Thursday, October 17, 2013

Weirbach Racing's Rob Pearson Reports on the Final Rounds of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship Season

In their first season together, Rob Pearson and the Weirbach Racing team fought the good fight to end the season ranked in the 10th-place spot in the overall standings of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship.

After announcing during the off-season that Morton, Illinois resident Pearson would be joining the team located a few hundred miles west of him based out of Ottumwa, Iowa, the former AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Championship-winning team of Weirbach Racing and 'Bugs' set about laying out the groundwork for the 2013 season ahead of them.

Initially armed with the team's potent Suzuki SV650 and Harley-Davidson XR750 mounts, they also had in the works putting together a Kawasaki EX650-based Twins Series effort that was spearheaded by Racing Unlimited out of the Fort Dodge, Iowa area.

Hoping to get the popular Kawi sorted out and ready for action by the early part of the Twins Series schedule shortly after the first Springfield round in late May (which was coincidentally rained out and rescheduled for Labor Day weekend), delays on getting the final bits and pieces sorted out put those plans on the backburner for the team, thusly concentrating on their already stable SV and XRs.

Which wasn't a bad plan for the team, also in their first full season campaigning the Twins Series class in The Rolling Thunder Show, and based on their strong and steady outings early in the season were able to keep themselves solidly in the top 7 or 8 of the championship standings.

But then, the series headed to a new venue in Virginia, and the dust and grit suffered by all at the Colonial Downs Raceway mile event caught the team out in a big way. Losing a motor in the XR750, the team worked a deal with Dave Waters and the Waters Auto Body KTM team to campaign one of the LC8 900-series bikes that the New York-based team has so diligently been making slow, but steady progress with over the course of the last few seasons with a variety of riders.

Pearson, who never even got the chance to throw a leg over the bike until the National main rolled around in Kent, Virginia, had worked his way up as high as 9th-place in the 18-lap main, when the forces of nature struck and the fuel-thirsty KTM twin ran out of gas, literally and figuratively, with just one lap to go.  Pearson ended the day in the 15th-place spot in what surely would have been a solid top-8 or 9 performance on the KTM, and would not only have kept him and the Weirbach team in the top-8 in points, and would also have been the best outing ever for the Waters Auto Body team's work over the course of the last four seasons.

And then it was time for the doubleheader round at the Springfield Mile over the Labor Day weekend, and just one week's time to get the riding gear back into shape for what was for the team and every member of the AMA Pro Flat Track circus a pivotal race weekend.

In the shot above, Rob Pearson rolls out for the first practice session of the day at the Springfield Mile I on August 31 on the Weirbach Racing/KDM Forest Products/General Engineering-sponsored #27 XR750, following the lead of riders Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 on the Harley-Davidson Motor Company XR, Henry Wiles on the #17 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports XR and team mate Jake Johnson on the #5 LBM Ducati, among others.

Before things even had gotten too far along for the day, Pearson and the Weirbach team had lost another motor in the XR and had soldiered home in the National main on the Suzuki before an electrical-based problem relegated them to a 16th-place finish in round 1 of 2 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  And there was still one race to go before the weekend was a wrap.

Obviously not being able to rebuild the Weirbach XR in time for the next day's outing, the team was able to work out a deal with Bill Werner and the Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki team to try and practice and qualify one of their Kawasaki mounts alongside second year Expert and the team's main rider, Briar Bauman.

Pearson and Bauman went out in practice together, but unfortunately both struggled and even after master wrench to the stars Werner made some changes to try and help Pearson out (seen above with Weirbach Racing patriarch Richard Weirbach, as former 3-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jay Springsteen looks on), neither Pearson or Bauman were able to qualify for the Springfield Mile II round on September 1, and both teams were left to load-up and head home, with zero points to their credit and hard work for the day.

And within just three race outings, Pearson and the Weirbach team had scored only seven points for their hard work and team/machine hopping, and were in danger of dropping out of the top-10 for the season.

But old masters and true heroic efforts never say die, and the Weirbach team was able to work out the final details with Racing Unlimited, and showed up at the Santa Rosa round (main event rained out, but one point scored by the team along with all of the contenders who made the main, so no points lost) and the season-finale at the Pomona Half-Mile with the Kawasaki that was originally planned for the team in the early part of the season that Shayna Texter had proven was a pretty-stout mount by taking the double win at Springfield back over the holiday weekend.

At Pomona, Pearson was able to pull out a solid 8th-place effort in the National main at the season-finale after a strong 3rd-place finish earlier in the day in his heat. Not too bad a result for the first main event on what was still a new mount for the team and considering the Santa Rosa rain-out for the main.

So after all the ups and downs and beating themselves up (team co-owner Ted Weirbach was beside himself after the Springfield debacle, although by no fault of his own or the team's, things DO happen in racing.) They stuck it out and held their chins up high and put their noses to the grindstone and were able to finish the season ranked as the 10th-place team in the overall standings.

