Impact Canopy

Mees Tops West Coast Dirt Track Opener

| 5 May 2014 11:15 pm

Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Dirt Track Series
Round 1: Walt James Stadium at Willow Springs International Raceway

Story and Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
ROSAMOND, CA, APR. 27, 2014

The regular West Coast Dirt Track Series riders know what to expect when they roll up to ride the Willow Springs track: a smooth, cushioned racing surface watered throughout the day; fast, banked turns; and a lot of fun! Gary Ritchie works his magic with the blade before, after and between racing his motorcycle, preparing the track surface, still grading in his riding gear when the riders arrive and leave. The not-so-welcome surprise on this weekend was some really strong wind and a serious chill on Saturday. On Sunday, the wind calmed down just before racing started, and the sun warmed the air. Spectators and riders alike enjoyed a day of fast, competitive racing.

The pits at Willow Springs’ Walt James Stadium, as seen from the track.

The pits at Willow Springs’ Walt James Stadium, as seen from the track.

Walking the pits at Willow is a visual extravaganza. Vintage motorcycles more than 50 years old are pitted side by side with new, modern ones and big, fast ones! Past champions, Hollywood stuntmen, racers, and lifelong dirt-track fans mingle among the younger generations, all sharing their passion for racing. It’s quite a family atmosphere!

The pits at Willow Springs’ Walt James Stadium, as seen from the pits.

The pits at Willow Springs’ Walt James Stadium, as seen from the pits.

Willow Springs employs absolutely the best catering “roach coach.” From the breakfast burritos to their veggie burgers, their food is hard to beat.

Also in the pits on this day were two lovely ladies from Herb-X, Katryn and Margaret, offering two-minute massages using X-Jow Pain Gel to anyone who asked. At the end of the day, a raffle awarded free gifts: a 20-minute massage and a tube of the X-Jow Pain gel they had donated. The made-in-the-USA X-Jow Chinese herbal pain gel really does work to relieve pain!

A whole bunch of youngsters showed up to make a class of eight on the grid for the Coventry Spares 60/80cc combined competition. At the age of 7, young Zaden Florez is so small that he falls over with his 85cc bike on the start line without help to hold his bike up. The youngster to beat on this day was Grant Holmes, who got off the line in front in the heat race and just kept going, easily leading the pack to the finish.

Holmes once again got the holeshot in the main, but Jacob Cascio wasted no time overtaking him on the second lap for the win – his first win in this class. Florez had a rough start off the line but ended up rounding out the podium by finishing third.

Jacob Cascio (103M) and Grant Holmes (7X) battle in the Youth 80cc division.

Jacob Cascio (103M) and Grant Holmes (7X) battle in the Youth 80cc division.

Longtime West Coast Dirt Track Series rider Kenny Thiebaud, aboard a beautiful 1970 Triumph 750, took the Penton Race Products Senior Vintage class from pole to pole. The youngest bikes in this class were built in 1974: a Bultaco ridden by Tim Skov and a Honda XL ridden by Ron Lessley. Jim Ottele finished second on a 1971 Shell Yamaha, and David Krohn piloted his 1970 Triumph 750 into the third position at the finish.

Kenny Thiebaud (64) leads Jim Ottele (58) in Senior Vintage action.

Kenny Thiebaud (64) leads Jim Ottele (58) in Senior Vintage action.

Seven riders took their places at the start of the Motion Pro Vet A main. Donnie Howard got the holeshot and maintained his lead to the finish. Behind him, Jack Jones and John Lundgren diced side by side, competing for the second spot. Jones completed the pass under Lundgren on the fourth lap to finish second. Rob Bush and Jim Rosa followed Jones past Lundgren, finishing third and fourth, respectively. Lundgren finished fifth.

Donnie Howard (4) stayed in front from wire to wire in the Vet A main event.

Donnie Howard (4) stayed in front from wire to wire in the Vet A main event.

Jones returned to the track to ride the 500cc Support class in front from start to finish.

Jack Jones (11J) leads Jim Lundgren (70), Jeff Gonzales (84J) and Rick Reed (59Y) in the 500cc Support main event.

Jack Jones (11J) leads Jim Lundgren (70), Jeff Gonzales (84J) and Rick Reed (59Y) in the 500cc Support main event.

Tom Horton proudly displays his stable of iron horses, which always look pristine at the start of race day. Horton led the Barnett Clutches and Cables Classic 500/750cc class home aboard his 1967 Triumph 500, in front of Steve Craft, mounted on his 1957 Harley KR750. Cary Tanner earned the third-place medal, riding a Haney T 100 Triumph 500.

Later in the day, Horton suffered a hard high-side crash. At last report, Tom was asking about his bike and was on the road to recovery. Will Ott took the checkers in the Modern 250cc contest. Jim Lundgren won the Modern 500cc class, while Donnie Howard earned the top award in the Modern 750cc class, aboard Cary Tanner’s bike.
[For more on Horton, please see “Hospital Stop for Tom Horton” after the results in this story… Editor]

Tanner also scored his first series win, topping the Coventry Spares Senior Novice/ Super Senior main. He was followed by Tim Watters in second and 2013 class champion Herb Wolff in third.

Cary Tanner (79X) took his first-ever West Coast Dirt Track Series victory, in the Senior Novice/ Super Senior main event.

Cary Tanner (79X) took his first-ever West Coast Dirt Track Series victory, in the Senior Novice/ Super Senior main event.

Jim Ottele was back on the track to win the Rod Lake Racing Senior Open main. Bill Kolkman and Larry Earhart battled through all six laps, turn after turn, for the second spot. Earhart held Kolkman off until the final lap, when Kolkman finally found the opening he needed to make the pass for a second-place finish. Earhart finished third.

Young Clay Williams was hot on the gas on this day, winning both the 250cc Open main and the Open Amateur main. Williams was also a force to be contended with at the 2013 Willow Springs finals. Brandon Green from Edmonds, Washington, was turning heads in the 250cc Open contest, outriding Jace Callison to finish second. Callison completed the rostrum, earning a third-place finish.

Out-of-state rider Brandon Green was runner-up in the 250cc Open main.

Out-of-state rider Brandon Green was runner-up in the 250cc Open main.

Callison returned to ride the Open Amateur main and finished it in second, behind Williams and in front of Brandon Watters.

Clayton Williams (95) was top dog in both the 250cc Open and Open Amateur fields.

Clayton Williams (95) was top dog in both the 250cc Open and Open Amateur fields.

Six riders lined up for the Specialty Fabrications Inc. Dash For Cash. With a $7,500 purse at stake, tension was high. Longtime starter for the West Coast Dirt Track Series Fred Allen had his work cut out for him, as crashes brought out the red flag twice for full restarts. At the final start, five riders remained.

On the third attempt at the Dash For Cash, the now-five-rider field hits the first turn.

On the third attempt at the Dash For Cash, the now-five-rider field hits the first turn.

Sammy Halbert is all about winning, and on this day he led the pack to the bank. Passing the hat during the riders’ meeting and a generous donation from Jerry Kennedy of Kennedy Trucking increased the Dash For Cash purse by an additional $1,500!

Sammy Halbert (7) passes Jared Mees (9) en route to the Dash For Cash victory.

Sammy Halbert (7) passes Jared Mees (9) en route to the Dash For Cash victory.

The $10,000 Digger Helm Open Pro main brings out some of the nation’s top Grand National and Pro riders. Additional cash bonuses for the rider in front at the halfway point and one for the winner were also provided by Ramspur Winery’s Terry Otton and Mark Zimmerman, adding a little more sweetness to the ride.

The 13 riders in the final race of the day were ready on the line. “Big Fred” threw the flag, and Jared Mees got the holeshot. Sammy Halbert was on the throttle, hot on Mees’ back wheel.

Jared Mees (9) leads Sammy Halbert (7) and Briar Bauman (66V) in the Open Pro main event.

Jared Mees (9) leads Sammy Halbert (7) and Briar Bauman (66V) in the Open Pro main event.

Coming out of turn two, Halbert gained ground, passing Mees on the back straight to lead the pack. Halbert put a couple of bikelengths between himself and Mees; then Mees closed the gap; and then Halbert reopened it several more times through lap eight.

With two laps to go to the bonus, Mees closed the gap and got under Halbert for the lead – and the Ramspur Winery $1,000 bonus. Mees then pulled away, and Halbert, unable to catch him, finished second. Briar Bauman rode all 20 laps in the third spot, in front of Kayl Kolkman.

Jared Mees (9) retook the lead just before halfway and then held to the finish for the victory.

Jared Mees (9) retook the lead just before halfway and then held it to the finish for the victory.

Jared Mees (9) topped the Open Pro ranks, followed by runner-up Sammy Halbert (7) and third-place finisher Briar Bauman (66V).

Jared Mees (9) topped the Open Pro ranks, followed by runner-up Sammy Halbert (7) and third-place finisher Briar Bauman (66V).

The riders and the West Coast Dirt Track Series team are grateful, proud and honored to accept the generous donations of the many supporters who donate their gifts, time and money to this series. With their donations, the series is able to continue supporting riders in their quest for victory as they travel the nation to compete, as well as those who come out for fun. Please support our race sponsors that have graciously sponsored our races and supported the series: Ramspur Winery, Motion Pro, Specialty Fabrications, Barnett Clutches, JRC Engineering, Penton Racing Products, C&J Racing Frames, Brown’s Cycles, Maxima Racing Oils K&N Filters,TodaysCycleCoverage.com, S&S Offroad Magazine, Tuff Plates and Works Performance.

The West Coast Dirt Track Series will orchestrate the final two races of the 2014 series on October 4 and 5 at Willow Springs Raceway. With increased prize money, it will surely be the race weekend of the year! Saturday’s Specialty Fabrications Inc. Dash For Cash will be $10,000, and for Sunday’s Championship it will be $15,000 – the largest Dash purse offered to date! For Sunday’s Championship on October 5, the Digger Helm Pro purse will be increased by $5,000, thanks to Terry Otton. Plus, it is a double-points-paying race. This could be the determining race for the winner of the Ramspur Winery $7,500 Pro Point Fund. Don’t miss it!

Walt James Stadium at Willow Springs International Raceway
Rosamond, California
Results: April 27, 2014 (Round 1 of 3)

YOUTH 60: 1. Aidan Bromstead.

YOUTH 80: 1. Jacob Cascio; 2. Grant Homes; 3. Zaden Florez; 4. Tyler Raggio; 5. James Ott; 6. Matthew Ott.

250 OPEN: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. Brandon Green; 3. Jace Callison; 4. Allison Stacey; 5. James Ott; 6. Nolan Reitz; 7. Grant Holmes; 8. Jacee Jones; 9. John Gronek; 10. Tom Horton.

MODERN 250: 1. Will Ott.

MODERN 500: 1. Jim Lundgren; 2. Ron Lessley.

MODERN 750: 1. Donnie Howard; 2. Rob Bush; 3. Tom Horton; 4. Mark LaDue; 5. D-Dan McDougall.

500 SUPPORT: 1. Jack Jones; 2. Jim Lundgren; 3. Rick Reed; 4. Jeff Gonzales; 5. Mark LaDue; 6. Gary Ritchie.

OPEN AM: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. Jace Callison; 3. Bradon Watters; 4. John Tinsley; 5. Allison Stacey; 6. Jim Medlin; 7. Parker Earhart; 8. David Lucas; 9. Beau Thompson; 10. Josh Welch; 11. Brandon Green.

OPEN PRO: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Sammy Halbert; 3. Briar Bauman; 4. Kayl Kolkman; 5. Jethro Halbert; 6. Mike Rush; 7. Nick Armstrong; 8. Shayna Texter; 9. Bronson Bauman; 10. Dominic Colindres; 11. Brandan Bergen; 12. Ajay Hateley; 13. Colt Foster.

DASH FOR CASH: 1. Sammy Halbert; 2. Jared Mees; 3. Briar Bauman; 4. Jethro Halbert; 5. Kayl Kolkman.

VET A MAIN: 1. Donnie Howard; 2. Jack Jones; 3. Rob Bush; 4. Jim Rosa; 5. John Lundgren; 6. David Bush; 7. Will Ott; 8. Tom Horton.

VET B MAIN: 1. Bill Kolkman; 2. James Davis; 3. Curtis Pimental; 4. Brian Harmon; 5. Gary Ritchie; 6. Ron Duarte; 7. Mark La Due; 8. Josh Welch.

SR NOV/SUPER SR: 1. Cary Tanner; 2. Tim Watters; 3. Herb Wolff; 4. D-Dan McDougall; 5. Rick Villanueva; 6. Alan Hayden;7. Charlie Caspary; 8. Guy Duckett; 9. Ted Hubbard.

SR OPEN: 1. Jim Ottele; 2. Bill Kolkman; 3. Larry Earhart; 4. Jim Medlin; 5. Curtis Pimentel; 6. Greg Powell; 7. Tim Skov; 8. Don Bjornsrud; 9. Kelly Surplice.

SR VINTAGE: 1. Ken Thiebaud; 2. Jim Ottele; 3. David Krohn; 4. Ron Lessley; 5. Steve Craft; 6. Rick Villanueva; 7. Daryl Hambleton; 8. Tim Skov.

CLASSIC 500-750 SV: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Steve Craft; 3. Cary Tanner; 4. Lenny Rodriguez; 5. Joe Pape; 6. James Kohls; 7. Matt Campbell.

Tom Horton (55) high-sided hard and then headed for the hospital.

Tom Horton (55) high-sided hard and then headed for the hospital.

Hospital Stop for Tom Horton
By Bryon Farnsworth, courtesy of Trailblazer News

Tom Horton – motorcycle dealer, racer, and recently inducted Trailblazer Hall of Famer – fell off hard at Eddie Mulder’s really fast three-eighths-mile track at Willow Springs on Sunday, April 27. He has a few broken ribs and is pretty banged up. He is resting at home now.

He was going for the win, as usual, and tangled with another rider going onto the front stretch for the flag.

You can send a card to Tom Horton c/o Palmdale Supercycles, 38910 Carriage Way, Palmdale, CA 93551.

Everyone wishes him a quick recovery.

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Category: Dirt Track, National, Regional, Vintage, Vintage Dirt Track

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