Round #1 Tulare Cycle Park

Tulare, Calif. 5-5-2007

Article by Jamey Blunt

Photos by Jessyca Blunt


Tulare Cycle Park hosted the opening round of Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series with twenty four heat races, two semi's, and sixteen main events filled by one hundred fifty eight entries. The weather, not as cold as expected for a night race, in fact about as perfect as one could ask for.

The ARD Ignitions/ Johnson Cams Senior main event started the sixteen mains. Of the seventeen riders over the age of fifty it was Bob Scally who lead into turn one. Jeff Lessley on a pristine Bultaco ran in second with Steve Craft in third and Rod Lake making a return to racing in fourth. On the second trip through turn two Lessley cut to the inside of Scally to take the lead away while Gary White settled in at fifth with Keith Speir  sixth. Just before the end of lap three Lake was up to third and closing as he posted the fastest lap of the race at 19.95/100 seconds, which made Lake a half second faster than anyone else on the track but time was running out with two laps remaining. Entering turn one Lake shot past Scally for second and was closing on Lessley when the checkered flag came out ending his drive. Speir also made a final push to overtake Craft to finish in fourth, a well earned position.

#48y Mike Vital topped the Vet class with the fastest lap of the field at 19.15/100 seconds.
Vital who hails from Tulare used a very potent C&J framed honda for the victory.

<>Fifteen riders would square off in the A&A Racing/ Mr. Ed's Vet final where riders over the age of thirty five ride any machine of their choosing. Mike Vital started from pole and held point as Mike O'Neil settled in behind him with Bill Kolkman third and Lloyd McGregor and Jason Craven fighting over fourth. Three laps in saw Vital with a full straight away lead over O'Neil while McGregor had a mechanical handing fourth to Craven. Kolkman meanwhile was closing on O'Neil only to surrender the ground he had made up due to a mistake of his own doing on lap six leaving O'Neil secure in second, with Kolkman third, Craven fourth, and Gary Ritchie coming through the field to finish fifth.

#49x Mickey Alzola Started the season where he left off, at the front.Alzola and his Eddie Mulder C&J Framed
Triumph are going for yet anotherclass championship this year as well as returning to Pikes Peak continuing his tradition.

The Barnett/ K & N Filters Super Senior/Senior Novice main event is becoming the Mickey Alzola showcase as no one seems capable of stopping Alzola. But Steve Lacey on his 350cc Honda took the lead off the line and looked as though he just might have something for Alzola. Ken Barrow starting from the second row quickly moved into second position down the back straight displacing Alzola to third. On the second time through turn two Barrow went down hard bringing out the red flag making for a restart which Barrow could not make. On the restart Lacey and Alzola hit turn one side by side with Lacey shutting off last for the lead. Lacey would lead for three laps with Alzola matching his pace waiting for a mistake which came in turn three where Alzola took over at the front. Lap four was Alzola's fastest at 20.61/100 seconds as he put Bob Harris the oldest racer in the program at 83, a lap down. On the final lap Alzola had a full straight lead over Lacey as he also sailed past Ted Hubbard making his return to racing aboard one of the cleanest C&J framed TT-500's on the planet, put together by Eddie Mulder himself. Alzola took the victory with Lacey second, Rod Peyron quietly slipped into third and Ron (Mohawk) Alexander fourth.

#41 Jay Gosvenor showed that the twin cylinder two strokes aren't dead
as he took the victory in the Modern 500 main event aboard his 350cc
Yamaha twin with a fastest lap time of 20.24/100 seconds.

The Berkeley Honda/Yamaha Modern 500 class marked a return to racing for the newly married Brad Rudy, somehow this has given Rudy more speed as he lead into turn one over Jay Gosvenor with Ron Lessley third and Rod Lake fourth. Down the back straight Gosvenor used the horsepower of his Yamaha 360cc two stroke twin to shoot past Rudy's Honda 350. Up the front straight the second time Lake out drove Lessley up the inside to take third away. At crossed flags (half way point) Lake was closing on Rudy as he once again turned the fastest lap of a race at 19.57/100 seconds. When the white flag came out the front three had all gotten back together and it was anyone's race. Lake pulled alongside Rudy on the outside in turn three to take second away and just came up short on his run at Gosvenor for the win. Once again showing the fastest guy on the track didn't win. Rudy was a close solid third with Lessley fourth.


