Aprilia USA Comes from Behind to Win SunTrust MOTO-ST Series Race at VIR DANVILLE, Va. -- The No. 1 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Ty Howard and Mike Himmelsbach came from a lap down to win the VIR 500k, the ...
Aprilia USA Comes from Behind to Win SunTrust MOTO-ST Series Race at VIR
DANVILLE, Va. -- The No. 1 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Ty Howard and Mike Himmelsbach came from a lap down to win the VIR 500k, the second round of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday.
After crashing one hour into the two and a half hour race, Howard, from Weatherford, Tex., came back to take the lead from the No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati 848 of Doug Polen just six laps from the end of the SunTrust MOTO-ST Series VIR 500k.
Howard and Himmelsbach completed 70 laps of the 3.27-mile VIR circuit in two hours, 30 minutes, 38.207 seconds for an average speed of 91.173 miles per hour.
Polen, from Camarillo, Calif. and teammate James Chance III of Savannah, Ga. settled for second 11.381 seconds behind at the finish.
The podium was completed by the No. 2 Team RightsForBikers.com Suzuki SV1000S ridden by Modesto, Calif.'s Justin Filice and Rodolfo Ramirez of Sunrise, Fla.
The win was the second straight this year for the No. 1 Aprilia, which also claimed last year's title in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twins (SST) class. Howard put the bike on pole on Saturday in the first qualifying session in SunTrust MOTO-ST Series history.
"I don't know what happened, the front end just folded under me," said Howard of the crash. "I rode for six laps with no shifter then I brought in into the pits."
The team replaced the shifter but elected not to repair a bent clutch lever. Howard and Himmelsbach then steadily worked their way back to the front. They were running fifth overall and third in the SST class when a full course caution, the only one in the race, bunched the field with just over half an hour left and erased a 40-second lead for Polen.
On the restart Howard quickly moved up to second and then slashed an eight-second gap to Polen, setting the race's fastest lap of one minute, 58.379 seconds in the process.
"I took some time getting used to the bike after the crash," said Himmelsbach, from Quakertown, Penn, who rode the middle stint of the race. "We had no real hiccups after that and I went faster and faster every lap."
Polen had qualified second for the race and was among the pacesetters right from the start. He looked set to take the win after assuming the lead on lap 50 when the Team RightsForBikers.com Suzuki lost time changing a rear tire on a pit stop.
"We had a win easy," said Polen, who also finished second to the No. 1 Aprilia at Daytona's season opener. "But as soon as the safety car came out and closed the gap that was it, I could pretty much see the writing on the wall."
The No. 1 Aprilia leads the SST Teams standings by six points over the No. 75 Ducati, 70-64.
The No. 2 Suzuki led 19 laps and joined the No. 1 Aprilia in leading the most laps during the race. Ramirez also led the longest stretch, from lap 35 to 49, before a broken rear axle spoiled the team's final pit stop and dropped the bike behind the No. 75 Ducati.
The No. 8 Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing Buell 1125R also challenged for victory but was retired with just over an hour remaining with an apparent transmission failure.
Another frontrunner to hit trouble was the No. 6 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R, which suffered two crashes, the second putting it out of the race.
Fourth in the SST class was the No. 25 Hooters Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Mike Luke from New Smyrna Beach, Fla. and Benny Carlson of West Bend, Wis., which placed 10th overall.
Fourth overall and first in the Sport Twins (ST) class was the No. 86 SpeedWerks.com Suzuki SV650 of local ace Brian Kcraget of Danville, Va. and Chesterfield, Va.'s Ben Walters. The pair finished almost 30 seconds ahead of the No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing Suzuki SV650 of Kyle Martin of Dallas and Newalla, Okla.'s Dominic Dominguez.
Walters was a late call-up to the SpeedWerks.com team after two of its scheduled riders were injured in accidents.
"Ben Walters kind of saved us," said Kcraget, who also won the ST class at VIR last season. "He drove in from Richmond Friday morning. We had a great race with the M4 Avteq bike. They were improving and we were fortunate to bring it home."
Third in ST and sixth overall was the No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 of defending class champions Jay Springsteen from Lapeer, Mich. and Jimmy Filice of Daytona Beach, Fla., which lost second to the No. 67 Suzuki near the finish when Filice ran off the track.
Victory in the BMW GrandSport Twins (GST) class went to the No. 7 Richie Morris Racing Buell XB12R of Mike Smith of Canton, Ga. and Clint Brotz from Elkhart Lake, Wis., which finished seventh overall. Smith was also a late call up to partner Brotz.
"It's my first weekend on the bike but the Buell was a pleasure to ride," Smith said. "I was a little worried about the weather. It's been a long time since I've raced here in the rain."
Second in class was the No. 69 Team RightsForBikers.com Ducati PS1000LE of Fort Lauderdale's Jason Edmunds and John Linder of Tampa.
Third in GST went to the James Gang Racing/Hoban Brothers Buell XB12R ridden by Jeff Johnson of Minneapolis and Paul James from Waukesha, Wis.
The Best Looking Team Award presented by Roaring Toyz, world renowned builder of custom sportbikes and components, went to the Aprilia USA squad.
The Czaia & Gallagher PA Lucky 13 Award was claimed by the No. 87 SpeedWerks.com Suzuki, which finished 13th overall.
The SunTrust MOTO-ST Series continues at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. June 7.