Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The 11th annual Mammoth Mountain Motocross

If you were to ask Alber Einstein what his definition of an event was, he’d probably interpret it this way : the fundamental entity of observed physical reality represented by a point designated by three coordinates of place and one of time in th espace-time continuum postulated by the theory of relativity. Serves you right for asking, doesn’t it ?
Then he’d tell you that he was dusting off his old 450 Maico, tossing it in the back of his VW Microbus and heading off for the 11th annual Mammoth Mountain Motocross.
For in the space-time continuum that we live in today, Mammoth Mountain has come to be known as the premier motocross event on the western seaboard. Although it carries no National points or significance, it continues to lure National riders and hot-shot pros from across the country to the picuresque Mamoth Lakes area.



Forget your Superbowls of Motocross, USGPs, Trans-AMAs and National Championships. For the hard-core motocross aficionado who prefers riding to watching, Mammoth Mountain is the number one event on his motocross calendar.
Located a scant 20 miles east of Yosemite National Park and 50 miles inland from Nevada border, the track is covered with snow much of the year. It lies nestled among the sweet-smelling mountain pines dormant till the spring thaw. Its then that the sponsoring Mammoth Mountain Motorcycle Club starts preparing the track for the June 10th and 11th race dates.
Course preparation has always been a highlight of the Mammoth race, and this year was no exception; No dust and a fresh track each day greeted the fervid participants.
The nearby snow-capped Mammoth peaks provided a breathtaking backdrop for some of the most serious, get-down, pull-the-jams-out racing this side of the Atlantic.
For 2 days in June the small ski resort community of Mammoth plays host to the two-wheeled cycle enthusiast.
Instead od seeing their guests trudge off to the mountain in their Scott googles, Alpine ski pants and Nordic ski boots, the lodge owners are aghast to see their guests headed for the mountain suited up in Scott googles, JT leathers and Alpinestar MX boots.



This year the sponsoring club managed to get the races televised locally. With the delayed telecast, riders could race, get back to the motel, wash up, and sit down with their buddies and see themselves on the tube that night. Although it was no Wide Worl of Sports program, it couldn’t have played to a more attentive audience. The track practice sessions were even shown, so you could see who had the really hot lines around the track before the races.
The course is open a week prior to the race for jetting your bike and body to the 8000 foot aaltitude. An early casualty in the practice sessions was DG’s Steve Bauer, who got alittle carried away on the downhill and was just that with a broken collarbone taking him out of action. If you had already dialled your bike in at the track, the legion of comely snow bunnies at the resorts had riders making passes into the night.
Saturday saw a horde of over 300 juniors and intermediates anatomize the rugged hillsides. Not five minutes crews wee out shaping the track for Sunday’s showdown.
A very pleased Marty Moates pocketed a cool 1000 $ for his day’s work on his LOP Honda to top a talent-laden 250 Pro class. Maico-mounted Jim Lesniewski and Honda pilot Jerome Heiberger gave notice that they would be riders to be reckoned with in the future with second and fifth placings respectively. Only a final moto tire puncture kept Heiberger from giving Moates a run for the money.



Both Lesniewsky and Heiberger look to be up-and-coming riders. Moto-X Fox's Danny Turner entered two classes and came away with third place in the 250s.
Sherman Schneller out of Santa Maria, California, returned to win a tire breaker Open Pro race over Larry Watkins’ Cole Brothers Maico. Watkins, if you don’t remember, was the teenage sensation of a few years back who suddenly was winning and the just as suddenly disappeared; Watkins and Schneller has traded moto wins, with the tiebreaker going to Schneller in the final moto. If Schneller should ever decide to race outside of his Northern California stomping grounds, look out! Val Tamietti parlayed holeshots in both motos into third place money for the drive back to L.A.
Yamaha’s Broc Glover and Honda’s Warren Reid have been having a running gun battle in the 125 National Championship chase. Although Broc has had the faster draw thus far, Reid’s been waiting for an opportunity to gun the National Champ down. With a six-week layoff in the 125 Nationals, the two SoCal speedsters chose Mammoth Mountain as a neutral battleground.
Broc rode up with his trustly sidekick Jim “ Commander” Felt, touted to be one of the fastest wrenches in the west. Being the top gun, Glover was just looking to get in a little practice to keep his hair-trigger reflexes in tune for the remaining Nationals. Broc wasn’t taking any chances, though, so he brought his factory “piece” with him. You could never tel when some upstart toung kid might try to make a name for himself by gunning down the champ.



Reid rode up with the Honda clan. Big Jon Rosenthal was there to console and fine-turn Warren’s shiny new red mount. It was reputed to be Honda’s production 125, and several corporate big-shots were there to see its debut. It was rumoured that the bike was to be released later in the year to update the CR125 to the level of the new CR250s.
Reid’s weaponry had curious onlookers speculating on his chances against the champ in the comig showdown.
Both Reid and Glover would face off twice that day. In the first semifinal moto, David Taylor grabbed the holeshot only to crash on the uphill, causing a restart. Broc grabbed the lead on the restart and kept it to the wire. Reid was closing second, with David Taylor a distant third and Jack Keese an even more distant fourth. Clearly the battle was going to be between Glover and Reid.
The stage was set for the final showdown. It looked like upstart team Suzuki member Brian Myerscough would snatch the final victory out of the hands of the two main combatants, but Myerscough’s production RM soon faded to the rear under the onslaught of Glover’s works Yamaha an dthe rumoured production Honda of Reid.



Dave Taylor had put in an inspired ride on his LOP Suzuki to nab the front running spot away from a rapidity fading Myerscough, and athe throttle pegged WFO to stay in the lead. Glover had gotten a bad start and had his OW Yamaha all over the Mammoth countryside in an effort to make up time on the leaders. It was only a matter of a few laps before he had worked his way up from 11th to fourth spot right behind Reid. Reid passed Myerscough for second and started closing on Taylor in first. Reid and Taylor soon became involved in a fender-banging duel for the lead which Reid won as he slipped by Taylor with Glover hot on his heels.
Although Glover has made an extraordinary drive to the front of the pack, it looked like Reid was going to be able to make his narrow lead stick and get the final moto victory and the overall win. It was nearing the end of the race and Glover was probing for a place to make a pass. Reid responded by getting on the gas a little harder and maintaining his slim lead over Glover.



The last lap flag came ou and all eyes were on the titanic duel between the two SoCal speedsters. The crowd stood anxiously waiting to see who would come around in the lead. Reid’s Honda had pulled Broc’s Yamaha on the uphill, giving him a few precious seconds’ brathing room. It was short-lived, as Broc regained the ground on the back sections of the course. Going down the back straight, it still looked like Reid was going to be able to stay Broc’s charges.
In an uncharacteristic move for the normally conservative Glover, Broc made a last-ditch banzai charge into the turn before the finish, pulled alongside Reid and made it a kamikaze race to the finish line.
Reid maneuvered his Honda inside Broc nailed it for the outside.
Broccoli wasn’t concerned with making the turn after the finish, only with getting there first. Reid made the finish line turn and lost the race as Glover overshot the berm, won the race and sent spectators and photographers flying. An oncredulous crowd roared its approval of the closest finish in Mammoth Mountain history.
As old Al Einstein might have sai; For Broc, one and one this time out did not add up to two. Or was that …one and one did not add up to 11 … or was it …
By Dennis Cox

1 comment:

  1. WOW that track has not really changed at all!

    ReplyDelete