Southern California Flat Track Association
Round 6: Perris Raceway
Story by Jamey Blunt
Photos by Janice Blunt
PERRIS, CA, JULY 9, 2011
The break between rounds of the Southern California Flat Track Association at Perris Raceway must have been too long, or the moon too full, or something was in the air, because the 119 participants who filled the 20 heat races, 15 main events and the Dash For Cash seemed overanxious. July in Perris, California, is hot – usually triple-digits hot. But on this Saturday, 94 degrees was the high for the day. Freddie Edwards and crew labored from early morning and through the night to provide the best possible racing surface for the Lucas Oil-backed sixth round of SCFTA action!
The top two finishers from each of the two Pro heat races earned a berth in the four-lap Dash For Cash. Kayl Kolkman, Mark Cernicky, David Bush, and – making his first appearance at Perris – Jess Garcia comprised those top four. Cernicky nailed the start from starter Rudy Gil’s watchful eye to lead the pack into turn one. Kolkman dropped in behind in second, with Bush third, and Garcia – who had at first overanticipated Gil and had to start from the back row – running in fourth.
Cernicky really put his head down and was getting away. By lap two, Garcia had briefly made a showing in the second-place position, but on lap three he made a mistake and dropped like a rock back to fourth.
At the front, Cernicky turned a 14.76-second lap, the fastest of the race, while Kolkman and Bush tried to make up the real estate toward the front. Cycle World’s Cernicky was not to be denied, though, and took home $64.50 for each lap of the race he had just won, for a total of $258.
The 65cc final started off the Youth classes. Clayton Williams from Bakersfield, California, made his presence known, despite riding on smooth dirt-track tires (replacing knobbies) for the first time. Williams turned 18.20-second lap times that Frank Flores and Alyssa Flores couldn’t match, so they had to settle for second and third, respectively.
In the 50cc class, after a restart that saw Drake Bondio get the best start he’s ever had (bummer – it was all for naught), Travis Petton IV made his way to the front and never looked back. Toby D’Avignon and Courtney D’Avignon tried to keep him in check; they are talented in their own right, but their mounts seemed to lack the horsepower of Petton’s KTM.
Three riders in the 85cc class all put in sub-18-second laps. Allison Stacey’s 17.14 was the fastest, but Clayton Williams’ 17.24 was close, as was Monica Gil’s 17.82, and that’s exactly how the finished in the main event.
Billy Katkov was on fire in the Men’s Four-Stroke race. Mark Cernicky may have led off the line and through turns one and two, but there was no denying Katkov on this night. Katkov went around Cernicky to take the lead on the outside through turns three and four. Meanwhile, Ian Foulds sat back in third and watched, while Bobby Hill from Ventura, California, ran in fourth. By the second run through turn three, Foulds was showing Cernicky a wheel, but he just couldn’t make a pass stick.
At the front, Katkov left the others’ time zone, turning a 16.42-second lap time. Foulds continued to hound Cernicky, even pulling alongside on the straights, and coming to the white flag he made his move up the inside to take over at second. Cernicky tried to come back at Foulds but lost his drive out of turn two and came up short at the checkered by a bikelength. As for Katkov, he took the victory by more than a full straightaway.
David Molitor got the perfect start in the Super Senior Over 60 main event and lead the field through turns one and two. Vince Graves, who was away in fourth, squared up the corner for a drive down the back straight and shot past Tim Thomas and DeWayne Jones and into second by turn three. Through turns three and four, Thomas also made a move and dropped Jones to fourth as he put his BSA past Jones’ Honda CR500. Exiting turn two for the second time, Graves got another good drive and dislodged Molitor from the lead.
Once out front, Graves turned the fastest lap of the race, at 15.49 seconds, compared to Molitor’s 16.62.
