Entering last year’s INEX Legends Series regional qualifier at Montana Raceway Park, Jake Bisset set a simple goal of running well in the main event with continued growth in the series.
When the dust settled, the Freeman High School junior-to-be had won the semipro division and went on to capture a divisional championship on the high-banked Montana quarter-mile.
Bisset became one of the youngest to win a Legends Thunder main event and was one of two teenagers in the top-three running order.
Legend race cars are powered by a Yamaha 1,200cc motor with purpose-built suspension pieces on cars that look like scaled-down sedans or coupes from the 1940s.
The ninth annual Legends Thunder event rolls into Montana on Saturday. All eyes will be on Bisset as he moves from the semipro ranks to the much tougher professional class and with it challenges three-time Thunder winner Kory Abbott for the main event win.
Abbott, who makes the trek from Florida to western Montana every year for Legends Thunder, is one of many challengers Bisset must overcome if he is to come home victorious.
“Wrango West is really tough there in Kalispell and he has been one of the drivers we have battled week to week, and with Abbott winning the last three pro division races there you know that he will be a factor if he makes the trek up north again,” Bisset said.
“We’ll be moving to the class with a couple races under our belt (Bisset sits in the top five in the 2010 MRP Legends drivers standings after two races) and this group will definitely have a lot of tough competition.
“Retuning as a Legends Thunder champion takes a little pressure off of the preparations we’ll go through this weekend. Having that experience lets us know what we’ll have to do to get a win in the main event, because the drivers in the pro division are very good and drive some finely tuned race cars.”
Turning laps at Montana Raceway Park gives Bisset an advantage, he said, heading into this weekend’s event.
“The drivers that run at MRP are so good and have experienced some big Legends races in the country,” he said. “To run against them week to week helps to be prepared when a race like Legends Thunder rolls into the area. Running in the semipro class helped to prepare for a run at the championship, but that group has less experience with a lot of new drivers just getting started in the sport. In the pro class every one of the MRP drivers is at their best in each race, so that when you get a driver in from out of town you’ll be ready to face that level of competition.
“Without the competition I get at MRP each week, I don’t think I’d be as ready for Legends Thunder as we are going into this weekend’s race.”
Preparation for a run at Legends Thunder Pro gold will be ongoing until the drop of the green flag.
“Every time I’m in the car I learn something new and we’re always trying new things on the track,” Bisset said. “As a team, Bisset Motorsports operates with a focus on learning new things and talking to those in the sport to make our cars better, and we’ll be doing that throughout the weekend to get ready for Legends Thunder.”
Other Inland Northwest drivers making the haul to Kalispell for Legends Thunder include Ron Custer and Joe Bisset – teammates to Jake in the 2010 campaign.
INEX Legends Thunder regional qualifying starts with an all-day practice today followed by main events on Saturday.
To learn more about the ninth annual INEX Legends Thunder regional qualifier, go to www.montanaraceway park.com or call (406) 257-7223.