Gordon Lunde just sent me the coolest printout of Blackhawk Farms track records from 1982. I remember all of the riders on this sheet (with the exception of the Sidecar pilots). I still see Jerry Holm about every year up at the Peoria TT, Jim Knipp is the guy who got me into road racing in the first place, Ed Key is probably one of the winningest club racers of all time, Mike Harlow was part of the Quester/Sullivan national endurance team and Bobby Goodin was a fast Texan – a predecessor to Doug Polen – who chased contingency money all over the country in the early 1980s. I know Knipp, Key, Goodwin and Holm were all WERA National champs, some of the others might have been as well. Check out the 1:19.8 lap time Goodwin did on a Suzuki GS1100. I’m betting it was a bone stocker to boot. I know Bob Meister held the track record in the early 1990s at 1:13.70 on a 1000cc Yamaha OW01/FZR1000. I don’t know where the current record stands.
Archive for June, 2010
When I’m at the Grand Nationals I’m covering the races for Cycle News. Fortunately, veteran flat track photographer Dave Hoenig shoots the photos for the paper, so I bring my camera just to get a few photos for the website and for my own files. The great thing about not having to really produce editorial or advertising photos is that it frees me up to experiment and try whacky stuff like this shot of Brad Hazel charging into turn one at Lima during a Semi. This photo was taken as it was getting dark allowing me to shoot at a super slow shutter speed of a 20th of a second. The result is an amazing blur where Hazel appears to be racing at warp speed. Tracking Hazel precisely meant the other rider in the photo is blurred out of recognition. When shooting at such a low shutter speed you’re lucky to one keeper out of dozens of shots. Like I said, it’s fun to experiment and every once in awhile produce a cool photograph.
Jamie James was one of the riders in the mid-to-late 1980s who traveled the country racing tons of club contingency races, trying to make a living on the road going from track to track al summer. The prize money was good, but by the time you figured in travel expenses, bike maintenance, crashes, etc. it was a tough proposition.
Jamie, Ramona (his ex) and their Shar-Pei dog stayed at my house three or four days between races. I remember Jamie spent all day, everyday he was at my house working on his bikes. The best I could do to help was hand him tools. It showed me what life for a total privateer was really like.
His Shar-Pei was temperamental – at times he’d let me pet and play with him and other times he’d growl at me anytime I got close. One day a group of little kids (a lady in the neighborhood had a daycare) came walking down the street and the dog knocked open the front screen door and went ripping out to the kids. I’m running like a madman after the dog thinking it’s going to attack, but when he got to the kids he just started licking them as they crowded around and started petting him. Turns out the dog really loved kids.
I was happy to see Jamie’s hard work pay off and within a few years he would be a factory rider and AMA Superbike Champion. In Jamie’s case there’s no doubt he made it to the top the hard way.
LIMA, Ohio (June 27, 2010) – The AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com switched from a Singles Short Track to a Twins Half Mile, but Henry Wiles never missed a beat. Wiles just devastated the Allen County Fairgrounds Half Mile in Lima, OH, leading the 25-lap National from start to finish. The dominating performance gave Wiles 50 consecutive laps led as he pushed his # 17 KK Motorcycle Supply / Mike & Eddie Adkins backed Harley-Davidson to a six-and-a-half second win over Sammy Halbert and his # 7 Kings Kustoms / KK Motorcycle Supply backed Harley-Davidson.
“I love this place. This is my kind of track and the fans really get into it. I can see them hanging on the fence all the way around,” said Wiles. “I just tried to get away in the National. It seemed like I was in lapped traffic real soon. It was like, this isn’t the heat race, these are the best of the best. This is really just great, now we’ve got to get it together for the groove tracks coming up.”
Wiles couldn’t have been better as he set the fast qualifying time, won the fastest heat, captures the 5 points and $2,000 in the dash and then dominated the National. The George Roeder Memorial Dash featured double the normal purse for the four-lap race.
Wiles led the hungry horde into turn one when the green light flashed on the eighteen rider K&N Filters Twins Grand National Championship grid. Joe Kopp # 3 Latus Harley-Davidson / ENI USA R&M / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports backed Ducati, Sammy Halbert, Jake Johnson # 5 Zanotti Racing / Leo Vince’s Harley-Davidson and Defending Twins Series Champion Jared Mees # 1 Rogers Lake Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson / Lucas Oil were bunched right behind.
Wiles quickly pulled away as Halbert also separated himself from the pack. Wiles’ and Halbert’s race looked to be settled and both were into serious lapped traffic by lap 15. Two years ago Wiles lost this race when a lapped rider opened the door for Joe Kopp to nip him at the line. No chance of that this year as Wiles sliced and diced his way through the field, lapping all the way up to eighth place. Ironically Kopp was the last rider he lapped right at the finish line.
The race was now for third as Johnson, # 42 Bryan Smith (Monster Energy Kawasaki Werner Springsteen Racing Kawasaki), Mees and # 20 Matt Weidman (White’s Harley-Davidson / SNIP / Mack Daddy Racing Harley-Davidson) battled away.
Smith was looking to put his potent Kawasaki on the podium for the second straight time as he and Johnson exchanged the position all around the track, but it was the youngster from New York, Weidman, who would prevail earning his first ever Grand National podium finish.
Smith finished a couple of seconds back in fourth, followed by Johnson and Mees. Greg Crow Racing / Salina Harley Davidson’s # 61 Dustin Crow was a solid seventh with # 4 Chris Carr (Lancaster Harley-Davidson / Dallas-Fort Worth Honda backed Harley-Davidson), Kopp and # 80 Stevie Bonsey (Johnny Goad / Alpinestars backed Harley-Davidson) filled out the top ten.
After winning three of the last four races Henry Wiles has moved into a points tie for the AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com Championship with Joe Kopp at 129 points. Jake Johnson is just eight points back with Sammy Halbert and Jared Mees another five and six points back. Three-time Grand National Champion Kenny Coolbeth is lurking 31 points off the pace, but with some strong races for him coming up.
Defending Pro Singles Champion Brad Baker was just about as dominant as Wiles in the 12-lap Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Grand National Championship Main. Baker had his #1 Rod Lake / Mike Velasco Racing / Brothers Powersports backed Honda well in front of a great race for second.
Chris Carr (4) leads Jake Johnson (5), Robert Pearson (in yellow) and Matt Weidman throttle up through turn four during the third Heat race at this past Saturday’s Grand National on the Lima (Ohio) Half-Mile. This photo is classic Lima with riders broadsliding their race bikes over the deep cushion. I like this photo because it’s early evening and the orange light of the setting sun filters through the bike’s roost. Johnson went on to win this Heat race over Weidman, Pearson and Carr.
Another Rich Chenet photo this one of Eddie Lawson racing the big Kawasaki KZ1000 MK2, aka Black Beauty, in the AMA Superbike race at Pocono Raceway in August of 1980. Pocono was an exciting race that year. Wes Cooley took the early lead on his Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 only to be passed by Honda’s Freddie Spencer. Cooley, who led the series at that point, was forced to retire when his bike broke. It was then Lawson and Mike Baldwin chasing Spencer. By the closing laps Spencer had opened a gap on Lawson, who’d gapped Baldwin. On the last lap Specer got completely sideways coming out of a turn and started looking down at his bike. Lawson came past to take the victory. Spencer’s factory Honda was leaking oil and he limped home to second. Rich said this photo was taken with a 500mm mirror lens. One unique thing about the mirror lens was the characteristic circular bokeh (blur in the out-of-focus area of the photo). This is such a great photo with Lawson coming over a slight rise, his knee planted on the ground and the large crowd shown in the background. It was a perfect capture by Chenet.
Dungey Continues Streak, Wins Fourth Straight in Colorado
Pourcel Becomes First Repeat Winner in 250 Class
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (June 26, 2010) – The fifth round of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship translated into a exceptional day of racing under threatening skies and a jam-packed hillside of exuberant Colorado fans for the Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National from Thunder Valley Motocross Park. Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., extended his 450 Class points lead with his fourth consecutive overall victory while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, of France, also added to his championship advantage with his second overall win.
Since round two of the 2010 season, Dungey has been on a mission, showing his peers that despite being a rookie, he is more than ready to lead the way in the title fight. On Saturday, he maintained the form that has put him in the drivers seat early on, securing a runner-up effort in Moto 1 and going on to win his sixth of the last eight motos in the final race of the day.
“I’ve been fortunate to win some races (this year),” said Dungey. “I just want to keep it up and win as many races as possible. I didn’t know what to expect (coming into the season), so I came in with an open mind. Hangtown wasn’t what I expected, there just wasn’t enough time. But I put it behind me and we’re moving forward. They let the track go today and it got rough which was cool. It made for some great racing.”
