Racing & Waveline Motorsports
WERA 24 hr Endurance Race Report - 1999
The Race: The return of "The 24 hours of Willow Springs" was played out on September 24-25, 1999. The race was unique in that it is the only 24 hour race in the USA. In fact, there is only one other in the world at the infamous Le Mans circuit. This race was a true test of man and machine against the elements. We battled against many teams from across the USA, Canada and abroad to see who could stay focused, out of trouble and upright.
Endurance racing boils down to this: At the end of a pre-determined time limit, the team who has accumulated the most laps around the track wins.
In our case, that was 722 laps in 24 hours. Good enough for 3rd place in Middleweight Super Stock and 12th overall!
Paul takes the checkered flag
The Racetrack: Willow Springs International Raceway is located in Rosamond, California USA. WSIR is called "the fastest road in the west" and the area surrounding the track is known for it's unpredictable and extreme weather. The temperatures can vary 30 or more degrees F between day and night. We have experienced thunderstorms, snow, tornadoes, 110+ degrees F ambient temps.... Go HERE to check out today's weather at the track. Ahh, the joys of racing!
Media Coverage: Speedvision was there along with reporters and photographers from many national and international magazines and papers. We also have a video currently in production that will be available soon. Call Paul Nielsen at (805)652-2201 for more information.
Paul holding the spoils of victory: Tom and Donny look on....
The Report: Five racers, one machine, 26 team supporters 24 hours and 722 laps...
Team owner Paul Nielsen; "...Truly a great event. Willow springs in the dark is a TRIP!!!! Getting passed by an R1 or a Hayabusa going down the back straight was like having X-Wing fighters from Star Wars go by especially as they braked into t9 and you got the flame out the exhaust... too cool. Another really intersting thing was watching our pit crew take care of the bike... those guys were truly great. The visual of bikes coming down out of the omega and over t6 and out thru t8&9 at night especially when there was a small pack was quite thrilling to watch. Many times during the event I got goosebumps watching what was going on and realizing that we we're part of this event. Finishing third was extremely gratifying. It really proves out the saying "to finish first, you must first finish". .
Team captain Steve Allen; "It was a blast! More hard work and fun than anyone should be able to have. I couldn't believe how things panned out. Running within a lap +/- of the guys who got 4th place in our group for 24 hours really showed us that our pit stops HAD to be fast... In fact, they were. Our guys practiced many times to perfect a 3 min flat pit consisting of changing both tyres, filling the petrol tank, lubing the chain, checking the brakes & switching riders. It was really fun to be part of this event! Next year will be even better because we had to evolve throughout this event..... Our stratagy, bike setup, preparation.... next year will be so much easier and we will surely improve!
Team rider John Chionchio; "The first time I got off the bike after running a tank of gas through it was "Wow! This is so much fun I could do it all day!" and also that the real heros in it all, who deserve all the credit and praise are the sponsors and the pit crew. We had all the fun and were in the spotlight, but that's backwards. It was a well oiled machine from the food support, to the pit stops, ad infinitum. We got third place without even using power tools or speed wrenches!! Amazing. The weather was as perfect as it ever gets out there at Willow for the whole 24 hours. Thank the big guy for that one. Bla bla bla...."
Getting our plaque. A beautiful HUGE trophy was received later...
Once again, we would like to thank all of our sponsors and our crew. Please check out the "Sponsor" page. Without all the help that we received, this whole process could NEVER have transpired. Also, WERA has new information up on their website. Please check out the links listed below for more specific race information from there:
More information regarding Waveline Motorsports and tonnes of pictures from this race are available on the Waveline Motorsports site HERE!
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