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Pugh, Lehmann Battle During Stars of Motorsports

2/22/2011

This past weekend PGP Motorsports Park played host to the penultimate round of the Stars of Motorsports Winter Series, a one-day event mixing five disciplines with karts, cars, scooters and bikes competing at the region’s premier racing facility.

PGP personnel were thrown a curveball before Sunday’s event even began as a downed power pole up the street left the track without power. No electricity meant no timing and scoring, but the event continued with open practice at 9 a.m. as track workers hoped the power would be restored in time for racing later on.

Even without power, spirits were still high at the track as Mother Nature blessed the event with beautiful blue skies, albeit cold temperatures.

Thanks to Lindsay High for use of the photos.

Lap Attack

Without timing and scoring, the Lap Attack category changed to open lapping for the cars in attendance, with the entry list doubled to give a few more drivers the opportunity to get on track.

An assortment of cars would take to the track, including the debut of Hiroshi Kanno’s Mustang GT — which was highly anticipated by PGP’s car-circle regulars. Kanno set a new record for straight-line speed, topping 75mph before jumping on the brakes heading into the first corner.

SuperMoto

Stars of Motorsports events have been the home for SuperMoto racing these past few months, with bikes dominating the entry list throughout the winter months. This round was no different, with 16 total bikes in the paddock — the biggest turn out so far this winter.


In a surprise turn, power came back on just after 11 a.m., and racing commenced shortly thereafter. In qualifying Ryan Pugh was the man to beat, setting the pace with a time of 1 minute 08.492 seconds, just in front of Jared Lehmann, Moaka Clay, and Cole Fredrickson to complete the front row.

In the first of six races, all in attendance were treated to a fantastic battle between Lehmann and Pugh, with the younger Lehmann holding the advantage over the more experienced Pugh for much of the race. Pugh made two passes during the short 5-lap moto, but Lehmann ducked right back underneath to steal the lead back. On the final lap, a little wheelspin out of turn 3 gave Pugh the margin he needed to stick the pass for good and take the win.

Having taken a five-month break from riding, Lehman said he was using Sunday’s event as a test for an upcoming Stateline competition in April.

“PGP is very tight and technical compared to the other tracks I have ridden on,” said Lehmann. “You really need to know the lines and the tires to get around fast here. The facility is nice and a good place to go and learn, and pick up new lines to improve your riding skills. The competition is good, and you can really tell the people who have improved just by riding here.”

Pugh, Lehmann and the rest of the front runners started from the back in Moto 2, with Lehmann making quick work of the competition and taking the lead before the halfway point. Right on his heels from the start was Clay, with both riders cutting almost identical lap times throughout the race. Lehmann finished first, Clay was second and Pugh rounded out the top-three while clocking the fastest lap on the day in the process.

Moto 3 was nearly a repeat of the previous race, with Lehmann and Clay running away from the start while Pugh worked his way through the pack after starting in the back. Lehmann took the convincing win, but Pugh made a late-race pass on Clay to grab second after once again clocking quick time on his well set-up KTM bike.

The fourth race was a replay of Moto 1, as Lehmann once again had to fend off the slightly quicker Pugh from the drop of the green flag. This time, however, there would be no mistakes from the younger rider as he held on to the lead all the way to the checkered flag.. Clay rounded out the top three, making it four podium finishes in four starts, an excellent shakedown for the new Husky bike he was riding.

Many riders called it a day early, including Lehmann and Clay, and Moto’s 5 and 6 had just half of the grid take to the track. Pugh would again run from back-to-front en route to winning both final races, but with the field thinned down some new drivers were able to climb the podium.

Dylan Ferreira capped an impressive day by finishing second in the final two motos. Earlier, Ferreira thought his day was over after he lost the motor on his 250 after just four laps of practice. The Pughs, Ryan and father Gary, loaned him a bike for the day, but it was a 450 —a big change for Ferreira. As the day went on Ferreira got more and more comfortable on the seat of the bigger bike, and during his two runner-up finishes he ran very competitive lap times.

Third place overall in the Moto 5 went to Gary Pugh, who had been consistently battling in the top-five all day long, and Ernie Delacruz rounded out the top three in Moto 6.

Scooter/Mini

Brian Noji had another impressive run in the Scooter/Mini category, capping off his class win by finishing third overall in the final moto of the day. Joining him on the podium in the class were Mike Redling, who was using the event as a shakedown for his new Honda 150 Mini and Debra Johnson, who represented the ladies and DRZ riders on her Yamaha.

On the Web

Visit www.pacificgp.com, become a fan of “Pacific Grand Prix” on Facebook or follow @pacificgp on Twitter.

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