#37 Jeff Johnson made one of his rare appearances, and showed the Modern 
750cc class how it's done!!! Johnson still has what it takes as he puts the Triumph on top of the box.

The war of the big bikes is the Motion Pro/Works Performance Modern 750 class, which marked another return to racing in this series from Jeff Johnson. All eyes were on Johnson and Paul Herman a past 750cc champion as they squared off for the main.

Keith Speir nailed the start to lead into turn one but was quickly swallowed up by Johnson while Herman went down between turns one and two collecting Joe Suebert who had no where to go but over Herman. As Herman lay in the middle of the track there was no choice but to bring the red flag out calling for a full restart. This time Johnson nailed the start with Gary White in second and Herman with a taped on gas tank third. Herman made quick work of White for second but Johnson already had a nine bike length lead at the front. Speir and Bob Scally followed Herman's move past White as well to run third and fourth. Working the inside of turn two Scally took third from Speir only to have Speir come back at him and regain the position on the next trip down the back straight. Then on lap four Speir went down without injury in turn two handing third back to Scally. This causing Johnson to run way wide allowing Herman to take the lead, Johnson now just more motivated put his head down and quickly caught Herman with the two making contact in turn three. Herman would lead for another lap before surrendering the lead to Johnson, but Herman wasn't finished yet as he made a run at Johnson and they crossed the line side by side with the scoring crew giving the nod to Johnson by inches.

#33e Young Mikey Avila just keeps getting faster and faster. At
18.95/100 seconds he was the only Modern 250cc rider to break the 19
second lap time barrier. Avila handily won the Modern 250cc class!!!
Mikey Avila shot to the front from the outside of the front row in the Kawasaki of Simi Valley/Maxima Racing Oils 250 Open main event and never looked back. Briar Bauman, Tony Davila, and Eric England settled in behind. By the half way point England had gotten past Davila for third while Bauman, the only one capable of matching Avila's 18.95/100 second pace at the front searched for a way past, or hoped for a mistake from Avila, which would never come. Avila the class of the field on this day was just a little faster than Bauman as he went wire to wire for the victory, Bauman was a close second with England and Davila far back for third and fourth.


Joe Steffen (with Jared Mees number plate) was the class of the field in the 500 support "A" Main.

Joe Steffen is the rider to beat in the Tuffplates/Maxxis Tires 500 Support class this, a war of the Yamaha tt-500 machines in various states of finish. Off the line Steffen and Clay Chambers were side by side into turn one with Steffen taking the lead on the exit of turn two leaving Chambers second with Mike O'Neil third, Jimmy Abrams fourth, and Jeff Gonzales fifth. At the completion of one lap the red flag came out stopping the race for three fallen riders, Doug Cohon, Dave Simmerman and Ron Moore, who all thankfully were fine. On the restart Steffen would lead with Gonzales in hot pursuit while O'Neil ran third, Abrams fourth Jim Ottele fifth and Gary Ritchie sixth. Steffen and O'Neil were the only two riders capable of lapping under twenty seconds with Steffen's fastest lap of 19.54/100 three tenths ahead of O'Neil's. By lap four Gonzales, O'Neil and Abrams were all together in turn two when Abrams pushed Gonzales wide leaving a huge door for O'Neil to go through into second. On the next trip through turn one Abrams got by Gonzales for third and locked his sights on O'Neil. With one lap remaining Steffen had a full straight away lead, while Abrams was challenging O'Neil for second. On the final run to the stripe out of turn four Abrams came up short with O'Neil riding flawlessly for second, Abrams third, Gonzales fourth, and Ottele alone in fifth. Oh, and Steffen, he was long gone at the front!

 #65y Kris Bunch not only won the Open Amateur "A" main event, his 18.87/100 second lap time
 was fast enough to land him a sixth place in the Digger Helm pro final as well.

