Saddlemen

Remembering A.J. in a Fun Way

| 5 August 2017 11:07 am

The Third Annual A.J. Herrera Memorial Race
Ventura Speedway

Story and Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
VENTURA, CA, JULY 22, 2017

The late, great A.J. Herrera at the Salinas Grand National in 2012.

The late, great A.J. Herrera at the Salinas Grand National in 2012.

An event T-shirt for the third annual A.J. Herrera Memorial Race.

An event T-shirt for the third annual A.J. Herrera Memorial Race.

The third annual A.J. Herrera Memorial Race took place at Ventura Speedway on Saturday, July 22. From start to finish, the event was superb! Gail Waller and her team, including Bill Kolkman and many others, spent countless hours planning and orchestrating this year’s event.

Flowers for Gail Waller, with Chris Ackerman, Kimmie Gould and some Legends in attendance.

Flowers for Gail Waller, with Chris Ackerman, Kimmie Gould and some Legends in attendance.

Every year, new things are added to complement what has become a sort of “family reunion” of A.J.’s family and friends. Sponsors included special guest Rod Lake, who cannot be thanked enough for his generosity, as well as Art Carter, Terry Otton, Fasthouse’s Kenny Alexander, Steve De Lorenzi, Ventura Raceway, Steffan Nielsen (who brought the “Running of the Buls”) and so many others who, together, made this another outstanding event.

Rod Lake (center) roasts Eddie Mulder in his absence, as Tom Horton, stuntman and legend Mikey Alzola, and speedway legend Phil Collins look on.

Rod Lake (center) roasts Eddie Mulder in his absence, as Tom Horton, stuntman and legend Mikey Alzola, and speedway legend Phil Collins look on.

Looking out the closed gate just before it opened for registration, there were rigs, vans, cars and riders as far down the road as one could see.

The meet-and-greet area.

The meet-and-greet area.

There were vendor booths offering event T-shirts, food, Fasthouse gear, raffle tickets, and more. The events of the day also included an autograph session, live music, and Chris Ackerman’s quick wit with the microphone.

The vendor area.

The vendor area.

A.J.’s parents were also in attendance, sharing stories and memories about A.J.’s life and racing career.

With an event purse of $20,000, more than 225 entries rode more than 20 main events, which included flat track, speedway, sidecars, a Knobby class, and the “Running of the Buls,” a special Bultaco series that runs at various tracks during the race season and that offers a $1,500 purse at each event. Riders ranged from the very young Beginners to the more-experienced Seniors aboard modern and vintage scooters, and there also a thunderous Twins class.

AFT So Cal Fair 2017 Story Ad 590 0001

The introduction of the Legends. (That’s Bud Ekins with his arms up in the air.)

The introduction of the Legends. (That’s Putty Mills, the “oldest speedway racer alive,” with his arms up in the air.)

Following practice, a reverse lap was ridden to honor the late Joe Leonard, Nicky Hayden, Zaden Flores and, of course, A.J. Herrera. The many Legends in attendance gathered on the track to be introduced individually, and Mike and Debbie Herrera were presented with a handmade quilt of pictures of A.J.

Mike and Debbie Herrera, A.J.’s parents, were presented with a handmade quilt of photos of A.J.

Mike and Debbie Herrera, A.J.’s parents, were presented with a handmade quilt of photos of A.J.

As the fans filled the stands, the first classes on the track ran heat races, and the evening of exciting racing began.

2017 Evans Story Ad 590 0001

One youngster in particular stood out on this night. Young Kage Tadman won both the heat races and main events in the 65cc-and-Under and 85cc-and-Under classes.

Kage Tadman (28), the winner of the 65cc-and-Under and 85cc-and-Under classes.

Kage Tadman (28), the winner of the 65cc-and-Under and 85cc-and-Under classes.

Sixteen riders competed in the 125cc-and-Under class, which was split into two heats. Howdy Grabau and Mark Heathfield each finished a heat in front, and they finished the main event in first and second, respectively. Eric Ward rounded out the podium.

Rod Lake led the 100-150cc Pit Bike class to the checkers after coming out of the 12-rider pack in front on the first lap. Brad Rudy worked Lake hard to the finish. The race finished Lake, Brad Rudy, and Ajay Hateley.

Rod Lake (98) skirmishes with Brad Rudy in the 100-150cc Pit Bike battle.

Rod Lake (98) skirmishes with Brad Rudy in the 100-150cc Pit Bike battle.

Eighteen riders lined up on the grid for the Brakeless class. Chris Rudy and Tom Horton traded the front position several times throughout the main, passing each other in the turns. They finished with Chris Rudy in front, followed by Horton and then Kenny Thiebaud.

Chris Rudy (87Y) and Tom Horton (55) went one and two in the Brakeless contest.

Chris Rudy (87Y) and Tom Horton (55) went one and two in the Brakeless contest.

In another 18-rider class, the Open Vet Over 50 class, John Dupree and Larry Earhart competed all the way to the finish. However, at the checkers, it was Dupree in front. Earhart took second, and Randy Bereman finished third.

The Hooligan class consisted of five riders at the start. By the finish, there were only three, with Greg Powell crossing the finish line first.

BassettBnnr

The 450cc Open class included riders who are becoming well known around California and across the nation. Grant Holmes and Travis Petton IV, both AMA Amateur National winners, finished the race first and second, respectively, and another familiar rider, Tucker Mount, rounded out the podium.

Grant Holmes (7X) won the 450cc Open class. The track was a just a little too wet here…

Grant Holmes (7X) won the 450cc Open class. The track was a just a little too wet here…

Also riding in this race was Troy Damron, the son of the late Rob Damron.

Troy Damron (199Z), son of well-known California rider Rob Damron.

Troy Damron (199Z), son of well-known California rider Rob Damron.

John Lundgren took an easy win in the Over 60 British Bikes Only class, in front of Tom Horton and Mike Boal.

Kawasaki of Simi Valley Logo 500 BLACK

Although it was not the biggest class of the day, the 500cc Vintage class is always a favorite. Brandon Watters and Jeff Gonzales battled for the front spot, which was finally secured by Watters. Meanwhile, Riley McKee came from the second row to finish third, behind Gonzales.

Jeff Gonzales (84), Brandon Watters (53 jersey/35 bike) and Tom Horton (55) battle in the 500cc Vintage heat race. Watters won the main, followed by Gonzales.

Jeff Gonzales (84), Brandon Watters (53 jersey/35 bike) and Tom Horton (55) battle in the 500cc Vintage heat race. Watters won the main, followed by Gonzales.

Tom Horton was back on the track for the 750cc Vintage class. He did take this win, though Gary Ritchie was giving him a run for his money en route to finishing second. Julian Heppekause took the third spot.

Steffan Nielsen brought a round of “The Running of the Buls” to Ventura, along with some Bultacos for some of the competitors. A fan favorite on the track, the Bultaco-class winner was James Monaco. He was followed by Randy Bereman and Dominic Monaco.

Brothers battling side by side: Dominic Monaco (17) and James Monaco (23) on Bultacos.

Brothers battling side by side: Dominic Monaco (17) and James Monaco (23) on Bultacos.

The largest class of the day was the Open Pro Modern class. The 19-rider line-up included at least 12 American Flat Track National riders, and they put on a show!

Jeffrey Carver Jr. was on fire on this day, after having spent a good part of the night just getting to the track, as a result of his motorhome breaking down on the way. Mikey Rush was no slouch, either, keeping Carver honest. Michael Inderbitzen rode an outstanding race and finished third, behind Carver and Rush.

Michael Inderbitzen (54, yellow plate) and Mikey Rush (54, white plate) in Open Pro Modern action.

Michael Inderbitzen (54, yellow plate) and Mikey Rush (54, white plate) in Open Pro Modern action.

The Open Pro Modern podium was comprised of (from right to left) winner Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23), runner-up Mikey Rush (54, center) third-place finisher Michael Inderbitzen (54, left).

The Open Pro Modern podium was comprised of (from right to left) winner Jeffrey Carver Jr. (23), runner-up Mikey Rush (54, center) third-place finisher Michael Inderbitzen (54, left).

Back on the track in the Twins class, Rush swapped the front spot with Carver during the race, but in the end it was Rush in front, followed by Carver and then Kayl Kolkman.

Mikey Rush (54), Jeffrey Carver Jr. (on the outside of Rush), Kayl Kolkman (98), Nick Armstrong (60) and Damon Coca (56) do battle in the Twins class.

Mikey Rush (54), Jeffrey Carver Jr. (on the outside of Rush), Kayl Kolkman (98), Nick Armstrong (60) and Damon Coca (56) do battle in the Twins class.

Kayl Kolkman (98) and Mikey Rush (54) duel in Twins action.

Kayl Kolkman (98) and Mikey Rush (54) duel in Twins action.

Mikey Rush takes Gail Waller on the victory lap.

Mikey Rush takes Gail Waller on the victory lap.

On a side note, Kolkman also had an interesting adventure the night before the races, becoming a first-time new dad to a beautiful little baby girl. Congratulations, Kayl and family!

Boys…

Boys…

…will be boys.

…will be boys.

The Knobby Motocross-class winner was Brennan Baptista.

2017 Industry Racing 590 0001

“Fast Eddie” Castro took the Division One Speedway race to the checkers.

Smylie Kinne’s sidecar team won the Sidecar class.

James Kinne & Lori Curry (on the inside) won the Sidecar main.

James Kinne & Lori Curry (on the inside) won the Sidecar main.

Big Time Speedway Story Ad 2015 590 0002

At breakfast on Sunday morning, talk began about the fourth annual A.J. Herrera Memorial Race in 2018. Stay tuned…

Ventura Raceway
Ventura, California
Results: July 22, 2017

0-65: 1. Kage Tadman; 2. Jasper Heathfield; 3. Sierra Hickerson; 4. Ty Travis; 5. Sage Cox; 6. Cash Martinez; 7. Kodiak Lehman; 8. Soren Baptista; 9. Ridge Lehman.

