Henning takes two wins at M1GP round 6 


Photos: Kevin Hipp, M1GP staff

Eager to race whenever possible, Werkstatt rider Ari Henning headed out to the Streets of Willows in Rosamond, CA, to compete with M1GP last weekend.

Henning missed practice and qualifying on Saturday due to other obligations, so was gridded last for both of his races on Sunday. An excellent start in the CBR250R Cup race saw Ari slotted into 2nd place going into Turn 1, tucked in behind Javelin Broderick. Javelin­­­­ – having just raced his GSX-R600 at Laguna Seca with the AMA during the MotoGP weekend – was undeniably Ari’s biggest threat. “It was my first chance to size Jav up,” said Ari of lap one, “and I didn’t intend to give him any leeway since I figured he’d be hard to beat.” Henning didn’t waste time making a pass, slipping under Jav going into the esses on lap two.

“I wasn’t sure if he was holding back, but I wasn’t going to take any chances, so I struck early and then put the hammer down,” says Ari. Corroborating his claim, the timing charts show that Henning clicked off the fastest lap time of the race the following lap. Henning rode well, maintained the lead for the rest of the race, and took the win. Jav came in second, although the overall second place went to 85 GP rider Jason Takamoto on a CRF150R-powered RS125.

The second race of the day was Open GP, which played host to 85 GP racers as well as several Zero electric motorcycles, many of which had just returned from the Pikes Peak event. The e-bikes fired off the line like rockets, putting their superior torque to use to jet out ahead of the internal combustion bikes. Henning closed the gap on the e-bikes on the brakes going into Turn 2, and then slipped under lead rider Brandon Nozak-Miller going through Turn 3. “I fully expected Brandon to blow by me on the back straight,” recalls Henning, “but I found out later that he crashed shortly after I passed him.” That left Takamoto and Broderick to battle for second, while Henning remained out in front, safely out of striking distance.

Henning won Open GP, but he thinks it would have been different if Brandon had stayed upright. “The Zeros are just so much faster, at least in a straight line,” says Ari. “It’s really pretty freaky when they pass you, because the closing speed is so great, but there’s no noise.”

Henning will be back to battle with the high-voltage Zeros and an army of Ninja 250s at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in mid-September.

Burnin' it up

Broderick (814), Henning (211), and Takamoto (obscured) arc through Turn 1 early in the 250 Cup race. The 250 Cup race was gridded with the 85 GP machines, yielding some close racing for 2nd place.


Turn 12 250 PRODimage (2)

PHOTOS: OxyMoron Photography

Ari Henning ran the Werkstatt Racing Honda CBR250R at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA, on July 7th during the fourth round of the AFM season. Henning finished the weekend with a 3rd and a 7th against all-Kawasaki grids.

Henning ran his CBR250R at T-Hill last year when the bike was still in the early stages of development, and he was looking forward to giving the fast, 2.9-mile circuit another go with a faster, sharper machine. “The motor was stock last year, but it’s been modified since then, and the chassis is dialed,” say Henning. “The extra power is noticeable and definitely helpful, but I’m still down compared to the Ninjas, and this track has some crazy-long straights.” Last year, Henning finished 6th, 9th, and 12th in the various 250cc classes.


The Werkstatt Racing Honda was clearly improved, as Ari clicked off numerous 2:11 laps in practice, a full second faster than his best race time from last year. Minor suspension changes and taller gearing allowed Ari to get down into the mid-10s by the end of the day.

Henning was gridded on the outside of row two for the 250 Superbike race on Sunday morning, and an excellent start saw him in 5th place going into Turn 1. The 250 Superbike class allows 450 singles to compete, and a converted motocross bike ran away with first place, leaving Henning and Ninja 250-mounted Bobbie Wetterau to battle for second. “Once that 450 pulled a gap on the straights and stopped slowing us down in the corners, Bobbie and I were straight hauling!” says Ari. “We were in the low 2:08s by lap two, and both of us clicked off laps in the high 7s, just a few tenths off the track record.” Henning managed to stay on the rear wheel of Wetterau’s Ninja 250 and pulled alongside him on several occasions, but wasn’t able to make a successful pass. He finished the race in 3rd.


“I was really pleased with my finish in 250 Superbike. I kind of considered that class practice for 250 Production, so I was optimistic heading in to that race.” Things didn’t go well for Henning in 250 Production, however. An unfavorable grid position and sloppy start saw Henning stuck in a knot of riders heading into Turn 1, and he floundered in traffic throughout the race. “It was frustrating,” recalls Henning. “I’d pass one or two riders in the infield, but then two or three of them would motor by me between turns.” Ari was in 4th heading onto the front straight on the last lap, but three riders slingshotted past him on the way to the checkered flag, relegating him to 7th.

“This isn’t an ideal track for the Honda, but it’s really a fantastic circuit. There’s a ton of variety, and the blind, crested turns are such a blast,” says Ari.

Henning’s next race is with M1GP at the Streets of Willows in Rosamond, CA, on July 28th.


Clean Sweep For Zack Courts At Grange!!!  


Photos: Kevin Hipp


Fellow Motorcyclist staffer Zack Courts filled in for an injured Ari Henning at the recent M1GP event at Grange Motor Circuit, riding the Werkstatt Racing Honda CBR250R to four wins on the ultra-tight, 14-turn kart track. Courts competed in Open GP and the CBR250 Cup classes, which were each run twice as part of M1GP’s double-header race weekend.


Zack ran away with the lead in the first Honda-only 250 Cup class, riding hard in an effort to put a gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick, whose pace was unknown on race day. “The CBR250 turned out to be a great bike for the track.” Says Zack. “I think [Javelin’s] bike is a step or two behind Ari’s, so I lucked out by having the better machine. ” Courts won the race by a huge distance after putting down a string of 1:06 laps.


In the second 250 Cup race Zack hung back to dice with Javelin, putting on a show for the spectators and having a fair amount of fun in the process. “It was a blast having someone to ride with that’s there to have fun and you can trust on the track.”  Says Zack. The two swapped for the lead numerous times, never running more than a few bike lengths apart and often coming down the front straight elbow-to-elbow before trying to late-brake each other into Turn 1. “Jav was riding really well, and the sound of those two CBRs pulling the same revs on the gas was epic.” Recalls Courts. But when the white flag flew, Zack’s racing instinct took over and he picked up the pace, insuring that he won by a safe margin.


Zack closes the gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick in the second CBR250 Cup race with some seriously hard braking. Grange is tight enough that there’s not much room to pass in the infield. “The track was a lot of work on the bigger 250.” says Zack. “Some of the tighter corners are more like survival than skill!”


Zack closes the gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick in the second CBR250 Cup race with some seriously hard braking. Grange is tight enough that there’s not much room to pass in the infield. “The track was a lot of work on the bigger 250.” says Zack. “Some of the tighter corners are more like survival than skill!”

Later races saw an unexpected threat in the form of two Zero electric sportbikes that joined the CBR250 ranks on the Open GP grid. The e-bikes fired off the starting line like cannonballs, and their superior acceleration saw them carrying significantly more speed at the end of the 950-foot front straight. “The Open GP race where the two e-bikes jumped out front was really tough.” Recalls Zack. “I had to strategize a lot, and six lap races with 1:06 lap times means you don’t have a lot of time to do it. I was proud of myself for being able to use the handling of the little CBR to get around the e-bikes and stay ahead until the end.” It wasn’t easy, though. Zack had to make some aggressive moves in the infield on the second lap in order to put both the e-bikes behind him, and while one machine repassed him on the front straight, Zack attacked again in the infield and pulled enough of a lead to be out of striking distance.


The second Open GP race was less eventful, with one of the Zeros registering a DNS and the other slowing down early on due to low battery voltage. Zack was appreciative of the e-bikes, and impressed with their acceleration. “I really hope the series takes off,” says Zack, “because I think racing the electric bikes will help people learn how to make them handle well, and with any luck the factories will be able to make bigger leaps forward to create better bikes in the future. Power isn’t a problem, that’s for sure.”


Although Henning didn’t race, he was in attendance, acting as Courts’ mechanic. Ari should be back on his feet soon, and hopes to race the Werkstatt CBR250R with M1GP again when they run at the Streets of Willow in July.


