Flat Track 2017 Opener & 2016 Awards, Round #1
Flat Trackers Return to Camp Lockett
By Steve Caro
Photography by Kathryn Caro
Campo, CA. April 29-30
Steel skid shoes and Class C traction shod machines returned to the Camp Lockett Event and Equestrian Facility in Campo, CA for the opening round of the 2017 CALVMX/100% sponsored six round series. The two-day event once again played host to every type of wheeled vehicle ranging from traditional flat track machinery, knobby-tired bikes, karts, quads, three-wheelers and rope-start mini bikes. The 1/6th mile oval continues to evolve into a highly competitive course as more races and track preparation continue at the facility.
The machine of choice in the Class C traction classes is normally a 250cc-500cc+ four-stroke powered machine derived from modified motocross machines or, in the vintage classes, purpose built “framer” machines. Joining this collection of machines was a beautifully turned-out 1970’s era Honda CR-250 owned by veteran competitor Phil Hall. Hall noted the bike was numbered in honor of his friend Ken Marohn who had passed away recently. Marohn was well-known for his superb wheel building skills in addition to custom control cable fabrication. Being unable to locate of photo of Marohn racing his Maico back in the late 70’s-early 80’s, Phil chose the number 4K (For Kenny) for his bike. Unfortunately, a practice accident sidelined Hall and the Honda for the race weekend.
If flat track racing had an Ironman award for the number of classes entered on a single day, Shawn Chamlee would definitely be a strong candidate. A member of the Booze Fighters Motorcycle Club Race Team, Chamlee entered Post Vintage 600 Intermediate, 70’s Single Intermediate, Open Intermediate and Vet 35+ Intermediate classes on Saturday and repeated that number on Sunday. Chamlee made the most of his track time scoring seven firsts and a second over the two-day event.
Be it on a motocross course or dirt oval, when Tom DeCrescente and Tanner Pies face it each other, it is a near certainty the duel will be bar-to-bar with no quarter given. In the 3-Wheeler Open A class, DeCrescente and Pies engaged in a broad sliding battle that saw them using every inch of the Camp Lockett course. It wasn’t until nearly the end of the main event that DeCrescente managed to break free of Pies and hang on for the win, with Pies second and the always consistent Mathew Carrick finishing a strong third.
Saturday’s main event for Senior Vet 50 Plus Expert was close quarters battle involving the Honda’s of Chris Osborn, Ben Meyer and Jeff Apple. Osborn timed the flag start perfectly to lead the pack into the first turn. Using his skill with Class C traction (i.e.: non-knobby tires), Osborn guarded his lines in classic short track style to power his way to the win, followed by Meyer and Apple.
The Saturday race schedule featured the return of crowd pleasing Pull Start Mini Bike class. Comprised of mostly rigid frame machines with centrifugal clutch motors, the tiny wheeled bikes barreled around the course in impressive style. Ron Wood emerged with the main event win, followed by Tait Guthrie and Gar Wood.
Like their three-wheeled cousins, the quad class of ATV’s also grabs the spectator’s attention with close competition. In the Quad Open A main event, the top three finishers could have been covered with a tarp as close as they were to each other. Ricardo Gonzalez muscled his powerful Yamaha into the lead shortly after the start and withstood the heavy challenges of Eric Hartell (Hon) and Jay Gorum (Hon) to take a well-earned first place.
The other four-wheeled vehicles on the weekend schedule were the kart classes. Their ground hugging designs allow them to blaze around the track, although the chance of a spinout is always present should traction be lost. In Sunday’s 4-Stroke Open A division, Jason Bishop, Randi Vian and Craig Crossland put on an impressive show during their main event with controlled slides and smooth driving styles. At the checkers, it was Bishop with the win, followed by Vian and Crossland.
Bryon Kukla has become one of the dominant forces in the short history of Camp Lockett racing on his potent Honda short tracker. Over the two days racing, Kukla scored double wins in Open Expert and Vet 35 Plus Expert. Joining him in the winner’s circle were Bruce Mayfield (Yam) in 70’s Singles Novice, Geoff Patrick (Tri) in Classic 250 Novice and Art Pilfer, who used a vintage 1979 Honda CR-250 two-stroke to top the Senior Vet 50 Plus Expert on Sunday over the powerful 450F Honda’s of Steve Kukla, Jeff Apple and Ben Meyer.
CALVMX continued their goal of providing race classes for all ages and machines with the 12 and under age groups on both two and four wheels. In the Under 12 Beginner Less Than 101cc bike class, Curtis Nugent took the main event win followed by Summer Kukla, wearing her distinctive pink cowboy boots, in second and Brody Porst third.
In the Junior Quad class, Jay Taylor, Jr. powered his way to the main event win, with Alexis Taylor second and Aaliyah Weisman in third. All three youngsters displayed good riding styles as they sped around the oval course.
The second round of the 2017 Flat Track Series will be held on the weekend of June 10-11 at Camp Lockett. As always, classes will be available to any machine with two, three and four wheels. The staff at Camp Lockett always provide top notch services including an excellent food area with fresh cooked breakfasts and lunches at extremely affordable prices.
Further photos and race coverage can be found at: