Thunder Ridge, South Edmeston, NY 2007
6 hours of America, New England Style
August 11, 2007
By Cheryl Moriarty
Photos by Crystal Maher and Thunder Ridge Sports
In the mood for a good All Terrain Vehicle challenge? Perhaps you should have joined the 36 teams that signed up for the Maxxis 6 Hours of New York held for the first time at Thunder Ridge Cycle Park in South Edmeston, NY.
"New England riders came to the rescue and really picked up my spirits. Before today, we haven't been getting the amount of teams we used to get. I think we've got a winner here in New York," said Fast-Trak Promotions President, John Pellan.
With this year's change of rules, teams are no longer forced to share one ATV, they now have the option of using one ATV per teammate. When the news of this new rule was announced, there were mixed reactions. Some teams took a traditional stand stating that the event has only allowed one quad per team for five years now. Why change mess with tradition? They argue that the Maxxis 6 and 12 Hours of America events are all about endurance for both rider and machine alike. On the contrary, with the new multiple quad rule, other teams have rejoiced in the fact that they could now enjoy the comfort of riding their own personal ATV. Regardless of the mixed opinions the multiple-quad-rule seemed to work well in New York and the race-action was exciting to say the least.
What About Bob?
While all classes battled it out and gave it everything they had, it was the long dog and cat chase between Pro teams XCBob.com (Rob Hertz, Tom Hertz and Mike Lucas) and Shrum Racing (DJ Shrum and Devon Jarrett) that had everyone's attention. The two teams had their share of mechanical hardships - rear brake problems, clogged radiators, loose chains among other things, nonetheless the lead was passed back and forth throughout the day. When it came to the checkered flag, it was Pennsylvania's Team XCBob.com finishing a mere 5 seconds over Illinois' Shrum Racing. It doesn't get much closer than that, especially after six hours of racing. "It was a blast to race with those guys. I think with one more lap I could have got them," said anchorman Devon Jarrett of the two-man Shrum Racing team. Shrum's strategy is to use one good race quad and park a spare in the impound area in case something happens to the good one. In this, they're down the track while other teams waste time swapping machines in the impound area. "Two hours into the race our race bike stripped the front sprocket so we had to ride the not-as-good spare." Jarrett goes on, "We made up three minutes in three laps with no rear brakes! But on the last lap I got stuck on a slippery hill but still got pretty close to them at the end of the last lap. Man it was frustrating, but a blast at the same time! We're looking forward to the Missouri round and the 12 Hours of America where we'll have three bikes and three riders. We'll be ready to tear it up!"
I am Iron-Man!
The biggest challenges of the day were found in the Ironman Class. Competition was high with a series record 12 Ironman racers signed up, including a top national rider, last year's 6 hours of New Hampshire Ironman champion and several first time "Ironmen" -- all competing in the name of conquering something that most would never even consider.
Unfortunately one of the pre-race class winning favorites Tyler Lenig, a top national GNCC rider, was out early when his new Polaris limped to a stop with a broken tie-rod. Another front runner from New England, Scott Samuel, who extremely impressed us by winning last year's 6 Hours of NH, where he finished 6th of 21, had his share of ups and downs. Two hours in, riding casually 2nd in his class, "Sammy", as he's known on the track, came in with a massive mechanical failure. Thinking his day was over, he casually asked around for replacement parts. When fellow GNCC rider, Rob Hertz of Team XCBob.com came to the rescue, Sammy and his crew made the change and in fifty minutes, was back on the track, almost four laps behind the class leaders. In true Ironman fashion, Sammy gave it his all, put his head down and wicked the throttle wide open. Along the way Sammy passed rider after rider and found himself in a remarkable third place position with one lap remaining. As he neared an incredible battle of determination and stamina was taking place about five minutes ahead of him, as Lawrenceville, PA's John Eckart (Honda 450R) and Westfield, MA's Matt Pomeroy (Yamaha YFZ450) battled for the Ironman first place position. In the end only a half lap separated Scott Samuel from the intense battle for the lead. Click here for an interesting interview with Scott Samuel, but not before you read on about the incredible battle between Eckart and Pomeroy for the win.
It was the first time that John Eckart and Matt Pomeroy competed in the Ironman class. As an experienced team rider, Eckart declined many offers of additional riders and told his crew that he simply wanted the challenge of running the race by himself. "My main goal was to survive. My friends and family enjoyed the event and helped me tremendously. In fact they went overboard at times and overwhelmed me with their support. I'm really thankful to them for all the help. We had a great time together," said Eckart. He went on, "The track was really good and the arrows were easy and clear to follow. It was a blast from start to finish." Eckart finished the day with an impressive runner-up finish only 43 seconds from winner Matt Pomeroy, who took first place honors and became the 2007 Maxxis 6 hours of NY Ironman champion.
Summing it up...
Howard Payne, NE ATV Motocross Series President, was instrumental in the success of the first ever Maxxis 6 Hours of NY and was most enthusiastic with the event. "The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was great to have our 2006 Open Pro Motocross Champion, Matt Pomeroy, win the Ironman today, especially since it was his first time running the Ironman. All in all I was impressed with the whole day." Payne also spoke of having the event, and possible additional 6 Hours of America events, in South Edmeston and other areas within the New England area in the future.
Thunder Ridge Sports track owner, Jim Simmons provided the series with a challenging yet safe track that many are still talking about, clean facility, and the perfect place to showcase the talents of so many dedicated riders. New England presented its best and the best is what they gave.
Special Thanks to NEATV-MX and Nac's Racing for providing contingency for the Maxxis 6 Hours of NY.