July 23, 2011
In the early part of the Michelin Team Challenge sanctioned by ASRA at Blackhawk Farms Raceway it looked like the Martinez Motorsports Team was headed for disaster as they found themselves slipping further back in the field with each passing lap. By the 25th lap the D2 Cycles team of Michael Garner and Ricardo Valdez had put former National Champions a full lap down and mechanical woes threatened to sideline Calvin Martinez and Martinez Motorsports teammate Jason Farrell. It was that point of the event the defending National Champion Chester Auto Repair with Eric Helmbach and Alex Shaw who took the lead when D2 Cycles stopped for the first time.
With a pit stop at lap 34, Martinez Motorsports swapped riders and completed repairs to bring their machine back to life but left the pits a full 3-laps down to Chester Auto Repair. To add insult to injury, one of the Martinez crew was not dressed appropriately to work on the machine during the stop so Farrell was black flagged for a stop and go penalty the next lap. As Martinez Motorsports was exiting the pits from the penalty, Chester Auto came down pit road and handed the lead to Thrashed Bike Racing with Walt Sipp and Joel Spalding on lap 40, allowing Martinez Motorsports to regain the first of the three laps they needed to challenge for the win. At this point the D2 Cycles machine developed an oil leak that ended their day, leaving Thrashed Bike Racing and Chester Auto Repair as the only two machines on the lead lap and Stiles Racing, the current Overall Championship leader, one lap behind with Martinez Motorsports two laps down.
Things got interesting from lap 40 on as Farrell dropped into the 1:10 range while the race leaders continued their consistent 1:15 pace trying to complete the 75 laps before the Martinez Motorsports machine could recover. On lap 47, Thrashed Bike stopped for their rider change and fuel, putting Chester Auto back into the lead for the final time and allowing Martinez Motorsports to gain the second lap they needed to get to the front. Now only one lap down with 27 laps to the finish it became a race of speed versus team strategy between Chester Auto Repair and Martinez Motorsports. On lap 57, Martinez Motorsports passed Chester Auto to move to the tail end of the lead lap and set sail trying to make up the nearly 2-miles they were behind before the checkered flag.
While everyone was watching the progress of Martinez Motorsports, Stiles Racing had quietly gotten themselves back on the lead lap too, so now the top four overall were on the same lap looking for the win. On lap 59, Stiles Racing with husband and wife team Scotty and Meghan Ryan, were the first to fall to the 1:10 pace Martinez Racing continued to run. On lap 67 it was the Thrashed Bike Racing team that watched Martinez Motorsports move past and set sail after the race leader, Chester Auto Repair, who was 9 seconds ahead with 8 laps to go. While Shaw tried to up the pace on the BMW of Chester Auto, the Martinez Motorsports juggernaut made short work of the lead and made the pass for first place on lap 71 then cruised to the victory, first Overall and first in GTO. Chester Auto Repair finished second Overall and second in GTO while Stiles Racing took third Overall and the class win in GTU. Thrashed Bike Racing held on for fourth Overall and third in GTO.
... View the Full TC Race Results
Team Challenge Podium - Left to Right:
Eric Helmbach, Alex Shaw (Chester Auto Repair)
Jason Farrell, Calvin Martinez (Martinez Motorsports)
Scotty Ryan, Meghan Ryan (Stiles Racing Team)
With the solid performance of Stiles Racing, they continue to lead the 2011 Michelin Team Challenge Overall Championship by 8 points over Chester Auto Repair, 167 to 159, with Thrashed Bike Racing in third with 151 points and two rounds to go to decide the Overall championship.
The Old Glory Speed Shop team captured its first National Championship in the GTL class with another win and a 93 point lead over runner up Saddlebaum Racing with only 70 possible points remaining.
For the GTU Championship, Stiles Racing opened up a 27 point lead over 2010 Champion RnR Repsol Racing and a 69 point lead over third place Premier Racing.
The battle for the GTO Championship is going down to the wire as Thrashed Bike Racing is now tied with defending champions Chester Auto Repair with 182 points each, while Martinez Motorsport moves into third at 93 points with 2 rounds remaining. The 89 point lead insures that either a BMW or a Buell will be the 2011 Michelin Team Challenge GTO Champion.
The next round of the Michelin Team Challenge Series sanctioned by ASRA will take place on August 29 at Summit Point Raceway during the Summer Cyclefest. For more information, complete results and points, visit www.asraracing.com.