July 16th, 2016, Perris California, Perris Raceway,

 Southern California Flat Track Association's

Championship Series, Round 7

Photos and text by Rodney Rutherford

Southern California Flat Track Association's (SCFTA) crew were tested after the water truck spray pump went awry, at the midway point of the round seven heat races, bringing the skillful Jim Carr into the mix. With the dry arid conditions of a July summer, one of the last issues Perris Raceway flat track wants is a dry track, bringing fears of a dry dusty track to the heart of the most hardened sliders . Alas round seven of the twelve round SCFTA Championship series was not to be denied the mechanical rain, as the 911 flat track crew spearheaded witnessed by Carr went to work.

The temporary problem was solved before the main in record time, moisture for the SCFTA groove was back on track. By Carr, the man behind the scenes for SCFTA, repairing all the heavy equipment, installing floors in the office, maintaining the generator, fixing side boards and one of the best corner man in the business. When the situation became apparent, Carr was immediately relieved of his turn one duties and called to arms for the repairs, after his miracle mechanical pinch hit, Carr was witnessed humming "Baby the Rain Must Fall". In actuality, he was taking a breather, one of the best corner-man in the business, he was soon back in the infield of turn one, and returning to his panoramic plurality of protective grace for all those that enjoy the slide at Perris, Mr. Carr, SCFTA Thanks You for All You Do!

One Hundred and thirty-four entries, thirty classes, and twenty-four main events, so we have whole lot of racing, on track that was perfection according to many racers after the dryness in the heats, let's race.     

Two wheeling, Nick Armstrong (44E) leading John Vanderlaan (12Y), and Paul Ott (12) in the Pro's heat one. Armstrong took the heat one win. Ventura racer Kayl Kolkman, was the heat two winner in preparation for starting positions in the twenty lap Pro main, more on the Pro main as Vanderlaan attempts to win his sixth Pro main of the event.

Owen Williams, racing to a second in 50cc 4-Stroke Beginner, third in the 65-70cc 4-Stroke Beginner.

Kristain Daniel Jr (46) squaring into turn one,  Rachel Schnakenberg (5), and Colin Petton (46 white) in a mixed class heat. Daniel continues to be on fire, winning the 50cc 4-Stroke Beginner and the 65-70cc 4-Stroke beginner. Petton won the 65-70cc 2-Stroke Amateur, and Rachel Schnakenbergfor the victory in the 65-70cc 2-Stroke Beginner.

Ryder DiFRancesco (199), Jasper Heathfield (713), and Colin Petton (46) motor into turn one of the 65cc Open heat race.

IMAGE Difrancesco 199Ryder DiFrancesco, a three time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Amateur Motocross National Champion, looked mighty fast on his 65cc Kawasaki. A major hotshot on the Amateur circuit in motocross, DiFrancesco was able to come out of nowhere, in presumably his first race with SCFTA, and manufactured a several second lead for a the main win in the 65cc Open. Always a great sport, DiFrancesco waited to acknowledge his fellow competitors as the exited the track. The top four in the 65cc Open are DiFrancesco first, Travis Horn second, Jasper Heathfield third, and Colin Petton fifth. At the AMA Amateur Nationals, DiFrancesco currently stands at first in the 65cc (10-11) Limited, and second in the 65cc (7-11) at press time, bring it home Ryder!

Travis Petton IV (82), Tanner Richey (13), and Conner Hickerson (45) race through turn two into the back stretch, in an 85cc Open heat race. Hickerson led off at the start of the main. Staying the spot through lap one, Petton IV over powered him with a back-stretch outside pass on lap two. Petton  running away into another zip code with the lead and eventual win, but it was Hickerson who was the light of the show with a daring fast run.

Hickerson (45) with the edge over Horn (25), in the 85cc 4-Stroke Novice heat race. Hickerson went to work blocking and speeding, in protection of his second spot. Protect he did, racing one of his best mains of the year in this reporter's view, he plied the second spot to the checkers. The top four in the 85 Open are Petton IV first, Hickerson, Frank Flores third and Tanner Richey fourth.

