Wildcat Creek MX, Rossville, IN 2006
Suzuki's Hat Trick A One Point Race to the Finish!
July 23, 2006
With only one point separating Dustin Wimmer from Doug Gust and William Yokley from Daryl Rath, WPSA promoters couldn't have dreamed up a better script - as the extremely impressive WPSA Tour heads to the season finale in Englishtown, NJ.
We should probably remind you avid riders who spend your Saturday's away from the television, to set your Tivo to record each and every WPSA Tour on ESPN2. If you haven't seen what WPSA and ESPN segment producers have created thus far, you've missed out. Between brilliant shots, excellent seat of the pants racing, masterful commentating from play by play announcers Paul Page and Tes Sewell, ATV racing has never looked as good or received as much respectful exposure.
While we're talking about masterful commentating, we need to inform readers who have yet to attend a WPSA Tour just what they're missing. Trackside announcers "Banger" Mark Straubinger and Rob Powers are dialed in and extremely knowledgeable about the riders and the Tour. In fact much of the televised comments heard on ESPN2 are derived directly from our beloved boys in the tower.
The track side audio at Wildcat Creek was especially colorful. Since "Ironman" John Natalie is currently nursing a broken wrist, he was asked to provide a pro perspective in the tower. As for how he did, "He blew me away", said Robi Powers. "I was amazed. He was the best color man I've ever heard." We definitely agree, but aren't surprised, everything the Ironman does is to the fullest. If you can't make it to a WPSA Tour and you want to be entertained and informed all at once -- be sure to tune in to ATV Scene to listen to WPSA's trackside announcers live on both Saturday and Sunday.
On to that one point...
On to the event of the hour and the happenings at Wildcat Creek MX in Rossville, Indiana. After a little fine tuning from ATV legend, Donny "Bulldog" Banks, the Wildcat Creek MX track shined with a fast blue-grooved surface, a passable multi-line and fun obstacles abroad.
On this well prepared track, Digger Doug Gust ignored any pain he was having from a recent scratch and won both heats on Saturday. Later in the main event, podium regular, Jeremiah Jones, snagged his third win in six races. Jones, in an all too familiar fashion, simply dominated from start to finish. "I guess I just ran away with it. I got the holeshot and I just turned it loose. Doug and I had an easy ride." Gust finished in second about four seconds back. Wimmer, Ellis and Dunkelburger rounded out the top five respectively.
On Sunday, while Rocco Arno took the Quad Magazine Holeshot and led the field, Jones was picking himself out of the dirt after a first turn folly. He quickly got going and worked his way through the crowd to finish up in ninth. Meanwhile Gust was simply unstoppable! After repeating with two more qualifying wins he went on to dominate the main event from start to finish. With the win, Gust moved one point ahead of Wimmer in overall series points. "It was a great weekend for Team Yoshimura Suzuki," Gust humbly commented about Suzuki's Hat Trick Weekend. "These LT-R450's were going great for both of us. The Yoshimura guys had these things dialed in just right and we just rode them as fast as we could." Wimmer, Lawson and Creamer (with their best pro finishes to date) and Dunk finished top five respectively.
Did we mention one point?
We thought it would be impossible to top the Daniel Boone QuadTerrain coarse in London, KY, but we stand corrected. With massive wet boulders, logs, big time mud, rail road ties, off cambers and finally a much overdue wooded section -- this track challenged like no other! Track side fans appreciated the layout and the exciting racing that came with it. In short they went berserk every time the leaders entered the now legendary "Rock Crawl".
On Saturday SnoCross champ Jesse West of the now very serious Artic Cat ATV team took honors. It was West's first ATV race. Needless to say he's hooked and can't wait to race again. He also mentioned that he wants to try a SuperQuad 450 race in the future as well. Fellow Artic Cat teammate and points leader Daryl Rath missed the legendary Pine Lake Dirt Track National to finish Saturday's main in the runner up spot, while Nevada's Josh Frederick made the long haul worth while by rounding out the final spot on the podium. Frederick had no idea how rough the track would be, and that's saying a lot coming from his legendary desert racing experience.
As for Sunday's QuadTerrain main attraction, it was perhaps the most exciting of the season. To the rider's left stood a big energetic crowd, several with encouraging signs to root on their favorite rider, to their right; several high-dollar ESPN cameras recording every bad decision they were about to make, in the middle; 600 feet of torturous terrain not fit rideable for most quad riders.
After battling it out on the rugged of all rugged QuadTerrain tracks, Yoshimura Suzuki's William Yokley took his third QuadTerrain Challenge Pro Stock victory of the season, but not before some hard core racing.
The Can-Am dominance in early laps continued when factory Can-Am utility specialists, Brock Parker led the field with teammate Scott Kilby in tow. As laps progressed Yokley found himself in an only slightly better than mid-pack position. Then it happened. Much like his GNCC day job, a bottle neck situation happened in his path. Every single front runner was lodged and tangled up with each other in the massive Rock Crawl area of the track. Yokley automatically went into quick-thinking cross country mode and threaded his way through the carnage like he typically does when entering a bottleneck full of lapped riders at a GNCC race. “I didn’t think I was going to make it through,” said Yokley of his hard charge. “I had a choice: Either sit there and get passed, or I was going to give it try. I decided if I was going to go down, I was going to go down swinging. Yesterday, I was being cautious in the Rock Crawl and that bit us. I saw what caution did to us then, so I decided to go for it."
When the last mud chunk finally fell to the ground, it was Yokley on top with another fine performance from Josh Frederick in the runner up spot. Rath, Kilby and West finished in order respectfully.
As for that one point, Artic Cat's Daryl Rath, who posted the fastest lap times of the weekend, has it carefully tucked under his arm in Minnesota. He'll be bringing it to New Jersey where Yokley will calmly and collectively be trying to yank it away. “This championship is going to come down to the end between Daryl Rath and myself,” said Yokley. “I’ll just continue to keep coming out here with a big smile on my face and keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
As you can imagine, the two-day showdown at Old Bridge Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ promises to be a "can't miss" battle that will surely shine just as bright as this incredible series has. See ya there.