Sandbox Grand Prix
Fernley Lions’ Motocross Track
Story and Photos by Dan McGee
FERNLEY, NV, MAR. 15-16, 2014
The Sand Box Grand Prix, held at the Fernley Lions’ Motocross Track, is all about having fun. No points or money are at stake, only the bragging rights that come from this once-a-year event.
The GP began three years ago and has grown ever since, as it pits motocross riders against desert racers. Both MRANN and the local Over The Hill Gang chapter combine forces to stage the event. And the course is changed to use both the west and east courses, so a lap is just under four miles long.
The highpoint of the weekend is Sunday’s big-bike team race that draws extra riders. While a team of Expert riders led the event almost from the start, a two-rider Intermediate team was able to overcome a time disadvantage to claim the overall victory.
“Me and my partner Ethan Hoffman talked about doing this last week, came out here, and started off pretty good,” said Drake Evans. “Ethan took off with a dead-last start, I believe, [and he] fell down a couple of times, so we worked our way through the pack.”
Riders start in lines determined by their experience, so the Experts and Pros start first, followed 30 seconds later by the Intermediates. So Hoffman and Evans not only had to beat everyone in their own group but also had to overcome that 30-second time difference.
At first, both of them were just having fun, but around the halfway point of the two-hour contest, they started to focus and make a charge toward the front.
“We realized we were pretty close, so towards the end, we started closing the gap,” Evans said. “Ethan ended up falling again, and I had to make up some time. But overall we had a lot of fun and came out with the win.”
“Worst start of my life,” Hoffman said when asked about the race. “Caught the pack, then fell twice in the first lap, so we had to make up some time, and we killed it! I had no idea about the time, as we were going for the win and going to try to pass them.”
The contest had a couple of interesting aspects to it. One of them is that the teams choose to use creative names. For Evans and Hoffman, it was “Team Adultfriendfinder,” while the second-placed trio was called “Team Buck Wild.”
Another part of the team race was the requirement that the rider on course had to wear a scrunchie on his wrist or arm. Each contestant does one lap, pits, then exchanges the scrunchie with the next rider going on course. And some of the hand offs were humorous, to say the least.
When the race began, it appeared to be a battle between Team Buck Wild and Team DPO/Armpump. But after the second lap, Team Buck Wild took the point, and was never headed.
Once in command, it appeared things were going their way, but behind them, they didn’t realize just how much time the determined duo of Evans and Hoffman were making up.
Riding Buck Wild’s anchor lap was Bryce Olson from Truckee, California.
“It was all right,” Olson said. “Just played it cautious, as I had a little bit of a lead. And I’d like to thank Layne Kolbet [the OTHG president] for putting on this event.”
His teammate Justin Lydick added, “It wasn’t too bad.”
Then Billy Adams, who’d raced the opening lap, said: “It was good – just tried to keep the lead and a gap on second. The track was super smooth, as they prepped it good.”
Despite not winning the overall victory, the Buck Wild riders took home the Pro/Expert-class title.
One hitch in the day came from a morning wreck on I-80 that caused several riders to arrive later than they’d expected. Once he found out what was happening, OTHG president Kolbet pushed the schedule back an hour so the preliminary 45-minute-long races could start with all their riders.
The Beginners went first, with 16-yer-old Jessie Mulock taking the point and appearing to run away with it. Colton Crist gave chase, and in the final 15 minutes he appeared to have taken the lead. Now it was Mulock’s turn to chase, and he caught Crist on the final section to claim the victory.
“I just got tired in the middle and had to take a break and let my arms relax,” Mulock said after taking the checkered flag and catching his breath. “I need to thank my dad and all my friends. That was awesome!”
Next up were the Veterans, who ranged from over 30 to 60 years old. Mark Lane, who sits at the top of the age ladder, won the Over 60 class, while Kevin Truax was the Over 50 Open/Expert winner.
Since similar classes in desert racing and motocross use different names, the races would combine two similar classes.
Young Veteran Jeff Simas topped the Over 30 Open/Expert division.
“It was a lot of fun,” Simas said. “I’ve been training really hard. My bike’s working great. Got to thank Reno KTM, Öhlins Suspension, Virus Action Sports, Tech One Designs, X Brand Goggles and grips. I strictly run motocross, and I try to train for long motos. That’s kind of what I’ve always been good at – keeping a solid pace for 30 plus – so it’s something I really worked hard on.”
