ATV Motocross

Site Lap: Monster Mountain Bound

Site Lap: Monster Mountain Bound

Thursday, June 2, 2016 | 9:30 AM
Thursday, June 2, 2016 | 9:30 AM

The 2016 ProX ATV Motocross National Championship by CST Tires hits the halfway point of the season. It is round five for amateurs and round six for AMA Pro ATVs. It feels like things are just getting started and here we are in the middle of it all. The beauty of it all is that we still have plenty to go and the championship seems wide open in many classes. 

This weekend will mark the first ever running of the Monster Mountain ATV Motocross National. It is a very well known facility amongst the two-wheeled crowd and even getting some recognition from some of the quad crowd with recent events by the SE Quads organization. Monster Mountain even hosted an ATV Spring Break for riders on their way to Texas to kick off the season and rumor has that the organizers at MM are seriously excited for the ATV Racin’ Nation’s arrival. 

Whose excited for this weekend's round at Monster Mountain MX Park?!
Whose excited for this weekend's round at Monster Mountain MX Park?! Photo: Tom Brinkman

Last week I wrote about some of the excitement brewing amongst some of our premier classes. This week I would like to look at a few of the classes that are really tightening up in the championship. Realizing that we haven't began to see any of the drops come into effect, we can start to see what riders may be faces with as the championship inches closer to completion. 

One class I would like to explore this week is the 450A class. This class has a legit seven different riders that are in the game. Again the drops will play a big role in this battle but right now the points look like this: Sky Volkamer and Brian Nolt sit only four points apart with Alan Meyers only another two points back. So six points separate the top three. Both Sky and Brian each have one win each with Meyers playing with consistency to keep him in the hunt. Then Kirkland Jack is only four more points back and only another two back to James Bank in fifth. Then Ryan Korody is another three points back in sixth with late comer to this years championship Zach Gill posting two wins the past two rounds. He is only two points behind Korody and 17 out of the championship. The reality of it all is that it is this championship is still up for grabs but all hands seem on deck to make this battle pretty exciting.

The 450B class is another that may offer some excitement. The points may not be as tight but the big picture that this one may really get exciting. Noah Mickleson has a 15-point lead over Cody Ford. Mickelson has posted two wins and Ford has one. The signal things are heating up came with Tommy Vossman who sits in third place taking his first ever national win at High Point. It is one that has been coming for some time and now he has arrived it looks like and the situation gets more interesting.

Hopefully those rain clouds stay away this weekend in Alabama!
Hopefully those rain clouds stay away this weekend in Alabama! Photo: Ken Hill

The 450C is another tightly contested class. Logan Tremellen and Rian Smittle wit only six points apart and each have two wins apiece. Both riders are very poised individuals and will likely take this to the very end but the big spoiler who sits 33 points back is Devon Kindrick. Kindrick doesn't have a win yet in this class but knowing his skills and speed he is quickly finding a flow and may not be long before pulls a couple out to really mix things up. It's another class that still may present some excitement and surprises. The talent level is high and it continues to elevate with each passing round.  

The Production A class is seeing a two-man shoot out develop between Zach Gill and Alan Meyers. 12 points separate the two and that difference was a bad day in the mud. So in reality it is a tie and figuring the riders behind them in points like Ryan Korody, Payden Lingle, Kirkland Jack, Tyler Mack and Samuel Rebori the points could change in matter of a round or two. The possibilities that this class holds may border on the realm of endless and just might end up being one of the best battles of the season. 

Then there is the Production B class with a heated two-point difference between Logan Stanfield and Cody Ford. They have another thirty or so point buffer zone back to third the next contenders but they cannot afford to rest. The drop system and competition level rising at the moment again will put this battle into a must follow scenario. 

A much needed dry, sunshining weekend is needed for the ATVMX Series.
A much needed dry, sunshining weekend is needed for the ATVMX Series. Photo: Ken Hill

The next class this week that catches my eye in the amateur side of racing is the College (16-24) class. The point spread here is another eye popper and the field of talent signals a great future for this class as well. Grayson Eller leads the class by slim four-point margin over Cody Ford and Corey Powers. All three riders appear to be exhibiting the talents recognized in the youth ranks and each one seems to be rising to all new levels. Eller who was a promising youth contender had a few setbacks that never let us see his true potential but since graduating to the big bikes has shown the promise we saw before. I mentioned that both he and Ford would be a couple riders to watch out for this season after seeing them ride at Daytona ATVSX and my predictions are bearing some fruit. The excitement level does go even deeper than Eller, Ford and Powers though. Payden Lingle is minus 11 and Brogan Guyer minus 19 from the points lead and again we have the stage set for what could turn out to be another nail biter.

The last class I will look at this week is the Junior 25 Plus class. This class is showing some competitive battles as well. The great part about this class is the comradely that seems to be building among the competitors. They really seem to be bonding. Samuel Rebori whom I understand is from Uruguay is leading the points by a slim five points and has posted two wins so far this season. Lucas Lamons who is the older brother of AMA Pro ATV racer Silas Lamons sits in second place with one win of his own. The third place rider though may be about to heat this one up, though. Chase Cunningham took his first win of the season and stated to me off mic on the podium that it was so much easier on a Honda. He said if he would have known he would have made the switch sooner but now feels capable of putting up a fight for the title. Another, idea to watch out for as he is showing some real promise as a possible contender is Argentina’s Sebastian Foche’ who is yet to win in this class but is showing some real speed and desire to do so. 

Next week I will look closer at some of the youth division and this week’s race will likely make things even more interesting. The storyline for next week could be a two part if my suspicions are correct.

Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round.
Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round. Photo: Ken Hill

The approaching race this weekend will possibly be our first dry race of the year. But since it's rained every round so far I may be disappointed if that big ugly possibly big ball tries to shine down on us and dry everything up. I believe we have become quite accustomed to the wet conditions and are evolving as a racing species. I almost feel that if we get sunshine it may throw the whole balance of our new nature off. Whatever will we do? So all I can say is pray for rain. Do a dance or whatever it takes to keep the sun away. (Note…this last paragraph is all sarcasm to try and full nature…. it doesn't read between the parenthesis so we are safe speaking openly in here….)

That'll do it for me for now. Let's check in with Gloop’s Loop and with Ken “I got a new puppy” Hill. Till next time God Bless Your Heart and All Your Vital Organs.

In The Loop with Gloop:

Nick Gennusa is ready to head to our newest venue in Alabama this weekend!

Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round.
Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round. Photo: Ken Hill

We can't wait to see you at round six in Alabama, 5th Line Racing!

Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round.
Who are your picks for this weekend's win? Joel Hetrick took the win at the last round. Photo: Ken Hill

Keeping up with Ken Hill:

In just a few days we will be arriving at Monster Mountain MX and for many of us, this will be our first trip to this facility, so for me there is a bit of excitement about seeing a new track. The old man in me read the elevation changes and my legs started hurting, but in all honesty I like that because it usually offers some angles that work well for taking pictures. It should be a great weekend although the temps are forecasted to be in the high 90’s, so hydrate, and when you think you are good… drink more! In fact, when I checked the weather last night, Jeffrey Rastrelli came to mind as I know he was under the weather at High Point so I hit him up to check on him. He says he is feeling much better and is looking good heading into this round which could be trouble for the competition as I have a feeling he will be really wanting make something big happen. 

Happy Belated Birthday to Nick Gennusa! 
Happy Belated Birthday to Nick Gennusa!  Photo: Ken Hill

The battle between Hetrick and Wienen should be as tough as ever as the pair seems to be trading moto wins. I don’ think much will change this round as I fully expect another battle to blow up when the gate drops although it is never a given, and with these two going at it anything can happen. Coming off his podium finish at High Point, Ronnie Higgerson hopefully has shaken off the bad luck that has been hounding him for months. Pre season for him was a train wreck and it just seemed to dog him right into the seasons opening rounds. It is indeed make or break time and he will need to have solid finishes as we grind into the midway of this fast moving year. This also could be a round where we see Nick Gennusa hammer out a weekend that he has been looking for unless he ate too much birthday cake as the young man recently celebrated his 21st birthday so Happy Birthday again Nick and good luck! 

As I was driving home from High Point I was thinking of how deep the talent pool is this year and that it stretches far into the amateur ranks. The names we will be discussing in the coming years are right now tromping their way through each moto learning from successes and failures. Those who support them are also learning and that builds on their future as well as the health of the series. The cost of racing is still one of the biggest factors for any rider, but when you want something bad enough, no obstacle is big enough that you can’t overcome. My motto has always been “do the best you can with what you have where you are at,” and that holds true for so many that operate on a shoestring budget and literally work around the clock to make things possible. I can’t promise you anything except that the time you spend with family and friends doing all this will build character that will remain through your entire life and that is something money can’t buy. 

Husband and Wife, Luke and Megan Shepherd take on both the GNCC and ATVMX Series together.
Husband and Wife, Luke and Megan Shepherd take on both the GNCC and ATVMX Series together. Photo: Ken Hill

Last weekends GNCC, The John Penton went off pretty good and it was a blast watching Luke and Megan Shepard run their first ever race in the UTV. Now if that won’t test a marriage, I don’t know what will! Usually a husband complains about his wife being a side seat driver and here Luke throws her into the passenger seat and makes her his co-pilot for a brutal ride! It was a hoot reading their social media posts about it and I couldn’t help but laugh when they went ripping by me lap after lap. Westley Wolfe also found the podium again in the XC2 Pro-Am class. I am pretty sure he is super human as running both the ATVMX and GNCC full schedule will flat wear you out just traveling! This goes back to the family thing, but I know his dad is working long hours to make things happen so we thank him for doing what many dads and moms are doing and with great results it takes a bit of the sting of things as the hours rack up.

That about does it for me this week. I have been going like a tornado for the past few weeks as my youngest son graduated tech and high school, got his drivers license and joined the military! Throw in a few days with friends and family running about and a few rounds of racing thrown in just to make sure I am good and wore out! Thankfully the rounds leading up to all this was not too far away. There is nothing like escaping the turmoil like jumping in the truck and driving 10 hours away! I sure am glad that is all over with, but the damage has been done as my energy reserves are shot and what little I did have was used up by planting the gardens here so we have some good chow to grub on. The wife swears I time the tomatoes to hit at the same time I leave for Loretta Lynn’s for the amateur national and the ATVMX the following weekend. I do, but lets keep that between us! 

God bless you all in your travels and racing this coming weekend!