2019 FMRRA Season Starts with Record Regional Attendance
FMRRA: Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association
Round 1: Palm Beach International Raceway
November 18, 2018
Huge grids, Double Points, Side Cars, Team Championships, were just the start of the exciting spectacle in South Florida.
This year, the Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association season opener at Palm Beach International Raceway witnesses the largest race grids seen in the region in over a decade.
Last season’s Team Champions, Hurricane Racing, charged into this weekend like a Cat 5 storm. Adding to the excitement of the first race weekend was the new Sidecar Racing action, a Florida’s first outside of vintage racing. Five rigs took to the track and brought some fresh new action to the already thrilling spectacle of over 40 racers sharing the grid in the SuperStock 600 race and bookmarked with the Sunoco SuperBike 1000 Sprint taking place completely under the lights!
The SuperStock 600 Grande Corsa started off with a field of 21 racers taking to the grid. On lap 4, two riders got together in the braking zone and forced a restart. Jamie Starace was chasing Christian Miranda down in every turn but Christian’s bike was unstoppable in the turns. A protest was filled against the bike, and due to the denial of the Air Box and Port inspection, Miranda and his team accepted a DQ. The Expert Class podium was ultimately topped by Jamie Starace followed closely by Daryan Martin and Kris Knopf after 9 total laps. The amateur race was even more thrilling than the expert contingent with the final three crossing the line within 1 second of each other. Frank Custureri took first over Dustin Richards (in his first of nine races and nine podiums) and William Wend, who had the fastest amateur lap, took third.
The lightweight classes, SuperStreet 300 and Moto 3 had a strong turnout and after 10 laps, Alex Ferreira eeked out the win over Fabian Alvarez by 1.087 seconds, even though Fabian turned a few laps nearly 1.5 seconds faster! Right behind this group, another example of the senior statesmen leading the next generation, was SethStarnes taking the Moto 3 Expert win over Gabriel Da Silva. Ferreira and Alvarez were joined by Alexis Olivera on the 300 podium, while Charlie Ohana took his first Expert podium of the year after moving up from his 2018 Amateur Class Championship win. In the 300 amateur class Roger Morissette took the checker followed by Dustin Richards and Eric Powers. The Moto3 Amateur podium saw Joseph Shallow lead Nadine De Freitas and Yvette Lamar over the line. The two ladies were proud to take the podium and showing over half of their class field the strength of the growing female force in the Florida-based series.
The SuperStock 1000 Grande Corsa saw FMRRA veteran and national Pirelli Track Bounty hero Stefano Mesa return. Driving down from North Carolina overnight and borrowing a BMW S1000R from a fellow racer, Mesa and Sean “D-Wire” Dwyer put on a show for the crowd sideways power wheeling out of turn 10 for 6 laps before Mesa suffered a mechanical problem forcing him to early retirement. Dwyer claimed the victory and purse followed by Shannon Andrus and Ricardo Sune rounding out the Expert top 3. Romulo Ruiz took the amateur win followed by Alejandro Nieves and Mario Gonzalez.
Christian Miranda powered through the Sunoco Superbike 600Grande Corsa taking a dominant victory on his Yamaha R6. Hurricane Racing’s Seth Starnes grabbed second place with Mauricio Roque Jr filling out the Expert Podium. Dustin Richards took the Amateur win over Frank Custureri by over 4 seconds, and firing back after the close finish in race one. Andrea Diotallevi rode into third place on his Yamaha R6 for the amateur podium.
The Formula and Production Twins Class saw its best turn out yet as the production class in particular continues to grow. There was some great racing throughout the time-shortened, ten lap Grande Corsa. Clint Russell, Mark Tenn, and Lee Farmer formed the Formula Twin ExpertPodium. Brandon Gindlesperger was nipping at Tenn’s heels and crossed the finish line only .25 seconds behind seizing the Amateur victory in the process. Dustin Richards followed in second place. The ProductionTwin Expert class saw Hurricane Racing’s Jonathan Pellnitz Take the win overAlex Arango and Carl Cohen (who were split by only .247 seconds). Amateur William Wend proved that term is subjective while he laid down a class record and topped the Production Twin podium with Sam Purkis and Greg Blutter in tow.
