Three things made this weekend AWESOME: First ambulance never rolled a wheel, Second Mother Nature kept the rain away and Third the awesome riders at the event! Friday was open practice and qualifying for the 600 Superstock and Open Superstock Classes (this will be the final weekend for qualifying in an effort to save riders some money WERA will go back to grids by points for the remainder of 2009) which saw the top three in each class running very close, so we new Sunday would be AWESOME! The Bridgestone/WERA National Endurance took the grid with 22 machines on Saturday and ran four hours free of any interruptions! Vesrah Suzuki with riders John Jacobi, Tray Batey and Corey West showed their stuff and ran a flawless race to take the win on their Suzuki GXR1000. Two laps behind was the TVR 131 racing entry with riders Brett Champagne, Zac Chapman, Jimmy Vanderhaar and Team Owner Chuck Ivey on their Yamaha R1. Rounding out the top three was BEI Racing with Tim Bemisderfer and Team Owner Billy Ethridge sharing the riding duties on their Suzuki GSXR1000. Vesrah won the Heavyweight Superbike Class; TVR won the Heavyweight Superstock Class and Mark Junge’s new Suzuki Rider Development Team with Brett and Payton Sassaman sharing the riding duties on their Vesrah Suzuki GSXR600, along with team owner Junge took the win in Mediumweight Superbike.. The Mediumweight Superstock win went to Dalke Motorsports with owner Brian Dalke teaming up with Keving Perkins and Paul Youngman of last year’s Velocity Crew Racing and the Lightweight Superbike win went to Team Owner Gary Schilling’s Blue Ridge Performance with riders Lyles Sanders and Greg Melka sharing riding duties on the team’s Kawasaki 650. Sunday started with dense fog, pushing the practice back one hour, but Officials combined a couple of groups to fit in two quick rounds and everyone was ready to race and race they did. Open Superstock was first on stage with a tightly contested ten laps which saw Taylor Knapp on his Suzuki GSXR1000 come out on top, closely followed (0.150) by Cory West and then (0.151) John Jacobi on their Suzuki GSXR1000s. This set the pace for the day. Race 2 was the 125 GP Race which saw a field of Moriwaki 250 machines taking the grid and Garret Gerloff, followed by his brother Grayson and then Nick McFadden rounding out the podium. The 600cc Superstock saw Knapp take the win over West by only 0.038, with Robert Jensen, Matt Lynn and Brian Stokes rounding out the top five. In the 750 Superstock race Robert Jensen took the win with Lee Acree, making his come back after a very serious crash and injury last season in second only 0.024 behind Jensen and Cory West rounding out the top 3. Lightweight Superstock saw Kris Wall continue his winning ways of 2008 with Chris Slay and Ricky Ford finishing second and third all on their Suzuki SV650 machines. The 600cc Superbike saw Matt Lynn on his Kawasaki 600 take first, with Abraham Stacey and Robert Jensen, who started off pit road and made it all the way to third, both on their Suzuki GSXR600s. The Formula 2 race saw a reversal of positions for Wall and Slay Slay got the better of Wall at the line and Max Norton finished third. 750 Superbike went to Robert Jensen, with Stacey in second and James Dellinger in third. Teri Gorrell on her Yamaha 600 represented the Women at this first National and was the only participant in the Women’s Superstock Class. Formula 1 ended the day with a 10 lap freight train race the finish was Knapp, followed by Batey (0.098) followed by Jacobi (0.343) and then West and Tim Hunt who had set the fastest pace on Friday in the qualifier then followed that with a new track record of 1.10:58 in the race as he worked his way back up to 5th from 8th on the first lap. The race between these five riders had everyone on their feet. Amateaur winners included Derrick Cantrell in 600 and 750 Superbike; Michael Brooks in Open and 750 Superstock and Brendon Martelino in 600 Superstock. WERA President, Evelyne Clarke, said “This is a Pro-Am Series and the Pro/Experts delivered this weekend. I wish more of the Amateur riders would come out and see what they can learn. We will have some of our Pirelli Sportsman Regionals combined with the Michelin/WERA National Series in the future and hopefully we will see more Amateurs looking to advance their skills. I would also like to see more Women participate in the Women’s Superstock Class I know they are out there.” Round #2 will be at Talladega Gran Prix in Talladega, Alabama on March 27/28/29 the weekend after the Pirelli Regional at Virginia International Raceway on March 20/21/22. Three-day tickets are $30.00; two-day are $20.00 and Sunday only is $15.00. Camping is available at all these March venues. Come on out and see the talented riders of WERA Motorcycle Roadracing. For more information on WERA Motorcycle Roadracing visit the web site at www.wera.com. More, from a press release issued by Brett Sassaman’s publicist: Suzuki Rider Development Endurance The 3 rider team of Brett Sassaman, Payton Sassaman, and Mark Junge won the 4 hour opening round of the WERA National Endurace Series 600 Superbike championship, and finished 4th overall on the Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R 600. Thanks to the Vesrah Suzuki team for executing 5 flawless pit stops and Mark Junge for helping us pull off the win. Payton Sassaman: “Roebling Road marked our first race weekend on our new Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600 and 1000 race bikes. The Suzuki GSX-R600, the Traxxion Dynamics suspension, and Pirelli tires are different from my race bike last year, so I knew there would be some adjusting to do. The GSX-R1000 is new to me, as this is my first time on a 1000 but I feel like I am adapting to it quickly. Every session I felt more comfortable and confident on the Suzuki’s, and went faster. The endurance race helped me get even more aquainted with the 600, and proved to be beneficial in Sunday’s sprint races- going 2 seconds faster on the 600 and almost 3 seconds on the 1000. Even though I’m not where I want to be, results and lap time wise, I know that I am making progress and things are positive. I’m looking forward to the upcoming races.” Brett Sassaman: “Friday we began working on setup and adapting to the new bikes. Vesrah Suzuki has a great package with the GSX-R on Pirelli tires and Traxxion Dynamics suspension all of which are new components for me. The two 45-minute stints in Saturday’s Endurance race helped me become more familiar with everything. In Sunday’s races my lap times were right where they were last year. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I know it’s a “work in progress”. I earned top 10 finishes in all 4 premier class sprint races, and had fun racing with my brother, Payton on both the 600 and 1000. This was my first time riding a 1000. I am really enjoying riding it and continuing to get faster on it every time I ride it my fastest lap times of the weekend were the last 2 laps of the last race. I’m really looking forward to continued improvement as the year progresses.”
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