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IRWINDALE “N of D” + SUPER-MOTO ON INFIELD & DIRT – By Tim Kennedy

Irwindale, CA., May 20 – The second of six scheduled “Night of Destruction” events at Irwindale Speedway took place Saturday on a balmy evening. Super-Moto motorcycle racers and a dirt section of the cone-marked 14-turn course returned to IS for the first time since 2003. The bike circuit included parts of the half and third mile ovals and numerous turns in the infield. Cars and motorcycles each competed in five main events in front of 5,950 enthusiastic ”N of D” fanatics. 

Super-moto riders used a standing start from start/finish on the half-mile. They raced through the first two turns of the half-mile. Riders then made left and right turns on the third-mile oval and in the infield. They encountered 30-yards of slightly elevated track (turns nine and ten) on the infield between the third and fourth turns of the third-mile. Back on asphalt riders raced from the fourth turn to turn three of the third-mile and back through the third and fourth turns of the half-mile. IS rented 150-yards of dirt (ten truck loads) from a nearby soil firm in Irwindale for the Super-moto. 

Super-moto was co-sanctioned by AMA Super-Moto-West and the Golden Empire Super-moto Series that has nine events in three states on its calendar. The first two events ran at Kern County Raceway Park (Bakersfield) during April. Irwindale was the third event of the 2017 season for both groups. Tracks in both northern and southern California, Toole, UT and Sturgis, S.D are scheduled. Stops also include: Sonoma, Thunderhill (Willows) and Buttonwillow (Bakersfield). Bikes used included: Honda, Yamaha, KTM, HSQ, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Husqvarna. 

Sixty Super-moto riders competed at Irwindale. Northern (17) and Southern California (21) accounted for more than half the field. There were four from Utah, two from Nevada and one from B. C. Canada. Others were late entries without hometowns listed. Most riders saw Irwindale for the first time. Their long-day started with practice (1:15-1:45) in 90+ degree heat. Group qualifying (using IS electronic transponders) for all five two-wheel divisions was from 3:50-4:30 followed by four or six-lap heat races to set main event lineups. The usual IS on-track autograph session was from 5:45-6:30. Five Super-moto main events were run after 7:50, following two of the five car events.

The Super-moto field was divided into five classes. Sportsman Minis had five riders. 250/450cc (12 riders), veterans 35/45 (ten riders), Open Amateur (23 riders, including IS race truck driver Todd Cameron, and Unlimited/Premier (eight riders). Each class ran six or eight lap mains in the evening and the Unlimited ran a 10-lap feature. Speeds in the latter class topped 80 mph on the front straight from turn four through a tire chicane leaving the fourth turn to the fastest part of the course entering turn one. The fastest qualifying lap on the 14-turn (with fast and slow corners) was 48.341 (37.235 mph) by Unlimited rider Eric Stump.

AUTO EVENTS:

Seidner's Collision Centers Enduro Cars: A 34-car field of four-cylinder compact sedans started racing from a standing start at 7:05 pm. The economical entry class ran a 20-lap main event on the third-mile oval with a jog into the backstretch infield, making the course a five-turn “r-oval”. In a surprising upset, one of the nine first-time rookie racers started second and led all 20 laps in his un-dented silver/blue No. 62 sedan. Brad Sellman, from a TBA city, averaged 53.684 mph and won the 11-minute race by 6.673 seconds over frequent IS winner Robert Rice. Bory Molina took P. 3 with seven drivers on the lead lap. 

The final lap included a red flag after fourth-running Robert Anderson, from Ontario, flipped after contact at the backstretch jog into the infield. His red/black No. 127 1989 Ford Probe stopped overturned with the drivers side on the ground, trapping Anderson. When a tow truck lifted his car back onto four wheels Anderson hopped out uninjured. He jumped several times and gave the crowd the touchdown signal with both hands raised. He finished eighth as the first driver to complete 19 laps. Fifteen cars finished. Anderson's car was scratched from a later event.

Seidner's CC Figure 8: A 14-car Figure 8 race through the infield X-zone brought cheers from fans after numerous close calls at the X intersection. The race had two leaders and another first time IS feature winner—Todd Paperny, an IS veteran driver from Hollywood. Robert Salcido led the first nine laps. Fifth-starter Paperny (No. 89) passed Cheryl Hyland for second place on lap 3 and was pressuring leader Salcido by lap 8. 

On lap 10 Paperny took the lead entering the first turn and pulled away to a 2.467 second victory over veteran Salcido, from Perris. Robert Rice placed third, 11-seconds off the lead. The race ended after 18 laps because the P. 3 car stalled a the X and was rammed at speed by the P. 5 car, breaking the radiator and stopping abruptly. Neither driver was injured. Eight of ten cars racing at the finish were on the lead lap.

Seidner's CC Skid Plate Cars: Yorba Linda resident Sean Brennan, 27, dominated the 25-car SPC main event. He led all 20 laps and almost lapped second finisher Robert Rice, who trailed by 30.632 seconds. Third place Steven Belling was 37 seconds back and the only other driver who logged all 20 laps. Twenty-one of 25 cars finished. 

It was the 54th SPC race since Rice, from Hawthorne, originated the event at IS by making all the metal skid plates affixed to the back wheels instead of tires. It was Brennan's 13th SPC victory in his No. 33 (a number used by his father Paul when he raced a speed truck several years at IS shortly after the speedway opened in 1999). Sean now ranks second in all-time SPC victories. He is only one in back of his brother-in-law Mike Di Gregorio, who placed 11th this week (down four laps) after mishaps en-route to the checkers. 

LKQ Pick Your Part Compact Car Demo Derby: Eight drivers competed in the all-time richest demo derby in IS history. It became that after chief announcer Bruce Flanders added a $10. bill to the $1,000 prize posted for the DD winner by track management--211 Entertainment, LLC. On a watered section of the start/finish line infield, the battleground was marked by large tires. Shortly after 10:00 pm, eight drivers smashed and crashed each other for ten minutes. The battle was down to three, then two cars before James Bolinas (No. 37) won. 

Bolinas picked the right night to win his first-ever main event worth ($1,010). Past winners Jonathon De Stefano and Adam Ditto placed second and third respectively. Bolinas, from Torrance, rammed De Stefano's car and broke his own radiator during his final hit. It also started a small fire in the engine compartment while Bolinas circled the infield as the starter waved the checkered flag. Track firemen extinguished the blaze quickly. Bolinas, father of a “N of D” racing family, has competed at IS for several years. 

Trailer Race: A field of 18 vehicles—sedans, Chevy El Caminos, and pickup trucks—towed trailers with assorted cargo. That included Jet-skis, a wooden dog house, boats, and small house trailers. Drivers used the watered third-mile oval and all nine rows started on the front straight from a standing start. They began at 10:30 for 20 or more laps of crashing and mayhem. There were two rookie trailer race drivers and one female in the event. It wound up being 30+ laps and 24 minutes of action. Track scorers and IS Racing Director Mike Atkinson determined the top three finishers. They were: busy Robert Rice, his son Robert Rice, Jr., and Todd Paperny, the Enduro Figure -8 winner. 

SUPER-MOTO MOTORCYCLE MAINS:

Afternoon heat races, which concluded at 4:35, were each four or six laps and used rows of four riders per row. Finishing order determined main event starting positions for five class main events during the evening. Standing starts were given the green flag by a motocross starter at the starting line infield. 

   > 250/450 – Christopher Vaughn, from Bakersfield, led the first two laps and won the 6-lap, main event. He prevailed in a lead-swapping duel with laps 3-5 leader Laura Hollanbacher in a 12-rider field. He pulled away on the final lap to his 8.448 second victory over his female rival. He also won the 4-lap class heat at 2:50 pm.

   > Sportsman Mini – Hadley Melton, from Bakersfield, led all 6-laps on his Kawasaki in a five-rider field. He won by 1.908. He also won his 4-lap heat race at 3:50. 

   > Veterans 35/45 – Randy Griffith, from Bakersfield, led all six laps aboard a KTM in a nine rider field. He won by 2.332 seconds. He also won his 4-lap heat race at 4:05. 

   > Open Amateur – Ryan Copland, also from Bakersfield, won the scheduled 6-lap main with 22 riders. His Yamaha won by 0.386 in a tight four rider pack. The race concluded three laps early by AMA rules after the red flag appeared. It came out to allow track workers to aid a rider who fell at the dirt jump section at turn 10. He was uninjured. Veteran IRT truck racer Todd Cameron, from Monrovia, made his initial Super-moto start on his 450cc Kawasaki. He started in row two (four abreast) of five rows based upon his P. 7 during his heat race. He finished ninth (17 seconds off the lead pace) with 21 riders still racing at the red flag. The P. 21 rider was 43-seconds behind the winner. Napa resident Kevin Holman (Hus) won the 22-rider 4-lap heat race at 4:35. Copland finished fourth in the heat race to also earn a first row starting spot for the main. 

   > Unlimited/Premier – Eric Stump, of Roseville, started his Honda on the pole in row one and led all ten laps in the final race for the two-wheel racers. He said he skipped the AMA Flat Track National on the Sacramento mile, won by 0.661. Only one of seven starters was lapped during the 11-minute race that concluded at 9:28 pm. Stump, the 23-year old fastest qualifier, also won the 4-lap heat race at 4:50. 

The final three main events in order were: skid plate cars, demo derby and the always popular trailer race. Those events ran from 9:40 to 10:54. “N of D” fanatics remained in their seats through the checkered flag for the final event. 

The next IS oval track event will be Saturday, June 3 with late model twin-30-lap features, IRT trucks, spec late models, legend cars and bandoleros.