The Central Roadracing Association (CRA) welcomed the Championship Cup Series’ (CCS) Midwest region to Brainerd International Raceway’s Competition Road Course last weekend for what has quickly become the most anticipated weekend on CRA’s schedule. With an international field of riders from as far away as California, Canada and Colorado, the third annual CRA/CCS Super Summer Showdown exceeded expectations for both grid sizes and great racing.
The rider of the weekend was undoubtedly Brian Hebeisen on his Fisk Brothers Racing/Dryject/Team Hoff Yamaha R6. Hebeisen has been a fixture in the top 5 Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races for many years but the support of Fisk Brothers Racing, Dryject and Team Hoff has clearly paid off for the seasoned rider as he took home four wins across the Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races last weekend. Hebeisen’s win tally would have been five if it wasn’t for a mystery problem with his throttle application mechanism, allowing for CCS’ Dave Collins to steal a win by .020 seconds.
The CRA and CCS Superbike racing was part of BIR’s Wet & Wild Weekend, which lived up to its name again with high car, bike and sled counts – all racing at the same time. The CRA and CCS bikes were on the Competition Road Course while the Bracket Drag Racing Series was on the drag strip and the International Watercross Association featured snowmobiles racing on open water on Lake BIR.
The Unlimited Expert class saw Bell Helmets/Farrell Performance rider Scott Stall clean house during each of Saturday’s Unlimited races. However, Sunday saw Jason Farrell suit up and put a stop to Stall’s dominance by starting the day with a spectacular last lap pass on the way to victory in Unlimited Supersport and ending the day with an assault on his existing track record of 1:35.010 during the Unlimited Grand Prix race.
While Farrell took home the win in Unlimited Grand Prix, he fell short of breaking his track record. Undoubtedly disappointed at falling less than four tenths of a second short of his track record, rumor has it that Farrell was seen consoling himself by wearing all of the Pirelli track record bounty hats he has earned in recent years at the same time.
In Unlimited Novice, visiting CCS rider Josiah Burke went home with three wins as he took the victory in more than half of his races while Stephen Peterson took top honors in two races and Marcus Taite stood on the top step in one.
While Hebeisen was dominating the Middleweight and Heavyweight Expert races, Dillon Baumeister was replicating the feat in even more impressive fashion in the Novice ranks. A Stall protégé, Baumeister took advantage of Stall’s teachings and crossed the line first in 10 of his 12 races. Stall, however, was unable to open the winner’s champagne bottle due to his tiny farmer hands so the duo chose to celebrate by dousing each other with cans of Schlitz beer.
The Lightweight field was the largest in years and while Jon Champ looked poised to continue his absolute dominance in the Expert class, his teammate in the 2016 5-hour endurance race, Chris Mattson, put an end to Champ’s winning ways in the mixed conditions found during Sunday’s Lightweight Supersport race. Sensing the likelihood that he will not be invited back onto Champ’s 5-hour team, Mattson put on another good showing in Lightweight Superbike in the hopes of attracting interest from other potential teams.
Unhappy at being displaced at the front of the field, Champ struck back in the Lightweight GP race and will head to the upcoming CCS/CRA round at Road America with plenty of momentum. The Lightweight Novice races didn’t have one standout rider as Daniel Mataczynski, Jesse VanderWeide, Kyle Franz and Brian Rogers each grabbed at least one victory throughout the weekend.
The most exciting races of the weekend were found in the combined Ultralight/Featherweight races, which featured so much action that it was hard to follow everything. At the front of the Ultralight field, the Krämer vs. Krämer battles raged on between Jack Barton and Mark Praska. Barton and Praska traded wins throughout the weekend, and Praska’s efforts to wrestle the lead away from Barton in races he didn’t win was as clear as the sparks flying from his bike as he railed through Turn 11.
The final step of the podium was always a heated battle between Barry Schmidt and Trevor Treviranus, and just when the spectators thought the excitement of the race was over they were treated to three rider battles to the line in Featherweight by Brad Kreller, Chase Sellers and Brad Zajic. With such intense racing on track, the real winners were the spectators who were lucky enough to see such great examples of hard but fair racing.
The CRA will pack up and head east to join the CCS at Road America July 1-2 and will be back on BIR’s Competition Road Course July 21-23.