The 5th Annual Battle for Ohio motocross racing event is in the books. This is the 5th battle I’ve hosted, the 4th in the Battle Series for the OMA, and the 3rd as a part of AMA State Championship Series. When I first ran this race in 2012, I just wanted Ohio to have one really big race each year. I think that has been established. Out of the few bigger races I’ve hosted, none of them mean more to me than the Battle. In theory, if you count our practice number from last Saturday as an event day, the 2016 Battle has been our largest 2-day turnout, even eclipsing the AQ from 2015.
The Battle is fitting title, because I battle the weather, equipment, people, racers in my class, and about 100 other various elements throughout the week leading up to the race, race weekend, and the fallout after the race. This year was no exception. Saturday was hot and steamy, humid, but the track held up very well. I was extremely happy with the track conditions for practice. We made the move the run all three rounds of practice without stopping to prep, and I feel we pulled it off. Just hints of dust at the end. After a decent break for flaggers, we re-group and start the ATV, UTV, PW50 race program. We were down about 20 or so ATV entries from 2015, and only 1-2 UTV entries was pretty disappointing. Still a good number of ATVs, but I would have liked to seen more out there supporting Ohio ATV motocross.
My racing was ok. In my first moto, I got the next to last gate pick. You’d think I’d have a good connection in sign up, I guess not! (this is a joke, the program picks them randomly, please sit down now). Not a great start, I got pushed wide by some of my fellow Vet riders. I might have rounded the second corner in 6-7th, not sure. Made a couple passes, then got stuck together with my buddy James Walker. Got untangled, made some more passes. Got up to third and ran out of laps and go go in my tank. Then in true Battle tradition we got the pop up storm from nowhere. Now we have a mudder. Great. Second moto I get an ok start, but not good enough, had to pass a couple guys with no goggles, just terrible. I got third overall which ties me in the championship. I lose the title after going through 2 tiers of the OMA tie-breaker rules. My hats off to Brian Wood though, he did what he had to do, no shame in losing to him. He is a 2-time State Champion.
Now I’m done racing, I went up and power washed everything, including my gear. I got a shower, and I headed back down to see what we needed to do with the track before Sunday’s races. At this moment, I thought I had already gotten the big weekend surprise with the rain storm. I was wrong. A friend informed me that Rob Miracle had passed during a bike ride in Kentucky. This was probably one the biggest shocks I have felt in a long time. I didn’t really want to run the race after that, but I knew Rob wouldn’t have any of that crap. So soldiering on it was. Rob was a great friend to everyone, he had the attitude I wish I could achieve. So friendly, easy going, loved living life. He is missed.
Fireworks. Yes, I have friends that love setting off fireworks. Big thanks to Dave Hoover at Forklift Training Systems, he is primarily responsible for the purchase of lighting of said fireworks display. I’d also like to thank Jason at Malvern he donated some shells that he had left from this season as well.
Sunday was amazing. Other than waiting for 30+ to get to staging, which took 20 minutes. I was ready to peel my finger nails off. That’s the last time 30+ gets the first moto. Ever. Surprisingly even with the 20 minute later start than normal, we still wrapped up 44 motos by 5pm. Lots of dirty bikes, the entries were up from last year in terms of bikes. Roughly 22 more. Very surprised that Darryn Durham showed up, he was uber fast, or whatever is faster than that. Track was really good, the rain was a blessing in disguise as the track was perfecto Sunday morning, and really most of the day. A couple spots got pretty rough, and we did have some guys going down in places that we hadn’t seen in other races, I’d like to thank Brian Purdy, Bill Leak, Brad Adams, Jimmy Fouts, and Brian Finckel for stepping in when we needed extra flaggers for the tough track conditions. Finckel, Fouts, and Purdy pulled double duty running equipment and flagging. And Brian Lucas who filled in for injured flagger on Sunday with short notice. I don’t want to have any medical issues ever, but sometimes you can’t really control that given the inherent dangers in our sport. However, I’m very proud that out of 645 entries we had only 1 squad run. And that was an incident on the start of a moto. I hope Blake Anderson is feeling better today and heals up fast! I think this shows that slowing down the track was a good move in terms of safety.
Thanks to everyone that helped make this weekend one of the best we’ve ever had. I’m not going to try a list everyone, it’s getting pretty tough to do that and not leave people out. My crew is the best, and I think we are ready for the next step. Please do me a favor everyone, shake hands and thank the men and women that wear an orange staff shirt or that you know is part of our crew. They are the ones making a difference in our program. Thanks everyone. Sorry for the book above.