September 16, 2009 - Alton VA - This weekend Virginia International Raceway hosts the ninth round of the Michelin Pro Series and the championship battles are now down to just two riders in three of the four classes.
The Factory Pro SportBike class heads to VIR with Paul Allison from Cochranville, PA leading Brian Stokes from Kingston GA by 19 points with 70 points still available. Early in the season it seemed that Stokes was going to run away with this class championship but Allison was able to overcome adversity to win the last two rounds and put his name at the top of the list for now. Stokes needs to regain his winning ways to have a chance to catch Allison and hope that the Pennsylvanian makes a mistake or two along the way.
Another close championship struggle is in the crowd favorite ThunderBike class where 2006 ThunderBike Champion Dan Bilansky leads fellow Mid-West racer Joel Spalding by just 29 points with two races left for the title in 2009. Bilansky has had one of those "checkers or wreckers" kind of seasons while Spalding has been the picture of consistency with 6 top 5 finishes this season in the seven rounds he's attended. Not completely out of the picture yet are the New Jersey based Rozynski brothers, Joe and Sam, who both are within 53 points of the leader. This promises to be a great race as all four riders are committed to be at VIR. for the next race.
While Allison and Stokes are neck and neck in the Factory Pro SportBike class, the same cannot be said for SuperBike. Allison on his Chronic Motorsports machine has built a solid 67 point lead in the class, and only needs to finish 21st or better to secure his first National Championship with ASRA in the Michelin Pro Series. The safe bet is that Allison won't be riding for the title at VIR, but rather for the win, now that he has gotten a taste of victory lane he's not about to let it get away.
Only SuperStock has its 2009 Champion already. Stokes has locked that one up by his 109 point lead with only 70 possible points left for the championship. Matt Hall from Kansas City MO gave Stokes a good run at the early events but by missing the last two rounds, his championship chase fell to the wayside leaving Stokes to secure the title two rounds early. Stokes performance is put into perspective by the fact he scored 200 of a possible 210 points in just 6 rounds after missing the opening round at Daytona in March and then engine problems costing him an appearance at New Hampshire race in June. Stokes has one title down, and is still in the hunt for two others, Factory Pro SportBike and SuperBike, hoping to join Jeff Wood as the only other triple class champion the series has ever known.
Racing starts at Noon on Saturday with Championship Cup Series action and the Michelin Pro Series races begin at Noon on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway. Weekend credentials are just $25 and Sunday is only $15 per person. AS always, kids 12 and under are free at ASRA/CCS events.