Race Recap - Spring Series #2 - ACP
ACP on Saturday, January 15:
We had 39 AZOT racers for the second race of our Spring Series. Race 4’s full gate had 21 Intermediate and 5 Novice; then Race 18’s gate was 7 Master and 6 Expert. So when’s the last time you saw 21 Intermediate or 7 Master on the gate … years ago? Take a look at that photo of the practice line – wow!!
The huge gate of 21 Intermediate racers included new guys Troy Lang #61m and Brian Kahn #722 from Tucson; David Donlon #333 from Mesa, and Bob Hooker #56 who moved from Oregon to Ft. Mohave, AZ. Bob’s been a regular at International’s for years, and now he’s happy to race with the AZOT’s. And a Welcome Back to Rick Lambrecht #39, Jerry Smith #133 and Chuck Johnson #72 – bet they were surprised to see the huge Intermediate gate.
Race 4 - Moto 1’s first corner saw almost every one of the Intermediate’s jammed together, with some of the eventual first finishers at the front holding their own. Such a large gate meant a battle for other first finishers to work their way to get to the front of the pack. It didn’t take long for Travis Nelson #111v and Brian Perry Sr #300 to break out, along with Mark McGinnis #675, soon having Kurk Quinn #52 and Brian Kahn #722 nudging them. Troy Lang #61m worked his way to the front pack. More position changes meant a fight to the finish for Quinn and Lang, with Nelson not giving way easily. The rest of the pack kept switching places and juggling for positions. Take a look at the Race Results sheet to see the Moto 1 finish.
The five Novice had a clean but close first corner in Moto 1, with Ron Ryer #357 getting into first, chased by Steve Richardson #27, Mike Faso #514, Richard Levy #00 and John Dolan #65. Mike got past Steve and went for a repeat of last week’s “almost”, but had to settle for another 2nd finish. The Novice had a chance to test their handling against some of the fastest Intermediates as they had enough time on the track to get into the lapping game.
It was a great show for spectators, with the Intermediate class having a typical very wide range of speed, jumping and handling … even more so with 21 competitors!
Race 18 had a bunch of more-than-ready Masters and Experts. Several of them had already been on the track by double classing and they were all warmed up for their AZOT contest.
The 7 Masters’ aggressive start had a couple of glitches – a quick wrestling with the gate and a three-racer jam in the corner cost a few seconds. Coming out of the first turn, Ed Foedish #326 had a couple of bike lengths on the side-by-side of Tony Fuller #8 and Ryan Pedigo #328, with Brian Sharp #54 and Eric Gaston #323 right behind them in a bar-to-bar chase, and Rick Arnold #97 following by a few bike lengths. At the jump before the turn at the top, “Smooth Ed” Foedish had already gained some space from Pedigo and Gaston. Foedish continued his usual flawless racing to slowly increase his lead. Gaston, finally having a trusting relationship with his new bike, was working up to Pedigo, closely followed by Sharp, Fuller, Arnold and David O’riordan #310. No surprise, Foedish took 1st place with Pedigo in a solid chase to get 2nd, Gaston holding onto 3rd in front of Fuller. Arnold led O’riordan and Sharp for a solid show of Master skill and thrill. How fun watching our seven top riders duke it out!
The 7 Experts had also warmed up with some double classing. Jeff Neil #40 apparently was still pumping adrenaline from his performance in Race 11 with the Vet 50+ Experts; he shot out to be in front at the turn, with the pack of Shane Criswell #382, Austin Stewart #78, Eric Maass #520 and Ed Hession #171 tightly behind him. Criswell was able to out-maneuver and pass Neil, so that left Stewart gunning for Neil in a heated battle. Despite Stewart’s “almost’s”, Neil held him off. Every Expert rode a solid, no mistakes race. Criswell held onto 1st place with Neil in a solid 2nd and Stewart still right behind him. Darren Sebastiani #526, Maass and Hession quickly cleared the track of the showmen Experts.
