*Team Morse Racing Clinches Three Class Championships, Ten ‘Top 5’ Overalls * On Sunday October 2nd 2005, Team Morse Racing clinched three class championships and ten top five season standings during the final round of MRA racing held at 2nd Creek Raceway in Denver Colorado. This event was to be the last ever motorcycle race to be held at 2nd Creek Raceway, the longtime home track of the Motorcycle Roadracing Association. The track is scheduled to be torn down for housing development in the fall of 2005, and Team Morse Racing did its best to send it out with a fireworks display! Saturday’s events started the racing weekend off with a bang. Dave Gallant and Mike Applehans used the short twisty 2nd Creek Raceway to their advantage and lapped well into the first wave of Middleweight Solo-Endurance bikes on their RacerSupply.com Suzuki SV650s. Dave, Mike, and fellow Pirelli riders sliced and diced the entire 30 minute solo-endurance race keeping the large crowd on hand glued to the action on the track. With 5 minutes to go, lapped traffic came into play and Dave Gallant was able to distance himself from the pursuing Lightweight grid and take home the class win and 2005 MRA Lightweight Endurance Class Championship. Seeing Dave make a break for it, Mike Applehans put his head down and turned the fastest laps of the race bringing home second place in the race and second place in the season standings in the Lightweight Solo-Endurance class. When asked how it felt to clinch the second championship for Team Morse Racing, an excited Dave Gallant stated “People ask us over and over how we get stock Suzuki SV650s to go well at the track, and I am afraid I sound like a broken record sometimes. The bike is good, the Suspension Solutions suspension is great, the RacerSupply.com Pirelli tires are fantastic, and the Team Morse Racing team is the best I have ever ridden for. It may sound clichÃˆ, but I didn’t win this championship – the whole team did.” Next up for the day was Heavyweight Endurance, a class ripe with past and current MRA class champions. Mike Applehans took the Heavyweight Endurance grid just minutes after the completion of the Lightweight Endurance race at the taxing circuit, but he didn’t let anything stand in his way as he worked his RacerSupply.com GSXR750 around the race track. As the checkered flag flew, Mike was in an easy fifth position which was more than good enough for him to clinch second place overall in Heavyweight Endurance. “These guys go hard from the drop of the green flag, and it feels good to be able to match them all every step of the way while knowing what my GSXR750 has left in it. We have come a long way in the feedback of all of our bikes, and a second place overall against this type of competition goes to show just that. Most of these guys out here are on 16.5″ slicks of some form or another and we are out here on our standard 17″ Pirelli DOT race tire. It hooks up just as well, lasts just as long, and I am sure costs a great deal less than a 16.5″ slick. I can’t thank Joe and Shane from The Racer Supply Company enough for making sure we have these tires under us every weekend.” After the bikes were polished, fuel topped off, and fresh Pirelli’s mounted, it was time to go racing on a warm Sunday morning. Dave Gallant clinched the Lightweight Grand Prix class championship at the previous weekend’s event with the win, so he decided to sit out the event in preparation for the afternoon races. Mike Applehans didn’t need any special invitation to go win the race, and he led from the green flag to the checkered flag of the Sunday morning Lightweight Grand Prix race in front of a huge crowd. “That was a great win! I am just about 100% after coming back from injury, and riding the RacerSupply.com SV650 out here at race pace felt almost easy. Everything just clicked out there and felt smooth and precise – just the way I like it. My teammate won this class this season and I was able to win the last Lightweight race ever at this track – I couldn’t be happier!” Mike was not able to rest for long however as his next race of day, Open Supersport, was slated right after his Lightweight Grand Prix win. Mike jumped from his Suzuki SV650 to his Suzuki GSXR750, grabbed a quick drink of water, then headed out to race against the fastest 1000cc bikes in the MRA. Showing his skill at getting off the starting line first, Mike catapulted his RacerSupply.com GSXR750 into fifth place behind a pack of GSXR1000s. Mike mercilessly hounded the fourth place GSXR1000, picking up whatever small draft he could find and used the chassis of his more nimble GSXR750 to his advantage on every opportunity that presented itself. The laps counted down quickly however, and at the finish line Mike brought home a solid fifth place race finish and a fifth place overall in the MRA Open Supersport Class Championship. The next race of the day was one that everyone in the MRA paddock was looking forward to, Supertwins GTU. Dave Gallant had jumped out to an early lead on his supersport-prepped Suzuki SV650 in the class, however strong finishes by a World Supersport prepped Ducati 749R in recent rounds at the larger tracks brought first and second place point standings in the class championship within two points of each other. The rider who won this last event would win the class championship, and on this short twisty track the lap times between the nimble SV and the powerful Ducati were extremely close. To add to the excitement, the Ducati