The largest class of the day was the AGV Helmets/C&J Racing Frames Open Amateur. Some twenty four riders attempted to make one of only twelve spots in the "A" final. Garrett Stout leads the field into turn one followed by Kris Bunch, Jesse Sleeper, Briar Bauman, and Kayl Kolkman. Two and a half laps in the books saw Bunch get a drive and pass Stout for the lead going down the back straight. The next go round had Kolkman advance past Bauman for fourth while Sleeper was alone in third some ten bike lengths back of Stout. At the finish Bunch would win by six lengths over Stout with Sleeper third, Kolkman fourth, and Bauman fifth.      


National #20 Johnny Murphree on the Vizzo Racing Honda won the opening
round Digger Helm Pro 600 main event in convincing style leading the
last seven laps of the twenty lap final for the victory.

Four heat races and two semis determined which fourteen pros filled the grid for the twenty lap Digger Helm Pro 600 final. With the fastest heat, national number 21 Jared Mees sat on pole with Daytona short track winner and national number 54 Mikey Rush along side. Slotting on the outside of the front row was national number 20 Johnny Murphree on a new Ron Wood framed VIZZO Racing Honda. Murphree had the initial jump off the line but upon the exit from turn two both Kris Bunch and Mees were past with Murphree third and Rush fourth. On the entrance to turn one starting lap three Mees shot underneath Bunch for the lead with Murphree following suit dropping Bunch to third while Rush still held fourth with Brandan Bergen fifth, and Garrett Stout sixth. By the start of lap five Mees had a five bike length gap at the front and Rush found a way around Bunch for third. On the next go round Bergen on a march forward dropped Bunch yet another rung on the ladder. Exiting turn two Mees had a small mistake which brought Murphree within a bike length as the front two pulled a gap on the rest of the field. Bergen had also closed the gap to Rush and was knocking hard on Rushes back door for the third place position. Mees went wide in turn two on lap nine leaving the door open, which Murphree shot through for the lead, while Bergen found his way past Rush for third and began to pull away. Mees wasn't through yet as he came charging back at Murphree and stayed within a bike length till lap fifteen when lappers came into play. Bergen was alone in third some two seconds back with Rush in fourth, Bunch fifth, and Stout sixth. Mees posted the single fastest lap time at 18.33/100 seconds but Murphree was consistent and rock solid as he inched away at the front. With three laps remaining Murphree had a 1.5 second lead and Stout had caught and passed Bunch on the exit of turn four for the fifth place position. Making the finial tally Murphree, Mees, Bergen, Rush, Stout and Bunch. This giving the VIZZO Racing Honda a win in it's first ever race. Murphree had this to say," Steve Vizzo put a special set of tires on before the main and they didn't come in until about lap five and then started driving forward. I thought Jared was on my tail the whole time but I'm glad I had a little gap especially after my tangle with a lapper. This VIZZO machine is a rocket ship it should have wings. Steve Berg and Steve Vizzo worked their tail off for this and it's racing at home for me, I just want to thank them along with Vortex, Motion Pro, K&N, and A&A. This all came together eleven days ago and I just want to thank them for this"

The awards ceremony immediately following the races saw a happy 60cc main event winner Tyler Shelter take home a brand new top of the line AGV helmet, and Modern 750cc participant Joe Suebert score a new MAXXIS tire from these series sponsors.

#3 Mike O'Neil won the Dinosaur class on a 1949 Indian Arrow 250cc four stroke single cylinder mount....
This over bikes with three times the displacement! His best lap time was 21.54/100 seconds.

Senior “A” Main
1. 12e Jeff Lessley
2. 98 Rod Lake
3. 71z Bob Scally
4. 57 Keith Speir
5. 25d Steve Craft
6. 15 Mark Stuckert
7. 74r Gary White
8. 80g John Grant
9. 28d Ron Lessley

Senior “B” Main
1. 209 Cliff Nagatani
2. 17q Herb Wolff
3. 96a Jack Alexander
4. 79r Scott Shoup
5. 13p Allan Malm
6. 3 Steve Baker
7. 65y Jerry Robertson

