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Bikes in the Valley Season Recap

Bikes in the Valley

Bikes in the Valley Season Recap

-Kelly Leslie
The beginning of my year in 2015 wasn’t looking so great. I had just moved up from South Georgia only a few months before, hardly new anyone local and was pretty hard pressed to find a good paying job. So, like most photographers I started scrambling for any work I could find.

Right around March, my friend Leslie who is an EMT at South Georgia Motorsports Park (where I have been shooting events since they opened), calls me up and asks if I’d be interested in shooting for this group called Bikes in the Valley which was held at Lebanon Valley Dragway. Lucky for me, the track is only about 30 minutes from where I had moved (not a coincidence hehe). I had shot a few bike races down south but my main focus had always been automobiles.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it, again not knowing a single person other than Leslie but after speaking with Walt Houghtaling, one of the promoters, I knew it would be a fun gig. And for the first race in May, Leslie actually took a train up and would be at the event. I was excited and a bit nervous but my nervousness soon faded as I began to get to know everyone. Both Bob Carlson and Walt made me feel right at home and thanked me so many times for wanting to be their photographer needless to say I felt very humbled and honored to become a part of this series.





From there this entire season has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my 15 years in the photography business. Don’t get me wrong I love my car guys & gals but there is just something about motorcycle racers that are different. Racing family is family for life and these guys and gals made me feel so welcome right from the start. They quickly became my new second family. And truth be told, I feel like I was born to photograph bikes.

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So here we are, the last race of the season. Another chapter closed for Orient Express Bikes in the Valley. It’s been an exciting year battling weather conditions but getting every race in regardless, thanks to the well prepared track staff at Lebanon Valley Dragway. There were also several intense points chases all leading up to crowning the champions of 2015.

Champions

In the Brock’s Performance Street ET class, Joe Ferraro of Ashaway Rhode Island swept the field by 111 points to take the championship. Guy Gardner placed second while Chris McCloud and Walter Houghtaling and Gary Russell came in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

In the Vanson Leathers Pro ET class it was Ben Fish edging past Mike McCarthy to claim the championship. Fish and McCarthy had been trading places for the past few events and really amping up the excitement within the class as they were within a one point swing until the final event. Jeff Tisdale, Guy Gardner and Ron Blake rounded out the top five for this season

Event Winners

Congratulations also go to Guy Gardner for winning Saturday’s final event in PRO ET by taking out Joe Ferraro. Wednesday night NHRA points racer Duke Huyck went on to win his first Bikes in the Valley event in the Street ET class over James Wendl, who turned on the red by -0.036. Had Wendl not redlit, it would have been a very close race as both riders were on their numbers. Mike McCarthy grabbed the number one qualifier in Pro ET, Kenny Brewer was number one qualifier in Street ET and a big congrats to James Waugh for taking second place in Street ET after a long hiatus from racing. Both classes went through six tough rounds of racing. It was great to see so many riders come out for the finals from all over the East Coast.

 

Thank you to each and every one of our 2015 sponsors:  Orient Express, Vanson Leathers, Brock’s Performance, MTC Engineering, Exoticycle, Vantine Imaging, MPS Racing, Kiniry Excavation, KB Performance Center, Face First, DME Racing, Fat B@stards Social Club, SRW, Fast by Gast, PMFR, Rob Bush Motorsports, Mansir Printing, Dragbike.com and the numerous individuals who gave selflessly out of their own pockets to sweeten the pot. Without your support we couldn’t do what we do!

I can’t express how great of a season this has been. From a non-racer perspective I’ve truly enjoyed my time with the entire Bikes in the Valley group and the Lebanon Valley Dragway staff. Please join us next year for another exciting season, and in the meantime keep checking out Dragbike.com and Dragway.com for news and the 2016 schedule. To view photo galleries and make purchases from all six BIV events visit www.onpointimage.com.

From all of us here at Bikes in the Valley, thank you racers, family and friends! See you in 2016!

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Pro ET Results

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Street ET Results

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Final Pro ET Points

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Final Street ET Points

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Photo Highlights by OPI

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