|Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series
Kern County Fairgrounds – Bakersfield, Calif.
Article by Jamey M. Blunt
One hundred sixty two entries made up twenty five heats, three semis, one dash 4 cash, and sixteen main events in one hundred plus degree heat at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield Calif. for Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series fifth annual (Digger Helm Short Track National).
The Maxxis Tires/ Saddleman Senior main event saw Tom Horton shoot to the front of the field of nine with Jerry Kennedy second and Randy Griffith third. Griffith quickly moved into second and set Horton in his cross hairs while Jeff Lessley and Jim Wood Sr. were finding their rhythm from a lesser starting position. By lap two Kennedy was sliding backwards and Griffith threw it away just past the start/finish line. This moved Lessley up into second with Wood third and a slow starting, but forward moving Ryan Gifford up to fourth. Steve Craft would also knock Kennedy back another spot to sixth as Craft took over fifth. At the finish the order remained the same with this being the first of Horton's three victories on this night.
The Motion Pro/A&A Racing Vet "A" main event had former pro Ronnie Brown make a return to racing. A class for riders over the age of thirty five (where has the time gone) this field had many former pros and was large enough to require an A and B main event. Ronnie Brown whose all business when his helmet goes on led the field from the start with no one capable of matching his fast 12.30/100 second lap times aboard his Lazer framed Honda. Chuck Monosmith ran second with Gary Ritchie third and Robert Bush fourth. With three laps complete Brown had a full straight gap over the next closest rider. On the run to the checkered flag Bush got the drive out of turn four and won the drag race to the strip to take third away from Ritchie, making the final order Brown, Monosmith, Bush, and Ritchie.
For the Barnett/K&N Super Senior main Mel Stoner got a little over excited and had to start from the back row. Herb Wolf led into turn one only to have Tim Thomas take it away on the exit from turn two. Jack Alexander ran in third with Dave Cheney fourth and Stoner up to fifth. Exiting turn four for the second time Wolf worked the inside on Thomas to take the lead back up the front straight. At the white flag (one lap remaining) Alexander had caught Thomas and was pressuring for second. Entering turn three for the final time Alexander played it perfect and went up the inside of sleeping Thomas to take the second podium spot. This made the final tally Wolf, Alexander, Thomas, Chaney, and Stoner.
The Youth classes are always a crowd favorite at Bakersfield, mix that with the female factor and you have the crowds on their feet. Young Clayton Williams won the 50cc class after no less than two crashes by heat race winner Colin Rankin. While crowd favorite Allison Stacey took a hundred dollar bill for her trouble topping the 65cc class over Hunter Stanley and then came back to finish second to Damon Coca in the 85cc class.
The "Run Whatcha Brung" Open Amateur class (no pros) had twenty four riders fight for one of twelve spots in the "A" main. Chris Podergois led off the line with David Bush second, Dillon Allen third, and Bronson Bauman fourth. By lap three six riders were all in the hunt for the fourth place position. This allowed the front three to separate themselves as Bauman, Josh Evans, Eric England, Patrick Osmer, and Jess Garcia waged war. With a lap remaining one rider went down causing this war to be scrambled, Evans quickly seized fourth England fifth, Osmer settled in sixth with Garcia seventh as the front three stayed Podergois, Bush, and Allen.