FORMER PSM WORLD CHAMP JERRY SAVOIE RUNNING A FULL SEASON IN 2020
Late last season, former NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Jerry Savoie had made it known he didn’t plan on competing in a full season in 2020.
That’s not the case anymore.
Savoie confirmed to Competition Plus he will pilot a Suzuki for his White Alligator Racing team for the full 16-race 2020 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season, which begins March 12-15 at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
“I’m definitely racing a full schedule,” Savoie said.
Savoie, who won his PSM world title in 2016, had a change of heart about his 2020 plans after he had such a strong finish to his 2019 season.
The Louisiana native solidified his spot into the six-race Countdown to the Championship in the No. 5 place in points standings, thanks to winning the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the race before the Countdown started.
In the final six races of the season – Savoie won twice in Reading, Pa., and Dallas – and was upset in the final round by Jiana Salinas at the season-ending race in Pomona, Calif., when his Suzuki broke. Savoie was a runner-up in the final points standings – 26 behind champion Andrew Hines.
“I think (the end of last year) gave me a little push to want to run one more year,” Savoie said. “We came so close (to winning the championship) and didn’t intend on it.”
Savoie competed in only 13 of the 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle races last season, skipping Richmond, Va., Chicago and Norwalk, Ohio.
“If I would have made a full schedule I probably would have been further up in the points when we got into the Countdown,” Savoie said. “With that being said, who knows where I would have been at in the end. I might have been out of touch where nobody could have even caught me.”
Savoie said his crew chief Tim Kulungian is returning this season and Savoie said he will have a teammate again, but nothing has been finalized yet. A year ago, Karen Stoffer piloted a second Suzuki for the W.A.R. team and she finished fourth in the points standings.
In October, NHRA approved – for the 2020 season – the billet Monster 4-valve Suzuki cylinder head for Pro Stock Motorcycle racing, something Savoie is cautiously optimistic about.
“We will see what happens,” Savoie said. “We’re working on the 2-valve stuff right now. We just have to get one (the billet Monster 4-valve Suzuki cylinder head) and start working on it. Who knows (what the billet Monster 4-valve Suzuki cylinder head) will do? You’ve heard those stories that this is the next latest, greatest thing and then it doesn’t perform. We are just going to settle in and go out there and do our best for now.”
Savoie said he’s planning on doing some testing at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park.
“We will do some testing right before we go to Gainesville,” he said.