Conner Blevins, final rider for the Lone Star Track Days team, took their Bridgestone-shod Kawasaki ZX-6R to their first win of the season at the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association’s (CMRA) 6 Hour Endurance race this past Saturday, June 15. CMRA held its third round of Big Bike Endurance and second round of Solo 30 grids, bringing 10 hours of racing action to the NOLA Motorsports Park course in Avondale, Louisiana. The weather was sunny and humid, with a heat index of 108 degrees, and the track conditions were good, making for fast lap times on the 2.75-mile North Track course. Not only was this CMRA’s first endurance event at the NOLA facility, it was the first endurance event to be held at NOLA.
The new Solo 30 Expert and Novice race grids grew in numbers from round one having over 20 entries each. More racers lined up to sprint for 30 minutes in one stint on one bike and the races were a good lead in for the 6 Hour Big Bike Endurance race.
Joe Caruso took the win for Solo 30 Heavyweight Expert with his BMW S1000RR, while Kevin Taylor won Heavyweight Novice on his Honda CBR1000RR. Conner Blevins won Solo 30 Middleweight Expert on his Kawasaki ZX-6R, while Chris Hamlett took
the win in Middleweight Novice with his Suzuki GSX-R600. Solo 30 Lightweight Expert had Daniel Adams for the win on his Suzuki SV650, and Britten Geary also won Lightweight Novice with a Suzuki SV650. Bill Syfan grabbed the win in Solo 30 Ultra-Lightweight on a Kawasaki 250R.
The 6 Hour Big Bike Endurance race had a combined grid of 33 teams, with classes including A Superbike, C Superbike, Formula 2, and Modern Classic Endurance. The green flag dropped and they were off. The NORDCO Racing team of Mike Rochester, Todd Larson, and Brandon Young got the early lead on their Suzuki GSX-R1000, starting off with a fast paced 1:48.790. But the Lone Star Track Days team of Brandon Altmeyer, Conner Blevins, Andy Galindo, Mark Niemi, and Eric Williams also set a blistering pace right away, with Altmeyer, their lead rider turning the fastest lap of the race on lap two with a 1:46.69. Altmeyer, riding a Bridgestone-shod Kawasaki ZX-6R pulled a hefty gap of almost 34 seconds over the Yamaha YZF-R6 mounted LocoMotion team and Desert Rats Racing on their Yamaha YZF-R1, as he went after NORDCO Racing. Lone Star Track Days had a mechanical on the front straight going into their first pit stop, costing them the cushion they had built up dropping them to second after their stop. Shortly after the hour one mark, NORDCO Racing suffered a mishap as the LocoMotion team of Alonzo Contreras, Ryan Max Johnson, Matt Vastine, and Mark Windham, slipped by them for the lead. Desert Rats Racing pulled into third and stayed there. The racing was intense, with the Lone Star Track Days, LocoMotion, and Desert Rats Racing teams holding on to the top three spots for almost the entire race, even with difficulties.
Also back in action this weekend was the Davis Rod & Cycle team of Jesse Davis, Alan Phillips, Britt Turkington, Blake Young and CMRA Hall of Fame’s 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz. The team once again fielded a Suzuki GSX-R600, and put up some great starting laps, but ended up in the pits early with a fuel line problem. Davis got to work, and feverishly fixed the issue and they were back out again, but that problem put them seven laps down. However, this was the only issue they would have, and they threw down a fastest lap of 1:49.292 as they stalked their way back up to the leaders. Staying consistent and fast, they went from 18th to fifth place by hour four of the race, and by hour five, were breathing down the neck of the Desert Rats.
It was down to the difference of a pit stop for LocoMotion and Lone Star Track Days, with the Desert Rats still holding down third. But Davis Rod & Cycle had charged from the back of the pack and was also gunning for a top spot. Lone Star Track Days stretched their lead out, and LocoMotion had a tip over before their pit stop, giving the Desert Rats second and Davis Rod & Cycle third.
As the pit boards flashed and the teams came in for the final stop, it was a sprint to the finish between 212Decals.com and the Village Idiots. Lone Star Track Days had the lead coming out of the pit stop with Conner Blevins on the bike. The Desert Rats had made it out first, but Davis Rod & Cycle got around them for second and went after Lone Star Track Days.
Everyone was standing on the wall as the final time of this exciting race ticked off the clock. When the checkers dropped at 6:30 p.m., the Lone Star Track Days team crossed the line with a five lap lead, taking the win in C Superbike and the overall win. Davis Rod & Cycle finished next taking second in C Superbike and second overall. The Desert Rats Racing team of Stephen Guynes, Rick Hogge, Derek Thomas, and Greg Wanless took first in A Superbike and third overall.
Lone Star Track Days team owner Steve McNamara shared this, “The race started off good for us. Brandon Altmeyer took the start and set a good pace to keep up with the leaders for the first hour. Brandon set a great fastest lap of 1:46.691 and gave us a nice cushion of 34 seconds in front of the other teams. Then he ran out of gas on the front straight on his pit-in lap, but he was able to get off the track quickly and push the bike back in. It ate up our cushion, but we got our pit stop in, changed riders, and got back out still in second place overall. Andy Galindo was next on the bike, then Mark, then Conner. Conner was a great fit for our team; he was the substitute rider for Eric Williams after Eric went down during a Solo 30 race earlier in the day. Conner stepped right in and did exactly what we asked him to do, and performed like he’d been riding with us all year. We did our first tire change after Conner’s first stint, doing a rear only, and made it through the entire rotation again on that rear tire. It went flawlessly the whole race, our pit stops were good, our riders ran well, and even with that minor glitch during the first pit-in, we still stretched out a five lap lead over the rest of the field. I am extremely happy with our results. We ran the entire race on one front and two rears, using Bridgestone Slicks-medium compound tires, and they were great this race. We’d really like to thank Lone Star Track Days, South Central Race Center, Bridgestone, M4 Exhaust, Sharkskinz, XT Racing, Vortex, GPR Stabilizer, EBC Brakes, Motorcycles Unlimited, James Compton of SBK Factory, Texas Speed & Performance, and Redline Graphics for all of their help with our program this season.”
Kevin Schwantz had this to say about the experience, “We had a little issue with the fuel tank and vent hose that made us miss the warm-up lap, so we had to start from pit road. I rode the first leg, came in when the first hour of the race was up, because it felt the bike wasn’t getting fuel. We thought we got it, I went back out, but had to come in a second time. Because I pushed it in to the pits the second time, I noticed fuel spraying from the bottom of the tank, and it turned out to be the fuel line. We got it fixed and got back out, but that cost us a lot of time right at the beginning of the race. I rode the first, third, and fifth legs, Alan rode the second and fourth, Jesse rode the last. We ran one set of tires the whole time – Dunlop slicks on the front and rear, and I was still running in the 1:49’s even at the end of my last stint, and the grip was still really, really good. The rest of the race went well for us; the first leg was a little rough. It was good practice for Suzuka, riding three hours in the heat and humidity, because the conditions are very similar to that part of Japan in the summertime. It was nice to get back out and just have some fun club racing and sharpen up my skills more. I’d like to thank Attack Performance, Dunlop tires, M4 Exhaust and Bazzaz Performance for their help and support.”
For a complete list of results and standings, please visit the website: www.CMRAracing.com. The next Solo 30 round will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at MotorSport Ranch, Cresson, TX. The next CMRA Big Bike Endurance round will be on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at MotorSport Ranch, Cresson, TX.