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Tough-As-Nails Batey Crashes Three Times, Then Wins Pole And Both Formula USA Races At Portland; Lopez 4th And 2nd

By July 20, 1997April 26th, 20211997 News

Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki’s Tray Batey came back from three crashes in practice and qualifying to take pole position and then win both races at Portland International Raceway on his GSXR1100. Teammate Grant Lopez finished fourth and second in the two races after qualifying sixth fastest on his GSXR750.

Batey first crashed his GSXR1100 in the first practice on Friday and was uncertain whether he hit something already on the track or crashed due an oil mist from the breather tube reaching the rear tire.

Batey then crashed his back-up GSXR1100 later on the same day after running off the track at the end of the Portland back straight.

In the first qualifying session on Saturday, Batey and his rebuilt back-up bike were involved in a bizarre incident set off when a rider trying to enter the pits collided with another rider who was continuing his qualifying run. The second rider crashed and his spinning bike slid out in front of Batey in the corner entering the front straight. Batey hit the spinning bike and crashed again, and Batey’s bike slid into the front-straight wall.

Batey the jumped on teammate Grant Lopez’s spare GSXR750 and qualified second-fastest while team mechanics patched up Batey’s spare bike. Back on the battered-but-functioning GSXR1100 for the second qualifying session, Batey qualified fastest, taking pole position. He ran away in both Formula USA races. Teammate Lopez, riding at his second-ever F-USA event just two weeks after breaking his collarbone into three pieces and 12 days after surgery to plate the collarbone, finished fourth in the first race and second in the second race.