Racers get down and dirty

Recent rains give Soldotna airport track perfect texture

Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2000

Goldilocks herself couldn't have been happier with the course conditions Saturday at the Alaska State Motocross Series races at the Soldotna Municipal Airport.

Rain showers over the past couple of days soaked the course with just enough water to keep things from getting dusty, yet not so much as to make for muddy conditions -- as the fair-haired one would have said, it was just right.

"Mother Nature was very cooperative," said Scott Davis, director of the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions, the event host.

"I'm having a blast," said Anchorage's Jim McClain, the top rider in the 250 Expert and the Pro classes. "This is a fun track. It has a different texture. Wet or dry, some places are really slick, some places are tacky, and then there's a section that's all rocks and marbles, which is challenging -- and it's a real pain if you're behind someone."

McClain didn't have to worry about a rider in front of him all that often as he rode his Honda to wins in both 250 Expert motos, or heats, as well as in both Pro motos.

McClain wasn't just sitting back and enjoying the ride, though. Motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, and the pounding of so many laps around a twisting, hilly course does take its toll on the body.

"It's draining," McClain said. "You have to coordinate all four limbs, and all eight fingers, all doing different things at the same time."

And there's more to it than just hanging on.

"There's the thrill involved in pushing yourself," McClain said. "At some point, you have to be really dedicated to your training and get in shape so you're not tired after two or three laps. When you're not tired, you can go faster, and when you can go faster you can start skimming or floating over the bumps ... You can conserve so much energy, and then you can go another two or three laps.

"Momentum is what that is, and then you start thriving on it. The faster you go, the easier it is -- as long as you remember how to use the brakes for the turns."

Kenai's Greg Coon couldn't carry quite as much momentum around the course as McClain, but was happy with the way things went on what has become his home course. Coon finished second in the 250 Vet Expert races and sixth in the 250 Expert class.

"I raced a long time ago in Fairbanks," Coon said. "When I heard about the track here, I went out last year and bought a bike."

In fact, the course at the airport is just about a year old. Davis said that the Racing Lions had tried to build a course on the other side of Funny River Road, but a peat bog put an end to those plans.

Motocross racers sometimes had just the opposite problem with the course where it is -- it can get too dry at times, making the air dusty and the ground loose and sandy.

"I like it. It soaks up a lot of water," said Anchorage's Lance Leneave of the course after finishing third in the 250 Expert class and first in the Vet Expert class.

Good conditions made for competitive racing.

"I'm trying to pass for third in the point standings, and there's only a few points separating each place," Leneave said. "The guy in third, I passed him on the last corner of the last leg -- I needed those extra points."

Davis' son Cory handled the course well, winning both his motos in the 80 Intermediate class.

"Have fun and go fast," said Cory, 12, of his racing philosophy.

While Cory has eyes on moving up a class next season, Jason Armstrong of Anchorage was just getting his feet wet in his first season in the 250 Expert class.

"I'm just starting to get the feel of it -- it's kind of a rebuilding year for me," Armstrong said after finishing fifth in the event.

And the key to getting better?

"A lot of practice," Coon said, "and a lot of bent and broken parts."

The races will continue today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Soldotna Municipal Airport.

Alaska State Motocross Series

Saturday at Soldotna airport

Top overall finishers

50cc -- 1. Seth Burns, 2. Taylor Littell, 3. Dyllin Anderson, 4. Robby Armbrust, 5. Dylan Hendricks.

60 -- 1. Cameron Crawford, 2. Robert Graeber, 3. Seth Burns, 4. Tim Jones, 5. Megan McClain.

80 Novice -- 1. D.J. Moffett, 2. Jesse Kelly, 3. Robert Fyfe, 4. Tyler Virgin, 5. Brandon Richart.

80 Intermediate -- 1. Cory Davis, 2. John Richart.

80 Expert -- 1. Brian Lane, 2. Ricky Bailey.

125 Novice -- 1. Bruce Kile, 2. Chris Kohler, 3. Calder Hillyer, 4. Will Fyfe, 5. Jake Roos.

125 Intermediate -- 1. Scooter Frank, 2. Aaron Loyer, 3. Brian Lane, 4. Mike Egholm, 5. Aron Kile.

125 Expert -- 1. Jeremy Lymburner, 2. Kyle Motsko, 3. Mike Trent, 4. Cory Blendheim, 5. Tim Conley.

250 Novice -- 1. John Winchman, 2. Rick Cordova, 3. Ron Soule, 4. Josh Roos, 5. Kyle Thimsen.

250 Intermediate -- 1. Trevor Hanson, 2. Aron Kile, 3. Steve Thompson, 4. Spike Lasky, 5. Craig Hill.

250 Expert -- 1. Jim McClain, 2. Brett Conley, 3. Lance Leneave, 4. Ralph Blanchard, 5. Jason Armstrong.

Vet Novice -- 1. Pat Poland, 2. Ron Soule, 3. Barney Phillips.

Vet Intermediate -- 1. Trevor Hanson, 2. Robby Butler, 3. Steve Roos, 4. Craig Hill.

Vet Expert -- 1. Lance Leneave, 2. Greg Coon, 3. Dean Nelson, 4. Steve Woodward, 5. Lane Giesler.

Pro -- 1. Jim McClain, 2. Brett Conley.

Masters -- 1. Scott Sanderson, 2. Robby Butler, 3. Robert Armbrust, 4. Eric Kile.

Women's -- 1. Sarah Herrin, 2. Amy Rowan, 3. Beth Stehn, 4. Randi Motsko, 5. Kressa Naylor.

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