The final round of the 2007 Mid-America Scooter Racing Association was filled with the action and excitement one would expect of the premier scooter racing league in the region. The Iowa International Raceway was once again the venue for 10-inch-wheel-to-10-inch-wheel action. The weather was mild and track conditions declared dry for the race start. With several bikes testing their mettle on the track it came down to Team Brookespeed scooter racing veteran “Crafty Matt” DeVries versus the Canadian upstart, Dayn “Sparks” Longlade. North American bragging rights were at stake and the competitors were up to the challenge. For the first time in nearly a year, Team Brookespeed did not field two machines on the grid so there was no chance of team orders coming into play during the track clash.
The start for race one was clean, with no jump starts, and Longlade on his Polini-powered Vespa SS90 took the holeshot with a lightning start. DeVries’ Malossi-charged Vespa PK held closely to the leader’s rear tire for over two thirds of the race and looked to be forced out of his first victory of the season if he couldn’t get past. Longlade rode wisely and blocked many attempts for passing by entering corners tight and seducing DeVries into thinking he could ride around the outside. But the Canadian was having none of it, and used all of the track leaving the experienced Minnesotan with nowhere to pass. With under two laps remaining, DeVries made another attempt at riding around the Canuck to only be shunted to the outside on turn seven. But the British Columbian ended the turn tightly leaving a narrow patch of tarmac for the PK to slice through and take the lead on the entry to turn eight. The body language of Longlade (in English and French) clearly displayed a frustrated pilot who was so close to his first trip to the top step of the podium. DeVries, a Michigan native, put the hammer down and gapped his challenger by over 6 seconds by the checkered flag.
Between races few adjustments were made and no changes in tire choice were undertaken. Both riders cited acceptable performance from their machines in the morning warm up and in race one. Again, a clean start was achieved but this time DeVries lead down the main straight and entered turn four in the lead (the start line begins after the exit of turn 3). During the fast curve the Brookespeed rider missed a gear and ended up in first gear allowing Longlade to blast out of the turn in the lead. Undaunted, DeVries pushed on and learned from his race one frustration and retook the lead early as to not be forced to ride in second position behind the hard-to-pass Longlade. It was clearly not Longlade’s day as he struggle to keep pace with the leader and lost crucial seconds per lap and eventually crossed the line second behind DeVries. Longlade expressed frustration with his lack of confidence in front end grip but said, “Overall, I’m not too disappointed in a brace of seconds but I really wanted a win today.”. DeVries was elated at finally getting a double at IIR saying, “All the greats have done a double at Iowa International and I don’t want to say that I’m among the pantheon of gods that have attained the same feat, but it feels good to know I can achieve the same result at such a storied circuit.”
The podium ceremony after the race was a caffeinated malt liquor-soaked raucous event and double as a Championship celebration with DeVries hoisting the trophy for league champion. As in the races Longlade came in second in the points race trailing the champion by 10 points at years end. An emotional DeVries stated, “The MASRA is a young league. I’m delighted to be champion. I’d like to think my long time partner Trish and all my sponsors. I couldn’t have done it without them.”. All in all it was a great season finale. Talk of next season was already underway but will sadly be without the international flavor as Longlade is being deported back to Vancouver and will likely be barred from re-entering the states for possibly some years. Though he did ominously state, “I’ll be back, I’ll be back…”. Rumor has it there could be allowances made for his return during Scooter Nationals in Denver for 2008 to try to salvage glory for his home nation. 2strokebuzz wishes him luck in his future racing career north of the border and hopes to see him allowed back in the U.S. of A. soon.