Lancaster adapts quickly for two wins at WERA Nationals
SAVANNAH, Ga. _ Lincoln’s Tucker Lancaster and his mechanic and sponsor Mike Pascarella made the best of their long trip to Georgia and picked up two wins in the WERA National motorcycle races held March 15-17.
The 16-year-old motocross rising star and his companion pulled into the Roebling Raceway after a three-day trip cross country. Their van was filled with racing equipment, after the duo decided to leave their trailer at home to save money on fuel.
Having never raced at Roebling, Lancaster was anxious to test his bike and skills on the demanding track.
That opportunity came on Friday (March 15). Lancaster’s initial impression was negative but as his times improved with each lap his concerns waned. The local quickly learned a mistake-free ride worked better than a fast one.
“I learned I (had) to be very smooth,” Lancaster wrote, “and the faster I tried to go the more mistakes I would make, which made for slower lap times.”
Using focus to hit his marks and avoid errors earned him a spot in Sunday’s 600 superstock race. The track was hard on tires so he limited his practice laps but still ran a 1:13.7 time less than a second ahead of the second fastest rider.
Saturday, Lancaster entered the C superbike and the C superstock sportsman races.
Starting in the fifth row, he got the hole-shot (first into turn one) and rolled to a four-second victory.
“I was feeling good in morning practice and I was ready to race,” Lancaster reported. “It’s hard for me to stay focused when I’m leading a race so I’ve been able to work on keeping focused while in the lead at the last few races.”
After a long wait between races, Lancaster was ready for the C superstock, his most important race. He started in the sixth row but got off to a good start. He had to make a bold move going into the first turn and barely avoided running off the track in gaining the No. 5 position. Before long, Lancaster moved up to second – then first.
“For the rest of the race, it was once again pretty boring, but I was still pushing myself to go faster,” Lancaster said. “I ended up winning by seven seconds.”
Sunday, Lancaster would compete in the national’s C superstock, C superbike, B superstock and B superbike. It was time to install a set of new Pirelli tires on bike 408.
The tires and a couple early-morning laps had Lancaster’s confidence rising fast. Although there was a strong headwind down the front straightaway, the young rider was turning in 1:13s on each lap. On lap nine, he turned in a 1:13.4, his fastest of the weekend, which Lancaster attributed to his new Pirellis.
Lancaster took the checkered flag four seconds ahead of the competition.
Next, were back-to-back races in the B superstock and C superbike.
Lancaster took the hole-shot running on a slick (used mostly by 1,000cc bikes), which has a larger contact patch than 600cc tires. That allowed him to throttle sooner coming out of turns.
In spite of running slower times, Lancaster won the event by nine seconds.
With the C superbike race next up, the Lincoln rider fueled up and went back out on the track.
Again, Lancaster made the hole-shot but was passed by Jimmy Merck on the third lap. However, the 16-year-old regained the No. 1 spot on the next lap. Using strategy, Lancaster dropped back to second place with the intent to draft past Merck before the finish. What the young rider didn’t take into consideration were the lapped riders they would catch up to on the final lap.
“[G]oing into turn five we caught the lappers,” Lancaster wrote. “Jimmy got around them and I wasn’t able to … as quickly as he was. I ended up in second place.”
Roadracingworld.com and nextmotochampion.com described Lancaster’s weekend as follows.
“It was Lancaster's first time at this track, and he acclimated quickly. On Saturday, during the WERA Sportsman Southeast regional, he took home the wins in C Superstock and C Superbike. On Sunday, during the opening round of the WERA National Challenge series, he again took home wins in C Superstock, B Superstock and a second place finish in C Superbike.”
In his final race, the B superbike, Lancaster again got the hole-shot. Changing his strategy, the Lincoln rider decided not to let Merck pass. The new plan worked up until the final lap on turn five.
Despite knowing the turn was slippery, Lancaster tucked the front and his bike went down.
“I was super mad because I made a point not to crash and I ended up crashing,” the disappointed Lancaster said. “Oh well, I couldn’t be too unhappy for the first time at Roebling, I did pretty well.”
Lancaster’s next outing will be a Pacific Track Time event at Thunderhill near Willows. The next WERA National challenge is next month in Talladega, Ala.
Visit Lancaster on facebook.com/tucker.lancaster.5.
Lancaster’s sponsors are his parents, Pirelli tires, Chris and Corey at CT Racing, Leon from Competition Motorsports South, Orion Motorsports, Jason Pridmore's Star School, Mike Pascarella, Motorex, EDR Performance, Cortech, Shoei, FMF, Full Spectrum batteries, KFG Racing, Zero Gravity, Arnette, Drippin' Wet, GB Racing, and Rider's Discount, Uncle Mark, and Grandpa Jack.