July 8, 2001* World Karting Association (WKA) Summer Nationals* South Bend IN Willis Brothers/CRG Race Team Fights The Heat Willis Brothers / CRG Race Team participated in the 3rd WKA National Manufacturers Cup event of the 2001 season...
July 8, 2001* World Karting Association (WKA) Summer Nationals* South Bend IN
Willis Brothers/CRG Race Team Fights The Heat
Willis Brothers / CRG Race Team participated in the 3rd WKA National Manufacturers Cup event of the 2001 season July 6-8 at South Bend Raceway Park located outside of South Bend Indiana. There were well over 325 entries in the 20 plus classes offered by WKA. The weather would force all participants to search for the right setup while trying to stay physically prepared for the 90+ degree heat and very high humidity.
With track temperatures well over 120 degrees, finding the right setup would be a struggle all weekend. James Willis seemed to have the best handle on the weather and chassis. The rest of the team made numerous changes throughout the event trying to get a setup that would last the entire race. Weather made for widely variable track conditions including break down of the racing surface in several corners.
The Willis Brothers/CRG Team brought 3 team drivers and one guest driver to run the 80 and 125 shifter classes as well as running a Yamaha Senior Can class. Representing the Willis Brothers Team were James Willis in 125 Shifter National and Yamaha Senior Can classes in his CRG Storm and CRG Heron respectively. Matt Melster and Graham Rahal were in the 80cc Junior class on their CRG Demon's. Derek Olson made a guest appearance on a second Melster CRG Demon in the Sunday finals of the 80cc Junior Shifter class.
James Willis qualified 4th in the 125 class and was fast all weekend. Saturday's National 1 Final Feature had James finish 4th. For Sunday's National 2 Final Feature James started 19th after being sidelined in the Pre-Final with parts failure. He was one of the fastest 125's on the track and charged from 19th to 3rd in the Final only to be stopped again by parts failure with only two laps to go until the finish. James did come back in the one off appearance in the Senior Can division race to finish 7th after starting deep in the feature field.
In the 80cc Junior class, Graham Rahal and Matt Melster worked all weekend to get the right setup. Rahal qualified in the top 10 again while Melster failed to finish his qualifying session due to mechanical problems and would be forced to start the Pre-Final at the rear of the field. Graham had a fine 3rd place finish in the Saturday Final followed up by a 5th place finish in the Sunday Final. Matt Melster put together 8th and 6th place finishes for the two days Finals. Derek Olson's guest appearance netted a 7th place in the Sunday final after starting at the rear of the field.
The Willis Brothers/CRG Team's next scheduled event is the South Bend Airport Grand Prix. This is a joint event with the SBAGP promoter and Great Lakes Region SKUSA. We will be running all four shifter classes with our 6 regular shifter Team drivers. This event is on a temporary road course constructed on the runways of the South Bend Indiana Regional Airport and will take place on July 20-22.
Other upcoming events include a visit to Dousman Wisconsin for round 4 of the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series on August 17-19 and a possible visit to Dousman for a Midwest Sprint Series race on August 5th.