Saddlemen

Baker Hot in Ventura!

| 7 August 2016 3:00 pm

Second Annual A.J. Herrara Memorial Race
Ventura Raceway

Story and Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
VENTURA, CA, JULY 23, 2016

The T-shirt artwork for the second annual A.J. Herrara Memorial Race.

The T-shirt artwork for the second annual A.J. Herrara Memorial Race.

Ventura Raceway played host to the second annual A.J. Herrara Memorial Race on a day with perfect weather. Temperatures were a little warm during the day, but that led to a very pleasant evening for racing. The riders’ comments about the track surface and the constant track maintenance throughout the event were all positive. Excited fans filled the stands, eagerly displaying their enthusiasm for the racers.

In the pits at Ventura Raceway.

In the pits at Ventura Raceway.

The day’s events began with live music, along with a wonderful group of 20 or more racing legends that included Eddie Mulder, Rod Lake, and many more, signing autographs and sharing stories with their many fans.

More than a few legends of the sport were in the house.

More than a few legends of the sport were in the house.

The Herrara family, including A.J.’s mom and dad, his uncle Joe and lots more, were all on hand for the memorial, and a booth was set up with information on brain injuries. At the time of A.J.’s passing, he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people who have had repeated blows to the head, and he been treated and studied at U.C. Davis for some time.

The opening ceremonies included the introduction of the legends and then a riders’ parade, and joining the riders circling the track was the Herrara family, carrying the American flag, followed by Carlin Dunne, mounted on A.J.’s race bike, number 42.

There was a riders’ parade in honor of A.J. Herrara. Note the riders’ number plates…

There was a riders’ parade in honor of A.J. Herrara. Note the riders’ number plates…

The Herrara family joined in the parade, carrying the Stars and Stripes, followed by Carlin Dunne on A.J.’s number-42 bike.

The Herrara family joined in the parade, carrying the Stars and Stripes, followed by Carlin Dunne on A.J.’s number-42 bike.

The racing included four classes for speedway riders and a full house of more than 150 flat-track entries. Top Pro riders from both disciplines were on hand and ready to race.

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In Speedway competition, “Fast Eddie” Castro rode like the champion he is. Recently back on the track after a long and hard battle with cancer over the last 18 months, Castro took the Division One Speedway win, in front of Austin Novratil, Gage Geist and Broc Nicol.

“Fast Eddie” Castro (14) hustled to the finish line first. Broc Nicol (4, right) came in fourth.

“Fast Eddie” Castro (14) hustled to the finish line first. Broc Nicol (4, right) came in fourth.

A happy and healthy Eddie Castro celebrates his victory.

A happy and healthy Eddie Castro celebrates his victory.

Northern California riders Will “The Farmer” McCloskey and Cameron Beck took the top two Speedway Support-class spots.

Will McCloskey was the Speedway Division Two winner.

Will McCloskey was the Speedway Division Two winner.

In Vintage Speedway, the top three riders were Chris Mistretta, Dan Waller and Paul Herman.

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The sidecar riders put on a very exciting show, with four teams competing for the win. At the end of the night, it was Smylie Kinney & Dana Catone who took the top honors after some very competitive racing.

Sidecar action with Smylie Kinney & Dana Catone.

Sidecar action with Smylie Kinney & Dana Catone.

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Flat-track racing included 14 full classes, as well as a Hooligan class. The kids’ division included the 65cc and Under, 85cc and Under, 100-150cc, and 125cc and Under classes. The winners in each class, respectively, were Sage Schneider, Tucker Mount, Conner Hickerson and Howdy Grabau.

The Hooligans put on a show all their own, slipping and sliding through the turns on the converted street bikes, 750cc and over. Copay Cavalli took this win, followed by Bill Kee and the other five riders.

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Among those waiting to race in 250cc Amateur Modern competition are Jacob Cascio (21) and Damon Coca (56).

Among those waiting to race in 250cc Amateur Modern competition are Jacob Cascio (21) and Damon Coca (56).

Four riders competed for the 250cc Amateur Modern win. Nathan Agrifoglio, Grant Holmes, and Jacob Cascio – all Northern California riders – finished one, two, three, respectively.

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Twenty riders competed in three heat races leading up to a 10-rider main-event grid in the 250-450cc Motocross Flat Track contest. Patrick Kennedy topped this podium, followed by Andrew Puckett and Rodney Reese, in that order.

Southern California’s Jim Rosa led the rest of the Open Vet (Over 35) class to the checkers, but not without some stiff competition from Paul Ott. Robert Bush also rode a great race, finishing third.

Jim Rosa (88) dices with Paul Ott (12E).

Jim Rosa (88) dices with Paul Ott (12E).

The largest Vet class, the Vet Open (Over 50) class, included 14 riders who earned their places on the starting grid through their placement in two heat races. In the final, Jim Lundgren led Jim Wood and John Garcia to the checkers. John Lundgren, Jim’s brother, finished fourth.

Jim was back on the track to earn another win in the 500cc Vintage class.

Jim Lundgren (70) won the Open Vet (Over 50) and 500cc Vintage classes.

Jim Lundgren (70) won the Open Vet (Over 50) and 500cc Vintage classes.

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James Kohls was happy with himself for taking the Vintage Brakeless Hand-Shift win. Julian Heppekause finished second.

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Thirty riders entered the Pro Modern Open class, each riding for a piece of the purse. The race included a $500 Holeshot award and a $500 Halfway award. Sixteen riders lined up on the grid. The front row included National-number riders Kayl Kolkman, Brad Baker, Mike Rush, Mike Inderbitzen, Andrew Luker, Colt Foster, and Clayton Williams, the young and very fast flat-track rider. Williams celebrated his birthday earlier in the week, and he will now be allowed to participate in 450cc-class races sanctioned by the AMA.

Clayton Williams (95) at speed at Ventura Raceway.

Clayton Williams (95) at speed at Ventura Raceway.

At the flash of the green light, the riders twisted the throttle to get to the holeshot line first. Before the first lap had been completed, a red flag flew, and there would be a full restart.

Kayl Kolkman and Brad Baker were within inches of each other in the first stampede to the holeshot line, but the second start was all Kolkman’s, and he was leading by a couple of bikelengths.

Kayl Kolkman (98) earned $500 for crossing the holeshot line first.

Kayl Kolkman (98) earned $500 for crossing the holeshot line first.

Casey Cahoon (51E) lost his goggles halfway through the race.

Casey Cahoon (51E) lost his goggles halfway through the race.

Kolkman and Baker rode wheel to wheel for the first few laps. Behind them, John Vanderlaan was making moves to get to the front, and Mike Rush was close behind. When Kolkman went a bit wide, Vanderlaan took advantage, and he and Rush took the second and third spots in the race.

Brad Baker (6) and John Vanderlaan (12Y) speeding toward the checkers.

Brad Baker (6) and John Vanderlaan (12Y) speeding toward the checkers.

Vanderlaan pushed Baker, right on his back wheel, looking for another opportunity, but one never came. The race finished with Baker in front, Vanderlaan as runner-up and Rush in third. Kolkman finished fourth.

And the champagne sprayed…

And the champagne sprayed…

(From left to right) Joe Herrara with the top three Pro riders – winner Brad Baker, runner-up John Vanderlaan and third-place finisher Mike Rush.

(From left to right) Joe Herrara with the top three Pro riders – winner Brad Baker, runner-up John Vanderlaan and third-place finisher Mike Rush.

Awards were given out, monies were paid, and talk of the third annual A.J. Herrara Memorial began.

Ventura Raceway
Ventura, California
Results: July 23, 2016

0-65: 1. Sage Schneider; 2. Ty Travis; 3. Sierra Hickerson; 4. Connor Lafferty; 5. Cash Martinez; 6. Ty Travis; 7. Sage Schneider; 8. Ashton Carlson; 9. Gavin Geist.

0-85: 1. Tucker Mount; 2. Tanner Richie; 3. Landen Jewett; 4. Connor Hickerson; 5. Zack Murrey; 6. Sierra Hickerson.

0-125: 1. Connor Hickerson; 2. Zack Earwood; 3. Howdy Grabau; 4. Avery Stewart; 5. Adam Grabau; 6. Eric Ward; 7. Brian Boughy; 8. Christopher Onder; 9. Shane Tamayo; 10. Bill Kolkman; 11. Craig Schmitt.

PIT BIKE 100-150: 1. Connor Hickerson; 2. Zack Earwood; 3. Marc Heathfield; 4. Tony Radford; 5. Howdy Grabau; 6. Shane Tamayo; 7. Cole Lambert; 8. Avery Stewart; 9. Tim Ambroi; 10. Joseph Lopez.

HOOLIGAN DERBY: 1. Copay Cavalli; 2. Bill Kee; 3. Corbin Hames; 4. Troy White; 5. Carl Anderson; 6. Todd Akins; 7. Julian Heppekause.

250 AM MODERN: 1. Nathan Agrifoglio; 2. Grant Holmes; 3. Jacob Cascio; 4. Noah Bush.

250-450 MX FLAT TRACK: 1. Patrick Kennedy; 2. Andrew Puckett; 3. Rodney Reese; 4. Mike Schneider; 5. Chris Paulsen; 6. Grant Holmes; 7. Joe Danze; 8. Craig Schmitt; 9. Corbin Hames; 10. Cole Lambert.

PRO MODERN OPEN: 1. Brad Baker; 2. John Vanderlaan; 3. Mike Rush; 4. Kayl Kolkman; 5. Mike Inderbitzen; 6. Nick Armstrong; 7. James Ott; 8. Andrew Luker; 9. Hours; 10. Dylan Morin; 11. Ryan Foster; 12. Casey Cahoon; 13. Chris Cobari; 14. Nick Gil; 15. Colt Foster; 16. Clayton Williams.

OPEN VET (35+): 1. Jim Rosa; 2. Paul Ott; 3. Robert Bush; 4. Unknown Rider #4; 5. Chris Campos; 6. Ryan Reed; 7. David Bush; 8. Andrew Meyers; 9. Robert Bacosa Jr.; 10. Unknown Rider #4; 11. Sean Lambert.

OPEN VET (50+): 1. Jim Lundgren; 2. Jim Wood; 3. John Garcia; 4. John Lundgren; 5. Bill Kolkman; 6. Jim Bandelin; 7. Greg Powell; 8. Daniel Kane; 9. Barney Stern; 10. Paul Tinoco; 11. Bill Wright; 12. Tim Ivanoff; 13. Robert Bacosa Jr.; 14. Steve Hill.

VINTAGE BRAKELESS HAND-SHIFT: 1. James Kohls; 2. Julian Heppekause; 3. Mike Boal; 4. Joe Pape; 5. Matt Campbell; 6. Josh Travis; 7. Hayden Roberts.

500 VINTAGE: 1. Jim Lundgren; 2. Travis Freidrich; 3. Copay Cavalli; 4. Julian Heppenkause; 5.Tim Watters; 6 Unknown Rider #76.; 7. Steve Chapman; 8. Ray Lopez; 9. Brian Herzfeldt.

750 VINTAGE: 1. Larry Earhart; 2. Max Finders; 3. Bill Kee.

SIDECARS: 1. Smylie Kinney/ Dana Catone.

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Category: Flat Track, Regional, Speedway, Vintage, Vintage Flat Track, Vintage Speedway

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