“We scheduled it for November 20th and 21st and that storm wiped us out,” track promoter Tim O’Brien said. “That date was open and that’s the one we chose, hopefully to get some good weather, then we had that big storm. Honey Lake canceled so we saw there was an opportunity for the Cranberry Classic to actually happen on Thanksgiving so I want to build this into an annual event.”
The purpose behind the event, besides offering a late season chance for motocross riders to race is for charity.
“This year we weren’t able to pull enough riders to throw a race but we could still do a decent ride day. And we’ve already over a 100 pounds of food donated for the Evelyn Mount Foundation and we have about 300 dollars already,” O’Brien said.
He added the event has a 5-dollar entry fee but that’s waived if the rider donates three cans of food. Since the money is donated anyway, several riders brought food and paid the entry fee, which went to the foundation.
Next year, Exit 28 will be part of the SMRA group but O’Brien has plans when racing resumes.
“I’ve got a big announcement as Ty Erquiaga and myself have joined forces for next year and we’re going to start off with a three-race series in the spring,” he said. “It’s going to be called ‘Spring Backwards’ as we’re actually going to run Stead and Exit 28 backwards. And we’ll probably do three, three-race series through out spring and the summer.”
O’Brien added that he’s also looking at another property but nothing is firm as yet.
Many of the riders came up from Minden as they were part of the Testa Motorsports team.
“We’re out here to donate, help others, have a good time and a lot of fun,” team boss Robert Taylor said. “It is the end of the year and I’m so glad that Tim allowed us to come out here, practice on his track and have a good day. We’ve got about 15 to 20 riders here as I brought up our whole team from Minden and Gardnerville to support Tim.”
Since there weren’t enough riders to stage individual races practice times were set by the type of bike that ranged from Pee Wees to the big one. Then, since he had a lot of prizes on hand, O’Brien staged multiple hole shot contests to give everyone a taste of competition.
At Exit 28 that meant a short downhill after the starting gate then a race across a level area, over a low jump and up a gently grade. Then things got interesting.
Right as the riders hit the top of the grade they had to negotiate a hairpin turn before reaching the checkered flag. Not an easy task on what amounted to a frozen track.
While many slipped Adam Munoz, from Minden, after getting sideways once had the most spectacular moment at the hairpin after he hit a hay bale and went over his handlebars. Fortunately O’Brien, who was right behind him, got stopped in time while most of the other riders got around the corner.
There were several different winners and all seemed to have a good time. But some, like 10-year-old multiple winner T.J. Taylor wished for full races.
Another of the younger winners was 5-year-old Lux Taylor, who said he had a good time.
A hairpin turn is an interesting case as there are almost as many ways through it as there are riders. And two Reno boys had success with two very different methods of negotiating that turn.
“I take the inside then go to the outside and finish,” 9-year-old Casey Carmichael said.
The 11-year-old Cole Carmichael said of his line, “I just went slow and tried to cut to the inside.”
One veteran having a good time was Kenny Bell, who won three hold shots.
“It was good man and I just want to say thank you to Livfast and Testa Motorsports for putting this on,” he said. “The hairpin, well it’s a little icy, kind of like riding on an ice skating rink but you just put her in an extra gear, take it easy and you’ve got it.”
Agreeing with him was Alex Ficco, a freshman at Western Nevada College, who said, “It’s a little sketchy going pinned into the 180 because it’s all icy right now. You wait pretty long before braking but then you’ve just got to be easy on the throttle as you go around so you don’t slide out.”
Despite the cold, everyone seemed to be having a great time riding this late in the year.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•This week Reno becomes the center of the short-track oval industry as promoters from across the country gather for the annual RPM Workshop. Speakers and seminars are on tap for this three-day conference.
Due to these challenging economic times, many will be interested in finding out how others are handing their situations. Short tracks are small business units that are linked to their local communities so many are feeling the hard times their areas having.
Accompanying the Workshop is a small trade show featuring just about everything a track promoter might need from tickets to tires.
•The area’s final race of this year, weather permitting, is slated for the weekend of Dec. 11-12 at the Mustang Motor Plex located east of Sparks just north of I-80. Saturday is for practice while final round of the Nevada GFI Volvo fall series should have a 10 a.m. start to the first motos.
•Sierra Motocross Racing Association has posted its final results from this fall’s State Championship Series. They are listed in the results section.
SMRA Nevada State Championship Series
50cc Beg: - 1. Cody Zimmer, 2. Lux Turner, 3. Tyler Petersen
50cc Jr. - 1. Elijah Frandsen, 2. Ben Knoblock, 3. Brin Osterman
65cc Beg. - 1. Dalton Chard, 2. T.J. Taylor, 3. Travis Whitwam
65 Jr. - 1. Alex Katzenbach, 2. Mikey Hillyer, 3. Tyler Gunn
85cc Beg. - 1. Andrew Williams, 2. Tyler Gunn, 3. Dylan Buck
85cc Jr. - 1. Chad Heishman, 2. Clay Amezquita, 3. Garrett Hueftle
20+ Beg. - 1. Steve Paladini, 2. Todd Wagner, 3. Shawn Viss
20+ Jr. - 1. Kenny Beauchamp, 2. Brett Fay, 3. Nolan Rudd
20+ Intr. - 1. Brandon Acquistipace, 2. Kile Fye, 3. Leo Gaster
30+ Beg. - 1. Travis Hilbish, 2. Bruce Hildebrand, 3. Gordon Petersen
30+ Jr. - 1. Bryan Hammond, 2. Sonny Snodgrass, 3. Jeff Butler
30+ Exp. - 1. Curt Fowler, 2. Tony Fagundes, 3. Jason Shakespeare
30+ Pro. - 1. Rich Thorwaldson, 2. Scott Stillmock, 3. Eric Guillen
40+ Jr. - 1. Kurt Zimmer, 2. Harry Trainor, 3. Dusty Rhoades
40+ Intr. - 1. Larry Brown, 2. Carl Lucas, 3. James Lamonte
40+ Exp. - 1. Anthony Pulera
Women - 1. Hope Stillmock, 2. Shalie Thorwaldson, 3. Katy Samuels
125/250 Beg. - 1. Cody Carter, 2. Caleb Duster, 3. Brett Thompson
125/250 Jr: - 1. Geoff Taylor, 2. Kyle Mason, 3. John Hansen
125/250 Intr. - 1. Christopher Paras, 2. Kyle Fye, 3. Jesse Gore
250/450 Beg. - 1. Daniel Arnold, 2. Wes Gilmore, 3. Adam Stokes
250/450 Jr. - 1. Tyler Artrup, 2. John White, 3. Jorden Drawver
250/450 Intr. - 1. Alex Ficco, 2. Preston Joy, 3. Tyler Bryant.