Round # 1

Willow Springs Raceway - Rosemond, California

Sunday April 13th, 2008

The high desert of Southern Cal once again delighted us with warm Spring-like temps for Saturdays practice at the Willow Springs 3/8 mile cushion. The track was the best its ever been we heard a lot of people say. Freshly cut and added DG made it pristine for hours and hours of practice. There were people on new bikes able to get lots of seat time and everyone got fine tuned for Sunday's race. Sunday was hotter and so was the racing! Eddie raised almost $2,000 for the Open Pros Dash-4-cash at the riders meeting. A nice treat for the four winners 21-Jared Mees, 3-Joe Kopp, 43-Sammy Halbert, 49y-Chad Cose. Thanks so much to all those who pitched in! Some of the legends and sponsors in the pits were Digger Helm, Steve and Cindy Vizzo, Bill Bartel, Jim Kelly, Tom Seymour, Scott Dunlavey, Ray Abrams, Ron Wood. Lots of great racing all day and the 20 lap pro main was fast and fun to watch. Willow Rocks!!! Thanks. Eddie and Jodie

Page one- Amateurs

Page three - Pictures

The Pro's

Pro Dash-4-Cash

Steve Murray got in the very loose stuff.


Pro Dash-4-Cash
1. 21 Jared Mees
2. 3 Joe Kopp
3. 43 Sammy Halbert
4. 49y Chad Cose
5. 28 Shaun Russell
6. 15 Nicole Cheza
7. 15 Garrett Stout
8. 51 Steve Murray (dnf)

Digger’s Open Pro

Digger’s Open Pro
1. 21 Jared Mees
2. 3 Joe Kopp
3. 51 Steve Murray
4. 43 Sammy Halbert
5. 28 Shaun Russell
6. 49y Chad Cose
7. 20 Brandan Bergen
8. 45 Kayl Kolkman
9. 18h Tony Davila
10. 65y Kris Bunch
11. 15 Garrett Stout
12. 15 Nicole Cheza
13. 88 Jim Rosa
14. 34 David Brown
15. 45e Ian Foulds
16. 88 Dillon Allen
17. 65e Kenny Malaguarnero
18. 22 Eric England

Eddie, Steve Murray, Bill Bartel, Joe Kopp, Digger, Jared Mees, Tony Dodge and Tom Seymour.

Eddie Mulder's W.C.V.D.T. Series

Round #1 Walt James Stadium at

Willow Springs – Rosmond, Ca.

April 13th, 2008

Article by Jamey Blunt

What? The first national dirt track race in the west was canceled, enter stage left Eddie Mulder. To keep the sport alive he took matters in his own hands and once again stepped up to the plate to hold the first significant dirt track race west of the Mississippi at the Walt James Stadium 3/8 mile Willow Springs facility. Eighteen heats, one semi, thirteen main events and a dash for cash made up Sundays race program.

The Pro Dash for Cash started off the main event program for the day with Joe Kopp, Steve Murray, Jared Mees, Sammy Halbert, Shaun Russell, Chad Cose, Garrett Stout and Nicole Cheza staging for the six lap payday. By virtue of the fastest heat race time Kopp chose to start from the outside of the front row. Mees led into turn one followed by Murray, Halbert, Kopp and Cheza. Entering turn one for the second time Murray was pushed wide and went down in the hay bales, he was unhurt but his Harley was bent and needed more repair than time allowed for the full restart. On the restart, minus Murray, Kopp held the front position with Mees counting the rings on his Super Trap exhaust. Halbert ran third with Russell fourth, Cose fifth, Stout sixth, and Cheza seventh. Kopp working the track up high was attempting to get away but Mees was squaring the corners up and getting a little better drive biding his time for an opening. On the entrance to turn three for the third time Kopp left the door ajar which Mees slipped through making the order Mees, Kopp, Halbert, Cose now Fourth, Russell fifth, Cheza up to sixth, and Stout in seventh. Kopp would drop in behind Mees to study his lines staying three bike lengths back waiting, but an opening nor a mistake never materialized and Mees went on to claim the lions share of the $1,900 cash award as he extended the gap.