The final Grande Corsa before lunch saw Stefano Mesa return to form after taking care of his mechanical problems and seizing the top prize money in the pinnacle Sunoco SuperBike 1000 race. Sean Dwyer had the pole but ultimately was unable to hold Mesa back taking second place. Mesa and Dwyer were joined on the podium by Mauricio Roque. The amateur field saw Alejandro Nieves, Mario Gonzalez and Shannon Andrus taking the podium.
After lunch, the SuperStock 600 race saw 36 bikes ultimately take the grid. Christian Miranda stayed out in front of the field, but ultimately forfeited the victory by refusing an inspection based on protest. Jamie Starace took the victory based on the disqualification while Mauricio Roque Jr took second closely followed by Jose Lloreda in third. Frank Custureri (only 2 seconds behind Starance) led the Amateurs in an impressive demonstration of skill, joined by Dustin Richards and WilliamWend on the podium. The massive field was impressive and featured incredible battles throughout the entire grid.
The Lightweight Sprint had 27 racers in the two class mixed field. Thomas Teather led the built Moto 3 Expert race and took the checker followed by Hurricane Racing’s SethStarnes and Gabriel DaSilva. Alex Ferreira muscled his underpowered SuperStreet 300 machine to a2nd place overall and class victory only 1.099 seconds behind Teather. Fabian Alvarez took 2nd in class and overall, and Alexis Olivera completed the 300 Expert Podium. Joseph Shallow continued his triumphant return to racing in the series with another Moto3 Amateur win followed by Yvette LaMar and young Jack Caraballo. Roger Morissette led Dustin Richards by .723 seconds over the line and the two were followed by Eric Powers to finish off the 300Amateur podium.
Sean Dwyer put down a dominant victory in the SuperStock1000 sprint taking the win by a huge 20 second margin. Shannon Andrus claimed a well fought second place over Expert Jason Campbell. The Amateur division saw Romula Ruiz narrowly take first place by 0.263seconds over Mario Gonzalez. Gabriel Figueroa took 3rd place, the final step of the podium, and 6th overall.
Twenty-three veteran racers took to the grid in the Formula 40-600 (age-restricted) Sprint race. Proving age is just a number,Jamie Starace and Alejandro Rei chased were wheel to wheel the entire race. Starace led the first two laps before Rei was able to inch out the lead in lap three. The two had the entire venue on their feet in the battle before Starace took the lead in the final lap and crossed the finish line with a margin of only 0.125 seconds. Manuel Angles took third place in the Expert Class. The Amateur field saw a great three way battle for 8th place with Brett Kowal, Lamont Adams, and Justin Thorpe all within 0.4 seconds of each other and keeping the full field very interesting. Further ahead, Andrea Diotallevi scored theAmateur win with Maykel Peres and DougFord claiming second and third respectively.
The ever growing Euro Cup class was divided into Amateur and Expert sub-classes this year due to further increased interest within the former “exhibition” format race. Mario Gonzalez took the overall victory and the Euro Max Amateur win. Romula Ruiz and Eduard Aguayo took second and third in class (third and fourth overall). Julio Vallette took the Euro Light Expert win (second overall) joined by Carl Cohen on the podium. Alfie Luzzi narrowly secured the Euro Light Amateur top spot by 0.140 seconds, over Brandon Gindlesperger, and was joined on the podium by William Wend in third. Scott Billings took the Euro Max Expert victory.
Sean Dwyer was late to the grid in the Formula 40 – 1000 Sprint and thus had to start from pit lane. The field saw a large group of fifteen litre bikes in whichDwyer had only six laps to work through. Showing his talent to work through the pack Dwyer nearly got into second on the last lap but just missed Maurico Roque across the finish line by 0.5 seconds with Roque taking the checker. Alejandro Rei took third place on the Expert Podium. Gabriel Figueroa took home the gold in the Amateur ranks leading the pack and joined on the podium by Jose Sojo andChristopher Dooley.
The Bridgestone Cup race was, literally, so hotly contested that race leader Shannon Andrus’s BIKE engine let go in a fireball through TurnNine and Ten. Andrus safely got the bike off track and corner staff promptly contained the flame. Due to the failure, Mario Gonzalez claimed the victory in the 1000 category followed by Odane Allen. Jose Lloreda and German Vacca took first and second, respectively, in the sprint which ended due to the flaming red flag.