Lap four saw disaster strike Thomas between turns three and four, as he went down, leaving Jim Ottele (who was on a charge after a poor start) with nowhere to go but over the top of Thomas. Thankfully, both riders were all right and both walked away from what could have been a very ugly incident. Nevertheless, this incident still brought out the red flag, stopping the race, as Thomas’ gas tank detached itself from his pristine BSA and was lying 10 feet away, in the middle of the racetrack. The race was called complete, making the finishing order Graves, Molitor and Jones.
At the club level, rarely does one see the determination, drive and intensity demonstrated in such a professional manner as John Kocinski puts in for the Vintage 250-360cc Two-Stroke Expert contest. Not wanting to disappoint his father, Jerry, who was visiting from Arkansas, John shot into the lead right from the start, with Ryan Gifford in second and Jeff Lessley, on the Champion-framed Hodaka, in third. Nick Armstrong ran in fourth, with Jim Wood fifth.
Kocinski immediately began to leave the field behind as he put his Knight-framed Honda through its workout. On lap three, Lessley moved past Gifford, on the only 360cc in the field, for second, and he, too, dropped below the 15-second mark, at 14.96 seconds, in an attempt to keep Kocinski in sight.
On lap four, Kocinski turned the fastest lap of the race – and the entire evening – at 14.34 seconds, tying Jimmy Wood’s overall track record. At the finish, Kocinski won by a full straight over Lessley, with Gifford third, Armstrong fourth and Wood fifth.
The Classic Vintage 500-750 class saw Jeff Apple, on a non-smoking Triumph, lead from pole into turn one. Now that Apple’s oil-burning smoke-screen generator is fixed, the rest of the field can actually see him, and Lenny Rodriguez, Joe Pape and James Kohls all gave chase.
Two laps in, Apple had the lead but was looking at his mount as it began running on one cylinder. This handed the lead to Rodriguez. However, starting from last position but charging through the field on the Dodge Brothers Indian was Kayl Kolkman, who took over the lead at the white flag. Kolkman put the vintage Indian below the 15-second mark en route to taking the victory, over Rodriguez. Kohls was third, with Pape fourth, and Apple – still running on one cylinder but nursing it home – in fifth.
When you think of bombs, you think of war, and that’s what the Bomber class is: a war. Danny Perkins led off the line, but it was all for nothing, as Jim Steet and David Reinhard went down between turns three and four, bringing out the red flag. On the way to restaging, David McNeeley pulled the “Laugh-In” tricycle trick and tipped over; he was more embarrassed than hurt.
On the full restart, Travis Petton II was first into turn one, with Perkins charging hard down the back straight and leading briefly on the outside entering turn three. Jimmy Lundgren ran in third, with McNeeley fourth and Keith Bradford, finding some of his old speed, in fifth.
Exiting turn four, Perkins went wide, handing the lead back to Petton through the barn door that Perkins left open. Through turn two, Perkins showed Petton a wheel, but he couldn’t make the pass. Then, in turn four, coming to start lap four, McNeeley went down once more, along with other riders, which brought out the red flag for the second time.
This time the field was staged for a single-file restart, which would be a white-and-then-checkered-flag race. The field keyed off of Petton for the restart, which he led, with Perkins in tow. Petton stretched his lead to five bikelengths by the finish, while Lundgren made a run at Perkins on the final trip through turn three and came up only a couple of feet short of second at the stripe, finishing third. Bradford was alone in fourth, with Neal Hartman fifth, and Steet besting McNeeley for sixth.
Robert Bush of Acton, California, chose his Triumph to ride in the Vet Over 35 class. In spite of the much heavier machine and the extra effort it requires to manhandle it, Bush had the fastest lap of the race, at 15.78 seconds. Bush led from the start, with Brad Rudy away in second, Ryan Reed third, Gary Williams fourth, and Jeff Apple away in seventh. Going through turn two for the second time, Williams, who had passed Reed for third, almost threw it away, but somehow he saved it, though he dropped back in line in fifth.
With two laps complete, Apple had progressed up to fourth and was closing in on Reed. At the front, Bush was flawless – as he needed to be, because Rudy was five bikelengths back and waiting for a mistake. With a lap remaining, Reed was closing in on Rudy, but he time ran out making the finishing order Bush, Rudy, Reed, Apple, Williams, and Jess Flores.
Lloyd McGregor led Jim Wood through turns one and two in the Senior Vet Over 50 main event. Starting from the back row and entering turn one in 12th position was former National number 37, Jeff “The Jester” Johnson. By the completion of the first lap, Johnson was up to fourth, behind Jim Ottele. Johnson quickly ran up under Ottele to take third. Ottele then almost threw it all away and allowed Larry Earhart past for fourth while he recovered. Next for Johnson was Wood, whom he dived underneath entering turn three while also posting the fastest lap of the race, at 14.88 seconds. (He was the only rider in the class to dip below the 15-second mark.)
Meanwhile, it was looking questionable as to whether or not McGregor’s five-bikelength lead would hold up. Then, as the white flag came out, Wood went down between turns three and four and appeared to be trapped under his bike. On the last lap, Wood was still on the track, trying to be small and out of harm’s way, as McGregor took the victory, over Johnson, with Ottele back into third, over Earhart, and Kyle Lessley working his way forward for a fifth-place finish.
Twelve riders made up the Open Novice main event. Jess Flores led from the start, over Emmy Bush and Andy Williams. Nick Ottele, who was away in sixth, worked his way up to fourth just after the completion of the first lap.
At the front, Flores was gone, making the race a battle for second among Bush, Williams and Ottele. All the while, Pat Madore and Ron Sneed were fighting over fifth.
Flores easily took the checkered flag first, but what was very impressive was how young Emmy withstood the pressure to earn the second podium position, over Williams and Ottele, who threw it on the ground after the checkered flag in his successful attempt to not take Bush out.
In the Open Amateur main, Christian Hickman nailed the start to lead Kyle Lessley and Nick Gil through turn one. Not wanting Hickman to get away at the front, Gil quickly disposed of Lessley, while John Perez moved up to third from his fifth-place start.
With a lap and a half complete, Lessley dropped back yet another position as John Lundgren fought his way into fourth. On lap three, Hickman put in the fastest lap of the race, at 15.33 seconds, as he inched away from Gil. In the end, the finishing order was Hickman, Gil, Perez and Lundgren.
The Pro main event was shortened to 10 laps due to time constraints (a 10 p.m. curfew). Kayl Kolkman, on the Simi Valley Kawasaki, led from pole, with Ian Foulds second, David Bush third and Jon Nunes fourth. On lap two, Foulds, who was running a very high line, left an opening for Bush, which the latter couldn’t resist, and he went past Foulds for second. Seeing this, Nunes followed the move and passed Foulds for third, and in the blink of an eye Foulds found himself in fourth. Mark Cernicky, coming from a midpack start, was now knocking on Foulds’ back door.
Meanwhile, Kolkman, with a clear track ahead of him, turned his fastest lap of 14.64 seconds. A lap later, Cernicky was up into fourth, having dropped Foulds to fifth. Now Foulds had Jess Garcia and Robert Bush applying pressure.
At the halfway point, Nunes, making a bid for second, tapped the back wheel of David Bush, which stood Nunes up, costing him a few bikelengths.
Out front, Kolkman had a 12-bikelength gap, and he went into cruise mode. With a lap and a half remaining, Foulds found some steam and passed Cernicky to take fourth back, but Cernicky came right back at him and reclaimed fourth across the stripe for the white flag. Foulds was taken out wide in turn one to the wall and then pulled out of the race, making the final tally Kolkman, Bush, Nunes, Cernicky, Garcia, Robert Bush and Brandon Rothell.
The 10 p.m. curfew was met, the awards were handed out after the races, and track preparation started for the next day’s round seven before the clock’s hands had struck 11 p.m.!
Results: July 9, 2011 (Round 6)
YOUTH 50: 1. Travis Petton; 2. Toby D’Avignon; 3. Courtney D’Avignon; 4. Luke Shaffer; 5. Sara Cords; 6. Ava Bush; 7. Ana Bush; 8. Drake Bondio.
YOUTH 65: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. Frank Flores; 3. Alyssa Flores; 4. Travis Petton IV; 5. Noah Bush.
YOUTH 85: 1. Allison Stacey; 2. Clayton Williams; 3. Monica Gil; 4. Frank Flores; 5. Travis Petton; 6. Alyssa Flores; 7. Jaycee Jones.
MEN’S 4-STROKE: 1. Billy Katkov; 2. Ian Foulds; 3. Mark Cernicky; 4. Bobby Hill.
VET 35+: 1. Robert Bush; 2. Brad Rudy; 3. Ryan Reed; 4. Jeff Apple; 5. Gary Williams; 6. Jess Flores; 7. Steve Zoumaras; 8. Rolf Greenhill; 9. Eric Cleveland.
SR NOV 50+: 1. Larkin Wight; 2. Fred Berber; 3. Corey Bauman; 4. Dennis Ackland; 5. Shell Borden.
SR VET 50+: 1. Lloyd McGregor; 2. Jeff Johnson; 3. Jim Ottele; 4. Larry Earhart; 5. Kyle Lessley; 6. Steve Zoumaras; 7. Rolf Greenhill; 8. Ryan Gifford; 9. Jim Wood.
SUPER SR 60+: 1. Vince Graves; 2. David Molitor; 3. DeWayne Jones; 4. Tim Thomas.
PREMIER SR 70+: 1. Allan Girdler; 2. (TIE) Jeff Evans/ Peter Bodette.
CLASSIC VINTAGE 500-750: 1. Kayl Kolkman; 2. Lenny Rodriguez; 3. James Kohls; 4. Joe Pape; 5. Jeff Apple; 6. Johnny McClune; 7. Tommy Koff.
VINTAGE 250 2-STROKE NOV: 1. Steele Friedrich; 2. Michael Fritz.
VINTAGE 250 2-STROKE EX: 1. John Kocinski; 2. Jeff Lessley; 3. Jim Wood; 4. Nick Armstrong.
VINTAGE 360 2-STROKE NOV: 1. Gary Lane; 2. Rick Logan; 3. Monte Roberts.
VINTAGE 360 2-STROKE EX: 1. Ryan Gifford.
VINTAGE 750: 1. Shannon Adams; 2. Jim Ottele.
BOMBER: 1. Travis Petton; 2. Danny Perkins; 3. Jim Lundgren; 4. Keith Bradford; 5. Neal Hartman; 6. Jim Steet; 7. David McNeely; 8. Bobby Hill; 9. David Reinhard.
OPEN NOV: 1. Jess Flores; 2. Emmy Bush; 3. Andy Williams; 4. Nick Ottele; 5. Pat Madore; 6. Ron Sneed; 7. Allison Stacey; 8. John Tinsley; 9. Tim Vaughn; 10. Eric Cleveland; 11. Corey Bauman.
OPEN AM A MAIN: 1. Christian Hickman; 2. Nick Gil; 3. John Perez; 4. Jim Lundgren; 5. Kyle Lessley; 6. Dennis Royle; 7. Joel Kath; 8. Roy Vaughn; 9. Steve Zoumaras.
OPEN AM B MAIN: 1. David McNeeley; 2. Austin Williams; 3. Greg Pitts; 4. Mark Prentice; 5. Michael Wilson; 6. Harley Legowski.
PRO: 1. Kayl Kolkman; 2. David Bush; 3. Jon Nunes; 4. Mark Cernicky; 5. Jess Garcia; 6. Robert Bush; 7. Brandon Rothell; 8. Frank Garcia; 9. Ian Foulds.
DASH FOR CASH: 1. Mark Cernicky; 2. Kayl Kolkman; 3. David Bush; 4. Jess Garcia.
For more photos from this event, check out “Dateline Perris: Preview of Rounds Six and Seven,” and stay tuned for full race coverage, results and yet more photos from round seven of Southern California Flat Track Association action… Editor