By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Anza, CA May 22, 2016
After their highly successful soiree to Arizona for their first venture on a scrambles course, the vintage racing fraternity of CALVMX returned to their de-facto home track of Cahuilla Creek MX Park for round five of their 100% products sponsored Series One of 2016. As has come to be expected, the Cahuilla Creek track preparation was excellent as was the recently graded pit area that quickly filled with the sights and sounds of classic racing machines. In addition to a full schedule of racing, the club held it’s annual salute to the U.S. military veterans that included a special fund raising race for the Paralyzed Veterans organization. The two-moto event raised some $775 in donations to the organization.
A great cross section of machines representing both the pre-1975 era and the post ‘75-’92 years filled the pit area during the day. It was especially encouraging to see 53 pre-1975 era machines entered in various classes. Being the original machines of the sport of vintage motocross, keeping them active on the track, especially with younger riders, is paramount to preserving the history and the original intent of vintage motocross.
Without a doubt, one machine in the pit area was the star attraction during the day. The famous Rex Staten CZ from the 1975 U.S.G.P at Carlsbad was in the pit area of the father/son team of Mike and Nick LaPaglia. Now owned by the LaPaglia’s, the machine was restored to pristine running condition after being acquired in absolutely deplorable condition.
For those not familiar with the story, “Rocket Rex” Staten was in need of a competitive ride for the upcoming 1975 USGP. After acquiring a CZ used by Jim Fishback, a frenzied program of frame and engine modifications ensued to prepare the bike to face the onslaught of ultra-exotic Japanese brand machines ridden by the likes of Roger DeCoster, Gerrit Wolsink and Pierre Karsmakers. Although it was the heaviest bike entered at 247 pounds, Staten qualified third fastest and proceeded to lead eight laps of the first moto until the motor mounts fractured, forcing Staten to drop back to seventh, the bike barely able to be ridden and Staten’s hands pounded to a bloody pulp. Frantic welding put the CZ back in running condition and Staten, despite the agony from his hands, returned for the second moto. In a Don Quixote like quest, Staten took on the brutal Carlsbad track and the horde of European MX stars to finish the second moto, with re-broken motor mounts, to garner 7th overall and a permanent place in motocross lore.
The Vintage Sportsman 500 class was comprised entirely of CZ’s filling the entries in novice, intermediate and expert divisions. In the expert’s race, Nick LaPaglia lined the Staten CZ up next to fast veteran competitors Greg Landers, Mark Wood and Nick’s father Mike. When the gate dropped for moto one, Nick powered his way to front, with Landers in hot pursuit, followed by Wood. It quickly became apparent that young LaPaglia (roughly the same age as Staten in 1975) was riding on another level. Although Landers never backed off the throttle for a second, LaPaglia powered away from the field and took an unchallenged moto win, the famous CZ performing flawlessly and, this time, unbroken!
The second moto saw LaPaglia and Landers resuming their battle for the overall victory. Both riders were hammering their Czech machines, completely clearing the uphill step jumps on the back half of the course. It was a flag-to-flag victory for LaPaglia, clinching the overall win, followed by Landers and Wood.
Suzuki mounted Tim Hoole was the absolute master of the 50 Plus GP Intermediates with two impressive moto wins on his way to the overall victory. In the first moto, Don Hansing (Mai) led the pack as they funneled their way onto the main portion of the Cahuilla course, followed by Kent Musgrave (Suz) and Hoole. Midway thru the first lap, Musgrave moved into first, with Hoole soon taking over the second spot. The two Suzuki racers swapped the lead several times until Hoole pulled away on lap two. Behind him, Ray Zuchowski (Yam) closed in on Musgrave and soon moved into second behind Hoole. Both Zuchowski and Musgrave never waivered, but in the end, the win went to Hoole, followed by Zuchowski and Musgrave.
Hoole made short work of the second moto, as he powered his way into the lead with the drop of the starting gate, followed by Musgrave and Zuchowski. As Hoole built up a multi-bike lead, Musgrave and Zuchowski contested second. Zuchowski prevailed in the duel and took over second near the end of lap two. While Hoole sped to an uncontested moto and overall win, Musgrave kept the pressure on Zuchowski until the end of the moto, with Zuchowski snaring second overall followed by Musgrave.
Additional class winners on the day included Kylee Traughber (Hon) in Women Novice. The win was Traughber’s swan song, as the young racer will be reporting to Army boot camp in the very near future. Also taking home gold were Tommy Dykes (Suz) in Open Age GP Expert, Michael Padilla (Hon) in Vintage Sportsman 250 Intermediate, Kevin Temple (Kaw) in Vintage Sportsman 250 Expert, and veteran campaigner Pete Wright (Kaw), back from a six-month hiatus, taking home the overall in Vintage Sportsman 125 Intermediate. Mike LaPaglia added to the family win total taking the overall in 50 Plus Vintage Expert, while son Nick added his second overall to their total with the overall in GP1-250 Expert.
In a show of sportsmanship and class, seldom seen in modern bike racing, Jeff Jackson (Yam) forfeited his chance for the overall victory in Modern Support 2 Stroke Expert by giving his bike to Tim Rasmussen to race in the second moto. Rasmussen wanted to finish both motos to honor his recently deceased father, Bob Rasmussen who had also been a racer in his own right. Rasmussen used 2-1 scores to take the overall in tribute to his father.
Season two of the 2016 CALVMX race series will resume on July 17 at an as yet undetermined venue. Racer’s are advised to check on the club website and to look for an email announcing the location of Series 2, Race 1.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: