Willow Springs Raceway 3/8 mile cushion was once again the venue for round 5, the final round of Eddie Mulder’s 2013 West Coast Dirt Track series. Being a double points paying day, the stakes were higher for the riders competing for championship points. And, for the Digger Helm Open class the purse was also increased to $12,000. One of the highlights of the day came during the rider’s meeting. Eddie worked his magic as he is known to do, to increase the dash for cash purse. Saturday’s Specialty Fabrications dash for cash purse was $5,000, the same as it started with today. Eddie then asked for any donations from the stands to increase the purse. The Zimmerman Brothers handed Eddie $2,000 more, Ramspur Winery called in another thousand on the phone, others dug deep into their pockets, and when he was done Eddie had almost doubled the dash for cash purse to $9,500 thanks to the generosity of the folks in the stands, the Zimmerman Bros., Ramspur Winery and others.
It was another day of near perfect weather. Cool first thing in the morning as the Mulder crew showed up at the track greeting the folks that had camped out overnight after racing concluded Saturday night. By mid afternoon it had warmed up nicely to the mid eighties and still no wind. Stories were being told about fixing bikes that had failed on Saturday, while bench racing was exciting to listen to, always faster and more exciting that the actual race.
Many thanks again to Digger Helm and his family, the Zimmerman Brothers, Rod Lake, Ramspur Winery, Triumph of America, K&N, Motion Pro, Tuff Plates, Conventry Spares and more. These folks help support the series and the riders. Today’s Cycle Coverage and San Diego offroad get the word out about the West Coast Dirt Track Series races. Thanks too to the fans, the riders and their families. Without all of these folks we would not have a series to enjoy. And thanks to the staff that work hard to help Eddie keep things moving along safely on race day.
Practice was underway at 10 am following sign ups, tech inspections and the rider’s meeting. Heat race line ups were posted and racing began. Halbert’s bike, blown up Saturday during the main had been repaired. Bronson Bauman found a bike to rider after both his failed the day before. Alison Stacey’s dad had procured parts and her 250 was back on the track, tires were changed and the line was long at the catering truck for some delicious track food.
The senior vintage main finished very close to the way it started Kenneth Thiebaud, Jeff Lessley, Ron Lessley Steve Craft and Rick Villanueva. Steve Craft and Ron Lessley switched positions in lap 3. Donnie Howard and Jeff Johnson continued their competition on the track in the Vet main. Today Johnson got the hole shot oboard his 76 Yamaha 500 but Howard, piloting a Rotax 600 didn’t waste any time taking the lead in lap 3. Jack Jones rode all six laps in the third position. Although Herb Wolfe finished the first lap of the Sr Novice/Super Senior main in the fifth position he wove his way through the field to take the front position in lap five. Four riders held the second position throughout the six laps but at the checkers it was Tim Watters second and Alan Hayden rounding out the podium.
Grant Holmes seemed to pick up where he left off on Saturday leading the 60cc class from the green to the checkers. Behind him Tyler Raggio was riding hard to maintain his position however, Jacob Cascio maneuvered his machine into the second position in the final lap leaving Raggio to finish third.
Chris Rudy once again gave Tom Horton a run for his money in the classic 500 750sv class. Rudy, riding a 1962 Harley Davidson 750 and Horton piloting a Wilburn Triumph 500 crossed the finish 1, 2 in front of Steve Craft. Craft aboard a 1957Harley KR 750 finished third. Fred Burger and Stacie London were evenly matched both riding 1967 Bultaco 250’s. Burger took the lead from the green flag and maintained it to the checkers. London finished second. Mark LaDue claimed the Dinosaur class victory riding his 1942 Harley Davidson 1200. Riding turn after turn smoothly, as if he were out for a casual Sunday ride, Jeff Lessley continued to win and win and win all weekend. Today he led Will Ott and Mark Davis to the Modern 250 checkers. Tom Horton took the Modern 500 main home in front of Jim Lundgren, Ron Lessley and Steve Craft.
Clayton Williams rode his final ride aboard his Honda 85 today, moving into the 250 class going forward. He left the 85 class at the top of his game winning both Saturday and Sunday. Grant Holmes was no slouch finishing second and Michael Hill finished third. Brandon Green, who raced his Honda 450 for the first time this weekend, finished the 250 class in front today switching places with Allison Stacey after a back straight battle in lap four. Green captured the lead once again in the final lap followed by Stacey and Sean Heeney who rode all six laps in the third position.
D-dan McDougall and Lawrence Bertrand, all the way from Canada, brought up the rear of the Modern 750 class leaving them with the desire to return to Willow next year with the hope of finishing closer to the front. Tom Horton won the race, Dylan Morin and Robert Bush followed. Jack Jones was beside himself after winning the 500 Support class. Jeff Gonzales and Steve Nichols battled for position in lap two when Nichols got around Gonzales for second. Gonzales finished third. Behind them Jay Grosvenor and Jim Lundgren were also switching positions for the fourth place finish. Grosvenor won that battle.
David Jorgensen took the fourteen rider field of Open Amateurs to the checkers. Austin Scaggs, aboard a Suzuki twin, new to him this weekend, finished second and Brandon Green racing in the Ameteur class for only the second time aboard a Honda 450 finished third. Green took this class home on Saturday.
Donnie Howard showed the boys the fast way around the track once again in the Sr. Class. Lloyd McGregor captured the second spot and Robert Morris was on the gas to get around John Lundgren in lap two to take the third spot.
The six dash for cash riders were well aware of the money gathered for the purse that was at stake. Jared Mees called “The Money Man” by Eddie, had his eye set on finishing first after handling and counting all that cash in the rider’s meeting. Briar Bauman was in front out of turn one, with Mees on his right, and Brad Baker directly behind him. Mees was on the move on the back straight taking the front followed by Baker and Bauman. Halbert chased Bauman down to finish lap two in third and got around baker in lap three. Shayna Texter made her move around Rob Person in the final lap. At the finish it was Mees, Halbert, Baker, Bauman, Texter and Pearson.
Fifteen riders lined up for the Digger Open Pro, all wanting the biggest portion of the $12,000 purse. The front row, Bauman on pole followed by Mees, Baker, Halbert, Pearson and Texter. By the first turn Mees was in the front, Bauman was on him. On the back straight Mees began pulling away and Halbert came along side Bauman on the inside. At the end of lap two Mees had put some distance between himself and Halbert who had taken over the second position. Halbert was gaining ground, closing the gap. Mees went high in lap five and Halbert took full advantage moving past him into the lead. They rode side by side and wheel to wheel through lap fourteen. With six laps to go they battled. This time Mees was the one to get under moving back into the lead. Halbert chased keeping Mees on his game, waiting for the opportunity to take the lead again. The opportunity never happened and Mees rode the six laps in front to victory. Digger proudly carried the checkered flag for Mees riding the victory lap.
The final award ceremony at the West Coast Dirt Track Series is always special. Eddie works with the youngsters helping them to give thanks to those that have helped them. He gives gifts out that were donated by the sponsors mentioned above and each class is awarded for the day’s racing results. On this day there were special moments. The plaques all with a picture of Eddie, #12 created an immediate bond between Eddie and the new Grand National Champion Brad Baker who also rides with the #12. And an emotional moment was shared when Eddie honored Ted Hubbard, a very long time rider of the West Coast Dirt Track Series, with a special plaque for his devotion to flat track racing. Ted has battled cancer on and off for the past several years and in spite of his chemo treatments and illness has almost never missed a race. Ted doesn’t win, he doesn’t usually even finish in the top three but he always has a smile, a kind word and a great sense of humor.
As the 2013 season comes to an end we have wished God Speed to some. We have congratulated others. We have said prayers, laughed and shed a tear together. We have shared some wonderful moments as a dirt track family and we wish you all a wonderful holiday season and winter. Thank you for your participation and sharing another season with us.