By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Buckeye, AZ. May 1, 2016
It was both a literal road trip and virtual time trip for the members of CALVMX who made the trek across the desert to Arizona Cycle Park, located in the bucolic city of Buckeye, Arizona for the special bonus round of the 2016 CALVMX/100% vintage racing season. This round took the members back to the very early days of motocross racing, when many of the courses were simply laid out in an open field and were referred to by the British term “scrambles tracks”. Generally using natural terrain obstacles with few-man made editions, they are the great grandparents to today’s sport of motocross.
The staff of Arizona Cycle Park did a superb job in re-creating a typical scrambles course from the early 1960’s with gradual elevation changes and numerous flat cornered turns that put precise balance at a premium. The design of the course enabled the water truck to navigate the entire layout in a matter of minutes, thus guaranteeing a virtual dust-free course with ample traction.
This bonus round served as a “thank you” to all of the Arizona based CALVMX members who regularly head some 300-400 plus miles west to take part in the club’s vintage motocross events in Southern California. Included with this round was a salute to Arizona native motocross legend Carlos Serrano. A 2012 inductee to the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and 2016 Legends & Heroes Award winner at the Phoenix Supercross round, Serrano is best known for his years racing Maico’s, with consistent top 10 and 20 finishes in both motocross and supercross including success in Mexico, Cuba and Italy to his resume along with top finishes in superbike racing later in his career. Moving to four wheels, Serrano was a regular winner in NASCAR events at Tucson Raceway Park. Following his retirement from active competition, Serrano opened a business in Tucson specializing in racecar fabrication, along with dirt bike and ATV race and suspension set-up.
Shifting to race action, Richard Dean (Hon) put together two solid rides in the 50 Plus Intermediate GP class to take the overall victory. In moto one, Dean timed the raised flag start perfectly and led the class onto the main portion of the course. Dean kept up a quick pace on the subtly challenging Arizona Cycle Park course and never faced a serious challenge during the moto. At the checkers, it was Dean taking the moto win, followed by Yamaha mounted Rudi Gil, with Rex Preddy and his Yamaha in third.
In the second moto, Dean once again mastered the flag start and powered his way to the front of pack that included competitors in the Open Age GP Intermediate and GP-1 125 Intermediate classes. With Gil and Preddy in hot pursuit, Dean quickly built up a multi-bike length lead and reeled off five flawless laps. At the checkers, Dean crossed the line to take the overall win, with Gil and Preddy rounding out the top three in the class.
Proving that youth can mix with age, honored guest Carlos Serrano’s young son Genaro Serrano demonstrated how fast a classic machine could be ridden by a person with the skill set to push the machine to its limit. Entered in GP 2 500 Intermediate, young Serrano was the absolute master of his Maico 490. His father commented Genaro had logged about six rides on the machine prior to this race day and had made the mental adjustment to handling and capabilities of the older machine. Normally mounted on the ubiquitous modern four-stroke machinery, young Serrano quickly adapted to the drum brake/conventional suspension German machine and was without question, one of the fastest riders on the course during the day.
In the first moto, Serrano unleashed his powerful two-stroke at the rise of the flag and quickly powered his way into a large lead. Following Serrano was Yamaha mounted Louis Phay and Cecil Schrader on a Husqvarna. By lap three, Serrano had built up a massive lead, the classic deep bass sounding bark of the Maico echoed across the ACP facility. Serrano never faltered and sped his way to the moto win, followed by Phay and Schrader.
Serrano quickly made the second moto an exact replica of the first moto as he nabbed another massive holeshot to lead the pack into the back portion of the course. As in the first moto, Phay pushed hard to stay within striking range of young leader, with Rex Preddy (Yam) pursuing in third. Although Phay never slowed his pace, there was no stopping Serrano as he rapidly lapped the ACP course to cross the line with a two-moto sweep and the overall victory.
Arizona is evidently the home range for the three-wheeler, as ten of the machines in various guises were entered. In the Open Expert class, Paul Airey traded moto wins with Ed Hicks and emerged the overall victor, while in the Open Pro class, David Ham swept both motos to take the overall over Dakota Jines. Other class winners included Steven Johnson (Open Intermediate), Steven Ely (Open Novice), Jerry Nocciolo III (250 Intermediate) and Tim Coulson and Tommy Workman in 240 Pro and Novice respectively.
Class winners in the two-wheeled divisions included Jason Holm (Hon) notching two overall wins in Open Age GP Intermediate and GP 2 250 Intermediate, while Californian Steve Gallegos (Yam) topped the GP 1-125 Intermediate class. Also taking class wins were the ageless Bill Silverthorn (Husq) in both 60 Plus and 70 Plus Vintage Expert, while Alex Reid topped the AHRMA divisions in 60 Plus Vintage Expert and Sportsman 500 Expert on his Bultaco. Joining the class winners was Steve Roach (CZ) in 60 Plus Vintage Intermediate, Kevin Temple (Kaw) in 50 Plus Vintage Expert, Shawn Culp (CZ) and Mike Korgan (CZ) in Vintage Sportsman 500 Intermediate.
Arizona Cycle Park was, hands down, one of the best venues CALVMX has ever visited. Top-notch scoring, professional flaggers, a well-groomed track and outstanding parking/pit areas were just a few of the highlights that greeted the vintage racers. Literally within a half days’ drive of Southern California based racers, the excellence of the facility made the road trip well worth the effort. Plans are in development to make this event a yearly occurrence. Racers who were unable to attend this years’ meet are strongly encouraged to attend the next race and experience the excellent event for themselves.
May 22 will see CALVMX returning to Cahuilla Creek for round five of their series. Designated the SALUTE TO ARMED FORCES DAY, the men and women of the five military branches will be honored for their contribution to the United States.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: