Talladega – WERA – March 1989

To order photos (hi-res digital file) go to bottom of page.

From American Roadracing coverage:

By Larry Lawrence
Talladega, AL. March 4

Team Suzuki with new riders Mike Smith and Paul Bray, won the first round of the WERA/EBC Brake National Endurance Series. The race was red-flagged and called after only three hours due to a torrential downpour accompanied by lightening.  Team America riding a Yamaha FZR 600 finished a surprising second. Riders for Team America were Andy Deathrage, Don Fielden and Craig Renck. Defending WERA champions, Human Race Team took third with Kurt Hall and Andy Fenwick at the controls.

Many changes have taken place among many of the top teams, most notably in the Team Suzuki camp. Along with the new riders, new crew chief Keith Perry comes on board after working with Lockhart Racing. The dissention between team members that plagued the team last year, has been replaced with a spirit of teamwork and professionalism.

Cindy Bowen’s Solmax Racing, a perennial top runner is no more. The team was bought over the winter by Illinois racer John Erdrich. Erdrich brought about wholesale changes to the team including, new riders, new sponsors and even a new name, E&H Racing. Other changes involving top running teams include, Kayo Racing now back to Genesis Racing (the name they ran under in 1987) and Team America, which is made up of much of last years Red Stripe Racing.

Teams in the series which remain much as they were last year include the defending champs Human Race Team, Royale Racing, PDQ Racing and CIA Racing.

A full grid of 41 teams lined up for the start. Starter “Airborne” Al Wilcox dropped the green flag and Kurt Hall jumped to a quick lead followed by Team Suzuki’s Paul Bray. In three laps Bray caught and passed Hall for the lead. Hall had the Human’s in a solid second place. E&H Racings Bob Sandy and Fred Provis of Team Work had a good dice going for third in the opening laps. Once Cal Rayborn got used to the circuit he began slicing through the field and the argument over third was settled, Rayborn on the 3-D Racing GSXR 1100 took over.

Bray steadily pulled away from the rest of the field. By the end of the first hour Team Suzuki held a 48 second lead over the Humans. The E&H GSXR 750 developed a problem in the charging system knocking them from the top runners. ” At first the bike started losing power, we brought it in and lost about four laps changing the battery. We don’t know how long the thing will run if it’s not charging” said a disappointed Ray Yoder. Team Work and 3-D Racing made rider changes just before the end of the first hour putting them down in the standings.

Moving up quickly was California’s Caz Racing, the always tough, Royale Racing, and Team America, all three teams riding FZR 600’s. The quick handling and ample power of the FZR was suited perfectly for the twisty 1.3 mile track and all but one of the mediumweight superbikes gridded (Action Suzuki on a Katana 600) were FZR 600’s.

During the second hour Smith took over on the Team Suzuki machine, and continued to extend the lead over the second place Human’s. Even though the Human Race was competing in the Heavyweight Superbike class, the FZR 1000 they were running was a bone stock machine. ” We didn’t have much time to get things ready for this race, we’re treating this race more or less as a development project.” Team Suzuki on the other hand was well prepared for this race. Crew Chief Perry had the team’s GSXR 1100 running hand handling very smoothly. Smith, who had never ridden a big superbike before this race, had nothing but praise for the big Suzuki. “It’s really not hard to ride at all. It’s much better than I expected, all of that power is really nice to have on tap” commented the young Smith.

Team America continued to move up even though their front Dunlop was rapidly wearing away. “We were not pleased at all with the wear on the Dunlops, I expect we’ll be switching back to Metzelers for the next race.” said America’s Andrew Deatherage. Team America’s FZR 600 was head and shoulders over the other Mediumweight machines. “We’re running a Muzzy pipe, it really seems to make good power.” said Frank Slaughter, the teams captain.

Tire wear was taking it’s toll on many of the teams. At the two and a half hour mark, Dave Zupan ordered the HRT Yamaha in for a tire change. Without quick tire change capabilities, the change cost the team second place. “We really had no choice, the bike was getting really loose.” said Fenwick.

Royale Racing’s excellent ride came to an end in the third hour as Doug Henry crashed on the high speed Singleton sweeper. A wheel on the Royale Yamaha was bent putting them out for good.

The rain that was threatening all morning finally came  just before the end of the third hour. Several teams pitted immediately to change tires, but Suzuki continued riding on with slicks. Several sections of the track have a sealer which becomes extremely slippery in the rain. Shortly after the rain began, eight teams went down in the sweeper and the race was red flagged. This was a perfect turn of events for Team Suzuki who now had a chance to change to rain tires during the red flag.

Race officials decided to wait awhile to let the track get completely wet before a restart. The restart never came.

The rain intensified to monsoon proportions and sections of the racing surface became flooded. An hour and a half later, with no let up of the rain in sight and now lightening, the race was called complete. There were no arguments from the racers, no one wanted to brave the foot deep puddles, and the ultra-slick surface.

For Team Suzuki it was a victory, but at only three hours, the victory likely will not make a big dent in the overall series race.

Team America took home second, while the Humans worked themselves back to third. CAZ Racing and Genesis Racing rounded out the top five overall.

Gateway Racing held off Struthers Suzuki by one lap to win the heavyweight production contest and finish tenth overall. The Kurt Hall owned We’re Human Two Racing held off a late race surge by Royale II to win the mediumweight production race. In the lightweight class, first year team RKN Racing took the win on their Yamaha of Knoxville/Barber Oil backed FZR 400.

Team Suzuki’s effort is sponsored by Suzuki, Arai, Emgo, SBS, Dunlop, Fox, Z Leathers, Valvoline, Sunoco and Tsubaki. Cycle Sport of Virginia, Sportstown, Waldorf Auto Body and Moto Sport sponsor the second place Team America.

The Human Race Team is sponsored by Fox Racing, Metzeler, Arai, Klotz and Lakeshore Harley-Yamaha.

The next round of the series is at Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Georgia.

Hall Takes Four at Talladega
By Larry Lawrence
Talladega, AL. March 5

Kurt Hall completely dominated WERA regional sprint action at the Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, riding his Metzeler/Fox/Action Honda-Suzuki/Klotz/Arai GSXR 750. Hall raced in four races and won them all, his narrowest margin of victory was seven seconds when first year expert Bob Sandy finished behind him in the B Superbike contest. Hall had just ridden with the Human Race Team the day before in the WERA endurance, and his lines around the short Talladega course were honed to razor sharpness.

The most interesting place to watch Hall on this day, was at the tricky turns three and four. These two turns are a set of hard 90 degree bends, separated only by a 100 yard straight. A riders entrance speed in to three is very important in getting through this section of the track quickly. Hall’s manner of handling this difficult section of the course was beautiful to watch. He would come in to the turn much faster than the rest of the field, keeping his GSXR straight much deeper in to the turn than most. Then in a very quick and precise motion, Hall would flick the bike over to a full lean, hitting his knee pad down solidly, creating a large puff of friction generated smoke. Hall then repeated this same motion on the next 90 degree turn, coming out with a lot of speed. Lap after lap, Hall would do this, each time a carbon copy of the lap before. His method of taking these turns was so entertaining to watch, even the jaded corner workers ( who see bikes coming through the turn over and over, hours at a time) got a kick out of watching Hall. ” I can’t believe he pitches that big bike over so fast. I thought he was going to crash the first few times he came through here.” said one worker.

While Hall was walking away from the pack in the A production contest, former mini-motocross star Billy Eisenacher, was making his own mark by racing through the field on his Kawasaki/Yamaha of Marietta FZR 600. Eisenacher, a second year novice from California who now lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, started near the back of the field but with two laps to go passed a full field of experts on 750’s to take second overall to Hall. Eisenacher was as dominant in the novice ranks as Hall was in the expert class. “I think we’re going to bump him up to expert real soon.” said one WERA official. Eisenacher won all three races he entered.

Local David Huneycutt and Texan Laroy Montgomery, put on a show in the Clubman race. Both riders on Honda singles, battled the entire race. Huneycutt held the lead for the first six laps even though he was fighting a chattering front end. Montgomery took the lead with two laps to go and look certain to take the win. But Huneycutt wasn’t about to quit, and coming in to the last turn he used his experience at this track to out brake the Texan for the lead, holding on to win by inches.


1. Kurt Hall SUZ
2. Steve Davison SUZ
3. Kerry Sherman SUZ

1. Billy Eisenacher YAM
2. Ken Potts SUZ
3. Dana Ruehle HON

1. Kurt Hall SUZ
2. Bob Sandy SUZ
3. Fred Provis HON

1. Ken Potts SUZ
2. Bill McClain SUZ
3. Don Taylor YAM

1. Fred Provis HON
2. Sam Waldrip HON
3. Ken Essex HON

1. Billy Eisenacher YAM
2. Dana Ruehle HON
3. Buzzy Clevenger HON

1. Pat Chandler YAM
2. Kent Soignier KAW

1. Wm. Quinn YAM
2. Paul Black YAM
3. Eric Baba KAW

1. Fred Provis HON
2. Paul Wright SUZ
3. Ken Anderson HON

1. Bernie Fritz SUZ
2. Rick Tobler SUZ
3. Gary Michaud HON

1. Kurt Hall SUZ
2. Bob Sandy SUZ
3. Kerry Sherman SUZ

1. Ken Potts SUZ
2. Bernie Fritz SUZ
3. Michael Martin SUZ

1. Sam Wardrip HON
2. Michael Earnhardt HON
3. William Gray YAM

1. Billy Eisenacher YAM
2. Buzzy Clevenger HON
3. Gary Farmer KAW

1. William Gray YAM
2. Billy Atkinson YAM

1. William Quinn YAM
2. Jeff Coleman YAM
3. Antonio Cardenas HON

1. Paul Wright SUZ
2. Mike Snyder SUZ
3. Doug Kidd SUZ

1. Paul Wright SUZ
2. Doug Kidd SUZ
3. Mike Snyder SUZ

1. Kurt Hall SUZ
2. Mike Earnhardt HON
3. Ken Welty YAM

1. Billy Atkinson YAM
2. William Gray YAM
3. Laroy Montgomery HON

1. William Quinn YAM
2. Paul Black YAM
3. Scott Woolard YAM

1. Andre Vandenberg KAW

1. David Huneycutt HON
2. Laroy Montgomery HON
3. Benard Besal YAM

To order photos (digital file): Click on Paypal tab for quantity of photos. When paying list photo number(s) you are ordering. If you have any question or would like a quote on volume pricing (more than five photos) please contact me at lawrencemedia@hotmail.com or call (317) 852-2896.
Thanks much,
Larry Lawrence – RiderFiles.com

1 photo $5.00 USD2 photos $10.00 USD3 photos $15.00 USD4 photos $20.00 USD5 photos $25.00 USD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s