The Loudon Road Race Series wrapped up its 2011 season this past weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and there were several familiar faces racing back to victory lane.
The Middleweight Grand Prix, the series' main event, finally got underway after two aborted red flag starts. When the field took the green, they charged into turn one and it was Bruce Group Racing’s Cory Hildebrand who snatched the hole shot with the rest of the field racing close behind.
Scott Greenwood, rider of the Argo Cycles/Dunlop Tires motorcycle jumped into the lead with an inside pass on the brakes in turn three. Penguin Racing School’s Eric Wood made quick work of Hildebrand to move into second position and set out after the race leader Greenwood by the end of lap one.
On lap two, the excitement continued as Christian Cronin of Loudon N.H., worked his way up to Hildebrand and began to apply pressure. Cronin was returning to race action after a knee injury kept him sidelined for a few races.
On lap four, Wood made a move into turn one to take over the top spot. Wood began to slightly stretch his lead over the next few laps until he encountered heavy lapped traffic. Greenwood was able to close back up to Wood and as the pair entered turn six with a slower rider ahead of them, the race began to take shape.
Greenwood, looking to find a way past his rival Wood, tried an inside pass on both riders in the exit of turn six. As Wood began to go to the outside, the lapped rider went wide. Wood was able to cut into the inside and make the pass. A bit of contact between the race leaders occurred, but both were unaffected and Wood was able to hold the lead position.
With the laps winding down, Greenwood was able to work his way past the leader briefly as Wood had to take a tight line entering turn 10, passing a slower rider causing him to run wide on the exit.
Greenwood drove past on the inside, but was unable to hold a tight line entering turn 11. Wood stormed back up the inside and regained the lead.
Meanwhile, Cronin was able to work his past Hildebrand and into third position. When the checkered flag waved it was Wood who earned another victory on his way to the 2011 Middleweight Grand Prix championship.
"We probably bumped and banged in that race than we did all year before that," said Wood. “This was my first year back in the middleweight bike which is kind of the premier class at Loudon. Loudon is a tight circuit so it rewards corner speed a little bit more than horsepower. I couldn’t be happier to win the championship my first year back it’s great.”
When the dust settled on the 2011 LRRS season, it was Rick Doucette of Sandown, N.H., who was crowned the Loudon Road Race Series Track Champion for a second consecutive year. Doucette claimed seven different division championships on his way to the prestigious award.
Doucette and all of the riders of the Loudon Road Race Series will be honored at the 2011 LRRS Awards Banquet on Nov. 12, 2011 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester, N.H. The sponsor expo begins at 1 p.m. and the awards banquet will start at 6 p.m.