Fourteen riders over fifty years of age made up the Barnett/Works Performance Senior final. Semi Valley Kawasaki's John Lundgren read starter Fred Allen to lead into turn one, but Kenny Thiebaud on a browed Yamaha from Browns Cycles took over on the exit from turn two. Gary White and Jeff Lessley quickly followed past a stunned Lundgren who now found himself back to fourth. Ron Lessley ran in fifth with Ron Alexander sixth on a C & J framed Triumph. On the exit of turn four on lap two Jeff Lessley was challenging White for second which he secured. At the front Thiebaud put in a 22.40/100 second lap that no one could match while Steve Craft settled in at seventh with Tony Herrera eighth. Entering turn one with two laps remaining Lundgren put a wheel under White and took over the third place position. This lap was also Lundgren's fastest as he turned a 23.89/100 second lap. At the stripe the finishing order was Thiebaud, Jeff Lessley, Lundgren, White, Ron Lessley, Alexander, Craft, and Herrera.    

The AGV Helmets/Bartels H.D. Vet class marked the return to racing of cancer survivor Jim Rosa. A field of twenty two fought through the heat races for one of the ten spots in the "A" main that saw Don Howard lead from the start through turns one and two. Rosa dropped in at second with Joe Steffen, Mike O'Neil, Chris Cannon, David Ehrart, and Joel Kath giving chase. Down the back straight for the second time Rosa pulled alongside Howard and dropped to the inside entering turn three to take the lead. Lap three saw Rosa put his head down and turn his fastest lap at 22.20/100 seconds as he pulled away from Howard. With a lap remaining Rosa and Howard were gone, Steffen was two seconds back in third and O'Neil had been dropped to seventh as Cannon moved up to fourth, Ehrhart to fifth and Kath to sixth. The final lap held no changes which made this the final tally.

In the Saddlemen/Browns Cycles Super Senior final Ed Steffen led the pack on his 750cc Shell Yamaha followed by Mel Stoner, Herb Wolff, and Joe Brown. Shifting of positions between turns three and four on lap two saw Stoner get dropped back to fourth while Brown on a 250cc two stroke took the lead away from Steffen and Wolff stayed at third. Triumph mounted Tom Howard ran fifth, with Dave Cheney sixth, and stunt legend Bob Harris seventh. Brown once up front put his talent to work and posted a 24.20/100 second lap as he pulled away. Wolff meanwhile was attacking Steffen for the second place spot which he attained working an outside line through turns three and four. This cemented the running order to the finish at Brown, Wolff, Steffen, Stoner, Howard, Cheney, and Harris.

1967 and earlier machines make up the ARD Ignitions/San Diego off Road Classic 500/Dino classes. Another interesting note is these machines run no brakes. Arizona's Ross Stuckert put his 500cc BSA up front into turn one with Joel Kath, Brad Holt, Lenny Rodriguez, and Mike O'Neil giving chase. Down the back straight Kath was firmly in control over Stuckert at the front with Holt dropping Stuckert another notch by the stripe. Kath on a 1958 BSA Gold Star lapped at 24.08/100 seconds as he inched away from Holt's potent H.D. Sprint. By the half way point the front two had a full straight gap and Jack Alexander was moving forward from a bad start. With a lap remaining Kath's bike began to sputter which allowed Holt to close in. On the last lap Alexander pushed past Stuckert into third as Holt had caught and passed Kath for the lead. But Stuckert fought back and regained third on the run to the stripe as Kath held on for second to Holt's first victory aboard the little Harley.

Gary White and Joe Suebert hit turn one side by side in the Motion Pro/Tuffplates Modern 750 main event. But before the completion of the first lap Paul Herman took over the lead and moved on to another zip code. This left Suebert, Craig Furman, White and Ron Alexander to fight over what was left. Herman was some two seconds a lap faster than the field turning 22.33/100 second lap times. With two laps remaining Alexander got past White to take over fourth while Craig Furman was fighting with Suebert for second. At the finish it was Herman by half a lap, Suebert holding on to second over Furman, Alexander fourth and White fifth.

Three rows deep staged for the A&A Racing/Maxxis Tires Modern 500 war. Jeff Gonzales sat on pole but it was Mike O'Neil and Joe Steffen who led into turn one. Exiting turn two O'Neil pulled ahead as Jeff Gonzales dropped Steffen to third, with Mike Gonzales joining the party as well. Exiting turn four Steffen would regain second briefly until he hit a rut allowing Jeff Gonzales back by. Mike Gonzales running a low line slipped under Steffen in turn one moving him back another spot. Lap three O'Neil put in the fastest lap of the race at 22.51/100 seconds with the front four now a full straight ahead of the field. The running order at this point was O'Neil, Mike Gonzales, Jeff Gonzales, Steffen, and way back Augie Alves Jr. and Pauly Herman. O'Neil under intense pressure turned in one of the finest rides of his life to hold Mike Gonzales at bay for the victory. Jeff Gonzales held off the late charge from Steffen for third and Herman made the pass for fifth on Alves on the last lap.

The Vizzo Racing/Berkeley Honda-Yamaha Open Amateur class had twenty one riders attempting to transfer to one of ten spots in the "A" main. Jesse Sleeper jumped off the line to lead through turns one and two only to have Eric England take it away from him going into turn three. Mikey Avila ran third, with Ian Foulds and Dustin Pruczinski banging bars over fourth. On lap three Avila made his move between turns one and two to take second away from Sleeper while England put in a 21.86/100 second lap time on a clear track. Foulds who was now solidly in fourth was closing ground on Sleeper as well but time was running out. At the checkered flag England picked up a disserved victory, Avila was a solid second, Sleeper held off a closing Foulds for third, and Pruczinski settled for fifth.   

Twenty four pros went at it via four heat races and a semi for a spot in the Digger Helm Open Pro Main. Seven of which were Nationally ranked riders from across the United States, with one being former Grand National Champion Joe Kopp from Mica, Wa. Eighteen riders thundered from three rows off the starting line into turn one for this twenty lap final. Joe Kopp and Jared Mees hit turn one side by side with Mees taking point by the exit of turn two. Shaun Russell ran third, with Steve Murray fourth, and Chad Cose fifth. Lap three Cose went past Murray on the Jim Kelly H.D. to take fourth while Mees and Kopp (both on their H.D. twins) were gaping the field. On the next trip down the back straight Cose put his A&A Racing 450cc single past Russell for third. All the while Sammy Halbert recovering from a less than desirable start was starting a march and was up fighting for fifth. For the next few laps Cose and Russell would swap third place while Murray and Halbert would swap fifth. At the half way point Mees had a four second gap over Kopp who in turn had gapped the rest of the field. Mees had also turned his fastest lap of the day at 20.67/100 seconds. National number fifteen Nicole Cheza meanwhile had climbed as high as she could to seventh, but by races end would drop back to twelfth. Kayl Kolkman's march would stop at eighth as Mees was now getting into lappers. By lap twelve Murray found his rhythm and shot past Russell for fourth and Cose looked to be tiring as his lap times were slowing. On lap fourteen Cose was done while Murray and Kopp both picked their pace up. Murray who took third away from Cose and Kopp who was gaining ground back from Mees. Halbert also dropped Russell a notch to take over at fifth. On lap sixteen Halbert had caught Cose and dove underneath into turn three to take fourth place away. This pushed a tired Cose high which allowed Russell past as well, leaving Cose to finish in sixth. At the front Mees was on cruise control and even though Kopp was gaining time was short and in the end Mees still had a second and a half gap for victory. Kopp was a lonely second with Murray a strong third, Halbert a hard fought fourth, an injured but tough Russell fifth, and a worn out Cose sixth. Kopp who had never raced a Mulder event or been to Willow had this to say, "Jared kind of got out on me the first few laps then we kind of held our own, then the final few laps we were gaining a bit chasing him back down, but he out gunned me today. I was kind of skeptic coming here with the Harley but this is a killer track for a Harley. Eddie puts on a great race and I'm glad we came; now if he'd just drive my truck home for us it would be great."

Page one- Amateurs

Page three - Pictures