The motorcycle race team at Augusta Triumph/Ducati is small, with three members at its shop on Wheeler Road.
For the "mom and pop" outfit, racing the national American Motorcycle Association circuit is a big deal.
And to win a national title, as ATD did Sept. 5, is the peak.
"Everything we do is different," said Tom Clancy, a Columbia County resident who runs the shop. "Where else do they have a little old lady (who) is the pit boss?"
Clancy was referring to his sister, Ellen Lewis, the assistant principal at Harlem High who took over team operations from Clancy three years ago (photo on Page 10). Lewis pays the bills, registers her riders for races and maintains the team's Web site. More important, she attends every race she can.
Lewis' rider, Mark Crozier, won the AMA Moto-GT1 points title in New Jersey a week ago. The team's other rider, James Brown, rides the West East Racing Association circuit, which is localized to Southeastern states. Brown, an Evans resident, wrapped up his own points title in the heavyweight twins superbike division.
When Augusta Triumph/Ducati started dabbling in racing in late 2001, the Triumph bikes it sold were not a factor on the racing circuits. Once Triumph started producing a competitive bike, the shop recruited some riders.
Brown has been with the team since 2004. The BMW mechanic helps service the team's bikes and serves on Crozier's pit team when his schedule allows.
"We're our own R&D department," Clancy said. "It's been an uphill battle."
Many times during the season, it is hard for the team to collaborate, with Crozier and Brown racing on opposite sides of the country. The small team has to make do with the resources it has.
And throughout it all, Lewis is there to provide support, whether financial or otherwise.
"She's like pit mom," Clancy said. "She does the sandwiches and all that kind of stuff."
Lewis also writes the checks. She said most teams have similar angels who invest in teams.
Racing is a hobby for all involved at ATD. Whatever winnings the team earns go back into the team, while ATD pays all racing expenses.
Sponsors alleviate some of the cost. Lewis writes the companies of the equipment the team uses and requests deals. Bridgestone awards the team certificates for $25-$50 off tires when it places well.
"And that helps," Lewis said. "With practice and everything else, we could go through three sets of tires."
The team's schedule on race weeks starts with packing up early in the week, departing for the race destination after work Friday and racing Saturday and Sunday. Team members don't return Sundays until nearly midnight.
But it's all part of the charm. And the team now has the championships to show for its work.
"I never dreamed we'd be this lucky," Lewis said. "Because it's not all racing, it's not all the bike, it's not all the rider. It's what's going on with the other teams that makes the difference, too."
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