Jacob Cascio (21) and Zach Earwood (99) plow through the clean air in the 4-Stroke Novice heat.Doing it grip to grip here, the two gave the ardent fans their money's worth in the main. Earwood takes the lead in the slide for turn one, Cascio attaching to second, Hickerson, and Horn fourth in tight order. Earhart unable to give Cascio the shake, as the Cascio threat remains to a win. Cascio, a very experienced slider buying time as the white flag nears in this eight lap main. The flag is out Cascio in a last lap rush forcing the issue, but Earhart has the passing lanes closed, and into the final turn Cascio flies on the outside to make a winning pass, Earhart bars up the attempt, chiseling turn four he paste the gas and holds for the main win, second runner Cascio a split second behind him, Hickerson third and Horn fourth.

Two time AMA motocross Amateur National Champion Carson Mumford (122), leads Tanner Richey (13), Travis Petton IV (82), and Conner Hickerson (45) in the 85cc 2-Stroke Amateur heat. Mumford came in hot on his knobbied Honda, securing a heat win over Travis Petton IV and company. It was welcome to SCFTA flat track in the main for Mumford, Petton IV turned on the blender, and minced the competition for a over a half lap lead by the end of the eight lap main for the win. Mumford had a good race as this is the first time this reporter has seen him race in a SCFTA main, finishing up second in the 85cc 2-Stroke Amateur.

Jaycee Jones, literally going up over the past six years racing with the SCFTA, she continues to improve but now has life obligations forcing their way into her racing schedule. Unable to race rounds four and five due to having to procure the almighty green dollar, and after winning the first three rounds in the Women's (Powder Puff) class, she did race round six but ran into a brick wall by the name of Alyssa Flores. Flores won round six, but not to be at round seven. Jones led through lap one as Flores maintained a close challenge, but Jones pulled away for about a six bike length lead maintaining that to the checkers for her fifth win of the series. Flores races in at second, and the series points leader Monica Gil in third, and holds a seven point lead over Jones as we enter round eight.   

After injuring her hand badly at the 2016 SCFTA opener, she has displayed "racer tough", rebounding at round two for a third. Her next race, round six, saw the pig tail wonder blitz to a first in the Women's class. With her loving parents by her side, Jess and Patty, Flores continues to show her unflinching tenacity in attacking the track and the competition. She brings this same fierceness to her education as well, fully aware there is life after racing. She will be entering her Fall curriculum as a high school Sophomore in Advanced Placement (AP) studies earning College credit. Thus preparing for the arduous and intense educational path onward to the the Medical profession, as a Medical Doctor. The determined and feisty flat track flier will no doubt reach her goals. She would like to thank RC Bush Roofing and Ron's Rear Ends for their continued support.

Brad Rudy (19R), stirs up the clean air and paste the gas for a wire to wire win in the 4-Stroke class, his fourth in a row.

After his 85cc 4-Stroke Novice win, Earwood put it to the older guys, soloing in second for a second in the 4-Stroke main.

Marc Heathfield, has good form into his second complete season of SCFTA sliding. Making a mid race pass on James Rust in turn two, he went home with a third in the 4-Stroke. Rust finished up fourth in the main and John Girdler fifth.

5Ryan Reed brought the speed, for his first main win of the year in the Vet Over 35 Amateur.

Chris Anders (57C), leading Reed (5), in the Vet Over 35 Amateur heat. Anders did not fare so well against Reed in the main, going back to the abode with a second, Robert "BBQ Bob" Stettler third.

The Vet Over 35 Expert on the launch and all stations go as Rosa Plates racer Jim Rosa (88), Kevin Jordan (137), Chris Campos (42), Robert Bush (47E), and Paul Ott (12) steam into turn one of their heat race. Jordan was moved up to the Expert after winning the first four rounds, and immediately became a factor in the class winning rounds five and six. Thus becoming a thorn in Rosa's multiple season dominance in the class, Rosa had enough of that and lit it up at this round. Tearing away from the pack at the start like Yogi the bear running away with a picnic basket, he was on a mission to win and nothing was going to get in the way. We have Rosa with a four bike length lead on lap three, but trouble is near in the speedy Paul Ott in second, Jordan struggling to keep pace as the two SCFTA Vets turn it on. On lap six it has become a two bike contest, Rosa still maintaining the point but Paul Ott not giving in on the attack about a second back, Jordan is out of the picture. On the eighth and final lap, Paul Ott is on the roost of Rosa, but Rosa a holds firm and the win is his, Paul Ott rails in at second. Bush comes in at third, Jon Nunes fourth, and Jordan fifth in the seven racer field.

Nunes with the colors blossoming, racing out of turn two for a fifth in the Over 35 Expert.

There is whole lot of shuffling going on as the grizzled fifty somethings get rolling with Arnie Fry (45E), Don Leib (9), Corey Bauman (53), Robert Stettler (57), Ken Shilling (26), Barney Stern (13), and Chris Osborn (12) in the inter-class heat of Senior Vets Over 50 Amateur and Novice.

Senior Vet Over 50 Novice, Osborn (12), sitting in second of the inter-class main behind Over 50 Amateur Bauman on the start, but fighting hard to get around him, in third is Amateur Shilling, and another Over 50 Amateur in Stettler sitting in fourth overall. Osborn pressuring Baum and racing past him by lap three with a two bike length lead, Baum in second, Stettler third, Shilling and Stern in close succession.

Osborn stretching out his lead to over nine bike lengths, Amateurs Baum and Stettler scrambling for second. Baum has the slot but precariously as Stettler strumming the inside turn after turn, eyeballing the pass. Osborn glides in fast for the overall main win, but it is on for second overall, Baum loses his grip as they enter into turn four and Stettler squeezes inside and takes second at the checkers, Baum in third right on Stettler's knickers, and Shilling runs in fourth at the finish. The top three in Over 50 Amateur are Stettler first, Baum and Shilling third in class. Osborn taking the Over 50 Novice class win and looking like it may be time to move up, second to Dewayne Locke, and third goes to an impressive ride by Rocket Exhaust racer Leib.

Bob Stettler, blazing to glory and the win in the Senior Vet Over 50 Amateur.

Ken Shilling (26), Corey Baum (53), and Barney Stern (13) railing down the front stretch in a Senior Vet Over 50 Amateur/Novice heat. Shilling, a long time and proud member of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club (MC), was also the 2015 SCFTA Bomber Novice Champion. Now putting it down in the Bomber Amateur, the main was on deck and we are ready to green light on. Racing with Bomber Novice the race was forced to a restart, and it was the fiery Paul Claybaugh pouncing on the post position into turn one, Shilling in his turbulence second, Bomber Novice racers John Farmer and Dwayne Locke third and fourth.  

Gutsy racing by Shilling, as he increases the velocity trying to get pass Claybaugh, whom continues to ratchet his game up round by round. Claybaugh relents to the constant harrassing by Shilling and is pushed back to second after Shilling speeds his way into the point. Shilling sticks it to the checkers for the main win, Claybaugh fades back to second. Locke passing by Farmer early in the race for third, and Farmer fourth. Shilling takes the Bomber Amateur win and Claybaugh second. Locke secures the Bomber Novice class win with Farmer second.

Mr. Ed's Racing's Joe Steffen (6), holding an advantage over the gritty John Dupree (16) in the Bomber Expert heat. Fontana Radiators racer Jeff Johnson won the heat, but did not start for the main. After suffering a major heart attack at a SCFTA meeting a few years ago, Steffen has slowly built back up his speed and stamina and is looking fine these days. His Mr. Ed's prepped 1978 Yamaha TT500 bolted into a C & J frame, had propelled him to a series best second at round four. Steffen got the gag on Dupree for the holeshot, Dupree countered attack and slipped under Steffen on lap two and took the point. Steffen repaid Dupree by lap three with a pass, and kept the lead tight for the Bomber Expert Main win with Dupree second.

Brad Rudy (19R) and Steffen (6), skillfully maneuvering around a fallen Kevin Jordan in the Senior Vet Over 50 Expert heat. Racing in the 4-Stroke class, Rudy earned his fourth consecutive win of the season after missing the first two rounds with injuries.

"Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away, Sail Away with Me" as the popular 1977 hit by the legendary band Styx proclaims, and along with his Mr. Ed's scooter Steffen did just that. Hoisting the jib at a full heel he went on speedy run solo style for his second win of the night and a happy interview that saw nothing but a big toothy grin by the long time slider. The followers were Dupree in second, and Rudy still feeling his way around in the ultra fast class for third.

The Super Senior Over 60 Amateur/Novice heat pulls off the line with Gary Lane (68), Greg Powell (420), Bill Wright (146), Paul Claybaugh (83) and turn one beckons. When the green lit up for the main, Wright grabbed the baton and flew to the front. A very confident Claybaugh has raised his level substantially for 2016, shown here by his second off the gate, Powell third, Mike Brooks fourth, and Lane fifth. As Wright and Claybaugh assert themselves in the 1-2 spots respectively, Powell slides out in turn three and we have a red.

On the restart Wright rattles his sabre and slashes the field, ala touche`, assuming the top billet by the end of the first restart lap. Wright's sliding mastery was on it and the win is his, but we have a donnybrook for second. Claybaugh in second was on the defense as Brooks bridged up to him on the last lap, we have Claybaugh now fighting back and he rides in hot and smooth for second,  Brooks third, Lane fourth, and Powell fifth.

Ron Moore (37) leading Jim Wood (47), and Steve Kukla (16) in the Senior Over 60 Expert heat race.Southland Racing's owner, Jim Wood, and Senior racer extraordinaire Ron Moore, go back decades in their racing careers. At many times Moore was Wood's mentor, educating and teaching him on the finer arts of sliding, dating back to the Wildwood MC in the early 70's. Pupil meets teacher in epic showdown between the two, as the 70 plus year old Moore threw his hot plate against the kids in the Senior Over 60 Expert. 

Racing in his second event of the year, Wood proceeded to take the top honors in the Senior Over 60 Expert for the second time as well. Moore stacks up the pursuers into turn one of the Senior Over 60 Expert, but his former mentoree in Wood cleaning the carbon out of the furnace marrying up to him in second by lap two. Wood shadowing Moore into lap three and gives the teacher a lesson, Moore goes a little wide out of turn two and Wood cuts the horses loose taking the inside and the lead as they speed into the back stretch. That is all she wrote, Wood splinters the field into the clean air for the win. Moore has the wheels turning past the checkers for second, Dan Kane third, and Kukla riding a two event win streak gets a dose of reality racing in at fourth.  

Open Novice racer Nick Garcia, led from lap one to the checker flag ending eighth lap for the win, his third in a row. Chris Osborn raced in at second, Matt Ott third, Arnie Fry and Justin Simons fifth. Osborn's points lead is now six over Garcia as they slide into round eight.

Jaycee Jones (33), Evan Markus (54) in the crunch, and G & G Racings LJ Gronek (12) inside of the bunch of the Open Amateur heat. Despite racing regular the elusive elite main win has escaped Gronek for several seasons, was this is his night?

Gronek (12) and Markus (54) battling through turn two. Despite the Open Amateur class size of three racers, there was mucho experience and multiple SCFTA main wins between the 2015 Women's Champion Jones and Markus. Markus won the Open Unclassfied in round one, and had three consecutive Open Amateur wins in the first three rounds of the series, Gronke had some work to do. At the tone of green Gronek got mean and zipped to the front, sensing this was his night, but Markus was having none of that and pinned it in second catching Gronek's draft. Markus maintained the nuisance spot and kept the rumble of his scooter clear and vibrant in Gronek's auditory span, but Gronek stayed the focus, locking up the inside turn after turn frustrating any passing attempts by Markus.

Gronek riding tight in the turns, Markus in his dirt spray waiting for a mistake by Gronek. Sure enough Gronek exits turn two and bobbles, oh no, is Gronek's first major victory about to evaporate. A resounding NO, Gronek cleans up the bobble nicely and stays the course despite the ominous presence of Markus, and brings home the Open Amateur main victory, Gronek second and Jones third.

Open Unclassified heat one displays G & G Racing's LJ Gronek (12), Byron Kukla (92), Ryan Reed (5), Clayton Williams (95), and Matthew Zacher (15B). Williams raced on to take the heat win.

Open Unclassified heat two, Kayl Kolkman (98), James Ott (12E), Evan Markus (54), Justin Simons (51) and company barrel around turn two as they head into the back stretch. Kolkman led at the half way mark in the main, as SCFTA new comer Matthew Zacher nails down second, Williams third, Markus fourth, and James Ott fifth. By the eighth and final lap we have Kolkman stretching out the lead for the win, Williams second, and Zacher ambushing the regulars with an impressive third. James Ott gave it best but could not find a path around Zacher and settles for fourth, Markus rolling in at fifth as the eleven racer field finishes up.

Matthew Zacher, a seasoned east coast slider, with his racing roots deep in the states of New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, has brought his show to the west coast. Currently serving in the United States Navy at San Diego, he is an Equipment Operator Second Class (EO2) with the Amphibious Construction Battalion ONE (ACB 1), the "Seabees". As a heavy equipment operator, Zacher sits on the controls of excavators, scrapers, graders, and many other types of equipment. The Seabees were instrumental in World War II in building roads, landing strips, and forward operating bases often coming under fire, and continue to this day to pave the way for military construction despite the environment. He is also one heck of racer, holding 250 Amateur and Open Amateur titles in his heyday with the Crusaders Racing TT Motorcycle Club in Medina, New York.

Racing in the eight man Open Expert, it was Clayton "The Gent" Williams, firmly in the lead by the end of lap two. As his domination in the class continues for his sixth win in a row, with a gap of over ten bike lengths.

Zacher (15) and Travis "The Ramona Raider" Petton IV (82)   Zacher proved his mettle with a second over the home boys, despite the constant squeeze by Petton IV. Petton IV was tense in the pressure but Zacher just stayed his own game all the way to the end. Petton finished up third. Fourth went to Chris Campos and fifth to Byron Kukla.

Nick Armstrong (44E) lifting his front wheel on the Pro main start, Kayl Kolkman (98), John Vanderlaan (12Y), Nick Gil (17E). Armstrong commented in a post race interview that he lost momentum on the a start due to the wheelie. Kolkman flies his Suzuki powered Wood framer into turn one with the Pro main stampede behind him. Armstrong second and frying the turf in second. Enerlon racer Vanderlaan riding with a bit of an edge, reportedly makes contact with Armstrong while pushing his way into second, Vanderlaan later apologized for the incident.

 Kolkman (98) and Braap Shop Yamaha's Armstrong (44), into the back stretch around mid race of the Pro main. A quarter way through the twenty lap main, Kolkman, Vanderlaan, and Armstrong totally on the gas withsome of the best skillful and excellent gamesmanship seen anywhere in Southern California racing, as they barely have enough room to between them running first through third respectively. Vanderlaan makes a bottom pass and a drag race is on, and the lead is his as we move into lap seven. With five wins under his hot plate, Vanderlaan knows the recipe for winning and zones out of any threat as he starts to pull away. Kolkman in second and Armstrong at full thrust in third.

NIck Gil (17E). has the advantage over James Ott (12E), in the quest for fourth, as he looks ahead to the battles up front.
Vanderlaan has built a ten bike length lead by the midway mark of the Pro main. Kolkman and Armstrong remain battle strong, powering out of each turn within two bike lengths of each other in second and third respectively.

Vanderlaan, with the after burners on for his sixth SCFTA Pro main win of the season.

James Ott (12E) and Gil (17E) exchange blows for the fourth spot, as Vanderlaan rails it home for his sixth win of the season. Kolkman, despite a constant barrage of attacks by Armstrong, is able to keep his second intact and Armstrong still fighting to the end in third. Gil finally secures the fourth position for good as the young James Ott checks in at fifth.

Vanderlaan doing his sixth SCFTA Pro main victory lap of the year, stay tuned, the 2015 SCFTA Pro winner still has more in store. Vanderlaan would like to thank Southland Racing, Drew Massa Transportation, Amaro Farms, Mitas Tires, SCFTA and Twin Racing.

Round eight, August 6, as we prepare to close out two-thirds of the season. Please go to SCFTAracing.com for official results, schedule and point standings.


