Elsinore Heat Can’t Stop
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Elsinore, CA. June 20
Borrowing a line from the Tucson, Arizona tourist bureau, “But its dry heat!” was an apt description for the conditions the CALVMX competitors faced for the concluding round of the 2015 First Series event held at the Lake Elsinore MX Park. The thermometer hovered right around the 96-98 degree Fahrenheit level the entire day. Needless to say, hydration for both human and track surface were of the utmost importance.
A healthy turnout of vintage and post-vintage machines, along with the modern support, filled the pit area on the absolutely cloudless day. But for a faint breeze, there was no doubt temperatures would have cracked the century mark. In an effort to spare every drop of water possible due to the severe draught conditions, Elsinore’s track staff added a proprietary product to the contents of the water truck that enabled them to use less water, yet at the same time add a degree of “tackiness” to the challenging track surface.
The man-made course at Elsinore always provides a unique challenge to the racer. For CALVMX, the main track at the complex was altered to suit the capabilities of the classic racing machinery in use. A combination of flat cornered turns, tabletop jumps and a few bowl shaped corners kept all the competitors at full attention throughout the two sets of motos.
An added twist faced the riders in the form of a flag start rather than the traditional gate or rubberband start. A long starting straight leading to a tight left hand first turn mandated a good start for a chance at a high moto finish.
The GP 1-500 Expert division featured a three-rider duel in both motos. In the first moto, Brent Koble (Husq) emerged from a first turn tangle of machines to take the lead over long time competitor Ed Tashjian (Suz) and Brad Roysdon, who was mounted on the only four-stroke powered machine, a Yamaha TT-500 based machine. Koble maintained a torrid pace on the course. Tashjian kept Koble within striking distance but was never able to close in for a pass attempt. After being involved in the first turn tangle of machines, Roysdon worked his way up to third. At the checkers, it was Koble with the win, followed by Tashjian and Roysdon.
The start of the second moto witnessed Tashjian and Koble launching essentially identical starts. Koble led the pack into the back portion of the course, but this time Tashjian was a mere bike length behind. Powering their way around one of the few corners with a berm, Tashjian pinned the throttle on his big RM-400 and squeezed into the lead. The rough Elsinore course really worked the suspensions on the first generation long-travel machines the entire length of the moto as both front and rear wheels seemed to be in a perpetual up/down cycle.
Koble kept a steady pressure on Tashjian throughout the moto and it was obvious only a slight mistake would result in a position change. Immune to the pressure behind him, Tashjian powered his way to both the moto and overall victory, with Koble second overall, followed by Roysdon using consistent 3-3 scores for the final podium spot.
The Vintage Sportsman 125 class is one of the true survivors of vintage racing. Within the ebb and flow of the sport, those faithful to the eighth-liter sized motor have always managed to field a steady number of entries in novice, intermediate and expert divisions.
Long-time campaigner Jeff Snyder has been involved in vintage racing for some 20+years. Using a variety of machines ranging from Honda Elsinore, Husqvarna CR, Yamaha, CZ and Hodaka during his long career, Snyder has had one of the most consistent careers on the Southern California circuit. At Elsinore, Honda mounted Snyder waged a two moto battle with Tim Bartee (Hon) in Vintage Sportsman 125 Intermediate. In the first moto, Snyder timed the flag wave perfectly and led the combined field of Intermediates and Novices out of the first turn. Trailing Snyder were Bartee and Kawasaki mounted Pete Wright.
The design of the Elsinore course meant the small bore machines had to be kept “up on the pipe” at all times to avoid the loss of forward momentum. Snyder held the lead position from start to finish, with Bartee never more than a few bike lengths behind as the two battled not only each other, but also a course that would penalize the slightest miscue by a rider. At the checkers, Snyder crossed with the win followed by Bartee and Wright.
Snyder wasted no time in the second moto as he pulled an impressive holeshot at the drop of the flag and powered his way into a multi-second lead over Bartee and the rest of the pack. Midway thru the moto, Bartee closed the gap on Snyder as they made their way thru the back portion of the course. With one lap to go, Snyder seemed to find an extra burst of power and extended his lead to several bike lengths. The moto finished with Snyder clinching the overall victory with Bartee taking a well-earned second overall.
Other winners on the day included Women’s Expert Liz Winslow (Yam), with Carol Feeney (Kaw) taking the Intermediate class while Kerri Kress (Suz) and Alyssa Borrielli (Hon) taking top honors in the Novice and Beginners divisions. Joining the list of class winners were Travis McCaw (Hon) in Vintage Sportsman 250 Intermediate and GP1-125 Intermediate, Maico mounted Brad Morrison in 50 Plus GP Expert, Sandi Weidler (Hon) in GP150 Novice, Mark Sandzimier (Suz) in GP2-125 Expert and Tanner Pies (Hon), Jerry Nocciolo (Hon) and Paul Parker (Hon) topping the three-wheeler Expert, Intermediate, and Novice divisions.
July will see the CALVMX cavalcade returning to Cahuilla Creek MX Park. Scheduled for July 19th, the round will be the first for Series 2 in the CALVMX program. As with all CALVMX promoted events, everyone is welcome to participate. There is literally a class for any machine from any era and divisions for any skill level and age of rider.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: