TOMMY LUERA SR 15.jpg
The Writer as Rider, Steve Caro 519.jpg
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BATTLE OF THE TITANS- GARY FAXON 25S VS FRANK VRETTAS 77V.jpg
CALVMX RETURNS TO PERRIS
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Perris, CA. March 19.
The sights and sounds of vintage racing returned to the historic grounds of Perris Raceway as the third round of the 2017 CALVMX/100% vintage motocross series made a triumphant return after not having visited the venue for several seasons. Under clear skies and moderate temperatures, an entry count of over 100 took to a modified, vintage friendly Perris Vet track with classes ranging from air-cooled 100cc machines to the modern bike support class.
A tour of the pit area revealed a wide range of machines including classic examples of CZ, Bultaco, Husqvarna, early Japanese and a nice cross section of post vintage (1975-1992) machinery. Included in the mix was the newly acquired 1982 Yamaha YZ 125 of Ben Eisen, the young upcoming rider who, in his period correct riding gear, looked as if he had time-traveled directly from the track in 1982.
Round three of the series carried an extra significance in that it was dedicated to the memory of Brian Tracy. Known for his blazing speed and fearless riding on machines that were truly “barn fresh,” Tracy’s too short career saw him dominate various classes in the post-vintage divisions until his life ended in an off-season rock climbing accident. A memorial lap was held in tribute to Tracy which included his brother, Matt and sister, Lisa.
The Vintage Sportsman 500 Intermediate class was a clash between Czech, German and Japanese machinery. In the first moto, Adam Tuner and his classic yellow colored 1974 Yamaha emerged from the crowded first turn with the lead, followed by the CZ’s of Tony Manning and Mike Korgan, with Steve Dolphin’s Maico in fourth. Turner and Manning quickly settled into a cat-and-mouse game for the lead with Manning closing in on Turner in the corners followed by Turner squirting away on the straights. Turner prevailed for the moto win, followed by Manning and the always consistent Korgan in third.
Turner showed his determination to capture the overall in the second moto as he quickly powered his way to the front of the pack immediately after the starting gate dropped. Behind him, Korgan and Manning were in hot pursuit and stayed within striking range throughout the moto. Turner would not be bested on the day as he maintained his lead to the finish to capture the overall victory. Korgan’s 3-2 scores netted him second overall, while Manning rounded out the podium in third with his 2-3 scores.
In the 50 Plus GP Intermediates, Honda mounted Tommy Luera, Sr. put in two good rides on the way to the overall victory in the class. In moto one, Yamaha mounted Billy Nielson moved into the lead as the pack funneled its way thru the first turns, followed by James Youngblood (Hon) and Don Nielson (Hon). Billy Nielson stretched his lead out to several bike lengths by the midway point of the moto, with Youngblood, Don Nielson, and Luera vying closely for second. Billy Nielson kept his pursuers at bay to the finish as he took the moto win. Behind him, Luera’s steady pace saw him taking over second place with Youngblood in third as the checkers flew at the end of the moto.
With Billy Nielson, an unfortunate non-starter in moto two, the overall victory was really up for grabs amongst the remaining entrants. As the gate fell for the start of the second moto, Luera dropped the proverbial hammer and put his Honda into the lead with Youngblood pushing hard in second place. Luera would never put a wheel wrong during the moto and rapidly pulled away to an uncontested moto and overall win. Youngblood’s measured pace took him to second overall, while Don Neilson garnered third overall.
Maico mounted Rick Labgold made his first appearance of the year a successful outing as he powered his way to the overall win in 60 Plus Vintage Intermediate, while Craig Walker (CZ) made the most of his first outing with a fine second overall finish. Joining the first appearance group was Mark Wood (CZ) who put in two good rides to finish second overall behind Tim McIntyre (CZ) in 50 Plus Vintage Expert, while long time competitor Steve Gallegos logged steady 3-3 scores in GP-1 250 Intermediate for a well-earned third overall on the day.
Other winners on the day included Ben Eisen in GP-2 125 Intermediate, Randy Okada (Suz) in GP-1 125 Novice and Ty Nexsen (Suz) who dominated the 50+ GP Experts along with a blitzkrieg win in the Ironman class.
Round four of the 2017 season is travel time for the CALVMX caravan. The April edition will see the club returning to Buckeye, Arizona’s Arizona Cycle Park for a day of old-school scrambles competition. For those hesitant to make the trip, rest assured it is worth it as the ACP facilities are first class and the track staff roll out the red carpet for the vintage racers. Ample parking, great concessions and a well prepped track await the vintage racing community. Set for April 23, the event will also feature the annual Three-Wheeler National. A large number of the machines entered last year’s inaugural event at ACP and an equal number is anticipated for this year’s meeting.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: