Hickman and Parker Claim WERA, AHRMA Titles

Denny Poneleit at the 200GP race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Fred Sahms

Denny Poneleit at the 200GP race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Ray Hickman of Corryton (129 Racing) claimed two WERA national championships for 2009 by taking two wins at the Nashville round on September 27, followed by a win and a third place at the WERA Grand National Finals at Road Atlanta on October 8. Hickman, in his 20th year as a WERA competitor, now holds the V6 Heavyweight and V7 Heavyweight titles with his 1989 Suzuki 7/11.

“I have the option to run the #1 plate in both classes next year, but I will run 129,” Hickman says.

Now 60, Hickman says 2009 was a milestone year for his racing: “We really concentrated and went faster this year, on the same bike and on the same tracks. We broke our personal best at every circuit we raced this year.” Hickman also ended up with four regional championships, some by just a handful of points.

The off-season means shop time for Ray. “We’ll build a new motor for the big bike, and I want to build a smaller bike too,” he says. “I want to defend the titles at least one year, but now that I am elderly I’d eventually like to race just on Saturdays.” (WERA’s V6 and V7 classes usually race on Sundays, and the smaller vintage classes race Saturdays.) Hickman’s race efforts are sponsored by 129 Race Team, Mountain Motorsports, LP USA, Slide Effects Paintworks, Street & Competition, and TWVMC. Meanwhile, two days after Hickman’s wins, Knoxville’s Jack Parker clinched his third championship in AHRMA’s 200GP class at Barber Motorsports Park on October 10 and 11 with a second and a third place on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Parker went into the weekend with a slim lead over Dennis Poneleit of Sarasota, Fla., who races a highly modified Honda CB175, and Poneleit led most of Saturday’s race on a wet track before a mechanical issue forced him to retire late in the race.

Parker ended up with a second place on his Yamaha 175, behind Yamaha-mounted Lanny Henderson of Oklahoma City, but Poneleit’s DNF gave Parker a points advantage that Poneleit could not make up in Race 2 on Sunday.

In Race 2, Henderson again took the win, with Poneleit inches behind in second, but Parker’s third place was enough for him to clinch the best-of-10 points race. Parker was puzzled at his results: “I’m not sure why I was so slow but it wasn’t because of the rain. I was a second slower than my usual Barber times and they were four seconds faster than their usual Barber times. I felt like I was riding better than ever so I might need to do a little tuning or something.”

Parker also raced in both 250GP class races on his 175cc Yamaha. He took 5th on Saturday and 6th on Sunday. The 250GP title was already sewn up by Paul Germain on his Yamaha.

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