The lure of new asphalt at Summit Point Raceway brought out a record number of riders and with the best weather seen in the area all year, the records fell during ASRA and USGPRU qualifying. Starting with 268 riders for practice on Saturday, (a record for ASRA/CCS), add to that a Summit Point record 1030 entries for the CCS event and then the blistering times set by riders, and you have the makings of one record breaking Memorial Day Weekend event. The total of 1298 CCS and 60 ASRA Pro entries pushed the record to 1358 total entries, numbers only seen at Daytona and Road America in the past.
Speaking of impressive numbers, first up were the ASRA Pro and USGPRU Qualifiers, with seven classes to qualify, there were seven new records set along with an absolute motorcycle track record during the ASRA Pro SuperStock event. As Jeff Wood on the Bettencourt Suzuki rolled onto the track for his first lap, everyone knew the record was in trouble. After swapping fast time with Robert Jensen on the Butler Machine Suzuki for the first four laps, Wood put his head down and blistered the old track record with a 1:12.026 on lap 5 and never was threatened again. Jensen settled for second with a 1:12.410 as David Weber from XT Racing brought his Suzuki 1000 home in the third position. A Suzuki trifecta in the opening session set the scene for the rest of the day as the record book was re-written time and time again by the Pro and GP Series riders.
Not wanting to be left out, PJ Jacobson on the Celtic Racing Aprilia 125 went to work as soon as USGPRU 125GP session opened and lowered his time every lap until setting the record on his sixth and final lap at 1:18.587. Jacobson's time was nearly 1.5 seconds faster than is old record set in 2007, showing why PJ is a candidate for a GP wildcard ride at Indy. Nobi Iso, Aprilia rider, was credited with second place after his transmitter failed and USGPRU officials awarded him an average of the times previously recorded. This pushed Jake Lewis back to third on his Honda 125, giving the Earl's Racing Team rider a front row start for tomorrow's final.
The new Moriwaki MD 250 Challenge saw Hayden Gilliam set hot lap on his third circuit and hang on the MD250 Challenge pole with a 1:22.595 over Lewis and third place Miles Thorton, who took six laps to get to his qualifying time of 1:23.360.
ASRA Superbike qualifying saw Jensen with a little bit of revenge as on lap three he posted a new class record with a 1:13.205, while Wood took 7 revolutions to get close with a 1:13.343. The Butler Machine Yamaha bested last years record by 1.2 seconds, making it look easy as Jensen pulled of the track early and headed right to the dyno for testing. David Rose aboard the Castles and Cottages Yamaha moved into third by besting the efforts of Mike Himmelsbach and Jonathan Lawrence, making it a Yamaha sweep of the top positions.
Experience and age fell to youth and exuberance in the quest for the USGPRU 250GP pole, when the young gun PJ Jacobson set the track record for the class on lap 8 with his Celtic Racing Honda at 1:16.694, erasing the year old mark of Chris Pyles. Pyles, the older and more experienced rider, came up just a few tenths short at 1:16.959 on his MotoLiberty Yamaha closely followed by Canadian Adam Roberts on his Yamaha 250 at 1:17.087. This was PJ's second record pole time of the day and it gives you an idea of what to expect in tomorrow's final race.
In a surprise twist, ASRA ThunderBike pole went to the resilient HDFR rider Bryan Bemisderfer. The Green Castle PA rider has had nothing but bad luck lately and the way they were working on his machine all day Friday, it seemed like the song would remain the same. But one should never count Bryan out, as he simply went out and got it done. The Harley-Davidson of Fredrick rider posted an amazing 1:16.812 on his Buell XB12 half way through the session and no one else could even get close. Bryan's time was not only good enough for the pole, but it was 1.2 seconds faster than Dave Estok's record from 2007. Also under the old record was Nate Kern on the BMW and Buell riders Dan Bilansky and Walt Sipp. Kern's 1:17.102, was slower than his Friday practice, giving rise to the thought that there may be a little more left come race time, just as Sipp pulled out the victory at last months Heartland Park-Topeka event after qualifying second, a feat that secured him the ASRA Pro ThunderBike point lead.
Almost like a duel, Jeff Wood and Robert Jensen faced off again on Factory Pro Sportbike Qualifying on their Yamaha 600s, to see who would capture the pole and the class record. Both Jensen and Wood had the provisional pole at different times during this session, but as thing drew to a close the riders put forth their best and Jeff Wood posted a 1:13.200 on lap 6 to secure the pole and pole point for his efforts. This time it was Jensen who came up a little short as his fastest lap, 1:13.418 was .218 too slow to match Wood on the Bettencourt Yamaha, but was .9 quicker than David Rose. The lone Ducati 848 in the field, Arnold Hastings from Duc Pond Motorsports, qualified sixth and will start from the second row in his bid to break the Yamaha stranglehold on the class.
And in the final CCS race of the day, Robert Jensen showed Jeff Wood he was up to the challenge by re-setting the absolute track record to an amazing 1:11.741 on lap 6 of the 7 lap Unlimited GP race. Stay tuned, we're sure this isn't the end of this record setting duel.
For complete qualifying information, click here.