50cc 4-STRK BEG: 1. Kristian Daniel Jr.; 2. Owen Williams; 3. Kensei Matsudaira.

50cc 2-STRK BEG: 1. Drake Conner; 2. Kensei Matsudaira.

65-70cc 2-STRK BEG: 1. Rachel Schnakenberg.

65-70cc 2-STRK AMAT: 1. Colin Petton.

65-70cc 4-STRK BEG: 1. Kristian Daniel Jr.; 2. Jasper Heathfield; 3. Owen Williams.

65-70cc OPN: 1. Ryder DiFrancesco; 2. Travis Horn; 3. Jasper Heathfield; 4. Colin Petton.

85cc 2-STRK NOV: 1. Conner Hickerson.

85-100cc 4-STRK NOV: 1. Zack Earwood; 2. Jacob Cascio; 3. Conner Hickerson; 4. Travis Horn.

85cc 2-STRK AMAT: 1. Travis Petton IV; 2. Carson Mumford; 3. Tanner Richey; 4. Frank Flores.

85cc OPN: 1. Travis Petton IV: 2. Conner Hickerson; 3. Frank Flores; 4. Tanner Richey.

4-STRK: 1. Brad Rudy; 2. Zack Earwood; 3. Marc Heathfield; 4. James Rust; 5. John Girdler.

250cc YOUTH OPN: 1. Travis Petton IV; 2. Grant Holmes; 3. Jacob Cascio; 4. Alyssa Flores.

WMN PWDRPF: 1. Jaycee Jones; 2. Alyssa Flores; 3. Monica Gil; 4. Rebecca Drown.

OPN BEG: 1. Barney Stern.

OPN NOV: 1. Nick Garcia; 2. Chris Osborn; 3. Matt Ott; 4. Arnie Fry; 5. Justin Simons; 6. Alyssa Flores; 7. Monic Gil.

OPN UNCLAS: 1. Kayl Kolkman; 2. Clayton Williams; 3. Natthew Zacher; 4. James Ott; 5. Evan Markus;

6. LJ Gronek; 7. Byron Kukla; 8. Ryan Reed; 9. Matt Foster; 10. Justin Simons; 11. Jaycee Jones.

OPN AMAT: 1. LJ Gronek; 2. Evan Markus; 3. Jaycee Jones.

OPN EXP: 1. Clayton Williams; 2. Matthew Zacher; 3. Travis Petton IV; 4. Chris Campos; 5. Byron Kukla; 6. Jacob Cascio; 7. Grant Holmes; 8. Joel Kath.

PRO: 1. John Vanderlaan; 2. Kayl Kolkman; 3. Nick Armstrong; 4. Nick Gil; 5. James Ott; 6. Colt Foster; 7. Paul Ott.

VET +35 AMAT: 1. Ryan Reed; 2. Chris Anders; 3. Robert Stettler.

VET +35 EXP: 1. Jim Rosa; 2. Paul Ott; 3. Robert BUsh; 4. Jon Nunes; 5. Kevin Jordan; 6. Chris Campos; 7. Joel Kath.

SR VET +50 NOV: 1. Chris Osborn; 2. Dwayne Locke; 3. Don Leib; 4. Barney Stern; 5. John Farmer.

SR VET +50 AMAT: 1. Robert Stettler; 2. Corey Bauman; 3. Ken Shilling; 4. Arnie Fry.

SR VET +50 EXP: 1. Joe Steffen; 2. John Dupree; 3. Brad Rudy.

SUP SR +60 AMAT/NOV: 1. Bill Wright; 2. Paul Claybaugh; 3. Mike Brooks; 4. Gary Lane; 5. Greg Powell.

SUP SR +60 EXP: 1. Jim Wood; 2. Ron Moore; 3. Dan Kane; 4. Steve Kukla.

PREM SR +70: 1. Ron Moore; 2. Mike Brooks; 3. Gary Lane; 4. Allan Girdler.

BMBR NOV: 1.Dwayne Locke; 2. John Farmer.

BMBR AMAT: 1. Ken Shilling; 2. Paul Claybaugh.

BMBR EXP: 1. Joe Steffen; 2. John Dupree.