blew an engine in Friday practice. Not letting this setback keep them down, an engine and Ducati tech was shipped in from Texas to stay in the championship hunt. It was a true “David & Goliath” tale in the making from the beginning of the season, and everyone in the paddock was buzzing with the excitement. At the drop of the green flag, Dave Gallant got off the line first with the Ducati lofting its front wheel high into the air. Half way up the front straight however, the Ducati stretched its legs and passed for the lead in a straight line before going into the first dog-leg right hand corner. Dave Gallant did not let this deter him however, and the more nimble RacerSupply.com SV650 let him out-brake the heavier Ducati on the entry then hold a tight inside line through the tight turn one. All of this excitement was for naught however, as the Ducati turned into the rear wheel of Dave Gallant, lost traction, and slipped softy off the track bringing out the red flag to remove the bike from the racing line. Both Team Morse Racing riders Dave Gallant and Mike Applehans took the restart, then proceed to walk away from the field finishing in first and second place with Dave Gallant clinching the 2005 MRA Supertwins GTU class championship. “That was an exciting turn one, but it is a shame it ended like that. Mike and I get into that corner really well because the Suspension Solutions forks on our bikes soak up most of everything, and we can really get in deep there on the brakes. I don’t think the Ducati expected us to be right there, and when he saw me pass and lead through turn one, he must have leaned on me with everything he had because the rear of my bike stepped out pretty well. I was actually worried it was Mike that bumped into me because he is faster into this corner than I am, and I was hoping I did not ruin his race by taking a tight entry to the corner. I am glad everyone is up and OK, and even more glad that Team Morse Racing is taking home another class championship!” commented Dave Gallant after winning his third 2005 MRA Season Class Championship. Just when everyone thought the dust had settled, it turned out the excitement was just beginning. Mike Applehans was up next in the MRA’s premier class, Race of the Rockies. He needed to gain five points to earn a coveted “MRA Top 10” number plate. The top ten race numbers are assigned to the previous years top ten finished ROR riders, and every MRA rider would like to hang one of those on their wall. Mike put in his trademark perfect launch and set out to put riders between him and the rider just in front of him in points. By mid-race, had two bikes between him and the points leader, but needed another two-bikes distance to earn the plate. A strong custom-framed TL1000 and a GSXR 1000 gained on the points leader mid-race, and the announcer held the fans on the edge of their seats as they all waited to see if the pursuing riders would squeak by and if Mike could hold his current position. After a series of laps that seemed to have no end, no positions were traded and Mike Applehans came up just a few points shy of a top-ten number plate in the MRA’s premier class. “That was a very long race, but I am proud of the ride I put in. I gave it 100% effort out there, and I really feel we took the RacerSupply.com GSXR750 to the next level. I found time out there that I didn’t know existed, and know what it takes now to get one of those top-ten plates. It was a good race by everyone, and this is how everyone should get their points – by riding hard within themselves and earning them on the race track. We will be back even stronger for next year!” commented an exhausted Mike Applehans. By this time, everyone had been on the edge of their seat with anticipation, excitement, or just plain disbelief for hours now. But, Dave Gallant was about to make things interesting yet again while going out on his RacerSupply.com GSXR600 to attempt to lock down third place in the Middleweight Supersport MRA Class Championship. As every middleweight racer knows, Middleweight Supersport is one of the most competitive classes in any organization, and the MRA is no different. Multi-time number-one plate holders, pro-level contingency chasing racers, and the cream of the crop all race Middleweight Supersport. But, Dave Gallant’s GSXR600 had other ideas on how to make this last Middleweight Supersport race more interesting. On the warm up lap of the race, Dave’s Suzuki GSXR600 suffered a mechanical failure that left Dave Gallant stranded out in turn seven of the twisting track. Dave quickly pushed the bike up against tire wall with the help of the corner crew, pocketed his transponder, then quickly began doing match calculations in his head. Proving once again that the MRA corner crew is the best in the business, Dave Gallant was rushed to his pits by the head MRA Bike Transport, was able to jump on his Suzuki SV650 and reenter the track to put some laps into the record books. Although two laps down in last place, the points earned by riding the SV650 was just enough to lock third place in the Middleweight Supersport Class Championship. “All season long we have normal race weekends, then we are slammed with situations like this. Once again this proves how well our team works together. By the time I was back in the pits, the tire warmers were off the SV650 and I was ready to hop on and rejoin the race. Those precious minutes make the difference between standing on the podium at the end of