District 37 Racing
Shamrocks Motorcycle Club Desert Scrambles at Stoddard Wells OHV Area
By Ben Meza
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
BARSTOW, CA, SEPT. 27-28, 2014
Race Report by Ben Meza
We all get into racing dirt bikes for the same reason – to pull chicks, right? I actually think it’s just the love of the sport that keeps me going. My favorite thing is when you just get into an effortless flow, going fast using minimal effort. One of my favorite bikes has to be my Fasst Co.-controlled 125SX. So this weekend, I decided that would be my weapon of choice for Saturday’s Dual Euro Scrambles.
This race was being held in my hometown OHV area, Stoddard Wells. I was super excited, knowing the majority of the terrain. The rocky, technical conditions play into my riding style.
My first race was Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Having not raced the 125 in a while, I was pretty nervous. My girlfriend Paige came with me this weekend, so she helped get everything ready and made sure that all I had to do was focus on racing.
The first start went awesome! I got a great jump and rang the little orange machine into the top four, right behind my 125cc competitor, Dalton Shirey. I put the pressure on but felt my bike sliding from side to side. I knew that feeling – my rear Bib Mousse had disintegrated under me. With the fear of destroying a rim in my mind, I put it on cruise control, riding as smooth as possible. I rode my way to a third in the 125cc A class and seventh overall – not the ride I wanted, but a solid ride nonetheless.
The second race, at 3:30 later that day, was a completely different story. Directly after race one, I called up my dad and asked him to bring me a new wheel. He showed up and I got to work dialing in my bike! Soon 3 o’clock came around and I cruised over to the start.
My Blais Racing-powered 125 fired right up off the start, but unfortunately the bigger bikes pulled me on the uphill start and put me in a terrible position. I instantly went into sprint mode and started picking riders off.
By the second lap, I had gotten into eighth overall and second in class. The more technical loop was playing into my style nicely; I was riding really well, working my way right behind first in class. He was riding a little off the pace, and I quickly closed the gap.
With only a few corners to the finish, I grabbed a handful of throttle, allowing my freshly acquired Kenda Washougal 2 DC to grab some dirt, hurtling me past the current leader to get the checkers and take the class win!
After those two races, I went home to prepare for the next day and what the Desert Scrambles had in store.
My plan for Sunday’s scrambles was to race my 250 NHHA [National Hare & Hound Association] race bike. It was prepped and ready to go when I got the surprise of a lifetime. My team owner, Chris Blais, gave me the offer to race my teammate Skyler Howes’ rocket-ship 300XC! Of course I said yes, and quickly geared up to race! I had checked out a line the previous day on the far right, the opposite side from almost everyone.
It was soon time for the start. I was nervous and excited, and was experiencing a few other emotions as well. Before I knew it, the banner was up.
As racers, we all know this as being the longest minute of our lives. Today was no different. As I stared intently, I saw a slight twitch and fired up the fire-breathing KTM! I quickly realized how Skyler pulls so many holeshots, as I rocketed down the bomb run with no one ahead of me. Right before the bomb ended, Nick Burson came creeping in on me from the right side.
I hopped right behind Nick, knowing he’d have a good pace. I followed him closely until we reached the first valley, where he gapped me a bit. I just decided to try and stay within a minute of the Beta rider. Coming into the first pit, I was informed that I was a mere 70 seconds behind him. Sitting in second overall, I knew I just had to be smooth, and with some luck I’d close the gap.
I could see dust just ahead of me. I kept pushing, loving the bike’s setup, and I felt like I was getting closer.
After 70 miles of fairly uneventful racing, I finished the race only 40 seconds off of Burson! I was so pumped, and this definitely boosted my confidence. Nick and I had checked out from third place and the rest of the field, finishing eight minutes ahead.
I can’t thank Chris Blais enough for allowing me to race his 300, as well as all my family and my girlfriend for supporting me this weekend. I definitely feel a lot more confident about my riding now and can’t wait to get to the last National!
Three races in one weekend isn’t only hard on the body, but also on the bike. I couldn’t do it without all of my sponsors: Blais Racing, ESR, Fasst Co., Dirt Tricks, Troy Lee Designs, KTM USA, Alpinestars, Bullet Proof Designs, A’ME Grips, Fastway, PMB, IMS, BRP, Kenda, Rekluse, HBD Motografx, Asterisk, HBMC, and, most importantly, the Lord for keeping me safe.
[For more from this event, please see “Race Report from the Shamrocks Scrambles, Take Two: Harry Lyles”… Editor]