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The IV League Return of the Del Mar Short Track

| 7 February 2015 4:09 pm

IV League Flat Track
Return to Del Mar: Short Track by the Beach

Story and Photos by Karen Gould/CheckeredFlagPhotos.com
DEL MAR, CA, JAN. 17-18, 2015

From the day the scuttlebutt about the Del Mar Short Track began, the excitement mounted. Those who were around to ride it 12 or more years prior shared their stories with the youngsters. The chatting was electric. And the event itself surpassed all the chatter and excitement that preceded it.

All the while, Brian Bell had been putting his ducks in a row, not knowing what to expect.

The riders’ parade gets under way as Flat Track and Speedway made a historic return to Del Mar.

The riders’ parade gets under way as Flat Track and Speedway made a historic return to Del Mar.

Bell grew up as the only child of a single mom on the outskirts of Orange County, California. He wasn’t allowed to ride motorcycles as a youngster. His admiration for and excitement about the sport gained momentum as he grew up, and he rode his first motorcycle as a young adult, when he was having a “fun weekend with the boys.” He went with the guys to a party and left in love, and a very short time later acquired his first two-wheeled lover and attended his first races as a competitor.

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What Bell noticed immediately upon his introduction to flat track was that there were lots of guys there in the 35-year-old age range and lots in the less-than-20-year-old age range, and that there was a huge hole with few riders in between. This set the stage for him to encourage others his age to get involved in the sport.

“The adventure began in 2012,” Bell recounted, “when my job forced me to a place where activity was lethargic, but motorcycles were plentiful. A place where a half-mile clay track lay cracked, lifeless and left to die. A place where the only nightlife was work, and the hobby, collecting overtime hours. Driving by the track on a weekly basis provided frustration in such a way that inspiration could be funneled into a plan, as if it were in staging moments before the race. The ideas rolled forward and the planning began. March of 2014, one phone call to the IV Expo in Imperial, California, was made. My question: ‘What would it take to have a motorcycle race on your track?’”

Preston Petty (Ω) on his electric scooter.

Preston Petty (Ω) on his electric scooter.

Bell promoted his first IV League Flat Track race in Imperial Valley on November 1 and 2, 2014, with only 40 riders in attendance and a negative balance in his bank book. However, those 40 riders shared their experience and excitement with their friends, and soon Bell had a group of riders behind him – riders from Arizona, Northern California and Southern California. Although it was a tough decision whether to continue on or accept defeat, Bell decided to move forward with his intentions about racing.

He negotiated a deal with the Del Mar facility to hold five races before March 9 of 2015, and that was when the snowball started to roll. Once the venue was announced, the reputation of the Del Mar short track was on his side – as were many local people, including the people at Roland Sands Designs, his primary sponsor. Adi Gilert provided professional artwork, other sponsors jumped on board in good numbers, and the Internet began to hum with word of “the return to Del Mar.”

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Bell got a website up and running to facilitate pre-entry for the riders. He called in help from the workers of the Southern California Flat Track Association. He invited help from Northern California. His girlfriend, family and friends were all on board for the first Del Mar races on January 17 and 18. Entry fees were reasonable, with second classes offered at an even more reasonable rate.

The gates opened, and the fun began!

Vendors set up their tents just outside the pit area. Motorcycles were put in place for the bike show. Riders began to register. The track was being prepped. T-shirts and sweatshirts with a unique and nostalgic Del Mar logo were being sold, and the pits were filling with riders.

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The feeling of anticipation could be felt everywhere you went. What would the dirt be like? How would the program go? Would there be enough riders and fans to cover the costs? Would everyone have a good time? It quickly became apparent that there were more than enough riders to present a full and spectacular show that would include some of the top National AMA Flat Track riders, some of the world’s best speedway riders, some big boys on little toys, quads, and even Harley-Davidson street bikes competing on the oval. Kids as young as 4 competed on their 50cc bikes. The stands were filled with spectators.

Big boys on little toys – always a fan favorite!

Big boys on little toys – always a fan favorite!

Bell’s dream of filling that “age hole” was being realized, with riders and spectators alike in their 20s and early 30s arriving to enjoy the event. By the end of the first weekend at Del Mar, there were more than 400 rider entries and 3,200 people who’d come to watch.

The Del Mar Short Track had definitely returned!

The racing was awesome! The cushion dirt track was everything everyone thought it would be, and there was no need for the ambulance to move an inch. Since that weekend, Bell has had several calls, including some from those who are going to get themselves a flat-tracker to ride and those who are going to pull their flat-trackers out of storage so they can ride the next three races, as well as those who saw flat-track racing for the first time, wanting to know how to start.

The Saturday program was split to accommodate all the riders. The youngsters ran their practice and heat races in the morning and their mains during the heats of the evening program.

Quads at speed inside the Del Mar facility.

Quads at speed inside the Del Mar facility.

One of the racing highlights of the event was the performance of a Northern California girl, Kenzie Rae, who showed the boys the fast way around the track in the Open Beginners’ class, working her way from third to first in the 10-lap main. Noah Bush and Stephen Yoshida rounded out the podium.

Travis Petton IV took the eight-rider 85cc class home, in front of Grant Holmes and Nathan Agrifoglio.

Travis Petton IV (82) topped the 85cc Youth ranks on both days.

Travis Petton IV (82) topped the 85cc Youth ranks on both days.

Dominic DeMario and his dad at Del Mar.

Dominic DeMario and his dad at Del Mar.

The DeMario family left the Bay Area in the afternoon on Friday to get to San Diego in plenty of time to get some sleep and get ready for Saturday’s racing.

They were caught up in the traffic backup caused by a fatal big-rig collision on Highway 5 and ended up sleeping in their truck just long enough to get to the track on Saturday morning.

Still smiling and ready to race, young Dominic DeMario got the 65cc holeshot and never looked back, leading the rest of the pack to the checkers.

Clayton Williams continued his winning streak by taking the 450cc Youth class to the finish in front in both Saturday and Sunday’s contests.

The 450cc Youth riders launch off the line.

The 450cc Youth riders launch off the line.

Clayton Williams (95) won the 450cc Youth class on both days.

Clayton Williams (95) won the 450cc Youth class on both days.

The speedway bikes were eye candy for those watching. The speed and skill these riders displayed was impeccable on this short track. Five-time National Champion and 2013 USA Team Speedway manager Billy Hamill topped the A main, while Gage Geist took the victory in the B main on Saturday night.

The Speedway riders at speed in the A main event.

The Speedway riders at speed in the A main event.

The Speedway B main gets under way.

The Speedway B main gets under way.

Gage Geist topped the Speedway B main on Saturday and won both heat races and the Speedway main event on Sunday.

Gage Geist topped the Speedway B main on Saturday and won both heat races and the Speedway main event on Sunday.

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On this weekend, the crowd was also privileged to watch AMA Grand National riders such Mike Rush, Kayl Kolkman, Steve Bonsey, John Vanderlaan, Michael Inderbitzen and more compete for wins on both Saturday and Sunday. Rush and Kolkman led the pack on Saturday night, after five red-flag single-file restarts and, finally, a successful rolling restart. Rush and Kolkman swapped the front position several times throughout the race. At the checkers, Rush took the win by a third of a wheel’s length! On Sunday, it was Kolkman absconding with the win and Rush in the second position. Vanderlaan finished third on Saturday, in front of Bonsey, and fourth on Sunday, behind Bonsey.

Mayhem in Saturday’s Open Pro main event.

Mayhem in Saturday’s Open Pro main event.

…and yet more mayhem in the Pro main.

…and yet more mayhem in the Pro main.

Mike Rush (54) won the Pro main in an extremely close finish, with Kayl Kolkman (98) runner-up.

Mike Rush (54) won the Pro main in an extremely close finish, with Kayl Kolkman (98) runner-up.

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Sunday morning’s racing got under way early, with fewer classes but no less competitive racing on the track. One of the most fun classes of both days was the one with the “big boys” riding “little toys.” These guys were fierce but fun competitors, horsing around as they competed for the front spot.

Series sponsor Roland Sands led the Hooligan and the Run What Ya Brung classes to the checkers on Sunday, having fun as he rounded the corners in the lead.

Roland Sands (28) won the Hooligan and Run What Ya Brung classes on Sunday. Alex Crosby (198) topped the Sunday’s Intermediate class.

Roland Sands (28) won the Hooligan and Run What Ya Brung classes on Sunday. Alex Crosby (198) topped the Sunday’s Intermediate class.

Ken Shilling followed Kevin Neilsen to the finish line in the Vintage 401-and-Up class.

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Jim Ottele may have been the proudest guy on the track on this day, riding a gorgeous 1937 big-base sport Indian Scout. The bike belongs to 93-year-old Bob Nichols of Newport Beach, California, and was one of the Indian factory race bikes back in 1937. Nichols raced his own bikes into his 70s, and since then he has allowed many well-known racers to ride them.

Jim Ottele on the 1937 Indian Scout.

Jim Ottele on the 1937 Indian Scout.

Well-recognized and -decorated in the speedway world, “Fast Eddie” Castro rode the Indian on Saturday night and finished second in the Brakeless class, behind another very well-decorated speedway rider, Shawn McConnell, who was also piloting a vintage Indian.

“Fast Eddie” Castro takes the Indian out for a spin.

“Fast Eddie” Castro takes the Indian out for a spin.

Other class winners riding on Sunday included Helder Alvarnez, in the Vet Over 35 class; Bill Kolkman, in the Over 50 class; and Dan Kane, in the Over 60 class. DeMario and Travis Petton IV also took wins on Sunday.

Kayl Kolkman (98) took the checkers in Sunday’s Pro A main.

Kayl Kolkman (98) took the checkers in Sunday’s Pro A main.

IV League Flat Track’s goal is to build the sport. Bell is a busy man, working full time at his regular day job and finding time to search for new venues while putting together the plans and pieces for the next Del Mar race on February 14. His vision includes more venues, more help from others involved in flat-track racing, new faces in the sport, and building a new and better reputation for the sport. His enthusiasm is contagious and his professionalism is exceptional. With some people telling him how they thought he should do things for two days, never once did he show an attitude of irritation or displeasure. His smiles and appreciation seemed endless, and at the end of the day on Sunday, he came out on the track in riding gear and rode a few laps. In keeping with his reputation as “the guy that falls the most in one race” at Perris Raceway, Bell rode three laps… and fell once on each lap.

Promoter Brian Bell (28) on two wheels.

Promoter Brian Bell (28) on two wheels.

The “Return to Del Mar” was an outstanding weekend of racing, and Bell is looking forward to taking the lessons he learned into his next events at Del Mar as well as other venues in 2015.

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For more information on IV League Flat Track and its future plans, go to www.IVLFT.com or find them on Facebook at IV League Flat Track.

IV League Flat Track will present racing and a movie at the Valentine’s Day event! A showing of the classic documentary On Any Sunday will follow the racing action on February 14 and at the final Del Mar round on March 7 and 8.

Del Mar Short Track
Del Mar, California
Results: January 17-18, 2015 (Round 1)

Saturday, January 17

MINI: 1. Billy (last name unknown); 2. Kevin Neilson; 3. Adam Waheed; 4. Kenny Alderden; 5. John Girdler; 6. (rider unknown, #11); 7. Clayton Williams; 8. (rider unknown, #99); 9. Keith Williams; 10. Dillon Baker; 11. Jaycee Jones; 12. Monica Gil; 13. Liana Vitale.

PULL-START MINI: 1. Gar Wood; 2. Pat Hogan; 3. Ron Wood; 4. Thomas Finell; 5. Thad Roberts; 6. Mikey Ratt; 7. Will Fairland.

50 YOUTH: 1. Travis Horn; 2. Colin Petton; 3. Max M. Ehran.

65 YOUTH: 1. Dominic DeMario; 2. Zack Earwood; 3. Ava Bush; 4. Paige Britt; 5. Ana Bush; 6. Regina Leard; 7. Sierra Hickerson; 8. Isabella Mitchell.

85 YOUTH: 1. Travis Petton IV; 2. Grant Holmes; 3. Nathan Agrifoglio; 4. Zaden Florez; 5. Dominic DeMario; 6. Blake Mehran; 7. Hans Mehran; 8. Conner Hickerson.

125 YOUTH: 1. Jeremiah Kruger; 2. Jake Mitchell; 3. Conner Hickerson; 4. Avery Modica.

250 YOUTH: 1. James Ott; 2. Travis Petton III; 3. Clayton Williams; 4. Allison Stacey; 5. Noah Bush; 6. Jaycee Jones; 7. Monica Gil; 8. Zaden Florez; 9. Grant Holmes.

250 ADULT: 1. Paul Ott; 2. Richard Pollock; 3. Ken Alderden; 4. Carl Witt; 5. L.J. Gronek; 6. Melissa Paris; 7. Michael Fritz.

450 YOUTH: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. James Ott; 3. Travis Petton IV; 4. Grant Holmes; 5. Matthew Ott; 6. Kenzie Rae.

BEG A MAIN: 1. Gabriel Alvarez; 2. Joseph Hero; 3. Jim Bandelin; 4. Ken Shilling.

BEG B MAIN: 1. Kenzie Rae; 2. Noah Bush; 3. Stephen Yoshida; 4. Hayden Earwood; 5. Bob Schaller; 6. Matthew Ott; 7. (rider unknown, #33); 8. (rider unknown, #737); 9. Joe Melton; 10. Andrew Harding; 11. (rider unknown, #0).

NOV: 1. Jeremy Templeman; 2. Nathan Cernicky; 3. Ron Duarte; 4. Chris Anders; 5. Justin Tinkham; 6. Bryan Kukla; 7. L.J. Gronek ; 8. Melissa Paris; 9. Jaycee Jones; 10. Gabriel Alvarez.

OPEN INT: 1. Jimmy Gillen; 2. Jimmy McAllister; 3. Keith Williams; 4. Cameron Brewer; 5. Clayton Williams; 6. Allison Stacey; 7. Scott Hanson; 8. Jeff Shambre; 9. Justin Tinkham; 10. Alex Crosby.

OPEN PRO MAIN: 1. Mike Rush; 2. Kayl Kolkman; 3. John Vanderlaan; 4. Steve Bonsey; 5. Michael Inderbitzen; 6. Andre Ochs; 7. Andrew Luker; 8. Dylan Morin; 9. Chris McDougal; 10. Colt Foster; 11. David Bush; 12. Bobby Caldeira; 13. Scott Podergois; 14. Jeff Johnson.

OPEN PRO B MAIN: 1. Shaun Larkin; 2. Robert Bush; 3. Casey Cahoon; 4. Kenny Alderden.

VET 35: 1. Paul Ott; 2. Jim Rosa; 3. Bill Kolkman; 4. Helder Alvarnez; 5. David Bush; 6. Keith Williams; 7. Ken Alderden; 8. Jimmy McAllister; 9. Adam Waheed; 10. John Rudder; 11. Chris Anders.

50+: 1. Richard Pollock; 2. Jim Ottele; 3. John Garcia Sr.; 4. Mike Scarsella; 5. Larry Earhart; 6. Larkin Wright; 7. Pete Lawson; 8. Paul Claybaugh; 9. Travis Petton Jr.

60+: 1. Richard Pollock; 2. Dan Kane; 3. Steve Kukla; 4. Greg Powell; 5. Gary Lane; 6. Wayne Warrington; 7. Del Ocheltree; 8. Paul Claybaugh; 9. Tom Howes; 10. Tim Niles; 11. Allan Girdler.

VINTAGE BIKES A: 1. Josh Adams; 2. Julian Heppenkausen; 3. Aaron Fitzsimmons; 4. Matthew Welsh; 5. Nevin Pontious; 6. Viet Nguyen; 7. Christopher Verdine; 8. Nate (last name unknown); 9. Thomas Finnell.

VINTAGE BIKES B: 1. Henry Canan; 2. Kevin Neilson; 3. Jim Bandelin; 4. Lionel Verdine; 5. Andrew McKeag.

BRAKELESS: 1. Shawn McConnell; 2. Eddie Castro.

HOOLIGAN: 1. Chris Wiggins; 2. Mark Atkins; 3. Kent Harle; 4. Aaron Guardado; 5. Shaun Guardado; 6. (rider unknown); 7. Gabriel Vidrio; 8. Juan Arceo; 9. (rider unknown); 10 Sean Delshadi.

RUN WHAT YA BRUNG: 1. (rider unknown, #84); 2. Cameron Brewer; 3. Gary DeForest; 4. Preston Petty; 5. Ducati; 6. Sissy Bar.

OPEN KNOBBY: 1. Nathan Cernicky; 2. Kent Harle; 3. John Rudder; 4. Ted Kukla; 5. Trevor Liening; 6. Brett Basarich; 7. Todd Flaming; 8. Douglas Pope; 9. Andrew Myers; 10. Gary DeForest; 11. Denise Kilroy.

TWIN: 1. Jim Ottele; 2. Julian Heppenkausen; 3. Eric Ekstrand; 4. Andrew McKeag.

OPEN QUAD: 1. Chad Lesniewski; 2. Jeb McManners; 3. Sammy Burola.

Speedway Division 1

HEAT 1: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Dillon Ruml; 3. Gage Geist; 4. Dalton Leedy.

HEAT 2: 1. Russell Green; 2. Kurtis Hamill; 3. Rocco Scopellite; 4 Hayley Perrault.

A MAIN: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Dillon Ruml; 3. Russell Green; 4. Kurtis Hamill.

B MAIN: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Dalton Leedy; 3. Ricky Richards; 4. Hayley Perrault.

SUPPORT HEAT 1: Ricky Richards; 2. Mike Wiley; 3. Brad Moreau; 4. Tom Bryant.

SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Ricky Richards; 2. Brad Moreau; 3. Mike Wiley; 4. Tom Bryant.

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Sunday, January 18

MINI (SMALL): 1. Aaron Colton; 2. Clayton Williams; 3. (rider unknown, #7); 4. Kenny Alderden; 5. Liana Vitale; 6. Jeanette Griggs; 7. Dillion Baker.

MINI (BIG): 1. Adam Waheed; 2. (rider unknown, #42); 3. Jaycee Jones; 4. Monica Gil; 5. (rider unknown, #245); 6. (rider unknown, #379); 7. Denise Kilroy; 8. Jaqueline Chavez.

50 YOUTH: 1. Colin Petton; 2. Logan Sharp; 3. Travis Horn.

65 YOUTH: 1. Dominic DeMario; 2. Travis Horn; 3. Ana Bush; 4. Sierra Hickerson; 5. Isabela Mitchell.

85 YOUTH: 1. Travis Petton IV; 2. Zaden Florez; 3. Nathan Agrifoglio; 4. Grant Holmes; 5. Dominic DeMario; 6. Conner Hickerson.

125 YOUTH: 1. Avery Modica; 2. Jake Mitchell; 3. Conner Hickerson; 4. Ava Bush.

250 YOUTH: 1. James Ott; 2. Clayton Williams; 3. Allison Stacey; 4. Grant Holmes; 5. Travis Petton IV; 6. Monica Gil; 7. Noah Bush; 8. Jaycee Jones.

250 ADULT: 1. Paul Ott; 2. Ken Alderden; 3. L.J. Gronek.

450 YOUTH: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. James Ott; 3. Travis Petton IV; 4. Grant Holmes; 5. Kenzie Rae; 6. Matthew Ott.