And although those weren't the results they had been shooting for, let alone hoping for, take into account the fact that this team and rider had to make adjustments and changes on five different machines over the course of the last five rounds, one of which (Santa Rosa) that was called due to rain.  And they still persevered and came out with a pretty solid effort overall, which could have been MUCH worse for all of the adversity they faced in those final five rounds.

So the next time you think you are having a rough go of it, at no matter what you may do or be doing, take into account what the little team that could, Weirbach Racing, and rider Rob Pearson had to go through in those final four weeks of the season, traveling all of those miles and to suffer the maladies that they faced, and still managed to regroup and finish the season ranked as the 10th-place rider and team in the Nation, and oh yes, in just their first season together and Weirbach's first full season campaigning the Twins Series in The Rolling Thunder Show, the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world.

And then ask yourself, am I really having that rough of a go of it, or can I overcome the ups and downs just like the little team that could, and did.

Check out Weirbach Racing and Rob Pearson's season wrap-up press release below, and be sure to keep an eye on these guys next season. 

You can bet 'Bugs' and the Weirbach boys will be doing some riding in the off-season in some of the Steve Nace Indoor Series events in DuQuoin and Springfield and you can put money on the fact that they will be back in 2014 and ready to take just about anything on, and probably will, especially after what they pulled off at the end of this great year.  Bravo guys, you've got my vote for facing the big dog down and not backing away!

Press release courtesy of Weirbach Racing, the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champions

Santa Rosa & Pomona year-end summary for Rob Pearson & Weirbach Racing

Ottumwa, Iowa -- October 16, 2013

Santa Rosa Mile

Santa Rosa is a cushion mile that we first went to last year. The track was pretty deep this year and it was my first outing on the Racing Unlimited Kawasaki.

I qualified 7th and the Kawasaki seemed to be working pretty well for its first time on a surface like this.  I got a good start in the heat and had a good shot at making the dash until Matt Weidman got by me and I ended up 3rd.  So I was lined up 8th for the main event and after rain delays for some time we finally got on the track and attempted to start the race.

Rob Pearson on the #27 Weirbach Racing/Racing Unlimited/General Engineering-sponsored Kawasaki EX650-based Twins Series effort is shown in action at the Santa Rosa Mile on September 29. The bike is the same mount that Shayna Texter took to the Basic Twins double win at the Springfield Mile I & II rounds over the Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Weirbach Racing by Tom Hnatiw.

There was so much moisture on the ground and the spray was bad, Sam Halbert fell on the 3rd lap and they decided to cancel the main event.  One point was awarded for everyone in the main event and we were paid out from where we qualified for the main event.

Pomona Half-Mile

Pomona is a 5/8 paperclip style track with similar surface as Santa Rosa.  We struggled a little bit to get the Kawasaki working in qualifying and timed in 13th.  I had the outside starting position and got a good jump off the line in the heat race.  I finished 3rd in the heat to Baker (#12) and Halbert.  I picked the outside of the 2nd row for the main event.

I got off the line good but everyone came up the track in the first corner and forced me way up high. We had made some good improvements to the bike from practice and I finished 8th in the main event.
 I finished the season 10th overall in AMA points after missing out on some finishes. Also finished 3rd in both the Twins and Singles class in the All-Star Series Points. We planned on having 2 Kawasaki twins ready for the beginning of the year, but after some set backs I only raced it in the last two races of the season and was forced to use what we had planned as backup bikes through the season.

We are gathering parts to put the second Kawasaki together now and should have it together very soon. Plus we are making some decisions on what we want the next one to be as far as a frame, suspension, motor size. Next year we will have at least two race ready machines and be a threat everywhere on the schedule.

Special thanks to all our sponsors

General Engineering, Mike King/KDM Forest Products, Barnett, Spectro Oil,
DynoJet, K&N, Saddlemen, Works Connection, PMP Sprockets, Motion Pro, Spider
Grips, Durelle Racing, Cheney Engineering, G2 Ergonomics, All Balls Racing,
Firecoat Custom Powderworks, CP Pistons and Carrillo Rods, Web Cams,
Foudree's Graphics, Sunoco, Pro Wheel, Supertrapp, TNT Harley Davidson,
Regina Chain, Factory Backing, Pit Posse, Cosmetic Gaskets, The Baggots,
PMC,, Engine Ice, Chicken Hawk Racing, White lightning
Retrievers, R&R, Grandprix, Shoei, Lightshoe, Country Saloon, Paint by
Smokey, Racing Unlimited,, Shorai, Boyesen

27 Rob Pearson/Weirbach Racing


  1. I've followed the Weirbach racing team for several years, they always show up prepared with clean well maintained and safe bikes. I remember the beginning of the 2011 season, their brand new race van caught fire with race bikes and equipment ruined. They started over and won the Pro Single Champion with Mikey Martin. They are a hard working, never say die team.

    1. I agree, Anon, as have I, and I remember that day in SF as well when what they had left from the fire was charred, burned and melted, and they proved their strength in taking it all in the face of adversity by the end of the season. What a turn around! Thanks for coming by and checking us out and taking the time to comment!


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