Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, with Saddlemen-sponsored riders Kevin Atherton and Larry Pegram, scored a landmark acheivement at May 24th’s Springfield Mile.
Pegram, riding the #72F Ducati, became only the third Ducati motorcycle to score main event points in Grand National Dirt Track races, and the first in over a decade, according to AMA records.
Pegram’s machine was a Ducati Sport 1000, bought stock and converted into a flattracker. The conversion was quite new, being done over the previous six weeks, and Larry had only had seven minutes of practice time on the bike before his first heat race. He came in fourth place in the heat, and was directly transferred to the main race. It was the only non-Harley-Davidson to qualify this year, and the only time in current memory that a stock frame motorcycle made a national in this class.
“If you asked the top 100 riders and tuners here today if they thought that a stock framed bike could make a Twins National, 99 of them would tell you, ‘no way,’” Pegram, returning to dirt track competition from road racing, said.
“I think that we surprised a lot of people today,” Pegram said. “This bike has a lot of promise. As with any new bike we had a few issues… We will keep working and get this thing into the winners’ circle soon.”
Opposite the surprise showing of the Ducati, there was disappointment for the team, Kevin Atherton and his Aprilia.
David Lloyd explains: “Unlike road racing, testing on dirt tracks is difficult at best. Every dirt track is different in size, shape, texture, grip, etc.” After several extremely successful tests at a local track, hopes were high for Springfield. “Unfortunately it became evident from the first practice that the bike was not comfortable on the extremely tacky surface of the Springfield Mile. As the tires warmed up, the bike would become extremely unsettled in the corners.”
“The day turned from what we were hoping would be the Aprilia’s first win, into a test session to work out problems with the chassis. The positive part is that Kevin Atherton’s input has been invaluable and we are very confident that we will improve the handling and make the bike one that is capable of winning races with Kevin. Everyone knows that Kevin can win almost anytime he shows up. The fans were overjoyed to see Kevin back at the races. His autograph lines were the longest in the paddock. It is definitely great to see Kevin smiling at the races again.,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd Brothers Motorsports next event is Bulls Gap, Tennessee on June 20th.