0-85: 1. Kage Tadman; 2. Jonathan Schaefer; 3. Landen Jewett; 4. Zac Murray; 5. Isabella Mitchell; 6. Sierra Hickerson; 7. Tanner Eubanks; 8. Josie Eubanks.

PIT BIKE 100-150: 1. Rod Lake; 2. Brad Rudy; 3. Ajay Hateley; 4. Chance Fullerton; 5. Brandon Engebrets; 6. Quentin Franco; 7. Travis Parco; 8. Connor Hickerson; 9. Craig Schmidt; 10. Brad Rudy.

PIT BIKE 0-125: 1. Howdy Grabau; 2. Marc Heathfield; 3. Eric Ward; 4. Connor Hickerson; 5. Lucas Dunev; 6. Tim Ambrosi; 7. Craig Schmitt; 8. Conrad Collison; 9. Jesse Williams; 10. Brian Boughey; 11. Brandon Weisz; 12. Marissa Silva.

VINTAGE BRAKELESS/HAND-SHIFT: 1. Chris Rudy; 2. Tom Horton; 3. Kenny Thiebaud; 4. Steve Craft; 5. Greg Tomlinson; 6. Joe Pape; 7. Scott Toepfer; 8. Lenny Rodriguez; 9. Matt Campbell; 10. Flyn Stone; 11. James Kohls; 12. Scott Kitchen; 13. Nevin Pontious; 14. Josh Travis; 15. John Tinsley; 16. Jim Ottele; 17. Quetin Franco; 18. Julian Heppekause.

OPEN VET 35+: 1. Jon Nunez; 2. Shawn Chamlee; 3. Steve Powers; 4. Rich Silva; 5. John Lundgren; 6. Robert Bacosa Jr.

OPEN VET 50+: 1. John Dupree; 2. Larry Earhart; 3. Randy Bereman; 4. Michael Vital; 5. Dean Coca; 6. Neal Hartman; 7. John Garcia; 8. David Earhart; 9. Barney Stern; 10. Mike Antles; 11. Jim Bandelin; 12. Brad Rudy; 13. Greg Powell; 14. Wayne Warrington; 15. Jim Ottele; 16. Brian Cassara; 17. Ray Lopez; 18. David Mueller.

HOOLIGAN DERBY: 1. Greg Powell; 2. Bill Kee; 3. Cameron Murphy; 4. Aaron Mullins.

450 AM MODERN OPEN: 1. Grant Holmes; 2. Travis Petton IV; 3. Tucker Mount; 4. Evan Markus; 5. Matthew Zacher; 6. John Tinsley; 7. Connor Hickerson; 8. Jake Mitchell; 9. Nick Garcia; 10. Troy Damron; 11. Steve Powers.

60+ BRITISH BIKES ONLY: 1. John Lundgren; 2. Tom Horton; 3. Mike Boal; 4. Charles Caspary; 5. Sten Kelley.

500 VINTAGE: 1. Brandon Watters; 2. Jeff Gonzales; 3. Riley McKee; 4. Jeff Lessley; 5. Shawn Chamlee; 6. Eric Ferreira; 7. Rich Silva; 8. Larry Earhart; 9. Josh Travis.

750 VINTAGE: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Gary Ritchie; 3. Julian Heppekause; 4. Brian Cassara; 5. Scott Toepfer; 6. Mike Boal; 7. Troy White; 8. Bill Kee; 9. Randy Ressell; 10. Mark Walters.

RUNNING OF THE BULS: 1. James Monaco; 2. Randy Bereman; 3. Dominic Monaco; 4. Eric Ferreira; 5. Don Silva; 6. Jeff Lessley.

TWINS: 1. Mikey Rush; 2. Jeffrey Carver; 3. Kayl Kolkman; 4. Nick Armstrong; 5. James Monaco; 6. Damon Coca.

OPEN PRO: 1. Jeffrey Carver Jr.; 2. Mikey Rush; 3. Michael Inderbitzen; 4. James Monaco; 5. Nick Armstrong; 6. Kayl Kolkman; 7. John Vanderlaan; 8. Clayton Williams; 9. Chris Corbari; 10; Damon Coca; 11. Casey Cahoon; 12. Aaron Kennedy Jr.; 13. Colt Foster; 14. John Henkes.

DASH FOR CASH: 1. Mikey Rush.

Speedway Classes

DIVISION 1 MAIN: 1. Eddie Castro; 2. David Hancock; 3. Hayley Perrault; 4. Michael Wells.

SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Michael Wells; 2. Hayley Perrault; 3. Mike Lane; 4. Kevin Fiore.

VINTAGE MAIN: 1. Dan Waller; 2. Paul Herman; 3. Malcolm Roe; 4. Bob Waller.

SIDECARS: 1. James Kinne/ Lori Curry; 2. Bryan Motis/ Nikki Davis.

TCE Studios Story Ad 590

Print Friendly
Print

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

Comments are closed.

K&N Motorcycle and ATV Replacement Oil Filters
Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.