Henning takes three wins, sets new 250 lap record at Chuckwalla

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Photos: CaliPhotography

The March round at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway was the most successful event yet for Werkstatt racer Ari Henning and his Honda CBR250R. Henning took three wins and a second, and set a new 250 track record (for the clockwise direction of the 2.68-mile circuit) in the process. His best lap of 2.02.675 was 0.10 seconds quicker than the previous record set in January.

CVMA runs qualifying after morning practice on Saturday, and Ari turned a good time, landing himself a front row position in an all-Ninja grid of over 20 bikes. Solid starts and a short sprint to Turn 1 insured Henning never dropped below third place, and during Saturday’s races he quickly made his way to first place and took the win in both 250

Supersport and Ultra Lightweight Shootout.
“I ran on old tires for practice and qualifying, but put fresh rubber on for the races,” says Ari. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get my hot pressures set, and after lap two both ends overheated and started losing grip and causing pretty severe chatter.” Despite slipping and sliding through the corners and even running off track twice, Ari charged to the front to take the win. “I set the lap record in that race, which was pretty amazing considering the tire issues. I was frustrated and mad after I ran off the track, so I guess that must have helped!”

With his hot pressures properly set and some minor suspension changes, Henning had much better traction for Saturday’s second race, taking the lead early and riding to the win by a fair margin. Henning also won Sunday’s 250 Supersport race after taking the lead at the half way point.

Henning and Ninja-mounted rider Josh Fogle fought hard in Sunday’s Ultra Lightweight Shootout race, changing positions frequently. “Same old story – he’d pass me on the straights and I’d ride like hell to get around him in the corners,” recounts Henning. “The wind picked up quite a bit during the afternoon, and it was wrecking my drafts and pushing us off-line in the corners, so my strategy kind of went out the window,” says Ari. “I got up alongside Fogle in the last turn and forced myself to crack the throttle open extra early, but he motored away and won by a bikelength.”

“What a great weekend,” recalls Henning. “This is by far our best weekend yet. We made some pretty major suspension changes before this round and they paid off. I would have loved for it to have been a clean sweep, but you can’t win them all.”
Henning’s next battle against the Ninjas will take place at Sonoma Raceway with the AFM in early May.

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Last race, last lap, last turn. Ari managed to get up alongside race leader Josh Fogle numerous times, but failed to make a pass that lasted.

Mar-30-2013-CVMA - Race 3 - RG__9670

Henning’s lone Honda slots into third place going in to Turn 1 during Saturday’s Ultra Lightweight Shootout race. Henning would go on to win the race after taking the lead on lap four.

Mar-30-2013-CVMA - Race 3 - RG__9892
A beveled boot, worn knee slider, and scuffed muffler are testament to how hard Ari rides the little Honda in the corners.


Well Daytona has come and gone, now we get to wait for a couple of months
until the next round at Road America.

I would like to personally thank you for all your help.

This is the little recap I wrote for Daytona. I will be sharing it on Face
Book and I have already posted it to our local forum.

Daytona never seems to be without severe ups and downs for most all
competitors. This year didn’t fail on that, as I qualified 2nd for
Supersport and the next day threw our Baby Appleseed/CM Motorsports bike on
the ground while leading race 1. Thanks to the hard work of our crew, we
were able to grid up for race 2 and had a successful finish to the weekend.
After leading a couple of laps, getting shuffled down to 13th at one point,
drafting back to 4th at the line, and missing the podium by 0.05 seconds
the roller-coaster of emotions was in full swing. I am leaving Daytona tied
for 6th in points and honestly cannot wait for the next round at Road
America, one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. Those are the cliffs
notes of our Daytona trip. No need to go into every detail of the weekend,
we had a great time in the end and people do not want to read really long
race reports. What is important is who to thank for the efforts.

I really need to give a heartfelt thank you for my whole team. Not only did
they endure a scramble of magnificent proportion, prepping, loading,
driving, crash rebuilding, and traveling to the world center of racing in
Daytona. They gave me plenty of support after I destroyed the bike, as I
was extremely disappointed in myself for the work that I imposed on the
team to get ready for race 2.

Your support is very much appreciated, and I look forward to improving at our next race.

