McCaw Does the Triple at Cahuilla

By Steve Caro

Photography by Kathryn Caro

Anza, CA.  May 17


          Cahuilla Creek MX Park has become the home for vintage motocross racing in Southern California. Regularly hosting events promoted by the regions’ dominant vintage racing organization, CALVMX, large numbers of entrants and varied track designs are always a great equation for a day of classic racing.


     Round five of the 2015 CALVMX/100% first series saw the vintage/post-vintage community taking to the Cahuilla Creek Vet track once again. Suitably modified for the older machines, the track was a challenge to both rider and machine. An especially challenging area was along the steep downhill section along the front portion of the course. Nearing the bottom of the hill was a small “kicker” bump located along the extreme right side of the track. This almost stealth like feature surprised more than one charging rider hitting it at top speed with an unintentional nose wheelie the consequence. Fortunately nothing more than elevated heart rates and a tighter grip on their bike were the end result.


         Honda mounted Travis McCaw has essentially made the Cahuilla course his personal property as he once again dominated not only Vintage Sportsman 250 Intermediate but added to his impressive collection of wins with a two-moto sweep in the GP 1-125 Intermediate division and Adult Mini Intermediate as well.  In the first moto of Michael Padilla (Hon) led the pack as they roared around the first turn after the uphill starting straight, with John Woolsey (Yam) in second, while McCaw was powering his way to the front of the pack. Approaching lap two, McCaw blitzed his way to the front of the pack and proceeded to open up a lead of several seconds over Padilla and Woolsey. McCaw kept his classic silver tanked Elsinore in the powerband and took the moto win unchallenged. Padilla crossed the finish line in second, with Woolsey third.


          McCaw wasted no time in the second moto as he quickly powered his way into the lead as the pack entered the main portion of the course. Close behind him was Padilla, followed by Woolsey. Padilla kept the pressure on McCaw for several laps and it wasn’t until the white flag lap that McCaw was able to extend his lead. At the checkers it was McCaw with the moto and overall win, with Padilla and Woolsey rounding out the podium.


           50 Plus Vintage Expert is always a showcase for “riders of a certain age” to show competitive racing is still guaranteed even if the machines are a minimum of 40 years old. CZ mounted Clark Jones (he of Noleen Racing fame) put on a two-race demonstration of just how fast a vintage bike can be run. In moto one, Jones used his decades of experience to track down Can-Am mounted Steve Ellis who had taken the holeshot and was setting a torrid pace. Making his move on the back half of the course, Jones took the lead and proceeded to lead the pack by several seconds. Ellis held onto second while Mike LaPaglia, (CZ) in his first CALVMX competition since the January opening round, was closing in from third place. With Jones comfortably in the lead, Ellis maintained second, while LaPaglia and Mark Wood (CZ) vied for third. At the checkers it was Jones with the win, followed by Ellis, with LaPaglia holding off Wood for the third.


          Ellis repeated his holeshot in the second moto and led Jones and LaPaglia onto the main course. As he had done in the first moto, Jones cranked up the power on his Czech machine and powered his way into the lead as the pack moved thru the back portion of the course. LaPaglia, with his unique day-glow orange colored CZ matched Jones pace and took over second, with Ellis third.


          In a scene reminiscent of an early 1970’s national, the Czech machines of Jones and LaPaglia powered around the Cahuilla course with the tenacious Ellis in third. There was no stopping Jones on this day, as he led flag-to-flag to clinch the overall win, followed by LaPaglia and Ellis.


         Beside Mike LaPaglia making a return to CALVMX racing, his son Nick also was present and entered in Vintage Sportsman 125 Expert and Vintage Open Age Expert. The twenty-something Nick could be the future of vintage racing as he showed a $10,000 valve and cam equipped bike with a life span only slightly longer than that of a Mayfly, is necessary to enjoy a good day of racing. Young LaPaglia swept all four of his motos on his CZ machines.


          Other class winners on the day included Shane Esposito (Yam) in GP Open Age Expert, Brad Morrison (Mai) in 50 Plus GP Expert, and Kirk Jackson took the gold in GP 3-125 Expert. Also joining the list of winners were Jeff Snyder (Hon) in 50 Plus Vintage Intermediate and Doug Reyes (Hon) in GP 1-250 Expert.


          Round six of the series will see vintage racing returning to the Lake Elsinore circuit. Racing is scheduled for June 20. The man-made Elsinore course always provides unique challenges, with the results being good racing action. As always, CALVMX has a class for all eras of machines and riders of all age and skill levels.


Further photos and race coverage can be found at:


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