Gainesville: Klement Racing preview
New Llewellyn/Klement Team Anxious and Ready The rig and bike are clean and brand new, and so are the leathers and practically everything else in the Peggy Llewellyn/Karl Klement Racing pits. And while driver Llewellyn and owner Klement may not be ...
New Llewellyn/Klement Team Anxious and Ready
The rig and bike are clean and brand new, and so are the leathers and practically everything else in the Peggy Llewellyn/Karl Klement Racing pits. And while driver Llewellyn and owner Klement may not be packing loads of experience, tuners Shane Maloney and George Bryce are. "It's new for all of us, and new for me not racing with my own team except for my year with Reggie Showers," said 6-time national champion Bryce. "And that was a very successful season, so I feel as confident as any team even though we are all rookies at racing together."
The team's first race is this weekend at the ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. "I feel like Shane and myself will be able to perform at top form," continued Bryce. "It's new for Peggy to be on a really fast motorcycle with a high powered team, so it's my challenge as a coach to keep her focused. We just completed a nice succession of runs that finished with a couple of 7.02s in Valdosta that I was really pleased with, as was Peggy."
"Testing went really well," agreed Llewellyn, who took part in Valdosta's Eastern Spring Test Nationals at South Georgia Motorsports Park. "I needed it for my confidence to put down some good solid laps."
"Peggy didn't break into the 6s, but she had many good 7.0 runs," noted George Smith of G2 Motorsports, supplier of the S&S powered Buell that Peggy is riding. "She would have had a 6 on one pass if the bike had been pointed straight. I'm very upbeat about her. I'm confident that had Peggy had a little more time in the seat she'd have had a 6 second run there. As she gets more time, she's gonna run real well."
"She's the bomb!" agreed Maloney. "Last fall she was sitting in an office typing, dreaming about the NHRA, and now she's there!"
"I was in my real estate office looking at the Gators on the internet last year and wondering if I was every gonna be able to do that again," said Llewellyn. "And now I'm a part of it. I've got a little nerves going on, but I'm looking forward to it. This is gonna be a tough field, so my main thing is to just qualify."
Moving from a TL1000-bodied, inline 4 cylinder Suzuki to the ground-pounding, S&S V-Twin torque monster was rattling experience for the slightly built Llewellyn. "I had 50 or 60 passes on the TL and had a routine," said Peggy. "Chip Ellis (driver of the G2 motorsports flagship Buell) told me I wouldn't notice much of a difference between the two, but the Buell was like a beast! A 1.08 60 foot time on the Buell was like being slammed against the wall! My helmet was shaking and everything was shaking and I was like 'Something is wrong with this bike!'
"But now it feels so smooth and the vibration is so yesterday. The vibration is over and I don't feel anything. Even the 7.02s were so smooth. It's loaded for bear and it's just pulling-pulling-pulling all the time. I'm just flying.
"I thought I'd like the TL better, but my dad thought I'd like the Buell. I have to bite my tongue and tell him he's right. I never thought I'd be racing a V-Twin, but I ran my personal best numbers in only my eighteenth pass on one. Shane and the team have done such a great job getting me comfortable on the Buell and now we can make it go faster."
"The main thing I want said is that I can't thank everybody at G2 Motorsports, especially guys like Chip Ellis, Ken Johnson, Derek Churchwell, Ron Reese, and especially the guys at S&S Cycle, for making THE BEST engine in the world!" offered Maloney, who won the U.S. Nationals tuning for Steve Johnson in 2005. "To literally take an engine out of the box and run 7.0's is amazing. The fastest I'd made a motorcycle go is 7.07. Now I've got this little girl (the 5'2", 115 pound Llewellyn) with all this extra weight strapped on this brand new bike and this SOB goes fast!"
The team will also continue to work with the Suzuki, which is awaiting development of some new pieces. "Right now I feel more confident on the Buell, but if we go back to the TL, I know I can do both," said Llewellyn.
"We've done 6 months of work in the last 17 days," said Klement, who's been taking care of logistics and procuring sponsors. Motion Pro motorcycle cables and tools will sponsor the team's Gainesville effort. "It's been a big job for our team, but we're all excited about everything."
"John Myers won the Gators for us a couple of times, and Angelle Sampey won it for us a couple of times," remembered Bryce. "It's been a while, so we're ready to get another one. I'm looking forward to the chance to help Peggy's dream come true and help Karl get the team he wants. This is our first shot going together as a team, and I think it will be good for everybody."
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