Support Team – Thanks to George Beavers for helping move stuff in and out.
My wife and mom for helping out while I was gone. Neill’s Dad Kevin for
helping transport and all the hard work you put in getting us moved in and
out each day, you must have walked 10 miles over the course of 4 days.
Aaron Ascher for all your help, I am proud of your progression throughout
the weekend.


Ari Henning
Henning Successful at AFM Round 1

Ari Henning participated in round 1 of the AFM season at Buttonwillow this past weekend, snagging second place finishes in both 250 Superbike and 250 Production aboard his Werkstatt Racing Honda CBR250R.

Ari was gridded on the second row for 250 Superbike and worked his way from fifth to second place by the end of lap one, maintaining that position for the rest of the race. “AFM allows 450 singles to run in 250 Superbike [an artifact of the 250cc two-stroke days], so first place went to the guy on the big thumper,” says Ari. “I couldn’t catch him, and Mark McKinney couldn’t catch me, so I was cruising on my own.”

250 Production was considered by most to be the most exciting race of the weekend, and took Ari wholly by surprise. “There were no challengers in 250 Superbike, so I didn’t expect much excitement in Production, but I was some kind of wrong!” Again Henning started from the second row, and after settling into second place behind Mark McKinney, both riders were overtaken by young rider Kenny Andrews and former class champion Kirk Korenko. “I hadn’t seen either of these guys in Superbike and, we were gridded with some bigger bikes, so it took a moment to realize that they were on Ninja 250s and in my class. As soon as I figured it out, I put the hammer down,” says Ari.

It took Ari a lap and a half to dispatch Korenko, and then he engaged Kenny in a heated battle for the lead. The two passed, drafted, and repassed each other several times per lap, each rider and machine providing advantages in different parts of the track. “I had him in some corners, but he had me in the straits. Out in the open I was only seeing 90 mph through Riverside, but with the draft we were both pulling over 100 through that turn. That’s only 25 mph off a 600’s speed through there. We were hauling!” Both riders clicked off numerous laps in the 2:06 and then 2:05 range. The previous lap record, set in 2012 by Vision Hayes on a Ninja 250, was a 2:07.

“It was incredible racing,” says Ari. “I slid the front end through half the corners on the track. In the last turn of the last lap I thought I had Kenny set up for a draft-pass for the lead, but I tucked the front charging the corner and ran wide.” Anderson out-rode Henning, and set a new 250 track record of 2:05.3 in the process. Ari’s best lap was a 2:05.5.

The success of the weekend is overshadowed by the fact that young Kenny was seriously injured in an accident on his 125 GP bike later in the day. In such a hideous tragedy Kenny later succumbed to his injuries. For more information on Kenny and to show your support for him and his family, please visit Kenny’s Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenny-Anderson-Fan-Page/189849981060321?fref=ts



Ari Henning (211) stalks Josh Fogle (666) early in the 250 Supersport race.

Photos: Cali Photography & Ari Henning

Werkstatt Racer Ari Henning Takes a 2nd and 3rd at Chuckwalla

Werkstatt racer Ari Henning participated in the CVMA races at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, CA, on February 23, competing against an all-Kawasaki grid aboard his Werkstatt Racing Honda CBR250R. Ari qualified for first-row starts in both of his races, and came away with a third and a second.

“The first race was frustrating,” says Ari. “I was running pretty old tires, and right away I could tell they weren’t up to par.” Henning got a good start, but front- and rear-end slides and mid-corner chatter forced him to slow his pace. “I had some big moments, and decided to just cruise.” Even so, Ari rode as far forward as second place, but was passed on the last lap by Jonathon Hong on a Kawasaki Ninja 250R.

“The second race was much better. I swapped tires and the Honda felt like a new bike,” says Ari. The Turn 1 action in the 250 Supersport race was intense, and it didn’t abate until the checkered flag dropped. “We were swapping for the lead quite bit, and the front pack of four guys was never more than a half second apart,” reports Ari.

CVMA typically runs double-header events with a full schedule of races on both Saturday and Sunday, but severe winds and blowing sand forced the race director to cancel Sunday’s events.

Ari races again on Sunday, March 3 with the AFM at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow, CA.