LOUDON, N.H. - A picture-perfect afternoon with lots of sun and gusty winds made for an interesting and exciting first day of the 91st annual Loudon Classic Motorcycle Weekend on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Premier riders from the Loudon Road Race Series (LRRS) and Side Car Racers Association (SCRA), as well as amateur riders went head-to-head in more than 20 total races, concluding with the three-hour endurance race (results from that event will be available in Saturday's release).
One of the featured events on Friday was Unlimited Grand Prix. Featuring a variety of bikes - all weights and sizes with unlimited modifications - Robert Bloodgood was the quickest around the Magic Mile's 1.6-mile road course, finishing the eight-lap race in 12 minutes, 41.277 seconds.
Bloodgood edged Rick Breen and Rick Doucette, a perennial Loudon Classic weekend all-star.
"This is the best feeling I could have, beating Rick Doucette - I've been waiting for years. He's so good here, it feels good to get him in one," said Bloodgood. "I like the bigger bikes. I gave it everything I had and I think the red flag helped me."
With Doucette dominating, an accident on Lap 2 forced a red flag and the field to reset. That's when Bloodgood used a strong restart to grab the lead and hold off the field.
"I think the red flag was the difference. We were really deep in traffic and I was going through it good, but then the flag came out and slowed our momentum," said Doucette. "It's so competitive. The other guys I'm racing against want to win just as badly as I do, so all it takes it one little slip up or mistake and they'll take advantage."
Clarence Beaudette won the Amateur Unlimited Grand Prix event. Beaudette beat Brian Campbell (second) and Benjamin Hardie (third), noting his experience in the Penguin Racing School - a competitive riding school that tutors racers looking for the competitive edge to get to the front of the pack -as a big reason for his victory.
"The strategy was to finish safe. I wasn't concerned with speed all that much, but I did learn a lot from Penguin," said Beaudette, who recently completed a two-day advanced school with PRS at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "That definitely helped me pick up the pace quite a bit. I believe everyone should take that course. It makes you a safer and more competitive rider."
Other day one winners include:
Vintage Sidecar Robert Balla and Jake Vader
GTL Rick Doucette
LW Supersport Rick Doucette
LW Sportsman Trevor Chiappisi
HW Superbike Eric Wood
Super Singles Matthew Gendron
125 Grand Prix Jake Vader
Formula 300 Roger Ealy Jr.
Rookie Heavyweight Paul Ho-Sue
Rookie Lightweight Andrew Hare
Amateur GTL Rick Kaeser
Amateur LW Sportsman Chris Dove
Amateur LW Supersport Samuel Greenwood
Amateur Super Singles William Rowe
Amateur HW Superbike Christopher Fifield
Amateur 125 Grand Prix Kevin Perry
Novice Formula 1 Robbie Devoid
Novice Formula 2 Brian Donald Kiley
Novice Formula 4 Miroslaw Dyrkacz
Novice Formula 3 Roland Fahnbulleh Jr.
Novice Starter 3 Roland Fahnbulleh Jr.
Novice Starter 4 Sergio Di Molfetta
Day two of racing begins on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the Legends Cars Moat Mountain Road Course Series. The first motorcycle race will begin at 1:25 p.m.
The 91st annual Loudon Classic motorcycle weekend runs through Sunday. Tickets are available at the main gate. For more information on this or any of the other major events at the Magic Mile call (603) 783-4931 or visit www.nhms.com.