and making incredible passes around the outside. In the end, the talented youngster got the best of his hard charging rival and secured the win. Laura Fuoco rode a fantastic race on her Ducati 848 to take 3rd, just ahead of the Ducati Scrambler of the hard-riding Jim Smith and the CBR600 of Ryan Beaulieu. After all the fnishes had been added up, Team Manchester Honda came out victorious, followed closely by the Souhegan Valley Motorsports team in 2nd. The teams from Ray’s Cycle and Adrenaline Motorsports tied in points, with Adrenaline winning the tie breaker with the top finishing rider to secure 3rd, and Wagner Motor Sports finished tied in points but won the tiebreaker with Seacoast Sport Cycle for a very close 5th.
|Kawasaki Formula 300|
|1||Dan Rosato||Yamaha R3|
|2||Rick Doucette||Yamaha R3|
|3||Phil O’Donnell||Yamaha R3|
|4||Michael Vallante||Kawasaki 250|
|5||Clarence Beaudette||Kawasaki 300|
|6||Jim Whitaker||Yamaha R3|
|Arai Intermediate A|
|1||Daniel Weems||Yamaha R6|
|2||Vincente Frontinan||Kawasaki ZX6|
|3||Scott Briody||Kawasaki ZX6|
|4||Chris Hall||Ducati 748|
|5||Tony Wells||Kawasaki ZX6|
|6||Glen Cavanaugh||Ducati 750SS|
|Bazzaz Intermediate B|
|1||Teagg Hobbs||Kawasaki 300|
|2||Dan Zimmer||Honda 450|
|3||Fletcher Rood||KTM 450|
|4||Stephanie Miskell||Suzuki SV650|
|5||Julie Infurna||KTM 450|
|6||Fred Bross||Kawasaki 300|
|Hindle Street Bike 1|
|1||Vernon Crawley||Yamaha R6|
|2||Laura Fuoco||Ducati 848|
|3||Brian Bloom||Honda 600|
|4||Steve Morishe||Yamaha R1|
|5||Paul Sullivan||Kawasaki 636|
|6||Christian Trudeau||Yamaha 600|
New England Dealer Challenge