September 10th, 2016, Perris California, Perris Raceway,

 Southern California Flat Track Association's

Championship Series, Round 9

Photos and text by Rodney Rutherford

More Photos and Text - Part 2

The twelve round 2016 Southern California Flat Track Association (SCFTA), has now put the end to round nine at the historic Perris Raceway facility. The gates welcomed over one-hundred and forty racers, spread across thirty-two classes. We now have three rounds remaining as we prepare for round number ten on October 15TH. Round eight was an action packed melee that saw two SCFTA regulars in Joe Steffen, and G & G Racing's LJ Gronek, involved in two hair-raising crashes. Steffen has been reported to be doing well but was absent on this evening. In a move to speed up the publication of my SCFTA race reports, I will break lengthy reports into two parts, this is part I of round nine.

"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down", the popular phrase for Hasbro toys that would always come to an upright position, after being tipped to one side or another could very well apply to Gronek. After taking a very hard get-off at a race a few weeks before SCFTA's round eight, Gronek's round eight crash appeared to be season ending, but nope. The strong sliding scrapper was back on hand for this round and ready to go. Spry as ever, the G & G Racing co-owner was back to business as usual, racing and taking care of his Pro rider Nick Armstrong at the end of the night.

"Crazy" Chris Ackerman, a flamboyant announcing presence on the Southern California Speedway circuit since 2007, joined the SCFTA team on a full series basis in 2016. The son of Hollywood royalty, his Mother Mary Eleanor Donahue also known as Elinor Donahue, was a star on the very popular series, "Father Knows Best". The series aired from 1954-60, and Ackerman has inherited every bit of the Hollywood persona and flair from his lovely Mother. With his rousing announcing style always encouraging the audience to get into the action, whether he is announcing Speedway racing, Flat Track racing, Baseball, Football, the former heavy metal drummer is sure to include you into the party. SCFTA is proud to have him aboard, now about that microphone.     

Jim Ottele (58Y), Larry Earhart (16E), Kevin Jordan (137), and Brad Rudy (19R) go four abreast into turn one of the Senior Vet Over 50 Expert heat event. Going to the main and Jordan pushes the pack on the fast track with the early lead, followed by Ottele, Earhart, and Richard Pollock. Jordan has not been to kind to the competition during the series winning a majority of his races, and is ready to pour more anguish upon the competition as he pulls away for the win. Ottele locks down second despite a mid race charge by Earhart, pulling away on the final lap for second. Earhart concludes in third, Pollock fourth and Rudy fifth. Jordan gathered up his second win of the night in the Over 35 Expert. Also of note, Rudy rode to his fifth win in a row in the 4-Stroke main. 

Gary Lane (68) and Mike Brooks (672), playing hard out of turn four in the Premier Senior Over 70 heat race. Brooks raced on to a second on the main, Lane was unable to gate up. Lane was not going to let that drag him down, racing to the main win in the Super Senior Over 60 Amateur Novice.

Paul Claybaugh (83) and Ken Shilling (26) barge their way into turn one of their Bomber Amateur heat. Claybaugh with his increasing confidence scorched to the point by lap two of the main. Despite Shilling pacing him efficiently through the mid point, Claybaugh laid down the extra speed late in the race for his first Bomber Amateur win of the season with Shilling second. Shilling leads the points going into round ten, but Claybaugh has closed the gap to six points according to the official posted points.

Jeff Johnson (6) and Danny Perkins (89), racing hard through turn four in the Bomber Expert heat. The two racers raced against each other in the youth quite often, and carried on the close competition into the main. Johnson was able to top Perkins at the checkers in the main, but with Perkins racing in only his second round of the year Johnson has his gloves full, Perkins will be vying for a main win with three rounds remaining. This beckons the reclining chair fan to come on out and watch these go at it as the series winds down.

John Garcia, racing in an Open Novice and warming for the big evening show. John Garcia (JG) and Arnie Fry go side by side into turn one of the Open Novice main, Fry powers the outside for the lead and we have Fry at the point with John Garcia second. Undeterred, John Garcia moves into the lead by lap four, Fry in second and Nick Garcia third.

Nick Garcia, finished up in Second in the Open Novice main and still holds the series points lead. John Garcia keeps the cat in the bag and rides away for the Open Novice win, but we have some tension in the race for second. Nick Garcia on the attack in third thrusting inside of second place Fry in turn three of the final lap. Braaap, Nick Garcia gets the pass and flies inside for second as Fry settles for third. Matt Ott fourth and Justin Simons fifth.

Noah Bush (17) and Matt Ott (21), scorching the turf coming out of turn four in an Open Novice heat. Ott played his race well for a fourth in the main, Bush exited the track with an eighth.

Ryan Reed (5) and Christian Payne (123), turning up the juice out of turn four in the Open Amateur heat. Winning the Over 35 Amateur main, Reed has been escalating his speed incrementally since coming onto the SCFTA scene in 2015. Riding into the Open Amateur in quest for his third win of the year, he took a step in that direction with the holeshot pulling away from second place Payne by five bike lengths after lap two and filed the lead into the win directory for his third main win of the year. Payne has blown onto the scene in his second SCFTA race of 2016 in an immediate impact, with a second after holding off third place Evan Markus. Justin Hanson takes a fourth and LJ Gronek fifth.

The twelve racer Open Unclassified main gets to the groove with Evan Markus (54), Colt Foster (84E), Chris Foster (81E), Matt Zacher (15B), Matt Ott (21), Byron Kukla (92), Andre` Ochs (46), Justin Hanson (27) and away we go in a sliding scramble for turn one. Zacher grabs the point of the furiously fast main at the start, Chris Foster second, Clayton Williams, Ochs fourth, and Colt Foster fifth. A Navy Seabee, Zacher racing well but unable to shake the scary fast Chris Foster who lingers on his outside in second. A hustle tussle for third with Williams, Ochs, and Colt Foster in a fluster cluster. 

Chris Foster (81E) looks into free space in an Open Unclassfied heat. Noah Bush (17), Evan Markus (54), and Matt Ott (21) crowding the corner. Near the finish Chris Foster grabs the lead for the win, Zacher second, Ochs third, Colt Foster fourth and Williams fifth. There was less than two second between the top five at the checkers.

A common occurrence in the Pro main races of the 2016 SCFTA series, is this view that the competition has been seeing of John Vanderlaan as he speeds away for the win. On this evening he finished up his eighth SCFTA Pro win of the series. Southland Racing/Drew Massa Trucking/Amaro Farms racer John Vanderlaan, hauling his horse down from his home town of Salinas, California, to go after his eighth SCFTA Pro main win. Winning his heat running away put the odds on him to do just that. We got the green, but shazam shazam shazam, it is not Vanderlaan leading into turn one, a resurgent Colt Foster gets his front wheel first into turn one. Vanderlaan alongside negates any other move by Foster, and pushes his way into the lead out of turn two pounding the gas using his lanky figure for rock solid stability and into the lead he goes. Foster in second, Nick Armstrong third, Michael Inderbitzin, Damon Coca fifth and a bevy of sliders in his midst.

6D Helmets/Foster Brother's Racing's Colt Foster was a professor of the Pro main, working a consistent but a slower line throughout the main, prevailing to be a decisive strategy enabling him to stay steady while his competitors just could find no room around him as he railed in for a second. In second, Foster is racing his best Pro main of the season keeping the screaming sounds of Armstrong and Inderbitzin behind him, they run in third and fourth respectively but still in position to pass Foster at any time. T three stacked up out of the exits of every turn eating up the petrol at the ten lap mark of the twenty lap main.

Hollister resident, Inderbitzin did some blitzing in his reported inaugural visit to Perris, putting down a third in the Pro main amongst the local hotshots. On lap fourteen Vanderlaan has a near half lap lead, Foster in second and holding on with all his might. Inderbitizin takes the inside line in turn two and goes into third place pushing Armstrong back to fourth.

Matt Zacher (15B),'s Nick Armstrong (44E), and Damon Coca (56Z) speed into turn two of a Pro heat. We finish off the twenty lap Pro main, with Vanderlaan installing his name on top of the podium for the eighth time in 2016 with a several second lead over second place Foster, third goes to Inderbitzin on his first race at Perris, fourth to Armstrong, and fifth to the determined Nick Gil.

Vanderlaan completes his eighth victory lap of the season, and now has a thirty-three point lead over second place Foster with three rounds remaining, as he hones in on his second consecutive SCFTA Pro title.

Please go to for schedule information and the 2016 point standings.

The next round will be number ten, on October 15TH with three rounds to go.  


50cc 2-STRK BEG: 1. Drake Conner; 2. Xavier Montana.

50cc 4-STROKE BEG: 1. Owen Williams; 2. Bailey Richey.

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

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

65-70cc OPN: 1. Travis Horn; 2. Jasper Heathfield.

85-100cc 2-STRK BEG: 1. Colin Petton.

85-100cc 4-STRK BEG: 1. Sierra Hickerson; 2. Jadon Schroeder; 3. Alina Montano; 4. Madison Simons.

85-100cc 2-STRK NOV: 1. Conner Hickerson.

85-100cc 4-STRK NOV: 1. Carson Mumford; 2. Zack Earwood; 3. Conner Hickerson; 4. Jacob Cascio; 5. Travis Horn.

85-100cc 2-STRK AMAT: 1. Travis Petton IV; 2. Carson Mumford; 3. Zaden Florez; 4. Tanner Richey.

85cc OPN: 1. Travis Petton IV: 2. Tanner Richey; 3. Zaden Florez; 4. Conner Hickerson; 5. Jadon Schroeder.

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

250cc YOUTH OPN: 1. Grant Holmes; 2. Travis Petton IV; 3. Carson Mumford; 4. Alyssa Flores; 5.
Jacob Cascio; 6. Jake Mitchell; 7. Frank Flores.

WMN PWDRPF: 1. Alyssa Flores; 2. Jaycee Jones; 3. Monica Gil; 4. Bailee Warrell.

OPN BEG: 1. David Wada; 2. Barney Stern; 3. Zack Earwood; 4. Jake Mitchell; 5. Frank Flores.

OPN NOV: 1. John Garcia; 2. Nick Garcia; 3. Arnie Fry; 4. Matt Ott; 5. Justin Simons; 6. Chris
Osborn; 7. Alyssa Flores; 8. Noah Bush; 9. Andrew Myers; 10. Monica Gil.

OPN UNCLAS: 1. Chris Foster; 2. Matthew Zacher; 3. Andre` Ochs; 4. Colt Foster; 5. Clayton
Williams; 6. Evan Markus; 7. Christian Payne; 8. Justin Hanson; 9. Byron Kukla; 10. Noah Bush; 11.  Justin Simons; 12. Matt Ott.

OPN AMAT: 1. Ryan Reed; 2. Christian Payne; 3. Evan Markus; 4. Justin Hanson; 5. LJ Gronek; 6. Jaycee Jones; 7. Mike Mosby.

OPN EXP: 1. Grant Holmes; 2. Travis Petton IV; 3. Chris Campos; 4. Byron Kukla; 5. Joel Kath.

PRO: 1. John Vanderlaan; 2. Colt Foster; 3. Michael Inderbitzin; 4. Nick Armstrong; 5. Nick Gil;
6. Andre` Ochs; 7. Chris Foster; 8. Clayton Williams; 9. Matt Zacher; 10. James Ott.

VET +35 NOV: 1. David Wada; 2. Andrew Myers.

VET +35 AMAT: 1. Ryan Reed; 2. Scott Hanson; 3. Robert Stettler.

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

SR VET +50 NOV: 1. Chris Osborn; 2. Barney Stern; 3. Jim Bandelin.

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

SR VET +50 EXP: 1. Kevin Jordan; 2. Jim Ottele; 3. Larry Earhart; 4. Richard Pollock; 5. Brad Rudy.

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

SUP SR +60 EXP: 1. Jim Wood; 2. S. Kukla; 3. Richard Pollock; 4. Dan Kane.

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

BMBR NOV: 1. Larry Hanson; 2. John Farmer; 3. Dwayne Locke.

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

BMBR EXP: 1. Jeff Johnson; 2. Danny Perkins.

More Photos and Text - Part 2