Llewellyn Runs Strong in Norwalk NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn and the Karl Klement team had a strong showing at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, moving up in points in all three competitions measured by...
Llewellyn Runs Strong in Norwalk
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn and the Karl Klement team had a strong showing at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, moving up in points in all three competitions measured by the NHRA. One week after a disappointing performance by Peggy and the crew in Englishtown, New Jersey, they responded with consistently quick qualifying and elimination passes that fell just short of advancing them past POWERade points leader Matt Smith and into the semis. "This weekend was by far the best Peggy's rode all year," said co-crew chief Shane Maloney. "She rode straight and hit all her shift points."
"On the first pass, we actually missed the tune-up a little," noted Maloney.
"The motor locked up in the third round and hurt the crank," Maloney reported. "The guys at the G2 Motosports team really helped us out after that. Ken 'Big' Johnson, Chip Ellis, and George Smith all came over to lend us a hand and figure out what the problem was. Between our two engines, we put together one good one. We figured out our best option was to take the cylinder heads, cylinders and pistons off of .034 and put them on our back-up engine. That's what's nice about the S&S motors. You can take the parts off of one engine and put them on another one. It's amazing that they can mass-produce them that way.
"When we pulled the motor apart, we realized we also had a broken ring that was holding us back."
With the motor swap in process, the team skipped the last qualifying session. "I remember in the third round that the bike moved to the right and I pulled it back," said Llewellyn. "When I pulled in the clutch, I didn't hear the motor and I thought, 'That's not right.' I was kinda nervous about missing the final round, but George (co-crew chief George Bryce) told me not to worry, that no one would pass us." And no one did.
"The guys swapped all the parts out real smoothly," said Klement. "But it was a little scary not knowing what they had when they went to the line for the main event."
"It was a little nerve wracking," agreed Maloney. "Because we'd never run the motor that way."
"Even though we'd missed the last qualifying pass, I was confident," said Llewellyn. "George told me to give myself a chance, to go out there and do my process, so that's what I did."
"It was really amazing that we ran Craig Treble, the winner of the last race, and put him on the trailer," said Bryce, who himself beat Dave Schultz at Norwalk in 1986, the only previous experience at the Ohio track for the 6-time national champion crew chief.
Treble rides for the Harry Lartigue team that first introduced Llewellyn to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle years ago, and it was especially gratifying for her to advance past her old ride. "That was neat," said Peggy. "Between Karen Stoffer and Craig, they're awesome on the tree and you know you've done something really special when you beat them."
"Then we outran Matt Smith, the points leader," continued Bryce. "The margin of victory was only 3 feet. An .05 or .06 reaction time would have turned on the winlight, and that would have been a really huge deal for us. Peggy's side of the ladder was really tough. She would have had to beat the winners of every race this year through to the final, and we were in the hunt. We would have had a good chance against Angelle Sampey in the semi. Angelle's semifinal pass was slower than any run we made this weekend. Andrew Hines in the final would have been the only person who was actually running faster than us. This was the first time we ran about the same as Chip Ellis and Matt Smith. There was one round where they went into the 6s and we didn't. Peggy hit the rev limiter a little in two gears that round and we still ran a 7.01. We were all running the same numbers on Sunday, and Peggy made all of her runs this weekend within 4/100ths, all in varying conditions."
"I could have had a better reaction time, but it was a pretty good weekend," said Llewellyn.
"As much as I wanted to win second round, I can't be mad," said Maloney. "When she lost, she was upset at herself. She felt bad that she had the better motorcycle and cut a light that she thought was bad. It was good to see her upset with herself like that, but I was really happy with the job she did. I told G2's Jackie Bryce before the weekend, that if Peggy made good laps and still got beat on a holeshot, I wouldn't be mad. And I wasn't. We all had to do a better job than we did last week, and we did it."
"I guess it comes in bits and pieces," said Llewellyn. "But we're moving forward. I look at the positives, and I drove a lot better this weekend. The facility was excellent and the fans were awesome."
"The bike was flawless and Peggy was flawless," said Maloney. "Everybody did good this weekend and worked well together. Now we can work on Peggy's lights. We'll get her a practice tree with handlebars, seat and everything."
"I'm looking forward to being home after being on the road for 14 days," said Llewellyn. "I'm gonna recharge my batteries and get ready for Denver."
"I think we did pretty good this weekend, especially considering all the problems we had with engines," said Klement. "But George, Shane and our crewman Garrett Whaley all did a great job, and Peggy did a great job riding. We've got some new parts for Denver and we're looking forward to really doing well out there.
"Denver's a V-Twin track, but Craig Treble proved that Suzukis can run there too," finished Maloney. "He dominated out there a couple of years ago. And as much as I don't want to overlook a race, I'm really looking forward to Sonoma. We've got a good sea level tune-up, and we're making more power. There aren't that many teams that make power during the season, but we're making more power than we did two races ago in Chicago."
Making more power, and putting it to good use on the track.