MORSE DOUBLES AGAIN TO MAKE IT FOUR WINS IN A ROW IN EXR SPRINT SERIES
13 YEAR-OLD TOMAS MEJIA SHOWS HE’LL BE A FORCE FOR THE FUTURE;
HILL AND ROCHE WIN ENDURANCE SERIES ROUND.
LAS VEGAS, April 27 – The EXR Sprint Series took rounds 3 and 4 to the luxurious Spring Mountain Motorsport Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada for a first time visit. The 3.4-mile circuit offered the 16 driver-field a fast and technical challenge. As in rounds 1 and 2, Henry Morse claimed both wins, but it was 13 year-old Tomas Mejia who put everyone on notice of his potential with his second place finishes in both rounds. Morse handily leads Mejia in the driver standings by 74 points.
The weekend not only featured the two rounds of the Sprint Series but also, hosted the third round of the EXR Endurance Series. In that one hour-long contest, the driving duo of Christopher Hill and Christian Roche combined to score the win. Hill now solidifies his lead in the Endurance Series ahead of Bill Hynes by 21 points.
Sprint Race 1 covered a distance of nine laps, and from the start, it was Morse in the lead followed by Mejia. Though Mejia challenged Morse with everything he had over the first seven laps, he eventually relented, allowing Morse to build the 8.4 second margin of victory. David Perisset tried to stay within sight of the leaders, but by mid-distance he was forced to settle for third place to round out the podium
Following the lead trio home were Christian Roche in fourth place after battling with Tim Connolly in fifth place and Shawn Hayes in sixth place. Richard McIntosh moved one position from where he started to finish in seventh place, and thereby demoting Frank Mechaly to the eighth position. Mark Ramsey and Bill Hynes completed the Top-10
Sprint Race 2 was that in every sense of the word as it was contested over just six laps, leaving little margin for error amongst an already competitive field. The urgency was apparent from the start, especially in turn 1. There, Morse, Mejia, and Roger Eagleton began a titanic battle. Eagleton emerged ahead at the completion of lap 1, with Meija and Morse on his tail. It took a few laps for Morse to overcome Mejia, and then he set chase for Eagleton. The pressure was on until the final lap as Eagleton made a small bobble that opened the door for Morse at the final corner. Morse took the win, followed by Mejia and Hayes. Eagleton recovered to finish in fourth place.
“I was only in the lead for the last few hundred feet,” said Morse from victory circle after race 4. “It was a tough race. Mejia was really fast, but I finally got around him. I was able to close the distance to Roger (Eagleton) pretty quickly. He went into the final turn a little tight, forcing him to make the mistake I needed to get through.”
Behind the leaders, 71 year-old Gerard Thievin was engaged in tight battle with Mark Ramsey until Ramsey too made a mistake and spun off track. Thievin finished in 10th place behind Roche in fifth place, Connolly in sixth place, Perisset in seventh place, Mechaly in eighth place and McIntosh in ninth place.
For the 1-hour Endurance Series race, eventual winners Chris Hill and Christian Roche led from the pole with Hill taking the first stint. His consistency provided the margin to hand over to Hill who was able to come home for the win with over 13 seconds to spare ahead of Roger Eagleton and Richard McIntosh. The youngest driver of the field – Henry Morse teamed up with the most senior driver – Gerard Thievin, for a third place-finish only 2.4 seconds adrift of second place.
“I learn so much following some of the faster drivers,” said Roche in victory circle. “I just focused on driving consistently before handing it over to Chris to bring home the win.”
As has been the norm in 2017, the Endurance races have featured action throughout the field. Alexandre Premat, who was paired with Bill Hynes made a ripping start, but it was all for not as he was forced to retire midway round the first lap with a broken suspension. Romain Thievin, driving with Lisa Clark came from last on the grid to third place by the time the first lap was complete. Eventually, Romain Thievin made it into the lead before handing off to Clark, who admirably held her own against more experienced drivers. She eventually slipped down the order to finish in sixth place. David Perisset teamed with Mark Ramsey to finish in fourth place, while with place went to the pair of Frank Mechaly and Tim Connolly.
The next rounds of both the EXR Sprint Series and the Endurance Series take place on the EXR Road Course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from May 19 through 21.
Cleo Premat, Director of Communication