Press Release –
The first race of the AMA Pro ATV Series in Pell City, Alabama turned out to be a shakedown event for Team MSR/Pro Taper/Suzuki/Yoshimura as well as for a number of other teams and riders on the circuit. The team had a lot of new factors that had to come together into one cohesive unit – new name, new sponsors, new rider, new mechanics, new crew chief. It was time to get it all pulled together and race.
The first moto saw Doug and Dustin (the “Double D’s) charging forward and by the last lap, they were in good finishing position. Unfortunately, both quads stopped running within 100 feet of one another! At this writing the cause is unknown but an experimental electrical part is suspected.
The team went to work in between motos putting the quads back to the stock spec motor that had produced the WPSA title for Gust last year. After a lot of work that was as impressive as a NASCAR team, the two riders were back on the starting line for the second moto.
Doug spun his tires and came off the blocks in 6th. A typically stellar “Digger” Doug ride put him all the way up into second by motos end. He and Chad Wienen battled it out for a bit, but Doug held on to the spot and walked away with the #2 spot and a 7th overall.
For Dustin Wimmer’s first GNC event on a yellow bike, the DNF was a disappointment. He had gotten a good start and was in third place when he stopped dead in the water.
“I was really impressed with the crew,” Wimmer commented. “It was amazing to have two incidents and be back at the starting gate within a couple of hours. This team really works together incredibly well.”
In the second moto, Wimmer came out in 8th and had a good race finishing 5th in the moto and 11th overall.
“These early rounds are a time to get the bugs worked out,” Suzuki’s Rod Lopusnak said. “The team really gelled and came together. We didn’t get the points we wanted, but we’re still fine-tuning everything.”
Part of the “fine tuning” was a state of the art hospitality center complete with palm trees and floral arrangements. What has quad racing come too?
Of the eight (count ’em…8) Suzukis entered in the Pro Class, one was young Suzuki Pro support rider Russell Shumaker. Suzuki supports the sport and Russell is living proof. In addition to the Pro team, Suzuki picked up young Shumaker 3 years ago in an effort to bring along a young amateur.
In Russell, the pay-off occurred here in Pell City. Pell City was Russell’s first ever Pro race and he got great starts and ended the day 5th overall.
“I was really nervous on the starting line,” Russell said. “It was really exciting to be riding Pro with all these guys. It felt really good to get a fifth.” Of note here – Suzuki is now looking at several Pro-Am riders to be the next Russell Shumaker. The commitment continues.
Speaking of support – Suzuki, Yoshimura, KBC Helmets and MSR have all weighed in with support for the new Lost Creek/Yoshimura/Suzuki team. They showed up in force and came away with a great showing.
Team Riders Jason Dunkelberger (8th overall) and new signee Joe Haavisto (6th overall) had a great day with both finishing inside the top ten. Kevin Mummah’s Suzuki support squad really impressed and looks to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Yoshimura’s Brant Russell was happy with the results. “I was really gratified to see Kevin’s guys do well and for sure Shumaker do as good as he did. These are all neat people with good programs.
Gust brought Shumaker to Suzuki and Yoshimura years ago and Rod Lopusnak had the vision to slowly bring him along. Russell and his family are great people and it’s really good to see them do well. I’d like to thank Shumaker and Gust’s Riding School for making us look like we know what we are doing!”
Brant went on, “Kevin and the Lost Creek group are awesome. It is so good to see them start the season like this… Again, great people who put their heart and soul into the sport. Yoshimura is proud to be associated with them. I’d also like to point out that Suzuki, Yoshimura, MSR, Pro Taper and all of the program partners involved with Suzuki are putting their money where their mouths are.
I’m pumped to see eight Pro’s running Suzuki LT-R450 QuadRacers out there. All these other guys are more or less, just along for the ride… Suzuki is the real deal, they are dedicated to this stuff and it shows in the commitment and the passion.”
So, now the team heads back to California and has two weeks to make some additional improvements and corrections on the settings and get some more practice time in before the Glen Helen event.
But everyone walked away feeling good about the direction that the team is going in. The teamwork and “chemistry” was great, 2007 is looking to be a great season.