Pair-A-Nines - A Star-Studded Team DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 26, 2008) -- Since its inception in October 2006, the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series has boasted some of the most famous teams and riders to be found in two-wheeled racing. One such stand...
Pair-A-Nines - A Star-Studded Team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 26, 2008) -- Since its inception in October 2006, the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series has boasted some of the most famous teams and riders to be found in two-wheeled racing. One such stand out team is the Pair-A-Nines, the 2007 Sport Twins class defending champions.
Featuring an all-star line-up, this team's roster includes four AMA Hall of Famers; Gary Nixon, Jay Springsteen, Jimmy Filice and the legendary Bill Werner.
A native of Wisconsin, Werner, who is the team's crew chief and engine builder, has one of the most outstanding reputations in the motorcycle industry. Tuning the motorcycles that carried Jay Springsteen, Scott Parker and Gary Scott to a total of 13 AMA Grand National championships and 130 national wins, Werner is easily the winningest tuner in AMA Grand National history.
"Working with Pair-A-Nines is a labor of love for me," explains Werner with a warm smile. "I worked with Jay for about 11 years and when this opportunity came up, I pretty much jumped at the chance. It is a way for me to pay back someone who made me look like a hero for a great number of years."
Werner's love of engines actually started with go-karts when he was just a youngster growing up in Milwaukee. Then while he was in high school his interest in motorcycles took off.
"A friend of mine convinced me to go watch former AMA champion Carroll Resweber and watching him definitely inspired me to get into racing," says Werner. "I started running in local scramble events and then moved into flat tracking on a Harley Sprint. I worked my way up through the ranks as a novice, then a junior and finally earned my expert license."
In 1966 Werner answered an ad to be a racing mechanic at the famed Harley-Davidson factory and was hired.
"There were eight people in the department at that time," says Werner. "And, I pretty much started at the bottom. When you were new, you were treated like you didn't know anything and I figure that was probably right. But you muddled along and picked up things, sort of paying your dues."
Werner worked primarily in the race shop maintaining the factory Harley road racing machines. By the late 1960s, Werner was starting to come into his own as a top-notch tuner. Then in 1974, Harley-Davidson hired racer Gary Scott and Werner was assigned to be his traveling mechanic. One year later Scott won the AMA Grand National Championship piloting a Werner-built bike which marked the first in a long line of successes for Werner as a mechanic.
After winning the championship, Scott left the team and Harley-Davidson hired a very young Jay Springsteen. The Springsteen/Werner combination proved to be a winning one and "Springer," as he was called, took the title that same year and went on to take two more consecutive crowns.
When Harley hit a slump in the mid-1980's Werner was the only person working in the racing department. A new up-and-coming racer, Scott Parker, who was given race bikes from Harley, but no other support, wanted Werner to work with him. Due to the situation at Harley, "Springer" had already found other people to handle his tuning so Werner took on basically two jobs - working at Harley during the day and working at night and on weekends with Parker.
They made a good team and by 1987 Werner was able to convince Harley to let him work on Parker's bikes as part of his regular job for Harley. For the next ten years Parker made an unprecedented run in the Grand Nationals, winning nine championships. In fact, Parker earned the honor of being the all-time winningest rider in AMA Grand National history in terms of race wins and championships and it was Bill Werner's expertise that helped make it happen.
Over the years, Werner has amassed not only numerous wins, but also a host of accolades. He was awarded the AMA Mechanic of the Years honors 13 times and he won the inaugural AMA Pro Racing Award of Mechanical Excellence in 1996. He was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame eight years ago. He also worked with well-known TV race personality Dave Despain as a color commentator.
"I've had a lot of fun over the years and I am really pleased to be working with 'Springer' and the entire Pair-A-Nines team," smiles Werner. "They are a terrific group and it is a great series.
We're currently tied for points, so New Jersey Motorsports Park is definitely going to be an important round for us. A win would really help going in to the final and that is what we are aiming for. The M4 Avteq team, who we are tied with, is also a first class effort and they are going to be tough to beat. The racing action is definitely going to be good. It's a brand new track so everyone will be on the same level. We're excited and will be ready to roll off the grid when the green flag waves."