March 5-6, 2016, Devore, Calif., MSR Presents AMA District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Series, 24TH Annual
Prairie Dogs Grand Prix, Round 3
Article & Photos by Rodney Rutherford
Glen Helen Raceway did their best to roll out the cordial moto red carpet, to the MSR Presents AMA District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Series, 24TH Annual Prairie Dogs Grand Prix, Round 3 of the 2016 eight round series. After a successful run of Saturday’s events including the West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP), the weather chimed in with reported heavy rains in the late hours of Saturday and into the early morning hours of Sunday. Forcing changes to the track for Sunday, including closing the entire Lucas Oil short course section. We will discuss the track conditions throughout this article and cover both days of racing.
The West Coast Grand Prix Pro’s get underway. Jeff Loop #36, Blayne Thompson #77, Jake Hogan #47, Mike Sleeter #52, Michael Del Fante #72, and Robby Bell #32
Justin Jones, the son of motocross racing legend Gary Jones, raced into round three of the WCGP looking for his first Pro GP win in his fourth Pro season. Racing with Colton Udall’s American Honda/Monster Energy/Lava Propane/OX Motorsports team, Jones has some fast company along side his racing effort. Checking in on lap one Jones was in the game pinging in at second place about fifteen bike lengths behind the leader Blayne Thompson. Jones slipped back to third on lap two as Thompson and Dalton Shirey engaged in a hearty battle trading the lead. Until Thompson fell out of the running on lap six and Shirey in the lead, Jones second, and Udall patiently working his way to the front in third. On the eighth and final lap Shirey changes a line and goes down, Jones takes the lead and Udall in his roost, second. Udall around Jones for the lead, but immediately goes into a turn too hard and flies into the bushes, Jones takes the lead.
Jones rode it in on the rubber and was surprised to hear that he had won. Not seeing Udall go in the bushes, he assumed Udall had won and he was second place but not to be, it was all about his first Pro victory with a capital “V”. Jones for the WCGP Pro class win and the race overall win. Udall powered hard after going down finishing just three seconds behind in second.
OX Motorsports ruled the day with team captain and the returning WCGP Pro Champion, Colton Udall leading by example. Get in there and get it on, Udall did just that getting into fifth on the start of the WCGP Pro race. On lap one Udall went into an embankment while being in a “rush” as he described it. Getting back up and straightening various levers and cables he was past by several racers but got back into the thick of things. Checking in at eleventh on lap one Udall was in fifth by lap two and finally in the top three on lap six. On the last lap Udall goes into second and makes a pass on his teammate Justin Jones, Udall comments “only had the lead for about 100 yards and railed a turn real hard and skipped off the turn”, and into the bushes he went. Udall got out of the sticks and back into second place to the finish for the WCGP Pro second place, and a 1-2 finish for OX Motorsports.
Zip-Ty Racing/Torco/Pro Circuit’s Dalton Shirey, was a force on the track in the ninety minute WCGP Pro. Shirey raced hard in the top three with a cat and mouse battle between the leader of the first two laps, Blayne Thompson, and Justin Jones. Shirey barged his way into the lead on lap three until Thompson regained the lead on lap five, but he went empty on the fuel and Shirey in the lead on lap six. While leading on the eighth and final lap, Shirey rode a different line up a hill climb that he never used in the race and paid the price. Going over the bars Shirey lost the lead but was able to get back on his wheels for a third in the WCGP Pro.
Jeff Loop, worked from tenth overall on lap two to fifth overall at the checkers, as the former motocross racer continues to excel at Grand Prix racing. Loop was also fourth in the WCGP Pro class.
B & B Cycles/FMF/Mika Metal’s racer Blayne Thompson, can be called the hard luck kid after running out of fuel while running at or near the front of the pack. While racing in the top two at Ridgecrest in 2015, the scrapper had a fuel issue and was forced to return to the pits. Thompson led for the first two laps in a teeth clenching battle with Zip-Ty Racing’s Dalton Shirey. Lost the lead to Shirey on lap three only to regain it on lap five and then it all went empty, as in empty gas tank. Disappointment for the winner of the first two rounds in the WCGP Pro, but he salvaged a sixth in the WCGP Pro and still a favorite to win the title. He would like to thank all his supporters and sponsors.
Maxxis/GPR/Enzo/Bell Helmets/IMS/Fasthouse racer Trevor Stewart, as the defending 2015 WCGP Pro II Champion, Stewart, naturally stepped up to the WCGP Pro class and in round one placed tenth in class. Stewart skipped round two and rode a clean practice on day one of this two day Big 6 round three. He will run in the Pro II class for the rest of the 2016 season and opened his first Pro II race in the WCGP with festive fury. The Pro II class was determined by the race officials to start on the second line after the WCGP Pro (450) class. Stewart disagreed with this decision but started just fine getting off in second and soon the class lead. Using one of the several reported pile ups in the enduro cross section to his advantage, he made a gaggle of passes eclipsing the top ten on lap three, going into ninth. Racing into fifth, he stepped up a spot on the following lap, taking fourth overall on lap seven and holding it to the lap eight and the checkered flag. Along with WCGP fourth overall he also won the Pro II class and has set sail in the title defense. Stewart gives a big thanks to Kenny Alexander and closes with this comment, “riding my own race, I always say ride my own race, it’s really what it is all about, finding your own groove and sticking with it, ended up working well for me.”
Mason Ottersberg, raced into fourth in the WCCGP Pro II on lap six, staying firm to the finish for fourth in the WCGP Pro II and nineteenth overall in the WCGP.
JCR Honda’s Jarett Megla, taking the fast way down from the REM track at Glen Helen. The Big 6 racer put down a fifth in the WCGP Pro II and twentieth overall. In race fourteen on Sunday, he placed fourth in the Lightweight Expert and sixteenth overall.
MSR/Pro Taper/Von Zipper’s Tatum Sik, is a well established Woman’s GP Champion around these Southern California parts with one BIG 6 Woman’s Expert number one plate and multiple World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) to her credit, she is always one to bet on. Sik held the WCGP Pro Woman’s lead for the first two laps, but she went down once in a fire pit losing the lead to Beta’s Morgan Tanke, she regained the lead on lap four only to lose it to Mica Diaz. Sik regained the lead on lap six and never looked back winning the WCGP Woman’s Pro with seven laps completed.
Morgan Tanke, held the lead at one point in the WCGP Pro Woman, and was engaged in a duel for second with Mica Diaz, but Diaz prevailed. Diaz finished ahead of Tanke for second in the WCGP Woman Pro, and Tanke third.
Thor Amador, riding strong in the Heavyweight Expert for a second in class, and a sixteenth overall in the WCGP ninety minute bout.
Jon Johnson, when he wasn’t trying on new outfits for the Mardi Gras, he was busy racing. Johnson was thirteenth in the WCGP Heavyweight Expert. He raced to a seventeenth in the Mag Heavyweight Expert and a second in the Vet Heavyweight Beginner.
Kevin Dejongh, soaring to a second in the WCGP 250 Expert and twenty-seventh overall in the WCGP.
The Intermediate gate starts its contest with Kaden Lehne X68 in the lead, Carson Moore #302, and Benny Landry X143. Lehne raced on to a second in the WCGP 250 Intermediate. The Thousand Oaks Powersports racer Landry, was eighth in the WCGP 250cc Intermediate. Landry ran first in the Lightweight-I Intermediate from lap one to the race finishing lap five on Sunday, for first in class and fifteenth overall.
In the West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) forty-five minute Beginner through Novice race. JMG Incorporated’s Cory Rash was on a mission, one he accomplished completing four laps for the WCGP Beginner-Novice race win and first in the Heavyweight Novice. Rash went into the lead on lap three and resisted a late race charge from Nathan Frolich. Frolich finished ten seconds back for second in race and Heavyweight Novice, and classmate Conner Schwartz third in class and race overall.
Conner Schwartz, took up residence on lap one in the WCGP Heavyweight Novice at third place. Schwartz kept third for the remaining three laps for third in class and race overall. Schwartz had won the first two rounds in the Heavyweight Novice, but had problems in the Sunday’s race and did not finish.
Heavyweight Novice Dalton James #101, heading straight for the middle of the deepest water and mud. Fellow classmate Tanner Vanscourt #47, trying desperately to avoid the effects of James going straight for the mud. James ended up on top of Vanscourt racing to a fifth in class with Vanscourt finishing up eighth in class.
Dylan Delgado, having a little fun, in a sloppy sand wash adjacent to the entrance of Glen Helen Raceway. Delgado rode to a twenty-second place in the WCGP 250 Novice, he rebounded strong on Sunday for a win in the Lightweight-I Novice.
The 2015 Big 6 Woman’s Champion Amanda Boyer, blasted through this section like she was running from zombies. Mid-Cities Boyer, screamed her two-stroke around the corner, and through the mud leaving nothing but a mucky vapor trail and she was gone. She ended the day first in the WCGP Woman’s Expert and sixteenth overall. She was also fifth in the Woman’s Expert.
Matthew Sirevaag #V810, looking around at Dillon Thompson #C237, and Alexander Le Bas as the WCGP Beginner Novice winds down. Thompson, placed second in the WCGP 200 Novice and first in the Revolution Novice. Sirevaag raced to a first in the WCGP Heavyweight Novice, also earning a first in the Vet Heavyweight Novice. Le Bas went home with a fifteenth in the WCGP Heavyweight Novice. In Sunday’s race fourteen he gathered up a fourth in the Heavyweight Novice.
Art Castruita #G212 and Scott Woehler #J102, coming into the Lucas Oil section of the track. This section was closed for Sunday’s events, due to heavy rain prior to the races. Castruita was fourth in the WCGP Vet Novice, and second in the Revolution Novice on this day one. Woehler finished seventeenth in the WCGP 250 Novice.
Big 6 Grand Prix, Round 3, Day 2:
About a four to six inch rut formed at the scorers table during Sunday morning racing. The scorers braved bits and clumps of roosted mud, dodging them with finesse and discipline to get the the job done. The course was changed considerably with the entire section to the east by south-east of the track, the Lucas Oil Short Course area closed, after heavy rains in the late evening to early morning hours of Sunday’s events. The host Prairie Dogs, took care of matters and worked tirelessly to get the remainder of the track prepared as possible, and this is after countless hours labored in weeks prior to the event by the club to just prepare the course for the event.
In race fourteen which is the final race of the weekend and includes Beginner through Expert, Heavyweight and Lightweight classes combined. Zip Ty Racing/Torco/Bell Helmet’s Dalton Shirey, was off on the muddy track in race fourteen, and sitting in fourth off the start. In his typical Championship style,e he maneuvered into the front with a ten second lead over Tyler Renshaw in the end of lap one. Shirey just kicked it into auto mode and pounded out the laps, gapping Renshaw at exactly a minute on lap four and shutting the round down with six laps on record, and a near ninety second gap over Renshaw for the win.
Goolsby/Dragon Goggles/Monster Energy racer Mitch Anderson is enjoying a prosperous 2016 Big 6 season placing second, sixth, and third in rounds one through three respectively in the WCGP Pro II. He will be looking for his third Lightweight-I Expert win, and the green light is lit and Anderson strikes fire holding a several bike length at lap one over fellow Lightweight-I Expert classer, Ty Cullins. Anderson and Cullins blew away from their competitors like a tumbleweed engulfed in a howling prairie wind. Anderson led the class from the first lap to the sixth with the win over a distant second place Cullins, Preston Campbell third.
Dunlop Tires/Scott Goggles Jordan Gamboa, racing to a third in the Heavyweight Expert after finishing fourth in the WCGP Heavyweight Expert on Saturday.
Lightweight-I Intermediate Carson Moore, pushing hard on the asphalt access road leading from the Pavilion area towards the Glen Helen National motocross track. Moore was third in class and was seventh in the WCGP 250 Intermediate on Saturday.
In the Heavyweight Novice, Nathan Frolich reigned well in the moist conditions racing to a second in class. Passing the paper work in second on lap one and continuing the spot to the checkers with five laps completed. Racing on both days, Frolich held down first in the WCGP Heavyweight Novice on Saturday, relinquishing the lead on lap three. Racing in second, Frolich rode with surety sticking the second in class and second in the WCGP race overall.
Brian Shutt, racing to a third in the Heavyweight Novice on this soggy day, after placing twelfth in the WCGP Heavyweight Novice on Saturday.
Dayton Maute exercising the power of positive thinking with a number one gesture, maybe next time as he completed the race for sixth in the Heavyweight Novice.
Kirby Cooper, posing his best for the camera. Cooper raced for a third in the Lightweight-I Novice.
Shane Logan is on a tear and has won the last three rounds in the Super Mini Advanced. Placing third at round one in the Lightweight-II Novice, he followed that up with a win at the following round. Logan led the class from wire to wire at the scoring table with a five lap count, and close to a minute space over second place Devin Hovey, for Logan’s second Lightweight-II Novice win.
Robby Schott #C523 scoping on Jeremy Baez #X103, as they exit a slowing chicane near the far north end of the asphalt. Schott, raced hot for a third in the Lightweight-II Intermediate in this race fourteen and won the WCGP 200 Intermediate on Saturday Baez was fourth in the Lightweight-I Beginner class, and placed eighth in the WCGP 250 Beginner on Saturday.
Nathan Vizzo getting a little sketchy coming into a dirt shoulder line next to the pavement. Vizzo was third in the Lightweight-I Beginner.
Loyal to the cause of the Big 6 racing rush, David Glass appeared confident and resolute in winning on the rain soaked quagmire, and was one of the racers that commented it was not as treacherous as originally viewed after the rain. Possibly perceived as a compliment to the work of the Prairie Dogs egress effort, to get the track to racing conditions. In the Senior class or race twelve in the Big 6 racing format, Senior Heavyweight Expert Richard Pratt was in the lead at the end of lap one but fellow classmate Glass, was dominating the rear view mirror just a second behind. Langston Motorsports/TBT Suspension/ Seat Concepts race Glass, moved into the lead on lap two and slopped it out to complete four laps in the time shortened race, for the race overall win and Senior Heavyweight Expert win. This was Glass’s second win of the season as Pratt finished up in second for his best finish on the year. Glass was also on the winning 2015 Baja 100 Class 40 team that clinched the 2015 Score Class 40 Championship as well.
Quads lining up for their turn on the muddy moto GP, though a few said the track had actually shaped up well even after the deluge several hours before. There was a respectable forty-seven the Quads on the grid
CST Tires racer Beau Baron is the alphabet soup Champion, motorcycles, Quads, UTV’s, he has won big races and titles on each of those vehicles, and there is no sign of stopping for the master of all moto trades and jack of none. The Atascadero racer put the Quad Expert fans to sleep, reaching a forty second gap on lap one and annihilating the track for a one second shy gap of two minutes at the finish, earning his third Quad Expert win in the same amount of rounds. Baron also placed second in the WCGP Pro II on Saturday and thirteenth in the race overall, to add he also won the Vet Lightweight Expert on Saturday.
Quad Expert Tyler Wesolowski, lofting off a drop off checking in at the table with fifth place on lap one, he lost positions moving between seventh and sixth on laps two through four. Regaining the fifth spot on the fifth and final lap, he continued for the placing score at the checkers.
Pete Garcia exiting the REM track and rolling towards the drop off into the Glen Helen National track. The Vet Expert contestant was in the front on the first two laps, with James Donoho sitting just over twenty seconds off the pace in second. Duncan Racing’s Tim Gillespie raced into the second spot on lap three and chipped away at Garcia’s lead but fell short at the end. Garcia masters the control of his machine for the win by twelve seconds over second place Gillespie.
Rick Ellsworth went from third to seventh by lap two, but buckled up and regained two spots before the finish for a fifth in the Quad Vet Expert.
Donna Ellsworth strikes gold off the line with maybe a little too much traction, but brought her wheels under control for an eighth in the Quad Vet Expert and eighteenth overall in Quad action.
The Morgan Pierce #102 Sidecar, departing the asphalt dropping down into small depression and onward. Team Pierce knocked them down the leaders one lap at a time in a domino effect, going from third to first in three laps for the Sidecar win.
The Roy Watson team showing they are happy with their performance, finishing third in the Sidecar realm.
These Sidecar racers have too much fun as Team Crumb Abrahamson’s passenger celebrates the last lap with an approving double thumbs up. They were fourth in the final Sidecar finishing order.
Next on the tour will be round four, “The Hilltoppers Grand Prix”, in 29 Palms on April 2-3. Please go to http://www.big6racing.com for results, classing and schedule information.