Willow Springs Raceway -
Wow! With track conditions better than ever, 90' heat and a score to settle from last weekends Rd #4 at Bakersfield, racers brought their A game to the banks of Willow Springs' 3/8 mile oval cushion for two days of exciting racing. Sammy Halbert and Jared Mees put on some show in Diggers Open Pro class Saturday! Leading the race with about three to go, Sam went into the haybales, kept the throttle on, got back up and still finished fourth! Eddie has dubbed him "Little Bart Markel." 14p Kyle Snyder from Il on his adventure to California was the lucky winner of the AGV Rossi Helmet courtesy of AJ Herrera, he was working that Lineweaver BMW in both the Open Am and pro classes. What a unique machine that was to look at and listen to! Other GNC riders made the trip and took home some of Diggers money, too. Even Aussie rider Luke Gough who came with Series Sponsor Harold from Johnson Cams/Tusk Racing and Drummond Evans scored a 3rd in the Pro main. Check the results for more big names
Please keep 19v Joel Kath in your prayers as he was air lifted after crashing head first in turn 3 on the last lap of the pro main. Joel broke his neck two years ago at Tulare also in the Pro class.
Here are the full results for Saturdays event. Eddie & Jodi
|Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series|
Round #5 Walt James Stadium
Willow Springs Raceway – Rosmond, Calif.
Article by Jamey Blunt / Photos by Janice & Jessyca Blunt
Returning to Walt James Stadium within the Willow Springs Racing complex for round five of Eddie Mulder's W.C.V.D.T. series were seventeen heats, and fourteen main events. Temperatures reached the ninety's but the on track action was even hotter on the 3/8 mile banked oval prepared to perfection.
Jeff Lessley riding a 1974 Bultaco led off the line in the MAXXIS Tires/Brown's Cycles Senior main event. H.D. mounted Joe Suebert gave chase and used his superior horse power to motor past for the lead by turn three. Gary White also on a H.D. settled in at third with Steve Craft fourth and Merritt Moore fifth. On the exit from turn two for the second time Lessley slid underneath Suebert to recapture the lead. By the completion of two laps Moore had moved up to fourth while Ron Lessley was mounting an attack from a terrible start. Lap three Jeff Lessley put in a 24.08/100 second lap in his attempt to gap Suebert, who now had White closing in on him. With a lap remaining Ron Lessley pushed past Moore and Craft both to finish in fourth. This dropping Craft to fifth and Moore back to sixth as Jeff Lessley won over Suebert.
Hard to imagine but it's been thirty years or more since Steve Nichols raced at the famous Perris Scrambles track in Perris Calif. Nichols making the trip west from Oklahoma, when off from his duties as the go to guy for tires in Motocross and Super-Cross staged with twelve other riders over the age of thirty five for the Motion Pro/A&A Racing "Vet" main event. Joe Steffen read starter Fred Allen like a Dr. Seuss book to lead into turn one, be it ever so briefly as Nichols blasted past into turn two to lead down the back straight. Mike O'Neil ran in third as Steffen ran wide into turn three leaving a double wide door open for O'Neil to move up to second, but the cost was much higher than one position as Larry Earhart and Mike Besemer dropped Steffen two more spots as well. At the front Nichols had put his head down and put in the fastest lap of the race at 22.24/100 seconds as he distanced himself from O'Neil. Unnoticed all the while was Joel Kath as he slipped under the radar from a ninth place starting position to run in fourth by lap four. With a lap remaining Nichols had a full straight lead over O'Neil and Kath was now up to third where he would finish. Earhart would hold on to fourth over Besemer who just couldn't seem to get his normal rhythm going and Steffen would finish in sixth.
The Barnett/Bartels H.D. Super Senior final brought Mickey Alzola out of hiding, but Joe Brown accustomed to winning did what he has done most of the year, launch a perfect start to lead the field into turn one. Alzola followed in second with Herb Wolff third, Merritt Moore fourth, and Dave Cheney fifth. Entering turn three for the second time Alzola decided he was ready to take the lead but Brown didn't want to give it up that easily and fought back while Wolff and Moore were exchanging paint as well. Brown ran high into turn three again leaving the door open for Alzola, but Alzola was still waiting to pounce. Moor meanwhile found his way past Wolff and once by was pulling away. At the white flag Brown led but Alzola was studying and waiting for just the right moment to strike. Entering turn three Alzola and Brown were side by side, as Brown moved over to take Alzola's line away Alzola expected it and crossed under and won the drag race to the stripe my inches for the victory. Brown was a close second with Moore a distant third, Wolff a solid fourth and Cheney closing in fifth.
Former National number 11 Jim McMurren brought out one of his factory H.D. Sprints for Mike O'Neil to ride in the K&N Filters/Maxima Racing Oils Classic 500 class. O'Neil didn't disappoint in spite of having an over thirty year old Pirelli tire on the front and a fifteen race old Maxxis on the back he led into turn one over the BSA Gold Star of Joel Kath and the Triumph of Jeff Lessley. Brad Holt gave chase on another H.D. Sprint in fourth with Ross Stuckert BSA mounted in fifth ahead of the H.D. of Jack Alexander. With two laps in the books O'Neil had an eight bike length gap over Kath turning a 23.65/100 second lap time no one on the track could match. Back in fifth Stuckert had Alexander pulling alongside at every opportunity, only to have Stuckert race mistake free not giving him a way past. When the checkered flag came out O'Neil won by a full straight away over Kath, with Lessley forgotten in third and Holt just as lonely in fourth. Stuckert never succumbed to Alexander's pressure and finished fifth.
One thing Joe Suebert can do is start, rarely is he beaten into the first corner, and the AGV Helmets/Tuffplates Modern 750 final was no exception. Suebert led only to have Paul Herman push his Triumph past before the exit of turn two looking possessed. Gary White sat in third ahead of Mark Stuckert, Merritt Moore and Dave Cheney. Once out front Herman was gone posting a 23.09/100 second lap time to Suebert's best of 24.12/100 seconds. From the second lap on it was a follow the leader precession. In the end it was as it started, Herman, Suebert, White, Stuckert, Moore and Cheney.
The Rod Lake Racing/Berkeley Honda Yamaha SeaDoo Modern 500 class had three riders very close in points for the championship. Mike O'Neil launched off the line to lead into turn one, Mike Gonzales ran second with Jeff Gonzales third. By lap two O'Neil showed he was serious as he posted a 22.54/100 second lap time and was pulling away at the front. No one in this field was capable of running under the 22 second mark on this day as O'Neil stretched out his lead. Mike Gonzales likewise pulled away from Jeff Gonzales while Gary Ritchie, Robert Bush, and Paul Lane watched helplessly from afar. O'Neil would go on to the victory setting up a tie in points for the Modern 500 class championship, to be decided at round number six for all the marbles.
The Simi Valley Kawasaki/Works Performance Open Amateur "A" main event could be renamed the Tony Davila show. Dillon Allen got the hole shot and led into turn one but Davila wasn't messing around and quickly moved past for the lead. Eric England made his way past Allen on the first lap as well dropping Allen to third. Then by the second lap Briar Bauman fought his way around Allen to take over third, this while Luke Gough was getting started slowly but now making his way to the front at a rapid pace. Davila at the front turned the fastest lap of the race at a blistering 21.62/100 seconds which made him the only one in the field to drop under the 22 second mark. Down the back straight Bauman made a move past England on the third lap to take second position away. Allen was in fourth with Gough now up to fifth and applying intense pressure. With two laps remaining Gough got past Allen for fourth just as Bauman pulled out advancing everyone one spot. Exiting turn four to the checkered flag long after Davila was already in his motor home Gough had caught England and made a run at him to squeak past for second position by inches. England stunned was third, with Allen fourth, and Kyle Snyder a distant fifth.
Eighteen pros, three rows deep staged for the twenty lap Digger Helm Open Pro final. With the fastest heat race time, Sammy Halbert sat on pole, with Brandan Bergen, Jared Mees, Kris Bunch, David Brown and Chad Cose making up the rest of the front row. Mees nailed the start with Halbert getting buried in turn one while Bergen and Brown ran second and third. Wasting little time and not wanting Mees to get away, Halbert shot from fifth to fourth, to third to second through turns three and four. Also climbing quickly on the first lap was Luke Gough who dropped Bergen to fourth and Brown to fifth as he settled in at third. Exiting turn four the second time Halbert took over from Mees at the front, put his head down and turned a 21.13/100 second lap. For the next three laps Mees studied Halbert's every move and on lap five Mees shot up the inside of Halbert in turn one to take the lead back on the exit from turn two. Lap six saw Mees turn the fastest lap of the race at 21.00/100 seconds attempting to put some distance between himself and Halbert. By lap eight the leaders were into lappers while deep in the field Shaun Russell and Steve Murray regrouped from horrible starts and were moving forward. Their march to the front would settle in by lap ten with them finishing in fifth and sixth respectfully. Entering turn three on lap eleven, while putting Joel Kath and Tony Davila a lap down Halbert pulled alongside Mees and a lap later while lapping Garrett Stout Halbert regained the lead in turn one. This made the order Halbert, Mees, Gough, Bergen, Russell, and Murray all still on the same lap. Disaster struck Halbert entering turn three with four laps remaining when he lost the front wheel and went down. Halbert kept his Harley running and was up quickly, rejoining the race in fourth. Mees alone out front cruised to the victory with Bergen stealing second from Gough on the last lap while putting Chad Cose a lap down. Gough was now alone in third with Halbert home fourth. Mees recounted the race," When Halbert went by me I thought oh man he's on his way but then I cut two good corners and I thought I'm gonna step it up cause the track was drying out. Then he came back so I stepped it up a little more, then he ate it and it was smooth sailing." Halbert's take was, " It was a good battle, I had to adjust to the track cause it was a little wet, that's what I hit in turn three, a little mud and went down But I'm all right and we picked it up and finished in fourth."