Zane Roberts won the Junior/Amateur event, finishing almost a minute ahead of Ean McElroy.
“I got out in the lead pretty early, gapped them, and just rode my own race from there on,” Roberts said. “I raced desert when I was younger, but I do motocross now.”
The last race before the team event was for the Expert and Pro riders. Billy Adams won the overall and the Open Expert class, while Drake Evans topped the 250cc Intermediates and Ethan Hoffman won the 450cc Intermediate contest – a preview of what was to come in the team race.
“It was super fun,” Adams said after taking the checkered flag. “Track’s getting rough, but I like it. And I need to thank my dad for getting me here, O’Neil, X Brand Goggles, Factory Connection Suspension, and Mike Handlebars.”
All in all, it was a good day of fast, fun racing. And the medics had very little to do, as almost everyone stayed upright during their races.
Saturday was reserved for the Pee Wee racers and the Minibike, Women and Bomber riders.
Chase Cannizzaro won the Pee Wee event, with Ryder Tomaselli second.
The other three groups were combined into one race, with Dallas Serpa taking the overall victory. Elysia Ulrich, who finished sixth, won the Women’s class, while the Bomber winner was Gary Moore.
Sandbox Grand Prix at the Fernley Lions’ Motocross Track
Results: March 15-16, 2014
Saturday, March 15
PEE WEE OVERALL: 1. Chase Cannizzaro; 2. Ryder Tomaselli Jr.; 3. Henry Gunner; 4. Tristan Morrice; 5. Jordan Maas; 6. Ollie Bonner; 7. Connor Gaarenstroom; 8. Tanner Ines; 9. Tony Braun; 10 Brooke Davis.
BEG/NOV (0-6): 1. Henry Gunner; 2. Jordan Maas; 3. Ollie Bonner; 4.Connor Gaarenstroom; 5. Tanner Ines.
JR/AM (7-9): 1. Ryder Tomaselli; 2. Christa Ponsock.
65 BEG/NOV: 1. Chase Cannizzaro; 2.Tristan Morrice; 3. Tony Braun; 4. Brooke Davis; 5. Maddison Booth.
MINI/WOMEN/BOMBER OVERALL: 1. Dallas Serpa; 2. Kody Gray; 3. Shane Van Damme; 4. Sean Dingley; 5. Elysia Ulrich; 6. Jaxon Pokorny; 7. Jonas Thissen; 8. Gary Moore; 9. Ezra Belingheri; 10. Ryder Schwartz.
65 JR/AM: 1. Carrie Ingram.
65 INT: 1. Ryder Schwartz.
100 BEG/NOV: 1. Shane Van Damme; 2. Jaxon Pokorny; 3. Ezra Belingheri; 4. Ripley Shakespeare; 5. Wyatt Wilson.
100 JR/AM: 1. Dallas Serpa; 2. Kody Gray; 3. Sean Dingley; 4. Kurtis Grey.
100 OPEN/EX: 1. Jonas Thissen.
WOMEN BEG/NOV: 1. Raven Hyatt; 2. Ross Amanda; 3. Denise Schwartz; 4. Jenni Dawson.
WOMEN EX: 1. Elysia Ulrich.
BOMBER: 1. Gary Moore; 2. Ted Elswick.
VINTAGE: 1. Tom Muto; 2. Ed Dolan.
MINIBIKE TEAM RACE OVERALL: 1. CMS; 2. Van Damme; 3. JGR Tahoe; 4. Fine Line; 5. Cannistroom.
TEAM MINI: 1. CMS; 2. Van Damme; 3. JGR Tahoe; 4. Cannistroom; 5. Erlich.
TEAM WOMEN: 1.Ross & Schwartz.
TEAM VINTAGE/BOMBER: 1. Gary Moore.
Sunday, March 16
30+/40+/50+/60+ OVERALL: 1. Jon Remien; 2. Jeff Simas; 3. Kevin De Carli; 4. Dean Wilcox; 5. Marcus Gentry.
30+ BEG/NOV: 1. Darin Bourgeois; 2. Jason Ines.