1. 48y Mike Vital
2. 571 Mike O’Neil
3. 42 Bill Kolkman
4. 77 Jason Craven
5. 28b Gary Ritchie
6. 68 Jeffrey Evans
7. 77 Joe Suebert
8. 25n Joe Schmitt
9. 86 Steven Sandman
10. 28z Tony Harrell
11. 317 Geoff Ball
12. 24 Mark Babcock Sr

Sr Novice/Super Sr
1. 49x Mickey Alzola
2. 27t Steve Lacey
3. 45 Rod Peyron
4. 27 Ron Alexander
5. 52c Dave Cheney
6. 14t Ted Hubbard
7. 80x Bob Harris

Youth 50
1. 80 AJ Alves
2. 45 Tyler Kolkman

Youth 60
1. 88t Tyler Shelter

Youth 80
1. 700 Evan Stafford
2. 309w Bronson Bauman
3. 24 Zachery Lenhof
4. 33g Geoffery Shelter

Classic 500
1. 97w Alan Shaw
2. 14 James Kohls
3. 86d Ross Stuckert
4. 48d Joe DiSalvo
5. 4r Lenny Rodriguez
6. 52c Dave Cheney

1. 3 Mike O’Neil
2. 1 Jim Ottele
3. 53 Brent Johnson

Modern 250
1. 12e Jeff Lessley
2. 80g John Grant
3. 71e John Frank

Modern 500
1. 41 Jay Gosvenor
2. 98 Rod Lake
3. 19r Brad Rudy
4. 28d Ron Lessley
5. 209 Cliff Nagatani
6. 52c Dave Cheney
7. 13p Allan Malm

Modern 750
1. 37 Jeff Johnson
2. 68 Paul Herman
3. 71z Robert Scally
4. 77 Joe Suebert
5. 74r Gary White
6. 48d Joe DiSalvo

250 Open
1. 33e Mikey Avila
2. 310w Briar Bauman
3. 22 Eric England
4. 18h Tony Davila
5. 55 Patrick Osmer
6. 58 Brandon Bates
7. 309w Bronson Bauman
8. 28 Pauly Herman
9. 87 Lindsey King
10. 12y Jacqui Van Noort

500 Support “A” Main
1. 6 Joe Steffen
2. 571 Mike O’Neil
3. 24p Jimmy Abrams
4. 84j Jeff Gonzales
5. 58y Jim Ottele
6. 28b Gary Ritchie
7. 10w Dave Simmerman
8. 3 Clay Chambers
9. 82c Mike Riddell
10. 80k Augie Alves, Jr
11. 41 Doug Cohon

500 Support “B” Main
1. 77j Jason Craven
2. 32y Mike Gonzales
3. 32 Dominic Stewart
4. 317 Geoff Ball
5. 382 Brad Richard

Open Amateur “A” Main
1. 65y Kris Bunch
2. 15 Garrett Stout
3. 342 Jesse Sleeper
4. 45 Kayl Kolkman
5. 310w Briar Bauman
6. 93v Garrett Slate
7. 55 Patrick Osmer
8. 42 Bill Kolkman
9. 88 Dillon Allen
10. 79 Joey Alves

Open Amateur “B” Main
1. 58 Brandon Bates
2. 65 Ross Gallaher
3. 45 Ross Stuckert
4. 68x Lloyd McGregor
5. 25n Joe Schmitt
6. 146 Bill Wright
7. 21y Bubba VanNoort

Digger Pro 600
1. 20 Johnny Murphree
2. 21 Jared Mees
3. 17y Brandan Bergen
4. 54 Mikey Rush
5. 15 Garrett Stout
6. 65y Kris Bunch
7. 23z Joe Hernandez, Jr
8. 45 Kayl Kolkman
9. 20m Brady Mueller
10. 18h Tony Davila
11. 342w Jesse Sleeper
12. 49y Chad Cose
13. 33e Mikey Avila
14. 35 Kyle Ragsdale

It was great to see everyone after the winter layoff! The track came around and the racing was really good.
Please keep Ken Barrow in your prayers. Thanks and congrats to the winners!  Jodi and Eddie

Article by Jamey Blunt

Photos by Jessyca Blunt