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Littleton's Berry deals with winds of change

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By Michael Hicks

MORRISON  — If there’s one thing that Mike Berry has become an old pro at it’s adapting to change. Standing in his team’s pit hours before the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 46-year-old Littleton resident worked with his crew on a new motor combination for his 2010 Buell XB9R motorcycle.
“It should be really good according to the dyno,” Berry said. “I’m a little nervous how it’s going to work on the race track. It would’ve been nice to test it, but we’re pretty optimistic.”
That’s just how he rolls. Constant change is nothing new for Berry, who continuously looks to find the success he had a decade ago when he finished in the top 10 of the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standings five times.
But the last time was in 2004, and he hasn’t been in an event final since 2003 at Bandimere Speedway. And each year, like this one, he seemingly starts anew.
“I was forced at the beginning of the year to go back to my own bike and motors. John Hammock, who was helping me out, ended up selling out. I was on my own, but he’s back now,” Berry said.
Hammock, a retired Oklahoma businessman, stepped down after a 2011 health scare, Berry said. But things turned to the better and Hammock was back on board last week at Bandimere.
That’s been a good thing for Berry, who’s been the beneficiary of Hammock’s financial generosity. That in itself could be the catalyst to push Berry back into a Top-10 title contender. It’s definitely possible, Berry said, but he surely would like to be in a better position to challenge the Ed Krawiecs and Andrew Hines of the world.
“I would’ve liked to been a lot further along than we are,” Berry said. “At the start of the season and having to go back to our own program definitely was not good for our points standings.”
That’s not to say though the season was lost early on. Far from it.
Though Berry failed to qualify for the elimination round at the season-opening Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in early March and just missed the cut two months later in Commerce, Ga., he sandwiched his best finish to date between them by reaching the quarterfinals at the Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas.
He came into Bandimere riding a three-race streak of reaching the qualifying rounds, but there’s room for more, Berry said. He sat 15th in the points standings with 164 points, 89 back of 10th place.
“That would be nice to squeak back into the top 10. Once they go to the countdown they redo the points and if you’re not in the top 10 other than being a spoiler there’s no reason to race,” said Berry, who qualified eighth at Bandimere before being ousted in first round of eliminations.
Berry’s hopeful he can slip back in there after three more races, culminating with the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
“That’s what our hopes are. To get back into the top 10 and then make a run,” Berry said.
But that’s easier said than done for someone like Berry, who is not just a NHRA competitor but also a local businessman.
Berry tells anybody who will listen that he has no life other than Pro Stock Motorcycles and his business, MB Precision Machine, Inc., in Englewood. He’s been in business for more than two decades. The shop is self-sufficient, Berry said. It can run itself. But when times get slow the business requires more of his time. That’s where Hammock comes into play.
Adding extra finances to the team has been a real plus, Berry said. But it hasn’t kept him from devoting all that much more time to the race team.
“Pretty much I don’t take a day off. If I’m not going to the races I’m at the shop working on motors,” Berry said.
MORRISON  — If there’s one thing that Mike Berry has become an old pro at it’s adapting to change. Standing in his team’s pit hours before the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the 46-year-old Littleton resident worked with his crew on a new motor combination for his 2010 Buell XB9R motorcycle.
“It should be really good according to the dyno,” Berry said. “I’m a little nervous how it’s going to work on the race track. It would’ve been nice to test it, but we’re pretty optimistic.”
That’s just how he rolls. Constant change is nothing new for Berry, who continuously looks to find the success he had a decade ago when he finished in the top 10 of the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standings five times.
But the last time was in 2004, and he hasn’t been in an event final since 2003 at Bandimere Speedway. And each year, like this one, he seemingly starts anew.
“I was forced at the beginning of the year to go back to my own bike and motors. John Hammock, who was helping me out, ended up selling out. I was on my own, but he’s back now,” Berry said.
Hammock, a retired Oklahoma businessman, stepped down after a 2011 health scare, Berry said. But things turned to the better and Hammock was back on board last week at Bandimere.
That’s been a good thing for Berry, who’s been the beneficiary of Hammock’s financial generosity. That in itself could be the catalyst to push Berry back into a Top-10 title contender. It’s definitely possible, Berry said, but he surely would like to be in a better position to challenge the Ed Krawiecs and Andrew Hines of the world.
“I would’ve liked to been a lot further along than we are,” Berry said. “At the start of the season and having to go back to our own program definitely was not good for our points standings.”
That’s not to say though the season was lost early on. Far from it.
Though Berry failed to qualify for the elimination round at the season-opening Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in early March and just missed the cut two months later in Commerce, Ga., he sandwiched his best finish to date between them by reaching the quarterfinals at the Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas.
He came into Bandimere riding a three-race streak of reaching the qualifying rounds, but there’s room for more, Berry said. He sat 15th in the points standings with 164 points, 89 back of 10th place.
“That would be nice to squeak back into the top 10. Once they go to the countdown they redo the points and if you’re not in the top 10 other than being a spoiler there’s no reason to race,” said Berry, who qualified eighth at Bandimere before being ousted in first round of eliminations.
Berry’s hopeful he can slip back in there after three more races, culminating with the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
“That’s what our hopes are. To get back into the top 10 and then make a run,” Berry said.
But that’s easier said than done for someone like Berry, who is not just a NHRA competitor but also a local businessman.
Berry tells anybody who will listen that he has no life other than Pro Stock Motorcycles and his business, MB Precision Machine, Inc., in Englewood. He’s been in business for more than two decades. The shop is self-sufficient, Berry said. It can run itself. But when times get slow the business requires more of his time. That’s where Hammock comes into play.
Adding extra finances to the team has been a real plus, Berry said. But it hasn’t kept him from devoting all that much more time to the race team.
“Pretty much I don’t take a day off. If I’m not going to the races I’m at the shop working on motors,” Berry said.
 

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