The Dirt Diggers M.C. had the honors of hosting the first round of the AMA District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Series at the Honolulu Hills Raceway in Taft, California and, as usual, thousands of riders came out to do battle over the two-day event.
Also as usual, the racing started early Saturday morning with the Women and 60-Plus riders taking to the track. Taft-native Nicole Madsen ended up having her way with the Women's class, as she started things off with the holeshot and never looked back. Despite some pressure by Man-
dy Fontein, Madsen's win looked rather easy, though they usually never are.
It was status quo in the 40-Plus race, where Expert Gordon Ward and his John Burr-backed Kawasaki ripped off another huge win. He got off to a fast start and left everyone in his dust, opening a
giant lead by over...well, we lost track after the first 60 seconds.
Jerry Black and Paul Krause finished second and third, respectively.
All eyes were on race-number five, dubbed the "Pro-Race," since Big Six doesn't technically have a Pro class, as all of the heavy hitters were lined up for the main event. JCR Honda's Colton Udall was hoping to defend his win from last year, but that would not be easy, because lined up along side of him was Ward, Jacob Argubright, and new Team Green Kawasaki rider Bobby Garrison. The 250 Four-Stroke class was stacked as well, with Nick Burson and Nathan Collins and others ready to go at it. And then you had Andy Vandenberg and Evan Kelly gunning for top honors in the 86-200 class.
As for Udall, he certainly was up for the task. The Honda rider got off to a fast start and held off Garrison for the full one-hour race. He took the win about 20 seconds over Garrison, while
Ward took third and Argubright fourth.
Fifth overall was the 250 Four-Stroke-class winner Collins who ended up holding off Tip-Ty Husqvarna's Cory Graffunder and Burson.
Kelly took top honors in the small-bore two-stroke class in what was a close finish over Vandenberg.
The Semi-Pro Team Race fielded its largest entry yet with 44 teams vying for the $2500 purse.
When it was all over Brendan Ritzman and Kyle Summers went home a little richer, as they held off the Gordon Ward and Ryan Reina team. This was Ritzman's third win in a row at Taft in the team event.
Kevin Rookstool and Sean Kranyak took third overall.
The final race Saturday was the adult Mini-Bike Challenge held under the lights. Racers obviously had fun by all the laughs that could've been heard all the way to Bakersfield. Who won?
Nobody really knows for sure, but the results didn't seem to matter.
Sunday morning marked the opening of the Kearns Nectar Youth Program, and Willy Simons Jr. took the first win of the year in the Super Mini division. Matthew Duvalian followed in race two, taking top honors in the Junior division. In all, 64 kids took part in the youth racing program, running on a modified version of the adult course, and not a single racer left the track without a smile.
The final race of the weekend invited the 250 two-strokes and the Open bikes back out for one last race. In the closest race of the weekend, JCR's Colton Udall and AXO/FMF's Ryan Reina went at it lap after lap and had the crowd on its feet the entire hour-long race.
Reina crossed the line in first, with Udall taking second. CN
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