After the cleanup, the Twins Sprint race took two sighting laps to get a look at track conditions. On the first lap, William Wed was underneath Carl Cohen at the apex of Turn 10. Cohen checked up and Wend accidentally grabbed the front brake on reaction, instantly putting his bike down. Track staff took the downtime to check the track conditions and the race resumed on restart after a short cleanup.
Brandon Gindlesperger snagged the overall victory and theFormula Twin Amateur 1st place. He was followed closely by Mark Tenn and Seth Starnes(both split by only a second) who took the top two steps of the Formula TwinExpert class along with Scott Billings. Gabriel Figureoa and DustinRichards followed suit closely behind and rounded out the Formula Twin Amateur podium. In the Production Twin Expert class Jonathan Pellnitz took an impressive victory over Carl Cohen, both of whom were met at the podium awards by Brian Tenn in third. Sam Purkis held off Greg Blutter by 1.532 seconds for the Production Twin Amateur victory, while Dave Bryant rounded out the top three.
The Formula 50 – 1000 saw Alejandro Rei, Robert Fellman,and Ricardo Sune take the top Expert three positions. In the amateur class, Mike Banner, Lamont Adams, and John Sackett formed the podium attendees.
2018’s Series Overall Champion, Seth Starnes and ChristianMiranda put on a battle at the front of the 19 bike Sunoco SuperBike 600 five lap Sprint Race. Lap after lap they were separated by split seconds. Starnes took the lead from pole-sitter, Miranda, in the second lap; however, Miranda slip inside and reclaimed the lead on the next lap and narrowly held the position across the line by 0.535 seconds in the end. Jordan Strange came in third place in the Expert class. DustinRichards continued his podium streak for the weekend with a win in the amateur class over Frank Custureri by a barely visible margin of 0.100 seconds. Andrea Diotallevi came in third place in the amateur division.
As the sun finally set behind the horizon, the crowd was getting on their feet for the hotly anticipated 5-entry Side Car Race, aSeries First. The exhibition event did not disappoint with a fantastic pass in Turn 1 by XXXX on Lap XX. Ultimately, Paul Vance and Jonathan Pellnitz took the win; however, the finale was most exciting due to the riders just behind. Hurricane Racing’s Seth Starnes and Dustin Richards were in a close second when they experienced a mechanical failure in the Turn 9 right before coming onto the front straight. The team displayed an incredible performance of the human desire to persist. They pulled onto the pit lane thinking it was over, but quickly realized they still might have time to get the bike across the Pit loop and secure 2nd place. They hopped off the bike and physically pushed their SideCar over half of the length of the pit lane to cross the loop and 2nd place by a margin of 1.5 seconds before Tony and Lisa Doukas took third.
The final race of the day took place under a completely black sky, under the lights at Palm Beach International Raceway. The most powerful bikes took to the grid and the paddock was pulsing with the excitement from the last race. Working five laps in the night conditions took a cocktail of focus, talent, and pure muscle memory for the Sunoco SuperBike 1000racers. Sean Dwyer took the final win of the day followed by Seth Starnes and Mauricio Roque in the Sunoco Spec Fuel Class. Alejandro Nieves, Mario Gonzalez, and Brandon Gindlesperger rode their way onto the Amateur podium and kicked off the awards presentation to a paddock full of exhausted and enthusiastic racers, crew, and spectators.
Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association returns to Palm Beach International Raceway for Round 2 on December 15-16 and looks forward to another exciting weekend. Based on overwhelming crowd and racer feedback, we hope to see an even larger field of the iconic sidecars racing side by side. The year is shaping up to feature many close battles in both the team and individual championships in the backdrop of the adrenaline soaked racing!
FMRRA thanks all of our 2019 sponsors for their support of our passionate racers and the sport. Our Sponsors, Racers, and Fans make it possible to continue to deliver professional, safe, and fun race weekends to the South Eastern motorcycle community
Sunoco Racing Fuels
Southern Racing Fuels
Palm Beach Sports Commission
Melanie’s Nut Scrub
Dunlop Motorcycle Tires
MYLAPS Sports Timing
Florida Track Days
Full Season Championship Results and Individual Race Results are conveniently available online at:
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