Pennsylvania Short Track
Armin Hostetter Classic
Story and Photos by Len Breech and Ben Breech
HANOVER, PA, JUNE 6, 2015
Mike Poe scored wins in the 450cc Sportsman A and Open Twins finals as Trail-Way Speedway hosted its fourth annual Armin Hostetter Classic, named for the late founder of this facility.
In the singles final, Poe took the lead from Ryan Varnes, John Long, Nick Henderson and Cameron Smith. While Poe was edging out to a lead of several bikelengths, Smith was moving through the field, getting past Varnes on the final lap for second.
Poe jumped in front of a quartet of screaming Kawasakis and a vintage Triumph at the start of the Open Twins final. Behind him were Varnes, Evan Baer and Jeremy Higgins. The order stayed the same throughout.
Joey Alexander had a moment of glory, leading the Open A final off turn two, but he was passed by Jesse Long and Cameron Smith before turn three. Nick Henderson and then Poe got by Alexander in the early laps. In their fight for the lead, Long and Smith put a little distance on the battle for third place between Henderson and Poe. Smith slipped by Long off turn four on the sixth lap for the lead.
After making his first outdoor start in almost a year, Henderson looked good early in the event, winning both of his 450cc heats, in addition to taking the 250cc Sportsman. While early visions of a hat trick faded with the first 450cc final, he easily scored the victory in the 250cc Sportsman final, over Rich Mellinger and Amateur riders Damon Ream, Austin Kellett and Robert Wheatley.
Mellinger scored a pair of age-class wins, in the Over 30 and Over 40 contests.
In the Over 40 final, he’d taken the lead by the third turn, ahead of Lowell Wherley and Chris Abb. Mellinger gradually built up a full-straightaway margin.
Mellinger was lucky to win the Over 30 final, against lighter competition. After scattering his borrowed motorcycle’s engine in the heat race, Mellinger let Steve Lerch borrow his 250cc two-stroke ride. About halfway, Mellinger’s Rotax started sputtering and slowed. Luckily, he managed to nurse it to the checkered flag.
Another rider who was lucky on this day was Aiden Hawthorne. He scored the 50cc Chain-Drive win, catching early leader Jacob Schwartz, who had jumped out to a quick lead, at the end of the sixth lap. Jack Rutledge, Legend Erisman and Aaden Johnson were further back.
Hawthorne’s luck came into play in the Shaft-Drive contest, as Dylan Dancy shot into a huge lead at the start and maintained it. Hawthorne took second from Erisman at the end of the opening lap, but he couldn’t cut into Dancy’s margin – until Dancy “stalled” it with just over a lap left to go.
Dave Smith earned his Over 50 win, grabbing the lead from Lowell Wherley, Jack Wilson and Scott Slade. At the end of the first lap, Slade took third, and then he pressured Wherley, taking second at about halfway. Over the remainder of the race, the top three stayed very close.
Unlike Henderson, Chris Thomas backed up his heat-race wins in the 450cc Sportsman B and Open B classes with wins in the final.
Jeremiah Johnson took the Sportsman B lead, ahead of Thomas, with Ronnie Mercer, T.J. Irvin and Tyler Mullen following behind. Mullen took fourth off turn two on the second lap. After a few laps of trying, Thomas took the lead as the halfway flags were shown.
Thomas’ ride in the Open B event was easier, as Johnson stalled at the start, but Mullen got a good start over Thomas, Justin Haag and Tyler Eggleton. Thomas dispatched Mullen going into turn one on the third lap and then pulled away.
A full field in the Four-Wheel Sportsman class provided an excellent final. Brandon Shearer, Ryan Berkley and Cody Wompler swapped positions all over the track, with Tracy Vogelsong lurking just behind them, ready to benefit from others’ mistakes.
On the final lap, Wompler tried too hard and slid high and then stalled in the third turn. Berkley scored the victory, followed by Shearer and Vogelsong.
Results: June 6, 2015
50 CHAIN DRIVE: 1. Aiden Hawthorne (Lem); 2. Jacob Schwartz (KTM); 3. Jack Rutledge (Hon); 4. Legend Erisman; 5. Aaden Johnson (KTM); 6. Cody McGraw (Yam); 7. Dylan Dancy (KTM).
50 SHAFT DRIVE: 1. Aiden Hawthorne (Yam); 2. Legend Erisman (Yam); 3. Kayden Rylee (Kaw); 4. Hunter Kershner (Yam); 5. Gabriel Mazza (Yam); 6. Dylan Dancy (Yam); 7. Kayla Sample (Hon).
65: 1. Dominick Cooper (KTM); 2. Logan Eisenhard (Cob); 3. Jack Rutledge (Suz).
85 (7-11): 1. Dominick Cooper (Yam); 2. Logan Eisenhard (Suz).
85 (12-15): 1. Jared Florian (Suz).
125 2-STROKE/150 4-STROKE: 1. Justin Haag (Hon); 2. Damon Ream (Hon); 3. Travis Taylor (Hon).
250 B: 1. Damon Ream (Hon); 2. Austin Kellett (Hon); 3. Robert Wheatley (Kaw); 4. Tyler Eggleton (Hon); 5. Tyler Rylee (Suz); 6. Tate Adamson (Kaw); 7. Robert Ream (Hon); 8. Richie Thomas (Kaw); 9. Pete Shoemaker (Yam).
250 SPORTSMAN: 1. Nick Henderson (Hon); 2. Rich Mellinger (Suz); 3. Damon Ream (Hon); 4. Austin Kellett (Hon); 5. Robert Wheatley (Kaw).
450 SPORTSMAN A: 1. Mike Poe (Hon); 2. Cameron Smith (Hon); 3. Ryan Varnes (Yam); 4. John Long (Hon); 5. Nick Henderson (Hon); 6. Jesse Long (Hon); 7. Jeremy Higgins (Yam); 8. Evan Baer (Kaw); 9. Joey Alexander (Hon); 10. Austin Wherley (Kaw).
450 SPORTSMAN B: 1. Chris Thomas (Hon); 2. Jeremiah Johnson (Hon); 3. Ronnie Mercer (Hon); 4. Tyler Mullen (Hon); 5. T.J. Irvin (Hon); 6. Jeff Slade (Kaw); 7. Brandon Shearer (Yam); 8. Brandon Beale (Suz).
500 2-VALVE: 1. Chris Abb (Yam).
OPEN A: 1. Cameron Smith (Hon); 2. Jesse Long (Hon); 3. Nick Henderson (Hon); 4. Mike Poe (Hon); 5. John Long (Hon); 6. Jeremy Higgins (Yam); 7. Joey Alexander (Hon); 8. Evan Baer (Kaw); 9. Austin Wherley (Kaw).
OPEN B: 1. Chris Thomas (Hon); 2. Tyler Mullen (Hon); 3. Justin Haag (KTM); 4. Tyler Eggleton (Hon); 5. T.J. Irvin (Hon); 6. Ronnie Mercer (Hon); 7. Tate Adamson (Kaw); 8. Jeremiah Johnson (Hon); 9. Tyler Rylee (Suz); 10. Mike Wilson (Rtx).
OPEN TWINS: 1. Mike Poe (Kaw); 2. Ryan Varnes (Kaw); 3. Evan Baer (Kaw); 4. Jeremy Higgins (Kaw); 5. Joey Alexander (Tri).
30+: 1. Rich Mellinger (Rtx); 2. Steve Lerch (Suz).
40+: 1. Rich Mellinger (Rtx); 2. Lowell Wherley (Kaw); 3. Jack Wilson (Rtx).
50+: 1. Dave Smith (Hon); 2. Scott Slade (Suz); 3. Lowell Wherley (Kaw); 4. Jack Wilson (Rtx); 5. Mike Slade (Kaw); 6. Mike Wilson (Rtx); 7. Frank Primrose (Hon).
VINTAGE: 1. Chris Abb (Yam).
4-WHEEL SPORTSMAN: 1. Ryan Berkley (Yam); 2. Brandon Shearer (Yam); 3. Tracy Vogelsong (Yam); 4. Jeff Foster (Yam); 5. Jim Hammaker (Hon); 6. Zach Hahn (Suz); 7. Nick Bare (Yam); 8. Cody Wompler (Yam).