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Ben Townley, of New Zealand, posted his best finish of the season, grabbing the runner-up spot (6-2) while GEICO Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe, of Australia, finished third (4-4) and assumed the runner-up position in the season standings. Defending champion Chad Reed, of Australia, finished ninth (10-7) and fell from second to third in the points.
Dungey now holds a 51-point advantage heading into the halfway point of the season, leading the most laps in the class at 62 and holding the best average finish of 2.7.
Through the first four rounds, the 250 Class had seen four different riders stand atop the overall podium. However, Pourcel ended that at Thunder Valley, going 1-1 on the day to take a convincing win.
“My race went good,” said Pourcel. “I won both motos and had some good starts so it was a pretty good day. I’m surprised (with the competition). You never know who will be out there. But it’s been great and I’ve been riding good. All you can do is ride your best. I’m trying to do my best for the fans and give them my best on the podium.”
After five rounds, Pourcel is the only rider in the class with more than one moto victory and has found his way to the top of the podium for at least one moto at each stop. GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard, of Shawnee, Okla., captured second overall (3-2), while last week’s winner and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson, of Scotland, rounded out the podium in third (2-3).
Pourcel moves into a 34-point lead over Wilson in the standings and leads the class in laps led with 72 and average finish at 2.4.
The MotorcycleUSA.com Women’s Motocross Championship returned to action at Thunder Valley with the Able Planet National, round three of the 2010 season. DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Fla., remained perfect through three races, sweeping the day’s moto’s en route to the overall. Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., finished second (5-2) while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Sara Price, of Canyon Lake, Calif., finished third (2-6).
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend from Buchanan, Mich., for round six and the Rockstar Energy RedBud National from RedBud on July 3.
Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship
Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National
Thunder Valley Motocross Park – Lakewood, Colo.
June 26, 2010
Round 5 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (2-1)
Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda (6-2)
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (4-4)
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (1-10)
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda (8-3)
Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda (9-6)
Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha (7-8)
Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (12-5)
Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (10-7)
Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha (13-9)
450 Class Championship Standings
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 218
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 167
Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 160
Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 154
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 153
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 152
Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda, 151
Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha, 108
Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Suzuki, 101
Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda, 94
250 Class (Moto Finish)
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki (1-1)
Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (3-2)
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (2-3)
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (4-4)
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda (6-5)
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha (5-6)
Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Yamaha (8-8)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (7-9)
Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (9-12)
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (16-7)
250 Class Championship Standings
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 219
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki, 185
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 180
Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 162
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 151
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 140
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 135
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 112
Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Yamaha, 108
Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 106
WMX Class (Moto Finish)
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (1-1)
Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda (5-2)
Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki (2-6)
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., Yamaha, (3-5)
Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM (6-4)
Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (9-3)
Tarah Gieger, Winter Gardens, Fla., Honda (4-7)
Alexah Pearson, Rocklin, Calif., Yamaha (8-8)
Mariana Balbi, Brazil, Yamaha (7-13)
Erica Cook, Natalia, Texas, Yamaha (12-9)
WMX Class Championship Standings (After 3 of 8 Rounds)
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha, 150
Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda, 124
Tarah Gieger, Winter Gardens, Fla., Honda, 109
Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha, 97
Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki, 88
Mariana Balbi, Brazil, Yamaha, 78
Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM 72
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., Yamaha, 71
Alexah Pearson, Rocklin, Calif., Yamaha, 70
Tatum Sik, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha, 68
For tickets and fan and racing information on the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, log on to www.allisports.com.
The Lima Classic Grand National is today as the Allen Country Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio. Lima is such a unique race since the riders race on a crushed limestone, or pea-gravel surface. The first few laps are always a spectacle as the brave riders pitch their bikes into the turn and try to dial up some throttle to get the back end to steer them around before they wash out their front end. Chris Carr told me a few years back that Lima was a race for young riders who were able to shut off their brain and just twist the throttle.
Last year the main was a thriller between Bryan Smith and Jared Mess. The always aggressive Mees tried to knock smooth riding Smith off his line in turn three on the last lap, but Smith absorbed the impact then watched Mees run wide, squared off the turn and took back the lead. He held it by a bike length at the checkered flag.
Can Smith give Kawasaki its first win in a Grand National Twins race? Will Mees finally break through and win his first race in three years? Will Joe Kopp keep his momentum going in the championship race, or will Henry Wiles, winner of last week’s race in Gas City, Indiana, get on a winning streak.
On thing is for sure Lima is not for the faint of heart. If you’re anywhere near the area you should make the rider over today to watch one of the new classics of the Grand Nationals.