By Steve Caro

Photography by Kathryn Caro

Anza, CA. Feb. 20-21


          It was the VMX version of a double header for round two of the CALVMX/100% 2016 vintage racing series as the classic racing cavalcade converged on Cahuilla Creek MX Park for the first time this season. In conjunction with the regional season, AHRMA conducted the first rounds of their vintage/post-vintage national series, sponsored by Preston Petty Products and Race Tech. With both clubs scoring finishes separately, it was a great opportunity for racers holding dual memberships to add to their series’ point tallies.


        Saturday was dedicated to the pre-1975 machines on a specially configured version of Cahuilla’s vet track. Keeping things interesting, the course was run backwards from the normal direction.

Walking thru the pit area revealed an outstanding assortment of vintage machinery including over one dozen machines dating to the early 1960’s entered in the Premier division with names like BSA, Greeves, Ariel, Rickman and Cheney-BSA. One group of riders pitting together called themselves “Geezer’s on Beezers”. Also seen in the pits was a rarely seen 1969 Montesa 360 Cappra belonging to Andrew Blackburn, the beautiful orange/white machine looking good both in the pits and on the track.


        In CALVMX tradition, the club honored a member of motocross history by naming them Grand Marshall for the day. Today’s honored guest was America’s first official 500cc national champion and AMA Hall of Fame inductee Mark Blackwell. Primarily known as a Husqvarna rider, Blackwell was one of the first Americans to pose a challenge to the all-conquering European masters in the early days of U.S motocross. Blackwell was warmly welcomed and spent a great deal of time in conversation with old friends and competitors, many whom he had not seen in decades. He commented that he got the motocross bug after witnessing Torsten Hallman at Saddleback Park in the late 1960s. He soon was on the track using CZ’s then Husqvarna and later Maico’s during his pro-career. Mark related his favorite machine was the 1972 five-speed Husqvarna.  Although somewhat heavier, he said he and the machine synched perfectly together. Nowadays, Blackwell has formed Mark Blackwell & Associates who provide advice to companies seeking to improve their position in the business world.


     In an example of “seven degrees of separation”, it was revealed that former factory pro and regular vintage racing competitor Scott Burnworth was a student in one of Blackwell’s MX schools held in the early 1970’s.

Saturday’s first race featured the Premier bikes, women and 70+ Vintage classes. In addition to serving as South West Regional Coordinator for AHRMA and handling tech-inspection prior to the races, Bill Silverthorn showed he can still pilot a vintage Husqvarna with a high degree of aplomb. Silverthorn dominated both motos of the 70 Plus Expert division with two convincing wins. Following Silverthorn across the line for second overall was Ray Atkinson (BSA). Also taking overall’s were Jeff Shaffer (BSA) in Premier 1, while in Vintage Women Intermediate, Donna Blackburn kept her diminutive Hodaka ahead of the Ellen Voermans’ thumping BSA to capture the class win.


      Classic 125 racing was an all-European brand class with CZ’s and Husqvarna filing the gate. In the Expert division, Charlie Richardson (CZ) powered his way to a two-moto sweep to take the overall in the CALVMX portion of the race, while Robert Bellicitti (Husq) kept his pristine machine “on-the-pipe” for the overall victory in AHRMA scoring.


      First time vintage racer Anthony Manning enjoyed his debut in the sport with overall wins in 50+ Vintage Intermediate on a Husqvarna, notching 2-1 moto scores ahead of Mark Locke (Husq) and Charles Hilton (Hon). Manning added to his awards collection by taking the gold in Vintage Sportsman 500 Intermediate, this time on a CZ. Manning enjoyed himself so much that he returned on Sunday and made it a trifecta taking the overall in GP-2 500 Intermediate in the Post-Vintage portion of the weekend.


     Without a doubt, the highlight of Saturday’s program was the superb two-moto action in 50+ Vintage Expert. The lineup included Scott Burnworth (Ossa), Clark Jones (CZ), Steve Ellis (Can-Am) and Mike LaPaglia (CZ). The start of moto one saw Burnworth and Jones battling hard for the top spot, with Ellis hanging tough in third. Burnworth eventually built up a slight lead over Jones and Ellis to take the moto win. These three once again dueled for the top spot in moto two, with Burnworth emerging with the win and overall, followed by Jones and Ellis.


     Rapid work by the Cahuilla Creek track crew quickly converted the course into a period correct design for the Post-Vintage (1975-’92) era machines. Leading off the day were the ladies of motocross, with newcomer Kylea Traughber (Hon) sweeping both motos in convincing fashion to capture the overall win in the novice division , with series regular Kerri Kress (Suz) and Agina Sedler Rupert (Yam) in the runner-up positions.


      Returning to the track after a long absence, Kawasaki mounted Christian Hanks shook off the figurative rust and powered his way to double moto wins in the Open Age Intermediate class. Long time series regular Vince Laker (Hon) and Rex Purdy (Yam) kept Hanks honest in both motos and garnered second and third overall on the day.


     The crowd pleasing three-wheelers returned to the track and once again the high flying duo of Tanner Pies and Tom Decrescente didn’t disappoint as the two threw their trikes sideways thru the corners and flew as far or farther than most of the two wheelers over the various jumps. When the dust settled, Pies emerged with the overall win, followed by Decrescente. In the Intermediate division, the Father-son pair of Jerry Nocciolo Jr. and Jerry III took the top two overall spots.


     Speed was the key word in both GP-1 250 Expert and Intermediate classes. In a combination moto that included GP-1 500 racers, expert ranked Ben Meza (Hon) and Jordan Smole (Yam) dominated the race as they sped far ahead of all others in both motos, with Meza emerging with the overall victory, followed by Smole.


     Not to be outshone, Gary Conner, Charles Hilton and Michael Smole powered their way around the Cahuilla course in their own three-way contest. Yamaha mounted Conner had the course mastered and powered his way to double moto wins for the overall victory, followed by Hilton (Hon), with Smole (Yam) rounding out the podium.

Other class winners on Sunday included Cory Clark (Yam) in GP-1 250 Novice, Dave Harris (Mai) GP-1 500 Novice, Ed Larnerd (Yam) in GP-3 250 Intermediate, Steve Williams (Hon) took GP 3-500 Expert and 50 Plus GP Expert, Eric Hameister (Suz) topped GP-1 125 Expert while Bob Seki (Suz) took the top spot in GP-2 125 Intermediate.


     The vintage racers return for another two-day race weekend on March 19-20 at Cahuilla Creek. Saturday will feature the popular three-wheeler national with numerous riders from various states expected to attend. Sunday’s program will be round three of the CALVMX/100













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