Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series
Round 4: Willow Springs International Raceway
Story by Karen Gould
Photos by Karen Gould/CheckeredFlagPhotography and David N. Haughs
ROSAMOND, CA, OCT. 19, 2013
The final two rounds of Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Dirt Track Series began early Saturday morning, October 19, at Walt James Stadium at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California. The weather for Saturday’s race was extraordinarily beautiful. Upon arrival at the track, it was cool – sweatshirt temperatures. As the day progressed, the weather warmed into the mid-80s, with no wind.
The event is made possible by many sponsors and supporters of the West Coast Dirt Track Series, including Digger Helm, the Zimmerman brothers, Triumph of America, Rod Lake, www.TodaysCycleCoverage.com and S&S Offroad Magazine (which bring news of the WCDTS events out to the public), Penton Race Products, Brown’s Cycles, Maxima Racing Oils, Works Performance, Coventry Spares, Tuff Plates, K&N, Barnett Clutches and Cables, JRC Engineering, and more. At each event, there are water bottles, hats, T-shirts and other goodies, all provided by the sponsors and shared with the riders during the awards ceremony.
Also, kudos go to the catering truck: One guy taking orders, one guy cooking, and these guys offered participants and spectators food all day, starting with breakfast burritos in the morning. Best track food ever: grilled chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, French fries made of real potatoes, and veggie burgers for those who don’t eat meat, and all the fixin’s to go with each choice!
The track was perfectly groomed and well watered. A three-eighths-mile, banked cushion prepared by Danny Richie was enjoyed by riders young and not so young, with classes for riders of 60cc machines up to those in the Super Senior Vintage class. Riders traveled from Canada, Michigan, Washington, and all over the United States to spend the weekend competing on this awesome racetrack. This event only happens twice a year: once in spring and once in the fall.
The West Coast Dirt Track Series crew was on site at 7:30 a.m. to be ready for the riders who were eager to get signed in, set up, and run through tech for the 10 a.m. practice session. The riders’ meeting informed the riders of the usual rules, postings and laps, and also provided information about the series’ sponsors and where to buy tires at the track, and also introduced some of the Pro riders in the house: Brad Baker, the new 2013 Grand National Champion; Jared Mees; Sammy Halbert; Mikey Rush; Shayna Texter; Rob Pearson; Brandon Bergen; the Bauman brothers, and more. Only one mystery remained: Where were all the spectators who missed out on this day of Pro racing at half the cost of attending a National?
Racing began with the Senior Vintage class, which had eight riders on the line. Brothers Ron and Jeff Lessley finished one and two, followed by David Krohn.
The Vet class included 10 riders, lined up in two rows. Jeff Johnson took the lead from the green to the checkers. Behind him, Tom Horton held the second spot for the first lap, but he left the race with a mechanical difficulty on lap two. Donnie Howard easily took over the second position, and Jack Jones rounded out the podium.
In the Super Senior combined class, Herb Wolf, Lawrence Bertrand and “D-dan” McDougall rode all six laps in that order. McDougall and Bertrand had driven all the way from Calgary, Canada, to ride the Willow weekend, enjoying some desert riding on their way.
Grant Holmes, riding his Kawasaki 65, led Jacob Cascio, who was also aboard a Kawi 65, for six laps of the 65cc main event, finishing first.
Chris Rudy got the holeshot in the combined Classic 500cc and 750cc main event, in front of Tom Horton. Rudy rode hard to maintain that front position aboard his 1962 Harley-Davidson 750 for the first two laps, but Horton, piloting a Triumph 500, got under Rudy on lap three to finish first. Behind them, Steve Craft, riding a 1957 Harley KR750, was on the move, using five laps to take the third spot from Cary Tanner and his Mike Haney Triumph T500.
Clayton Williams was giving lessons aboard his Honda CR85, showing the class of seven 85cc riders the fast way around this cushion track. Williams rode all six laps far out front, but Michael Hill worked the track and his Honda 85 to maintain his second position. Grant Holmes was no slacker, finishing third.
Jeff Lesley was back on the track aboard a 1976 Hodaka 250 to ride the Modern 250cc contest. Lesley got the holeshot, but Will Ott, riding a 1975 Yamaha YZ250, was not having it, and he took the lead on lap four. Mark Davis brought up the rear on his 1980 Boss Honda 250.
Jim Lundgren and Steve Craft finished lap one of the Modern 500 event in front. Ron Lessley got around Craft on lap two. This one finished as Lundgren, Lessley, Craft and Gary Swan.
Nine riders lined up for the 250cc Open main. Brandon Green was in it to win it, sliding through the turns and tucking on the straights and putting some ground between himself and his competitors. Clayton Williams finished lap one in fifth and lap two in third, and worked hard on Nolan Reitz, turn to turn through the fifth lap, and he finally took the second spot on the final lap. Reitz finished third.
The 500cc Support class gave Jack Jones his chance to shine. Always a popular class, this one had 12 riders lined up on the grid. When Fred Allen threw the green flag, Jones and Steve Nichols took the front two spots, settling in and riding in first and second for all six laps. Third place changed three times, and at the finish it was Paul Herman taking third and Jim Lundgren in fourth.
David Jorgensen got the holeshot and held the lead through lap three of the Open Amateur main, but Brandon Green, who traveled from Edmonds, Washington, was on his back wheel, finally overtaking Jorgensen on lap four. Allison Stacey, who has stepped up her game during the 2013 season, completed all six laps in third. Brandon Watters finished fourth.
You know that time has moved on when you’re writing about the Senior Open main and the riders are Jeff Johnson and Donnie Howard. After battling in the Vet class earlier in the day, they were ready for this one. Off the line, it was Johnson in front, followed by Howard and Lloyd McGregor. Howard was working to catch Johnson, and then Johnson made it easy by leaving the race with a mechanical gremlin on lap four. Howard slipped into the lead, followed to the line by McGregor and John Lundgren.
Jared Mees, Briar Bauman, Sammy Halbert, Mikey Rush, Kayl Kolkman and Shayna Texter all lined up for the five-lap Specialty Fabrications Inc. $5,000 Dash For Cash. Bauman got the holeshot, with Halbert right on his rear wheel. Mees was third, followed by Rush. Halbert and Bauman rode side by side down the back straight on laps two and three, changed places for the lead on lap four, and Halbert finally made the pass stick for the money on the final lap.
Seven riders gave it their all in the Open Pro semi. Robert Pearson, Briar Bauman and Austin Helmholtz finished one, two, three, each earning a place in the 15-rider Digger Helm Open Pro event.
For the Open Pro main, on the front row were Bauman, Mees, Halbert, Kolkman, Texter and Rush, and they all had their eyes on Digger’s $8,000 purse. Kolkman took the lead off the line, flanked on either side by Halbert and Mees. Entering turn one, Mees was in front, with Kolkman, Halbert and Bauman following. Baker was in fifth.
Halbert got the lead, but then his bike’s engine blew, allowing Mees to go into the second lap in front, followed by Baker, Bauman and Kolkman, following a battle on the back stretch between Baker and Bauman.
Mees, Baker, Bauman and Kolkman rode the remaining laps in that order to the finish. Rush finished fifth, followed by Texter and Pearson.
As always, the day ended with awards and a beer, with goodies, gifts and money going to the riders and a wonderful celebration of the season for the Mulder crew at a local Mexican restaurant.
Eddie and Jodi Mulder and their crew gave a huge thank-you to the riders, sponsors, supporters and fans who came out to help make this another great day of racing!
Walt James Stadium at Willow Springs International Raceway
Results: October 19, 2013 (Round 4 of 5)
SR VINTAGE: 1. Jeff Lessley; 2. Ron Lessley; 3. David Krohn; 4. Steve Craft; 5. David Ehrhart; 6. Tim Watters; 7. Lawrence Bertrand; 8. D-dan McDougall.
SR NOV: 1. Herb Wolff; 2. Lawrence Bertrand; 3. D-dan McDougall; 4. Fred Berger; 5. Wayne Sumner; 6. Alan Hayden; 7. William Morgan; 8. Ted Hubbard; 9. Charles Caspary.
YOUTH 65: 1. Grant Holmes; 2. Jacob Cascio.
CLASSIC 500/750 SV: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Chris Rudy; 3. Steve Craft; 4. Cary Tanner; 5. James Kohls; 6. Matt Campbell.
VET: 1. Jeff Johnson; 2. Donnie Howard; 3. Jack Jones; 4. Robert Bush; 5. Larry Earhart; 6. John Lundgren; 7. Will Ott; 8. Brandon Watters; 9. Gary Ritchie; 10. Ron Buccieri; 11. Tom Horton.
DINOSAUR: 1. Mark LaDue.
CLASSIC 250: 1. Fred Berger.
YOUTH 80: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. Michael Hill; 3. Grant Holmes; 4. Tanner Dean; 5. Jacob Cascio; 6. Noah Bush; 7. Jessy Krohn.
250 OPEN: 1. Brandon Green; 2. Clayton Williams; 3. Nolan Reitz; 4. Evan Hill; 5. Jace Callison; 6. Sean Heeney; 7. Michael Hill; 8. Tanner Dean; 9. Jaycee Jones; 10. Allison Stacey.
MODERN 250: 1. Will Ott; 2. Jeff Lessley; 3. Mark Davis; 4. Tom Horton.
MODERN 500: 1. Jim Lundgren; 2. Ron Lessley; 3. Steve Craft; 4. Gary Swan.
MODERN 750: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Dylan Morin; 3. Robert Bush; 4. Lloyd McGregor.
500 SUPPORT: 1. Jack Jones; 2. Steve Nichols; 3. Paul Herman; 4. Jim Lundgren; 5. Jeff Gonzales; 6. Robert Morris; 7. Gary Ritchie; 8. Cary Tanner; 9. Mark LaDue; 10. Mike Fowler; 11. Justin Barnett; 12. Jay Grosvenor.
OPEN AM: 1. Brandon Green; 2. David Jorgensen; 3. Allison Stacey; 4. Brandon Watters; 5. Casey Cahoon; 6. Jace Callison; 7. Evan Hill; 8. Parker Earhart; 9. Dillon Allen; 10. Sean Heeney.
SR OPEN: 1. Donnie Howard; 2. Lloyd McGregor; 3. John Lundgren; 4. Robert Morris; 5. Larry Earhart; 6. Donnie Darrah; 7. Greg Powell; 8. Mike Boal; 9. Mike Fowler; 10. Jeff Johnson; 11. Steve Nichols.
OPEN PRO: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Brad Baker; 3. Briar Bauman; 4. Kayl Kolkman; 5. Mikey Rush; 6. Shayna Texter; 7. Robert Pearson; 8. Michael Martin; 9. Dylan Morin; 10. Brandon Bergen; 11. Nick Armstrong.
[Watch for race coverage from Day Two of the West Coast Dirt Track Series Finals to be posted soon... Editor]