the year, and wishing I was standing on the podium. Scott Morse, Jim Bozville, Roberta Lovato, Joe Page, and Kristie Gallant are the reason Mike and I can step it up each and every weekend and bring home the results” commented Dave Gallant. After all of excitement, Mike Applehans returned the fever pitch to a more bearable level, riding smooth in Heavyweight Supersport to a strong fifth place finish and finishing in fifth place overall in the MRA Heavyweight Supersport seasons standings. After being drenched by a cooler-full of water by the team, Scott Morse, team owner and owner of Morse Racing Products/GP Composites stated “This first season met all of my expectations and more! We have been able to test the next generation of Morse Racing products, the team operated better and better each and every weekend, and we won multiple regional class championships while promoting our sponsors. While our team may present an image that rivals well funded AMA-level teams, let me assure you that we scrape by just to put fuel in the trucks to get our gear to the race track. The show we put on for the fans is just as important as results on the track, and I am continually amazed how hard everyone on the team works towards the goal of putting forth a polished professional image and not just putting in the good results. I hope our team brought a level of competition and professionalism to our regional club that is appreciated, and I hope the target we provided is used by other regional team’s as the mark to aim for. I want to thank the entire team, our sponsors, as well as the officials and corner crew of the Motorcycle Roadracing Association. They put on a great show” Team Morse Racing plans on starting their new bike testing for the 2006 season in coming weeks. More, from a press release issued by Tag Team Racing: Butterflies at midnight TagTeamRacing round 8 race report, Infineon raceway, Sonoma California Last winter some “genius” had the original idea to make a public commitment that we would race our 2005 Ducati 749R against any, giant, fire breathing1,000cc twin cylinder motorcycle that might show up to race in the AFM Open Twins championship this entire year. We knew this would be a huge challenge, and quite honestly we weren’t sure we would be able to keep up. As we considered this idea, someone quietly uttered three words, “David VS Goliath.” Those words pretty much decided it. We would park our own fire breathing Ducati 999R for Open Twins. About mid way through Friday practice at the Buttonwillow race track this year, while prepping our new 749R for the AFM’s round one, I heard the distinct, threatening, thunderous sound of another twin cylinder motorcycle leaned on its side, charging out of a fast sweeper at about twelve thousand rpm. It was easy to tell this thing was moving! I slowly glanced over my shoulder, peered between about sixteen parked rigs, through a fence, and out at a fast stretch of track about a half mile away. All I caught was the blur of a black RC51, one wheel in the air, absolutely flying, with Ken Hill wrapped around its tank. My heart immediately sank. That was our first view of “Goliath.” About an hour later something amazing happened, and suddenly our hearts began to beat again. We got to ride the 05 Ducati 749R for the first time. This bike immediately becomes your best friend. It does everything you say, and then suggests a few things you never even thought were possible. Right out of the box it’s fast, and handles like a demon. The bike makes you feel like a hero. At dinner that Friday night, some time after everyone on our team got to witness “Goliath” at speed, the conversation turned into a debate about how we “race to win.” How it was ridiculous to park our 999R, while we knew it was more than capable to take on the challenge at hand. This debate even got a little heated at points. But in the end I was the only one who got to ride the bike, so I made the final call. “This bike is hungry. I think we can do it. I think we should do it.” We got beat by Goliath that weekend. We lost by five bike lengths. But we went down fighting, and that great bike made an unforgettable first impression. The 05 749R was here to stay. Since then we have faced Jack Pfeifer on his Aprilia RSV Mille, Mark Junge on his 1,000cc Vesrah Suzuki, and Bud Anderson on his RC51, only to mention a few. High speed tracks, tight technical tracks, you name it, the 749R handles it well. We have won four of the Open Twins races held this year, and come in second twice. This weekend’s race was a nail biter as well. They all have been. 3am Sunday all I could do was lay there staring at the ceiling. Sleep wasn’t an option. At this point we cannot afford even the slightest mistake if we want to win the championship, so Mike Harmon really put in a lot of time on both bikes in preparation for this event. As he puts it, “You don’t win races on Mondays, you lose them.” Scott Schwanback has been on a charge lately. He was real tough to shake, on his Pirelli shod, Aprilia Mille. Infineon is a tight course. Our 749R goes real well there, thanks to the help of Dunlop’s superior race tires. We lead every lap, built a strong lead, and took the checkered flag in style. With one race to go, there will be more sleepless nights in the coming weeks. Buttonwillow will be the track – the home of our first “Goliath” sighting. A win there will be a great way to end a fairytale Ducati season.
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