Story by Cliff Kump
Widely well-received track changes and warm temperatures marked the last round of the SMRA Spring Series and third round of the Club MX775 Battle Born 150 Series last weekend at Fernley. The race offered riders two opportunities to earn points, as it counted toward the series tallies for both sanctioning bodies.
This was a three-day event, with 16 motos total, and it garnered more than 250 entries for Sunday's race and great turnouts for the practices on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday evening, the desert winds in Fernley blew down the scoring tower for the transponder system, but the moto scores still came through without much of a hitch thanks to the back-up hand-scoring system. The Club MX775 team of Ty Erquiaga and Jeramiah Brown battled through a few issues besides the scoring tower, including an accident involving 85cc pilot Colton English. We wish Colton well!
In the first moto of the day, the 250cc Beginner class, Jacob Likes and Mason McCombs battled it out, with Likes coming out on top. Likes backed up his first-moto performance by the taking the win and the overall in the second moto. Brandon Jacober, a Reno KTM/Nevada Motorcycle Specialties rider, took a sixth in the first moto and a 13th in the second moto for eighth overall.
"I crashed and ended up last during my second moto, but got back up and charged as hard as I could until the end of the moto and finished OK," Jacober said. Jacober has been riding about six months and looks to be ready to move up the ranks very soon.
Jeff Simas took the victory in all three classes he competed in, channeling his inner Chris Fillmore on the fast, sweeping Fernley track. In the 30+ Expert class, Simas battled with 30+ Intermediate Kile Fye and 450cc Intermediate Collin McHaney before eventually getting past Fye and winning his class.
Take a ride with Simas around Fernley in the clip below.
"I thought the track was good," Simas said. "The layout is awesome. I really like it today."
Dean Wilcox, showing his signature smooth riding style on his Big Valley Honda-backed CRF450R, finished 1-1 to take the win in the 450cc Pro class. Dean said he liked the track and that its conditions stayed nice -- unusually nice.
"I like the layout," Wilcox said. "It has a few more jumps and it helps you stay busy. It was fast, as usual, and you can go to the outside, just rail it. I think it’s a blast. Awesome."
Colin McHaney was clearly on a different level compared to the rest of the field in his race, winning handily in the first 250cc Pro moto. But McHaney encountered some problems late in moto two and just barely made it across the line before Jeff Simas on his Tech One Designs/Troy Lee/Focus Apparel/Virus International/Mika Metals/X-brand/DT-1-backed KTM 450SX-F.
"I know he's a lot faster than all of us," Simas said. "I was catching him, so I didn't know if he had a bike problem at first, but it didn't look like it. During the last lap, he was checking up, looking over his shoulder at me, then barely crossed the finish line in front of me."
In the mini and pee-wee classes, Chase Cannizzaro showed why he is the talk of the town in the 50cc Junior and 65cc Beginner classes, taking a hard-fought overall win in the 50cc Junior class over Sam McCord and getting the job done with another win in the 65cc Beginner class. In doing so, Chase also clinched both the SMRA 50cc Junior class and 65cc Beginner Spring Series championships in his first year racing both classes concurrently. Chase is already a two-time SMRA 50cc champion, making this his third-in-a-row 50cc title.
Gage Wilcox, nephew of 30+ winner Dean Wilcox, showed that some of that family speed has rubbed off on him, winning the 65cc Intermediate contest, but not before him and Demetre Proutsos threw down with some intense battling. Proutsos showed him that the local boys can still stand tough, winning moto one before finishing second in moto two for second overall.
Nakana Domingo did the deed in the 65cc Open class, taking the win with 1-1 scores in a smooth and consistent performance. Ryder Tomaselli, Zade White, Rogen Hill and Nathan Riipi all mixed it up for the 50cc Beginner class win, with Tomaselli coming out on top via 2-1 moto scores.
Saer White battled with Kile Fye in the first 30+ Intermediate race, taking second. But White knew he had to get the moto win in race two to get the overall and achieve an even more important goal.
"I have to win the second moto in order for me to win the series," White said between motos. And he did just that, attacking the sandbox with urgency and claiming a series title in the process.
Patrick Griffith, 30+ Junior third-place finisher, said that the track was very good and that he enjoyed the layout, but he wasn't too happy with his riding. Griffith, a new dad, had to make sure he was home to do his fatherly duties later that evening, so he rode smart, had fun and made it home to take care of baby.
Overall, it was a good day of racing that continued the storied tradition of Fernley motocross, with a large turnout and lots of smiles. Racer Layne Kolbet summed up the spirit of the race in asking, “Have I told you how much I like to ride my dirt cycle lately?”