The second round of the “IMOTO – Maximum Traction ” outdoor series was held on June 9th at Glen Helen. It was a beautiful early summer day with sharp sunshine and mild temperatures. The riders stepped out to practice and race on the new and improved REM track. The improvements came as a result of the recent Red Bull X-Fighters free-style event. The track featured a number of new, freshly cut terraced levels. These were a complement to the steep up-hill and down-hill runs Glen Helen is world famous for.
The first gates of the day found the fastest riders mixing it up. None were faster than Mark Tilley. Mark is a test rider for Dirt Bike magazine and one of the fastest local “hot shoes” on the So Cal scene right now. Ridding a very strong running 450 Kawasaki, he ran off and hid from the rest of the competition in his race, easily going 1-1 in the 35 expert class. Running hard to keep Tilley in sight were class winners Kevin Barda (45 expert) and Dan Berg (50 expert). Both would go 1-1 for the day and first overall in their classes. Also up with the front runners was lone pro class entry Casey Casper. Ridding a CR250 2-stroke against a horde of 4-strokes, Casey ran very strong with Kevin and Dan. Crossing the finish line, Barda was followed by Michael Masumoto and Allan Burtt for 2nd and 3rd respectively in the 45 expert class. The 50 expert class had some fine racing behind Berg, with Bob Casper and Dave Blunk finishing in that order. Shock Therapy’s Steve Piatonni brought home 4th, with Ray “MX Panther” Poltack rounding out the top five. The first gates also included the 40 expert class. They finished with Transworld Motocross magazines’ chief editor Donn Maeda taking 2 firsts for the overall, followed by Masa Shirotani (2-2) and Kyle Puerner (3-3). Finally, rapping up the first racing gates was the 45 Intermediate class. It was led by Ron Shuler, who put in a strong pair of rides, going 1-1 for first overall in this class. Following Ron was George Andrews (2-2) and Frank Beach (3-3).
These races were followed by the displacement and novice classes. In the former (the 450 class) Evan Blevins rolled up the day by running away with both motos, followed by Greg Donovan who went 2-2 for second overall. The 30 novice class had a real hard day with Ted Livingston winning the first moto, but going DNS in the second. Ted still took the overall win however, by virtue of the fact that his only other competition, Shane Kinman, took a DNF in the first moto. Like Livingston, Kinman could not make the second moto start and collected a DNS also. Some days, it seems, it would have been better just to leave the bikes in the garage and watch TV! The 60 novice class had much better luck, with Carl Gazafy winning both motos, followed by Bill Maxim, who went 2-2 for second overall. The 50 novice class had some of the wildest racing of the day. After a good start, one of the class front-runners reinforced his nick-name on the tracks’ big down-hill. Ron “Bam-Bam” Boozell misread the tricky approach to this very steep section and ended up tumbling down the face, collecting another rider as he fell. Battered and bruised, bike and rider were done for the day. This left class leader Darren Berg, (Dan’s brother) free to go 1-1 on the day, and extend his points lead in the Maximum Traction series. Kenneth Wolf went 2-2 for a good second place showing. Your humble author went 4-3 to split motos with Tom Madsen (3-4). We finished 3rd and 4th overall respectively.
The next IMOTO Maximum Traction event will take place on Glen Helen’s National track, Sunday July 14th. Check the IMOTO web site for series details, points standings, race photos and upcoming events. Glen Helen’s web site is a must for all the info about future events at this world class off-road racing facility, including IMOTO’s “Under the Lights” night stadium-cross series.
Recap by Owin Wright; Photos by Mark “Chilzone” Chilson