Saddlemen

Mees Takes the Pro Win at Willow!

| 19 October 2017 2:25 pm

Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Dirt Track Series
Day 1: Willow Springs Walt James Stadium

Story and Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
ROSAMOND, CA, SEPT. 30, 2017

For more than 20 years, Eddie and Jodi Mulder have put their hearts and souls into bringing spectacular racing to venues throughout California. This year, all of their attention was focused on the Cachuma Lake Vintage Motorcycle Rally in the spring and the Willow Springs weekend in the fall.

The riders’ meeting gets under way in Walt James Stadium.

The riders’ meeting gets under way in Walt James Stadium.

Willow Springs is a favorite event for riders who come from all over the United States and Canada to ride it. The course in Walt James Stadium is a well-groomed, three-eighths-mile, decomposed-granite, banked, smooth track: big, fast, fun – and there’s a lot of money up for grabs in the Pro class!

The Senior riders head into turn one.

The Senior riders head into turn one.

Saturday morning, the crew wound its way through the long line of motorhomes, vans, trucks and cars to get through the gate and set up for what would be another exciting and fun-filled weekend of racing. Racer and blade operator Gary Ritchie and promoter Eddie Mulder began preparing the track and grounds early in the week, cleaning up the pits, pulling weeds, and putting things in good order. Jodi Mulder starts the registration process a month before the race.

Gary Ritchie – best blade in the West.

Gary Ritchie – best blade in the West.

Eddie Mulder gives Gary Ritchie his medal – and a handshake of gratitude.

Eddie Mulder gives Gary Ritchie his medal – and a handshake of gratitude.

Come Saturday morning, registration at the track opens at 8 a.m. sharp, the pits came alive, folks meet and greet each other (many of whom have not seen one another since the Willow weekend of the previous year), and the feeling and passion of racing come alive!

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As practice got under way, the riders and mechanics made adjustments to their tire pressure, suspension, motors and carburetors in the hope of being a winner on the track. This weekend, like many others, riders showed up from other areas and arenas of motorcycle racing. Registered to race was MotoAmerica champion Tony Elias, who made his debut on the dirt at Willow Springs riding on both Saturday and Sunday and finishing respectably in everything he contested. From his first lap on the dirt Saturday to his last on Sunday, he progressed like he’d been riding on the dirt all his life.

Friendly rivals Grant Holmes (1N) and Travis Petton IV (1) in action.

Friendly rivals Grant Holmes (1N) and Travis Petton IV (1) in action.

Some of California’s fastest kids were also in attendance. Both Travis Petton IV and Grant Holmes earned victories at the 2017 AMA Amateur Nationals. In the 250 Open class, they were competing against each other, and they put on a show that included competition with Tucker Mount. Holmes got the holeshot and Petton stayed close enough to keep him honest. They finished with Holmes as the victory, Petton as runner-up and Mount in third place.

Grant Holmes (1N) won the 250cc class.

Grant Holmes (1N) won the 250cc class.

Grant Holmes made a note to thank his sponsors.

Grant Holmes made a note to thank his sponsors.

Dominic De Mario led the 80cc class to an easy victory. Travis Petton’s younger brother Colin Petton and Blake Ash followed De Mario across the checkers. Kage Tadman, on a 65cc mount, was a favorite in this race, showing the fans his exceptional talent and skill.

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Jeff Lessley gave Tom Horton a run for his money, leading the Senior Vintage contest through the fourth lap. However, it was Horton who took the win, followed by James Ottele and Jay Gardner. Lessley left the race with a mechanical issue.

However, Lessley won the Vet A event, followed by Jeff Johnson, who took the second spot from Jim Rosa on lap four. Rosa finished third.

Johnson led the 500cc Support class home.

Tom Horton (55), skirmishing here with Jason Craven (77) and Jeff Gonzales (84), won the Modern 750cc class.

Tom Horton (55), skirmishing here with Jason Craven (77) and Jeff Gonzales (84), won the Modern 750cc class.

D-Dan McDougal (8) from Canada won the Modern 750cc class.

D-Dan McDougal (8) from Canada was runner-up in the Modern 750cc class on his EM Ltd.-built replica Triumph.

Steve Craft (25D) and Rick Reed (59Y) skirmish in Super Senior A action.

Steve Craft (25D) and Rick Reed (59Y) skirmish in Super Senior A action.

Racing progressed through the day like clockwork. The fastest rider on the track was AFT Pro rider number 23, “The Wizard” Jeffrey Carver, riding the Ron Wood-prepared Rotax. Carver won his heat race, earning a place in the Terry Otton and Rod Lake Racing Dash For Cash.

When the green flag flew for the Dash, Carver took a commanding lead. After getting by Mees on the first lap, he easily won, followed by Sammy Halbert, Mees, and Bronson Bauman. The Willow Springs Dash For Cash is always extremely competitive due to a big-money purse, thanks to Rod Lake and Terry Otton, who this year put their funds together to create a $10K Dash For Cash purse for each day!

Jeffrey Carver Jr. took the checkers – and the money – in the Dash For Cash.

Jeffrey Carver Jr. took the checkers – and the money – in the Dash For Cash.

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Nick Armstrong (60) at speed in Open Pro action.

Nick Armstrong (60) at speed in Open Pro action.

Favored to win the Digger Helm Open Pro main event, sponsored by Specialty Fabrications Inc., Carver again took the lead. The race was his to win – he was fastest on the track, smooth, and calculating in his skill. About halfway through the race, Carver’s bike failed due to a clip in the carburetor coming loose. Carver’s misfortune gave Mees the opportunity to win the main. He was followed by Sammy Halbert and road racer J.D. Beach.

J.D. Beach (95) came in third in the Open Pro main.

J.D. Beach (95) came in third in the Open Pro main.

Afterward, Mees took Eddie’s son Rick out for a victory lap.

Jared Mees (9) takes Rick Mulder out for a victory lap.

Jared Mees (9) takes Rick Mulder out for a victory lap.

An awards ceremony follows each day’s racing. Product giveaways from Motion Pro and Triumph of North America were distributed to those lucky persons in attendance. The top riders received medals for their finishes, while all the Pro-class finishers received their coveted envelopes of cash!

As always, the Eddie Mulder family dinner – which includes all the track personnel and other special guests – took place in town, at a local Mexican restaurant. Lively conversations and talking about of the day’s events made for a personal and memorable dining experience. Everyone left happy, full, and looking forward to Sunday’s racing.

Those camping at the track fired up their barbecues for dinner, relishing in the great atmosphere of the day, mingling with one another and discussing how their races went and what they would do differently on Sunday. The track crew cleaned up and put things back in order for another day of racing on Sunday – the Joey Brown Memorial. Stay tuned…

Willow Springs Walt James Stadium
Rosamond, California
Results: September 30, 2017 (Day 1)

YOUTH 50: 1. Gage Morast.

YOUTH 60: 1. Sierra Hickerson.

YOUTH 80: 1. Dominic De Mario; 2. Colin Petton; 3. Blake Ash; 4. Kage Tadman; 5. Sierra Hickerson.

250 OPEN: 1. Grant Holmes; 2. Travis Petton IV; 3. Tucker Mount; 4. Zack Earwood; 5. Jacob Cascio.

500 SUPPORT: 1. Jeff Johnson; 2. Jim Lundgren; 3. Jack Jones; 4. Jeff Gonzales; 5. Danny Ritchie; 6. Jason Craven; 7. Rick Reed; 8. Ken Shilling; 9. Jeff Spohr; 10. Erik Bland; 11. Shawn Chamlee.

OPEN AM A: 1. Maikel Diikstra; 2. Grant Holmes; 3. Travis Petton IV; 4. Julia Hess; 5. Matthew Zacher; 6. Christian Payne; 7. Bronson Pearce; 8. Daniel Brown; 9. Noah Bush; 10. Chris McDougal; 11. Matt Stoutenburg.

OPEN B MAIN: 1. Michael Inderbitzen; 2. Tucker Mount; 3. Matthew Ott; 4. Nick Garcia; 5. Jaycee Jones; 6. Bobby Frankenberger; 7. Steve Powers; 8. Jojo Lindner.

VET A MAIN: 1. Paul Ott; 2. Jeff Johnson; 3. Jim Rosa; 4. Matt Stoutenburg; 5. L.J. Gronek; 6. John Lundgren; 7. Jack Roberts; 8. Curtis Peebles.

VET B MAIN: 1. Shawn Chamlee; 2. Mark La Due; 3. Steve Powers; 4. Ronnie Brown.

SR NOV B MAIN: 1. Mark Stuckert; 2. Shane Van Sickle; 3. Maury Austin; 4. Charlie Caspary; 5. Herb Wolff; 6. Margo King; 7. Sten Kelley; 8. Ted Hubbard.

SR OPEN: 1. Craig Scroggins; 2. Larry Earhart; 3. Jim Ottele; 4. Erik Bland; 5. Jack Roberts; 6. Joe Danze; 7. Danny Stephens; 8. Barney Stern; 9. Dave Keil.

SR VINTAGE: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Jim Ottele; 3. Jay Gardner; 4. Darren Pritchett; 5. Jeff Lessley; 6. Ken Netto.

SUPER SR A MAIN: 1. Rick Reed; 2. Ron Lessley; 3. Steve Craft; 4. Gary Ritchie; 5. Jay Gardner; 6. Mike Boal; 7. D-Dan McDougall; 8. Dave Keil; 9. Fred Berger.

DINO: 1. Mark La Due; 2. Jim Ottele.

CLASSIC 250: 1. Fred Berger.

CLASSIC 500: 1. Tom Horton; 2. Chris Rudy; 3. Kenny Thiebaud; 4. Jim Ottele; 5. Lenny Rodriguez; 6. Mark La Due; 7. James Kohls; 8. Maury Austin; 9. Joe Pape; 10. Flyn Stone.

MODERN 500: 1. David Brow; 2. Jimmy Lundgren; 3. Jeff Lessley; 4. Ron Lessley.

MODERN 750: 1. Tom Horton; 2. D-Dan McDougall.

OPEN PRO: 1. Jared Mees; 2. Sammy Halbert; 3. J.D. Beach; 4. Chad Cose; 5. Briar Bauman; 6. Davis Fisher; 7. Bronson Bauman; 8. Mike Rush; 9. Ryan Wells; 10. Henry Wiles; 11. Nick Armstrong; 12. Kayl Kolkman; 13. Oliver Brindley; 14. Clayton Williams.

[Stay tuned for coverage of day two of this doubleheader to be posted soon on Today’s Cycle Coverage… Editor]

BassettBnnr

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Category: Dirt Track, Regional, Vintage, Vintage Dirt Track

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