Rocky Mountain Raceway: 2017 Motorcycle/Snowmobile Review

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Rocky Mountain Raceway
written by Kirk Walton

2017 Motorcycle/Snowmobile Review

The 2017 Rocky Mountain Raceway Harley-Davidson of Salt Lake City Screamin’ Eagle Motorcycle/Snowmobile series saw an addition of some new racers, some returning that hadn’t raced in awhile and a lot of great racing.  We also had the Harley Fun Drags once a month where Harley-Davidson of Salt Lake rented the track and let all brands of motorcycle race and also brought us dinner.  So thanks to Joe Timmons and the whole crew for helping out with that all year!  We also were back racing at the big money bracket races against the cars at a couple of races.  That’s always fun and another challenge to add to the racing.

Our racers also did well in the NHRA Pacific Division (7) standings this year.  Rick Newport ended up not only winning the NHRA D7 Summit ET championship in Las Vegas in October against 55 others in the “Summit Showdown” race of champions but also ended up winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series D7 championship as well.  Big congratulations to Rick & Trish along with all his crew and sponsors.

The Rocky Mountain Raceway Summit ET races saw 33 different riders getting points and the 2017 season champion was Ryan Kruger.  Ryan ended up winning four races and one-second place.  Congratulations to Ryan and Shalee Kruger!  The top ten points are below.

MC/Sled#    DRIVER      CITY                 Type                                           POINTS

1  7211 Ryan Kruger, Murray UT, 09 Kawasaki ZX-14                            440

2  L770 Larry Mota, Orem UT, 09 Suzuki GSXR-1000                             390

3  721 Jeremy Bates, Orem UT, 01 Suzuki Hayabusa                             350

4  747 Peyton Hall, Stansbury Park, UT 06  Yamaha Warrior               310

5  73 Rick Newport, Bluffdale, UT 95 Suzuki GSXR                                 304

6  7028 Mike Cragun, Sandy, UT 79 Kawasaki KZ                                   300

7  78 Kirk Walton, SLC, UT 12 Kawasaki ZX-14R                                      298

8  793 Jeff Durfey, West Jordan, UT 08 Kawasaki                                   280

9  764 Ken Giles, West Valley City, UT 00 Harley Sportster                  240

10 7384 Tracy Giles, Sandy, UT 15 Kawasaki ZX-14R                             208

This season, the “Spring Run-Off” bracket race kicked off the season.  There were no points awarded for the motorcycle/snowmobile class.  A few of us did enter and Kirk Walton went the furthest in non-electronics on Friday, to the third round.  Also he split the ‘run for the money’ with Hays, KS racer Brandon Pfanenstiel’s dragster.  On Saturday, Ken Giles went to the fourth round to go the furthest of the bikes/snowmobiles on the all 1/8mi racing weekend.

For the first Summit ET race of the season, May 26th, Steve Harrison got the Base Brothers #1 qualifying sticker with a nice .006.  Thanks to Don Nielsen all year for the stickers to give out to all our #1 qualifiers.  The race was cut short due to the 11pm curfew and 3 were left in the semi’s. Mike Cragun, Matt Fredericks were set to race to see who took on Steve Harrison in the final.  The points and money were all split to that point.  The next day was a non-points race with the drag strip and oval both running events called “May Madness” and we still had 18 bikes/sleds show up to race.  Matt Fredericks got the #1 spot with a .007 along with Kirk Walton but since Matt got his first, he’s the #1 qualifier. Matt made it to the final but lost to Mike Cragun.

The next race was on June 9th and saw a great turnout of 27 bikes/sleds.  We had a few come down from Idaho for the next days “Streetcar Shootout” race.  So it was a lot of fun to have them join us. Jeremy Wanders from Boise, ID set a new streetbike and ET motorcycle track record with a 7.95@189.23mph pass in eliminations! Bryan Duvall was the #1 Base Brothers qualifier with a .017 on his Arctic Cat snowmobile.  He used that to get to the final where he eventually lost to Jeremy Bates on his Suzuki Hayabusa.

Jeremy Wanders bettered the ET Motorcycle record to 7.904 (at 188.28mph) on Saturday, June 10th with the “Streetcar Shootout”.  Mo Rider won the Motorcycle Shootout when Jeremy couldn’t make the call.  It was a lot of fun and hopefully they can schedule another race for 2018.

On June 16th, we had another good turnout with 24 bikes/sleds.  Rick Newport took the #1 qualifier spot and got the Base Brothers sticker with a perfect .000 reaction time. Rick made it to the final but the track conditions made the dial-in’s tough.  All of us in the semifinals spun hard but in the final both riders had traction, and Rick Newport beat Kirk Walton by .0017 at the stripe.
The next race was June 30th with 23 bikes/sleds showing up to race.  Matt Fredericks might need a new nickname like “Mr. Trip Zip” or something after getting another RMR perfect light sticker and earning the Base Brothers Parts #1 qualifier with his 10th career (includes eliminations) perfect .000!
We had a couple of mechanical issues with Paul Beatty having to withdraw and Cheyanne Price lost the drive belt on her snowmobile but her Dad, Bud Price graciously let her ride his snowmobile for the rest of the night. There was a new bike out, a nice Harley-Davidson that Kelly Queensberry was riding for Steve Harrison. We also had a new rider in the Summit series with former midnight racer, Ted Stufflebeam, Jr riding his 2001 Honda 929, so welcome Ted.
Kirk Walton had the bye run into the final against Jeremy Bates. Walton had a .108 vs Jeremy’s nice .028 reaction time and broke out with a 10.177@138.54mph to Jeremy’s 9.881@138.46 on the 9.87.
Congrats to Jeremy and that puts him in sole possession of first at this point.
The first race in July was on Friday the 7th, with a 100 degree F day with track temp over 145F.  We still had 20 bikes/sleds with Dave “Wheels” Wheeler getting the Base Brothers Parts #1 sticker with a nice .002. Matt Fredericks had another good light this race with a .005, and Jeff Durfey #3 at .013.
Jeremy Bates made it to the finals and won again. This time over Larry Mota on a double breakout. Larry ran 10.20 on the 10.25 and Jeremy 9.95 on the 9.97 dial.
On July 21st, the night started off with Dani Tremelling getting the #1 Base Brothers Parts sticker with a nice .002 reaction time. She ended up with the bye run (23 bikes/sleds) in the first round and got $50 from RMR for having a perfect light and the win in eliminations. She went to the third round eventually.
Ryan Kruger ended up winning the race against Kirk Walton with a reaction time advantage (.057 vs. .078) and ran an off the throttle 9.517@130.18 on the 9.47 dial to 10.307@139.79mph (10.21).  Ryan jumps up the third place in points behind Jeremy Bates and Larry Mota.
The next night was a non-points race with “Horsepower Heaven”.  Both the drag and oval track running the night taking turns on races.
Ryan Kruger picked up the #1 qualifier and the bye run in the first round with a .016. Matt Fredericks and Jeff Durfey both had .018. The track did give an extra qualifying round.
The final ended up being a close one with a .0037 margin of victory. Jeff Durfey ended up winning over Larry Mota in that final. Congratulations to Jeff!
July 28th race #8 was a rare Saturday non-major race. We ended up with 19 bikes/sleds. Apparently a .001 wasn’t good enough for #1 qualifying spot. It was only good for third spot! Two riders got perfect lights on consecutive runs. Peyton Hall got his just before Dani Tremelling in the next pair. So congrats to Peyton for the Base Brothers Parts #1 qualifier!
Peyton made it to the quarterfinals and Dani made it all the way to the finals. Dani lost to last weeks winner, Ryan Kruger in the final. It was close with the double breakout margin of victory just .0075. So Ryan gets the NHRA National Dragster Challenge “Wally”, congrats to Ryan. This moved Ryan into a tie with Jeremy Bates for first place.

August 4th race #9 some major oil downs and a crash on the oval track, so the RMR safety crew really earned their money!

Larry Mota ended up getting the Base Brothers Parts #1 qualifier sticker with a .001 reaction time. Three riders had a .006 reaction time with Ryan Kruger getting it first so he was #2, Ken Giles and Steve Harrison had the .006 on the run against each other!

With 19 riders in the first round the second round was paired down to 10. The five winners will split the money and get the 36 points each for the quarterfinals. Those riders were, Larry Mota, Peyton Hall, Paul Beatty, Jeff Durfey and Mike Cragun.  Points still tied for the #1 spot with Jeremy Bates and Ryan Kruger.

August 18th race #10  had us down a few competitors and had a field of 16. That didn’t make the racing any easier. Jeremy Bates got the Base Brothers #1 qualifying sticker with a nice .002. Larry Mota had a .006 and Peyton Hall with a .006. Peyton also had a perfect light later in the night but in the top dragster on his re-licensing run!

The big first round matchup was between points leaders, Ryan Kruger and Jeremy Bates. Jeremy had a redlight of -.006 to give Ryan the win. Ryan ended up winning the whole race. He met Larry Mota in the final and they had a double breakout. Larry had the reaction time advantage of .015 vs .032 but ended up running .05 under to Ryan -.03 under. This put Ryan in first place by himself with a 30 point (3 round) lead over Larry Mota.
The next week would be a non-points race for the motorcycle/snowmobile class with the “Summer Send Off” bracket race.  We’d race against the cars (hopefully!).  We had a good turnout of bikes/sleds each day.  Friday, August 25th Saturday, had Jeff Durfey making it to the sixth round (quarterfinals with 5 left) before bowing out.
August 26th was another good showing with 3 bikes in round 6 (final five), Kelly Queensberry and Mike Cragun lost but Larry Mota got the bye into the semifinals.  He ended up losing to eventual winner, Andy Schmall.

On Sunday, August 27th, the races were cut to 1/8th mile (halftrack).  Again, Jeff Durfey did the best with the bikes getting to the semifinals this day.  He lost to eventual winner Cody Webber in his Monte Carlo.  So the bikes and sleds had a good weekend overall racing with the cars!The final race of the Summit ET series at RMR was on September 8, 2017.  Ryan Kruger had an advantage going in but wanted to insure nobody would catch him.  Well he did just that by winning the race. He won the championship by winning his fourth race of the year!  Great job to his crew chief, Shalee Kruger for all her hard work for Team Kruger. The race was a little iffy with the weather. We had a couple of rain delays early so we only got one qualifying run in. Steve Harrison got the Base Brothers Parks #1 sticker with a .025 reaction time. Mike Cragun, Jeremy Bates rounded out the top three. It was nice to see Don Nielsen back from his injury and also to see Robert Williams back on a new Kawasaki H2. We ended up with 20 bikes/sleds even missing a few of the regulars.

In the final round, Peyton Hall had the better reaction time of .028 vs Ryan’s .078 but couldn’t run the number, 11.233@117.23mph on the 11.12 dial in time. Ryan ran 9.494@129.87mph to coast to the win on the 9.45 dial.

For the NHRA Pacific Division Summit ET finals, RMR racer won the “Summit Showdown” race of champions to win the chance to represent division 7 at the World Finals in Pomona.  He beat teammate Kahea Woods in the final round. Rick lost to eventual national champion in Pomona, Riley Toth of D6.

Rick also won the motorcycle gamblers race in Las Vegas at the Summit ET D7 finals against RMR teammate, Jeff Durfey.

Team RMR, also had a good showing finishing 4th overall for the Saturday team race. Bryan Duvall on a borrowed bike, not his usual Arctic Cat snowmobile, made it all the way to the semifinal.

Congratulations again to Rick for winning the NHRA Pacific Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Sportsman Motorcycle championship for the ‘sweep’.

We would like to thank all the racers, crews, RMR staff, sponsors and fans for a great 2017!

See you in 2018!
– Kirk Walton

 

It has been officially announced that the 2018 season will be the last for Rocky Mountain Raceway.  It was started back in 1968 as Bonneville Raceway and rebuilt as RMR in 1997.  So it will be a bittersweet year for sure.  Hopefully, we can send the track off with another great year of racing.

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