Caro's Article : 2017 Opener & Awards
“And So It Begins”
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Anza, CA Feb 4 2017
The intoxicating scent of pre-mix permeated the air at Cahuilla Creek MX Park as the 2017 CALVMX/100% vintage racing season roared into action under near perfect weather conditions. Recent heavy rains in the high desert areas resulted in a course with plenty of moisture and primo traction.
The entry count for the season opener was an impressive 194 spread out across numerous classes in nine separate races. Equally encouraging was the fact that 57 pre-1975 vintage bikes were amongst the nearly 200 total entries. Considering the entire sport of vintage racing was created around restoring and racing the short travel machines from the first era of American motocross, seeing that 29% of the race day entries were from that era speaks well for the original goal of vintage racing.
The Open Age Vintage Experts took to the track in grand style with serious fast guys such as Greg Landers, Nick LaPaglia and Craig Bowman included in the entry list. In the first moto, the CZ’s of Lapaglia and Landers rocketed to the front of the pack trailed by Craig Bowman (CZ). LaPaglia began to pull away from the pack by lap three, building up a six second lead. The young ace once again proved that great racing doesn’t require valves, cams and a price tag north of $10G! Behind LaPaglia, Landers was hammering the course on his Czech machine in hot pursuit, with Bowman holding onto the third spot. At the checkers, LaPaglia took the moto win, followed by Landers and Bowman.
The beginning of moto two appeared to be a replica of the first moto as LaPaglia once again nailed the start, with Landers and Bowman in close pursuit. The three CZ aces quickly pulled away from the pack as they sailed high and far over the uphill jump section on the back of the track in a thorough test of the limits of 7’’ of front suspension travel and 4” in the rear. The entire dynamic of the moto suddenly changed near the middle of lap three as LaPaglia’s machine rolled to a stop! As Landers and Bowman swept by, LaPaglia frantically kicked and finally got going again. As Landers roared away to an insurmountable lead, LaPaglia did everything possible to regain track positions. Sadly, for the young hot shoe, his race ended less than a lap later with what turned out to be an ignition problem, most likely involving the kill switch. Landers went on to take both the moto and overall win, followed by Bowman and Honda mounted Mike Padilla.
Suzuki mounted Tim Hoole was the man to beat in 50+ GP Expert. In the first moto, as the pack sorted itself out, Hoole took the lead, followed by Billy Nielson (Yam) and Tim Devlin (Hon). Hoole extended his lead by lap three, with Nielson and Devlin settling into second and third. Hoole never put a wheel wrong in the moto and cruised to the moto victory, with Nielson and Devlin taking unopposed runner up spots.
James Youngblood (Hon) timed the start of the second moto perfectly and took a multi-bike length lead as the pack funneled onto the main part of the Cahuilla course with Devlin and Hoole following. Youngblood held onto the lead until the beginning of lap three. It was then that Hoole powered his way from third to first in a matter of a few turns. From that point on, Hoole was in charge of the moto and took the moto and overall wins with his two-moto sweep. Devlin took second overall, with Youngblood in a well-deserved third overall.
In a duel between European machines, CZ mounted Jay East and Bultaco mounted Pat Irvin swapped moto wins in Vintage Sportsman 250 Intermediate. Irvin and his pristine, blue colored Bultaco sped to the win in the first moto, with East taking second. In moto two, East powered his way to the moto win to capture the overall, followed by Irvin and Jim Barker (Hon).
Kerri Kress changed the race numbers from her familiar 0 to 925 on her Suzuki and debuted them with the overall win in Women’s Open Intermediate and added to her trophy collection with an additional overall in GP 2-125 Novice on a Honda. Andrew McKeag (Husq) joined her on the winner’s list by taking Classic 2. 500 Expert, as did Loren Dimond (Suz) in 50+ GP Expert, Jeff Snyder (Hon) in 60+ Vintage Expert and Dave Scourfield (CZ) in Open Age Vintage Intermediate.
The classic racing community will only have a two-week break between race days as their next event will be a double header over the weekend of February 25-26. Combined with AHRMA’ s scheduled national event, Saturday will be for the pre-1975 vintage machines with the post-vintage racers having the track to themselves on Sunday. Regular series participants are highly encouraged to invite new racers to join in on the weekend of classic racing as there will be literally a class for any bike, rider and skill level on both days.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: