CALVMX 100% Series 1, Rd# 4 Articles/ Photos
VMX Lights Up The Perris Night
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Perris, CA. April 11.
For the first time in over five years, the CALVMX collective took their racing under the artificial lighting at Perris Raceway. The April event also marked their first race at the facility in several years. Under clear skies and comfortable temperatures, the night sky of Southern California’s oldest continuously operating track rang with the sounds of classic racing machinery and the sweet smell of pre-mix exhaust.
Staged on Perris’ main track, the program was kept on a rapid schedule due to curfew restraints. As soon as the last rider in a moto was seen approaching the finish line area, the gate dropped for the next moto. Strategic watering kept dust a non-factor and all competitors were at the starting gate in time for their motos. The moto Gods favored the racers with an injury free event and few mechanical gremlins set upon the machines from past racing eras.
Age specific classes always feature a plethora of machines of various displacements. The most popular sizes seem to be 250cc and, at least in vintage racing, the hard hitting 500cc two strokes that not too long ago were the ultimate test of a rider’s skill set. In the 50 Plus GP Intermediate, class, this was the case as a field of half liter and full liter machines took the course.
Honda mounted Kevin Rogers was the absolute master of the challenging Perris course with perfect 1-1 moto scores on the night. In moto one, Ron Rinden (Hon) grabbed the early lead with Bengt Luotonen on a Maico and Rogers close behind. By lap two Rogers had powered his way into the lead with Luotonen close behind. A spirited duel continued between the front-runners with Rogers steadfastly clinging to the lead spot. At the checkers, it was Rogers with the moto win, followed by Luotonen and Mark Stubbs on another Honda in third.
The second moto was a bona-fide night race as the sun had set and the track lights were at full power. The darkness creates an eerie atmosphere and senses seem to heighten in the twilight. Rogers powered his way into the lead as the mixed field of Novice, Intermediate and Experts took to the track for their final race of the evening. Following in second and third were Don Hansing (Mai) and Luotonen. Rogers never faltered throughout the moto and faced minimal challenge as he sped towards both the moto and overall victory in the class. Luotonen garnered second overall with his 2-2 tally, with Hansing’s steady 4-3 scores netting him the final podium place.
As is often the case in the pre-1975 races, Travis McCaw and his Honda’s are always serious contenders for overall victories. He carried the reputation into GP-1 125 Intermediate competition as he swapped moto victories with Phil Revilee’s Suzuki. Rick Guilmette (Suz) nailed the holeshot in the first moto, with McCaw and Revilee closing in fast. McCaw moved into the lead before the end of lap one, with Revilee following him into second. It looked like McCaw was going to run away with the moto win, but Revilee had other plans. As the moto progressed, Revilee closed the gap on McCaw. Revilee staged a late race pass for the lead on McCaw, who never gave up and kept the pressure on the new leader until the very end of the moto. At the checkers, it was Revilee with the win, followed by McCaw, with Scott Piddington’s pristine Kawasaki KX-125A-4 in third.
With the Moon in the western sky, McCaw and Revilee resumed their battle for the overall class victory with Guilmette third and Piddington fourth. By the end of lap two, McCaw began to pull away from his pursuers. Similar to many of his run away wins in the vintage classes, McCaw hammered the track for the remaining laps and sped to a relatively unchallenged victory. His 2-1 moto scores broke the tie with Revilee’s 1-2 results. Guilmette took third overall, followed by Piddington.
Other race winners on the night included Kirk Jackson (Hon) in GP-3 125 Expert over fellow Honda pilot Ron Renzulli. Mark Sandzimier took the gold in GP-2 125 Expert, while Carole Feeney (Kaw) topped Women’s Intermediate over Katherine Wood (T-M) and Brenda Wise (Yam). Scoring an impressive victory on a truly classic machine, Julia Notman on a Maico topped the women’s novice class. Vintage Sportsman 500 Expert saw Greg Landers (Yam) sweeping both motos in convincing fashion over Mark Wood (CZ) and Gary DeForest (CZ).
Tanner Pies battled wheel-to-wheel with Tom Decrescente in 3 Wheeler Open Expert and emerged with the overall win with Decrescente taking a well deserved second overall.
Racing returns to daytime and the familiar surroundings of Cahuilla Creek MX Park on May 16. Designated Armed Forces Day, members of all five branches of the military will be honored during pre-race ceremonies. As with all CALVMX races, an open invitation exists for any person with an older machine to join in the day of racing. Especially welcome is any person bringing a pre-1975 machine as these are the original basis of vintage racing and the club strives to preserve the roots of American motocross by returning them to period correct tracks.