DeCouto thrilled with ‘awesome’ display
Veteran motorcycle racer Paul DeCouto surpassed his own expectations at last month’s WERA Grand National Finals held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
Going into the grand prix the Bermudian was confident of holding his own competing against some of the best riders in the US. But DeCouto ended up getting much more than he bargained for as he came away with five podium finishes to add to an already extraordinary year competing abroad.
The Cycle Care co-owner and mechanic posted three thirds competing in the 750cc Superbike Expert, Open Superstock Expert and Superstock ‘A’ Expert classes. He also had two seconds in the WERA/Open Superbike Expert and Open Superstock Expert classes.
DeCouto said competing against world-class riders such as track record holder Chris ‘Opie’ Caylor gave him more incentive to put his best foot forward.
“It was pretty cool to race with people like Opie who is the fastest guy at Road Atlanta,” he added. “Racing against people like that definitely gave me something to look towards and target.
“I was hoping for a first place in one of the races but the WERA guys are usually a bit faster than the CCS guys. But I was happy with the result and it was awesome to place and ride with the best of the best.”
Perhaps equally pleasing for DeCouto was the fact he managed two podium finishes in the Superbike Expert class competing with a modified stock engine.
“To be able to race in a category with Superbikes do well and come second is awesome,” he said. “Racing against them gave me some insight between the difference my bike, which is a stock bike motor with some racing parts on it, and racing against Superbike machinery.
“Superbike machinery are bikes that are fully done up with modified ports and stuff like that, which help them to produce maybe an extra 30 horsepower on top of the normal 150 horsepower they produce.”
DeCouto arrived in Atlanta on a high after being crowned national champion in the Formula Expert 40 Class at last month’s CCS Race of Champions at Daytona International Speedway. But one of the obstacles he had to overcome before he could begin competing was readjusting the set up on his two bikes to suit the track conditions in Atlanta
“I am a one man show and so I have to keep things in tune with two bikes. That’s why I entered as many races as I could to be able to work on the set up of the bikes as much as I could,” he said.
“Daytona is a totally different track. Daytona is banking and then everything else is just flat track whereas at Road Atlanta there is a lot of elevation changes.”
This year marked DeCouto’s third appearance at the WERA Grand National Finals. He will now take a short break before travelling to Florida next month to compete in a CCS regional event.