The Southeast and Mid-Central regions started their season this past weekend. Weather was less than favorable with rain, sleet, and snow falling on Friday and Saturday causing the cancellation of the Friday trackday. Saturday's horrendous weather didn't stop WERA from putting on a show though. I have to commend WERA officials and all the corner workers for enduring the conditions so that we could play. By the time the Solo 20 events rolled around, the rain and snow had already passed, leaving a wet and cold track.
Dean Dufrene managed to get a few laps around Talladega before he gridded up. Dean appeared to have the holeshot but settled down into 4th place before the end of the first lap, which is where he would finish the race. "We felt if we could finish in the top 5 during the solo that we would have accomplished a great feat. With around 6 wet, and snowy laps to learn the track, we really couldn't ask for more. Tim Hunt, Aaron Ralph and Matt Ting-Ting were instrumental in me doing as well as I did. Tim worked so hard in the offseason to prep my bike and make sure I had a bike that could win. After this past weekend, I am confident I have that tool."
As Sunday's dawn approached, the team's hopes of decent weather were stymied by 25 degree temps and ice covered grounds. The team opted to skip the first morning's warm up and let the sun melt the ice away before getting on track. Race 3 was Dean's first race.
C Superbike Race 3
Dean was gridded on the fourth row. He got a decent start and was battling for third as the bikes entered the 90's for the first time. On the second lap there was a crash involving two riders one bike behind Dean. The race was red flagged due to the injured rider. The re-start seen Dean again get a good start and into third place entering turn 1. #171 stayed in third for a few laps. The lack of practice time caused Dean to make some mistakes which cost him 3 positions. The promising sign was Dean recorded his fastest laps in Laps 9 and 10 of 10. He finished 6th in this race.
C Superstock Race 14
From the fourth row Dean again settled behind the two leaders and was able to follow for two laps. The story of this race was Dean's weakest corner being the fastest corner on the track. Dean wouldn't give his position up without a fight. The battle for 5th was all Dean could manage and he almost pulled it off. On the last lap, Dean was attempting to pass in Farmer's corner, but outbroke himself and couldnt stop the bike and ran off. He still finished 6th and was able to keep his times respectable and more consistent.
This race weekend was a warmup for the WERA National in April. The team was able to gain some data and accumulate a few laps at Talladega. "I love racing WERA and hanging out with the team. Plus they are smoking fast so we can definately learn alot by being around them."
Tim Hunt continued his amazing streak and won 3 of 3 races. None of them were close as Tim and his KWS Motorsports GSXR 1000 was in command of each race from the very beginning. In two of those races teamate and friend Ben Kirby finished second. "Tim's bike was a rocket ship out there today. And what was even more impressive is he did it with one practice session all weekend."
Dean would like to thank the following people who are instrumental in the successful weekend:
Tim Hunt/Apex Roadracing
Larry Ray/Track Junkie Racing
Team Privateer/LP Racing