Biggest disappointment was had by Brian Perry Jr. whose bike malfunctioned, so he was DNF’d and Travis Nelson showed up to tow Brian’s bike to the pits. It would have been an even closer race with Brian Perry Jr. in the mix – you have a few weeks before next race, Brian!
Intermediate’s Moto 2 was another back and forth battle, with only 3 racers finishing in the same position as in Moto 1. With that huge gate, it was hard to tell who was where at the first turn. It looked like Mark McGinnis # 675 again in front, followed by Kurk Quinn #52, Troy Lang #61m, Brian Kahn #722, Travis Nelson #111v, Tim Kennedy #251, Steve Somerville #41s, Rick Lambrecht # 39, Brian Perry Sr #300, Ron March #200, Jim Somerville #51j … and all the rest! Lang got in front of Quinn early on and McGinnis moved back to 3rd. Everyone raced competitively, but also safely – no crashes with that big of a start it’s kudos to all. Lang and Quinn switched from 2 – 1 to a 1 – 2 for their finish, Nelson retained 3rd, Kahn kept his 4th, McGinnis held onto his 5th, Brian Perry Sr. moved up from 7th to 6th and everyone else had several digit changes for their finish. An impressive day! Congratulations to all !!
All 5 Novice were in their Moto 2 start, but this time it was Steve Richardson #27 who launched out in front, a typical “Steve Start”, with second time racer Richard Levy #00 right behind Steve, followed by a determined Ryer, Faso and Dolan. Not willing to let a 1st place out of sight, Ryer and Faso pushed past Levy and then Richardson to resume their 1 – 2 battle. Ryer held Faso off and it was another 1st and 2nd for Ryer and Faso, with Richardson hanging onto 3rd this moto and a Levy – Dolan for 4th and 5th.
Race 18’s Moto 2 was short four Masters – it was late in the day and commitments made them leave before their 2nd moto. But the very familiar trio of O’riordan, Arnold and Sharp put on an impressive show – this time no gate glitches or corner snags! Arnold jumped out for the lead, but O’riordan kept him in close space and finally got past him to recapture 1st. Arnold was able to hold off Sharp who was completing his 8th moto of the day. Sharp did Race 17 and 18 back-to back’s again! Endurance is always obvious with the Masters!!
Expert’s 2nd moto – Another tight start of the Expert group, with Sebastiani in the lead, Stewart on his wheel, then Criswell, Neil and Hession side-by-side with Maass on their rear tires. The determination was intense as they held their positions going into 1st lap. Sebastiani held off Criswell, Neil pushed into 3rd and Maass moved up a spot. By next lap, Criswell got past Sebastiani, with Neil and Maas still close behind and Austin moving into 4th. Another lap and Stewart took over 3rd. Final finish was Criswell, Stewart, Sebastiani keeping 3rd by holding off his racing buddy Neil, then Maass and Hession. Some high-five’s coming off that track! And four of those guys had already run in Race 11 the Vet 50+ Experts or Race 8 the Vet 25+ Open.
Looks like AZOT has a contagious issue – double classing (or 3 or 4 classes).
Determined to get more track time, we had 11 guys who double classed – or more. As usual, Brian Sharp did it again, at the gate for Races 11, 15, 17 and then back-to-back into AZOT’s Race 18.
Race 1: Open (A) Pro - Ed Foedish #326
Race 8: Vet 25+ Open - Austin Stewart #78
Race 11: Vet 50+ Expert - 2nd Brian Sharp #54, 3rd Jeff Neil #40, 5th Eric Maas #520, 6th Ed Hession #171
Vet 50+(B) Intermediate - 1st Troy Lang #61m, 3rd Brian Kahn #722
Race 15: Vet 40+ Novice - 3rd Mark McGinnis #675
Vet 40+ Expert - 1st Rick Arnold #97, 4th Brian Sharp #54
Race 17: Vet 60+ Open - Larry Thurman #130 , Brian Sharp #54