BEG: 1. John Garcia; 2. Kenzie Rae; 3. Noah Bush; 4. Matthew Ott; 5. Jim Bandelin; 6. Joseph Hero; 7. Ken Shilling; 8. Stephen Yoshida; 9. Ian Adolphe; 10. Joe Melton.

NOV: 1. Justin Tinkham; 2. Jaycee Jones; 3. L.J. Gronek; 4. Jeff Shambre.

INT: 1. Alex Crosby; 2. Keith Williams; 3. Jimmy Gillen; 4. Cameron Brewer; 5. Geoff Cain; 6. Clayton Williams; 7. Scott Hanson; 8. Allison Stacey.

PRO A MAIN: 1. Kayl Kolkman; 2. Mike Rush; 3. Steve Bonsey; 4. John Vanderlaan; 5. Ronnie Brown; 6. Andrew Luker; 7. Andre Ochs; 8. Casey Cahoon; 9. Bobby Caldeira; 10. David Bush; 11. Robert Bush; 12. Michael Inderbitzen.

PRO B MAIN: 1. Christian Olguin; 2. Shaun Larkin; 3. Chris McDougal; 4. Kenny Alderden; 5. Drake McElroy; 6. Jimmy McAllister; 7. Colt Foster; 8. Timothy Stove.

VET 35+: 1. Helder Alcerna; 2. Paul Ott; 3. Keith Williams; 4. Bill Kolkman; 5. Robert Bush; 6. David Bush; 7. Geoff Cain; 8. Ken Alderden; 9. Jimmy McAllister; 10. Adam Waheed; 11. Jim Medlin.

50+: 1. Bill Kolkman; 2. Jim Medlin; 3 Jim Ottele; 4. John Garcia Sr.; 5. Larry Earhart; 6. Larkin Wight; 7. Del Ocheltree; 8. Randy Arrington; 9. Travis Petton Jr.

60+: 1. Dan Kane; 2. Del Ocheltree; 3. Greg Powell; 4. Gary Lane; 5. Steve Kukla; 6. Wayne Warrington.

VINTAGE 0-400: 1. Andy Bell; 2. Josh Adams; 3. Tom Howes; 4. Tim Niles; 5. Matthew Welsh; 6. Viet Nguyen; 7. Thomas Finnell; 8. Tamara Raye Wilson.

VINTAGE 401+: 1. Kevin Neilson; 2. Ken Shilling; 3. Timothy Stove; 4. Josh Adams; 5. Geoff Cain; 6. Bob Scaller; 7. Henry Canan.

BRAKELESS: 1. Bixby Moto; 2. Dimitri Coste; 3. Jim Ottele.

HOOLIGAN: 1. Roland Sands; 2. Mark Atkins; 3. Andy Bell; 4. Bradley Criteria; 5. Gabriel Vidrio; 6. Edward Subias; 7. Aaron Guardado; 8. Sean Delshadi.

RUN WHAT YA BRUNG: 1. Roland Sands; 2. James Jepson; 3. Andy Bell; 4. Aaron Colton; 5. Cameron Brewer; 6. Preston Petty.

OPEN KNOBBY: 1. Dan Sharp 2. Denise Kilroy.

TWIN: 1. Jim Ottele; 2. Dimitri Coste; 3. Bixby Moto; 4. Nate Hudson; 5. Julian Heppenkausen.

QUAD: 1. Chad Lesniewski; 2. Sammy Burola.

Speedway Division 1

HEAT 1: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Russell Green; 3. Dalton Leedy.

HEAT 2: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Russell Green; 3. Dalton Leedy; 4. Hayley Perrault.

MAIN: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Russell Green; 3. Dalton Leedy; 4. Hayley Perrault.

SUPPORT HEAT: 1. Mike Wiley; 2. Hayley Perrault; 3. Tom Bryant.

SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Hayley Perrault; 2. Brad Moreau; 3. Tom Bryant.

[For more from the Speedway portion of this event, please see “Speedway Returns to Del Mar!” by Steve Evans… Editor]

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