CALVMX Hosting the AHRMA National, 100% Series 1 Rd#2 & AHRMA Regional Opener
By Tom Corley
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“Neither Rain Nor Sleet Shall Stop VMX”
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Anza, CA. Feb. 21-22
Vintage motocross returned for the first time in 2015 to Cahuilla Creek MX Park with a double header of racing featuring not only round two of CALVMX’s 100% sponsored regional series, but also included the opening round of AHRMA’s Northwest Maico & CZ/Race Tech vintage/post-vintage national series. Competitors were met with highly unusual weather in the form of rain and body numbing winds battering racers and spectators alike throughout the weekend. Salvaged washing machine drums used as portable fire pits were in steady use in an effort to combat the cold. Especially encouraging was that for the second race in-a-row, there were over 20 women entrants during the weekend, proving that the “fairer sex” were not afraid to roost mud and dodge the rain on an equal basis.
Staged on the popular “Vet” track, the course was appropriately transformed for the pre-1975 era machines and then again reconfigured overnight for their later era-cousins. The course received rave reviews from a large majority of riders both days. The addition of the rain showers made for ideal traction everywhere on the course.
The goal of vintage motocross is to preserve the sights and sounds of machines from the first generation of American motocross. Saturday was for the short suspension travel bikes. It was an encouraging sight to see so many of the early era machines back in action, for in recent years a marked decline in attendance has been evident in the pre-’75 machines.
Adding to the magic of the day was the presence of motocross pioneer and Hall of Fame member Gary “The Professor” Bailey who was saluted for his contributions to the sport. As is the custom of CALVMX, an image of Bailey in action was featured on the mugs presented to class winners to which Bailey quipped “My mug is on the mug ?” At the pre-race rider’s meeting, Bailey was presented with the framed original $150 dollar check he had received for being the winner of the Firecracker MX at Saddleback Park in 1969. Upon receiving the memento, Bailey noted that in his personal museum in Virginia, he has all of his original riding gear and the Greeves he raced that day, and the check completes the display of that special day. In regards to the dollar amount he won, Bailey remarked he thought the amount was kind of small, especially after he learned the visiting European racers had earned $400 each in appearance fees alone from promoter Edison Dye!
A total of eight motos comprising multiple classes filled the Cahuilla track on Saturday and a further nine on Sunday kept the frigid track in constant use. Scoring was complicated as some riders were competing for CALVMX points, while others were after AHRMA points and then some pursued both! A major salute is due Shari Maney and her son Joshua for sitting on the side of the course scoring each and every rider throughout the weekend.
Saturday’s vintage program saw Bultaco mounted Patrick Irvin brushing off the cold weather to notch up 2-2 moto scores to top the Sportsman 250 Intermediate division, with John Woolsey (Yam) and Jim Barker (Hon) joining him on the podium. Clark Jones (CZ) swept both motos in the Expert division, with James Clayton (Hon) and Marc Brown (Hon) in the runner-up spots.
Long time campaigner Jeff Snyder kept his diminutive Hodaka near the front all day in 50 Plus Intermediate and took the overall victory followed by Brian Larsen (CZ) and Dave Scourfield (CZ). Joining them in the winner’s column was Rick Daniel (Yam) in Sportsman 500 Expert, with Shawn Culp (CZ) making the journey from Arizona worthwhile with a second overall and Matt Parsons on his classic Rickman-BSA in third.
One of the most impressive showings was put on by one of the youngest entrants. Ben Eisen, a regular competitor in the junior division on a small bore Honda, today rode a newly acquired 1973 Yamaha MX 250 to take the overall in the Junior Novice class. Despite having to deal with a blown rear shock seal, Eisen handled the unfamiliar mount well and circulated near the front of the mixed pack, which included Vintage Women Experts and Intermediates along with the 70, Plus Experts. Eisen’s performance is proof that racing motocross doesn’t require a budget busting high-tech machine whose lifespan is often measured in hours rather than years.
On Sunday, the Post-Vintage racers took to the track confronted by a steady rainstorm and bitterly cold wind. Once again Rick Daniel was a multi-class entrant and emerged with wins in AHRMA Open Age Expert, Historic 500 Expert and a second overall in 50 Plus GP Expert on his stable of Yamahas.
The 50 Plus GP Intermediate saw Dave Feeney (Hon) use 3-1 moto scores to take the overall, followed by Tim Hoole (Suz) and Brent Luotomen (Mai). Also taking home overall wins were Mark Sandzimier (Suz) in GP2-125 Expert, while Charles Hilton made his return to vintage racing after a long hiatus a success by taking the overall in GP-1 250 Intermediate aboard his Honda, with Kevin Connelly (Yam) and Steve Gallegos (Husq) taking the runner-up spots.
In three-wheeler action, Johnny Brady roared around the course in route to a two moto sweep of the 250 Experts, with Ron Baker and Tom Decrescente taking second and third.
The three wheeler 250 Intermediates saw Jerry Nocciolo topping the class, with first time competitor John Robertson on an early model 1981 Honda notching 2-2 scores for second overall.
On a somber note, CALVMX member Art Leva mentioned it was a year ago this weekend the club lost “Fast Eddie” Pierre-Jerome to a heart attack during a race weekend at The Ranch. With the Ironman Trophy now named in his honor, “Fast Eddie’s” memory will live on.
Round three of the CALVMX regional series will return to Cahuilla Creek MX for another two-day event the weekend of March 14-15. On Saturday, the second annual CALVMX 3 Wheeler National will be held, followed by the regular program of vintage and post-vintage racing on Sunday.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at:
San Diego Off Road Magazine