30+ JR/AM: 1. William Soderquist; 2. Chuck Cavins; 3. Jon Remien; 4. Casey Eckley; 5. Jeremy Rials.
30+ OPEN/EX: 1. Jeff Simas; 2. Kevin De Carli; 3. Dean Wilcox; 4. Matt Manka; 5. Caz Przygaya.
40+ BEG/NOV: 1. Keith Serpa; 2. Eric Stanger; 3. Frank Leonardi; 4. Jerry Di Maggio; 5. John Heldman.
40+ JR/AM: 1. Brent Lyman; 2. Curt Crandall; 3. Jamie Bonner; 4. Chris Cross; 5. Chris Gaarenstroom.
40+ INT: 1. Steve De Carli; 2. A.J. Turnage; 3. Layne Kolbet; 4. Robert Austin; 5. Chris Dyer.
40+ OPEN/EX: 1. Marcus Gentry; 2. Tony Fagundes; 3. Pete Cannizzaro; 4. Josh Thomaselli; 5. Chris Ponsock.
50+ BEG/NOV: 1. Steven Morgan; 2. Christina Ellis.
50+ JR/AM: 1. Mike Fillmore.
50+ INT: 1. Bret Eckert; 2. Jay Heying; 3. Mike Torres.
50+ OPEN/EX: 1. Kevin Truax; 2. Michael Smith; 3. Mike Kenney; 4. Michael Butler.
60+: 1. Mark Lane; 2. Kerry Barnes; 3. Pete Prichard; 4. Ted Griffen.
BEG/NOV OVERALL: 1. Jessie Mulock, 2. Colton Crist, 3. Avery Dyrr, 4. Layne Hornback, 5. Tyler Gunn.
200 BEG/NOV: 1. Jessie Mulock; 2. Colton Crist; 3. Tyler Gunn; 4. Brian Hosang.
250 BEG/NOV: 1. Avery Dyrr; 2. Layne Hornback; 3. Tyler J. Rials; 4. Kiegan McIntier; 5. Chris Dufrejne.
450 BEG/NOV: 1. Leham Hemmack; 2. Adam Pavlu; 3. Jake Dellavedava; 4. Michael Hildebrandt.
JR/AM OVERALL: 1. Zane Robert; 2. Ean McElroy; 3. Chris McPartlin; 4. Austin Serpa; 5. Dylan Evans.
200 JR/AM: 1. Austin Serpa.
250 JR/AM: 1. Zane Robert; 2. Chris McPartlin; 3. Skylar Mattison; 4. Jonathan Sawyer; 5. Tyler Law.
450 JR/AM: 1. Ean McElroy; 2. Dylan Evans; 3. Ed Seller; 4. Chris McEvan; 5. Dustin Dziminski.
INT/EX OVERALL: 1. Billy Adams; 2. Drake Evans; 3. Jeff Simas; 4. Ethan Hoffman; 5. Ryan Manka.
200 OPEN/EX: 1. Jeff Simas.
450 OPEN/EX: 1. Billy Adams; 2. Ryan Manka; 3. Jonathan Agers; 4. Brody Honea; 5. C.J. Crandall.
250 INT: 1. Drake Evans; 2. Auggie Roefer; 3. Kyle Mason.
450 INT: 1. Ethan Hoffman; 2. Zach Zito; 3. Josh Thomaselli.
TEAM RACE OVERALL: 1. Team Adultfriendfinder; 2. Team Buck Wild; 3. Team DPO/ Armpump; 4. Team Mooseknucklers; 5. Team Manha.
TEAM BEG/NOV: 1. Peach Fuzz Posse; 2. Turtle Tracks; 3. I Don’t Know; 4. Hornback; 5. DH2.
TEAM JR/AM: 1. CMS; 2. Whiskey Time; 3. Dora’s Explorers; 4. Dirty Dot; 5. GP Tech.
TEAM INT: 1. Adultfriendfinder; 2. Jeff Gordon; 3. Hell Yeah; 4. DT Yonda; 5. Techone Designs.
TEAM EX/PRO: 1. Buck Wild; 2. DPO/ Armpump; 3. Mooseknucklers; 4. Manha; 5. Your Mom’s Favorite.