PHOTO: Eventual winner Gary Siemons battles Adam Pierson for the victory (Alan Ward photo)

— by T.J. Ingerson

BRADFORD — Gary Siemons has always been a regular face in victory lane at Bear Ridge Speedway. But during the 2011 season, the Orford, N.H. veteran and former track champion had been left out of the winners circle.

On 99ROCK Championship Night, Siemons put his familiar No. 5 back in the winner’s circle in the 40-lap feature. But he had to work for it.

A lap 27 restart saw Bear Ridge hot-shoe Adam Pierson get around Siemons on the outside. The defending track championship and current point leader Pierson, of Fairlee, had won four times on the year and appeared to be on his way to his fifth. But Siemons fought back, taking advantage of Pierson’s handling woes, and retook the lead on lap 32 and cruised to his first victory on the season.

“It’s been a real long time (coming). We’ve struggled with this car and we’ve finally figured it out,” Siemons said in victory lane. “We run these Hoosier hard tires and it takes three or four laps to get heat back in them. I was worried. Adam drove by me and he’s good on the outside, but my plan was just to stay on the bottom.”

Pierson followed Siemons across the line to take second. As a result of that finish, Pierson clinched his seventh Bear Ridge Championship, and second consecutive Bond Auto Sportsman Modified championship.

“If that wasn’t a good race, I don’t know what is,” Pierson said in victory lane about his battle with Siemons. “He gave me room on the outside, I gave him room. I got him, he got me back, I got him, and then my right rear gave up. I just couldn’t hold him off on the top. Gary did a heck of a job. It was good racing, very good racing.”

Pierson explained that him and his team doesn’t points race and that their only goal is to win every week.

“We come to every race not thinking about points and just try to win every race,” said the Champion Pierson. “Whether you’re in the lead or not, first or last, it doesn’t matter. We just come out to win. That’s what I do every week.”

Jason Gray, of East Thetford, crossed the line in third, while Fairlee’s Kevin Chaffee and Corinth’s Bryan King completed the top five. Chris Donnelly, Justin Comes, Arnie Stygles, Vince Quenneville, Jr., and Danny Eastman completed the top ten.

Wells River’s Terry Williams worked from his third starting position and took his second Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupes victory on the season in their 25 lap feature. Rookie Jason Colbeth, of Newbury, took home second while the veteran Steve Ellsworth, of Corinth, was third. Vershire’s Tim Hodge and West Topsham’s Bob Shepard completed the top five. Jason Horniak and Melvin Pierson was sixth and seventh. Point leader Josh Harrington extended his point lead with an eighth place finish, while Jeff Robbins and Buster Kathan completed the top ten. Second place point man Gene Pierson was involved in an early race incident and finished 11th.

Tyler Stygles took home his fourth win of the season in the 20-lap A Notch Above Limited Late Model. The hometown racer took over the point lead from second place finisher Robert Tucker. Tucker, of East Corinth, has a season leading six victories on the season, but now trails Stygles in the standings. Richie Simmons, of Bradford, was third, while Jordan Fornwalt was fourth and Troy Comeau was fifth.

Travis Hull, of Graniteville, won his second consecutive Weglarz Property Service Fast Four feature. Point leader Kevin Harran, of St. Johnsbury, was second and Dave Durkee, of Tunbridge, was third.

Groton’s Eric Lang celebrated his tenth victory of the season in the KDD NAPA Auto Parts Hornet feature. Charlie Lakin, also of Groton, took home second and Bradford’s Tom Placey was third.

Jake Williams, of Center Tuftonboro, N.H., won the Northeast Mini Sprint feature with eight points. Dave Morgan was second and Spencer Allen was third.

Melissa King won the 15-lap Hornet Queen feature and clinched the season championship. Misty Bell was second and Julie Stender was third.

Bear Ridge Speedway hosts the New England Dirt Track Championships on Saturday, September 25 with a 50-lap, $1,000-to-win Bond Auto Sportsman Modified feature, along with a full card of Sportsman Coupes, Limited Late Models, Fast Fours, and Hornets on the final points event of the season.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — 99ROCK Championship Night
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt.
Saturday, September 17, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

Bond Auto DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds (40 laps)
1. Gary Siemons, Orford, N.H.
2. Adam Pierson, Fairlee
3. Jason Gray, East Thetford
4. Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee
5. Bryan King, Corinth
6. Chris Donnelly, Piermont
7. Justin Comes, Middlebury
8. Arnie Stygles, Bradford
9. Vince Quenneville, Jr., Brandon
10. Dan Eastman, Thetford Center

Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupes (25 laps)
1. Terry Williams, Wells River
2. # Jason Colbeth, Newbury
3. Steve Ellsworth, Corinth
4. Tim Hodge, Vershire
5. Bob Shepard, West Topsham
6. Jason Horniak, Bradford
7. Melvin Pierson, East Corinth
8. Josh Harrington, Topsham
9. # Jeff Robbins, Woodsville, N.H.
10. Buster Kathan, Ludlow

A Notch Above Limited Late Models (20 laps)
1. Tyler Stygles, Bradford
2. Robert Tucker, East Corinth
3. Richie Simmons, Bradford
4. Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford
5. Troy Comeau, Rumney, N.H.

Welgarz Property Service Fast Fours (20 laps)
1. Travis Hull, Graniteville
2. Kevin Harran, St. Johnsbury
3. Dave Durkee, Tunbridge
4. Steve Bell, St. Johnsbury
5. # Bobby Bell, St. Johnsbury

KDD NAPA Auto Parts Hornets (20 laps)
1. Eric Lang, Groton
2. Charlie Lakin, Groton
3. Tom Placey, Bradford
4. Brett Warren, Salisbury
5. Mike Stender, South Strafford

Northeast Mini Sprints (3×15 laps)
1. Jake Williams, Center Tuftonboro, N.H.
2. Dave Morgan, Woburn, Mass.
3. Spencer Allen, Plainfield, N.H.

Hornet Queens (15 laps)
1. Melissa King, Corinth
2. Misty Bell, St. Johnsbury
3. Julie Stender, South Strafford