GAGE GRABS BUFFALO CREEK TRIPLE AT AMA DISTRICT-41 CHAMPIONSHIP FINALE
Most people in their 40s are in the prime of their working careers, putting in the long hours at the office or in the shop as masters of their chosen crafts and professions. For Michael Dean Gage, that path includes a financial services license, a real estate license, an account management position for a material handling company, and motorcycles of any kind. And he is definitely still in his prime when it comes to flying around a motocross track on two wheels. “We love to ride crotch rockets, Harleys, mopeds, trail bikes, trials bikes, anything that motos,” the former AMA national-caliber pro says fondly when referring to he and his brother, Wes Cargal’s passion for the sport. The brothers operate Duzmoto, a motorcycle shop, practice track and training facility in Gilmer, TX, where they train during the week on old, drum-brake, under-suspended XR150s and XR250s, teaching young riders the fine art of “slowing down to go fast.” Gage used those very same tactics last Sunday to dominate the Over 30 A, Over 35 A, and the Over 40 A/B classes at the 2013 AMA District 41 Championship Finale, hosted by Buffalo Creek MX in Canton, TX. Gage not only captured three overall wins for the day, but he also laid claim to three of the District 41 Championships for the Red Bull/Tucker-Rocky/Speed Graffix/Fly Racing/EVS/Hinson/Acerbis /Royal Purple/PMP Sprockets/Xtreme Kolors/Central Yamaha/Holeshot Magazine/Moto-X Vest/The Door Clubs/The Printer Guy/The Prophet Bar–sponsored series.
Word got out online Saturday afternoon that the Buffalo Creek racetrack was in awesome shape during practice, and Russell Hobbs did not disappoint the 250 riders who turned out for the final round of the series, as track conditions were ideal all afternoon, and perfect weather kept the riders and spectators comfortable during the day’s racing and the afternoon’s music festivities. Blake Wharton and the Rogue Locusts performed on stage right next to the finish line triple during the second half of the motos, and Speed Graffix cooked up some delicious bar-b-que for everyone in attendance. Look for an upcoming interview with Blake on TXMotocross.com to see what he’s been up to this offseason, and what his plans are for 2014.
Out on the racetrack, Michael Dean Gage kicked off his championship run quickly in Race Two, the Over 30 A class. He entered the finals with a 55-point lead in the division, and put his 2009 CRF 450 into the lead from the start of each moto. Gage quickly checked out on the field behind, winning both races in a smooth, flawless style while using unique lines that no one else in any class even saw. Ever the student of racing, Gage related his philosophy on the importance of riding smarter to go fast, and how to have a long racing career. “There’s a disconnect between dealerships, motocross trainers, and aftermarket companies,” he observed. “The disconnect is they just don’t care about the education aspect of it. You can ride and race and not get injured if you approach it properly.” This is where his slow down to go faster approach comes in. By learning to ride smooth, flawless laps on the old XRs with their limited power and suspension, you are actually perfecting your technique with each lap, and then when you jump onto your race bike, you immediately go faster with the added power and improved handling. At Buffalo Creek, he slowed down in the second round of motos and discovered a unique line heading into the double right before the finish line, and the results were that he nearly over-jumped the 60-foot gap each lap due to the smoother, added speed.
In the Over 40 A/B race, Gage brought a 29-point lead over Timm Lucher into the final round, then grabbed the early lead in moto one and powered away to a commanding lead. Behind him, Gary Phillips and Dirk Williams went bar to bar for two laps, with Williams just ahead, until Phillips moved to the far inside down the long sandy whooped straightaway and dove underneath Williams in the following corner to take second. The pass was very short-lived, however, as Phillips blew through the sandy inside berm in the 180 corner and went down, leaving Williams nowhere to go but straight into him. The two untangled themselves before Lucher could move his Long Industries KTM past, but Phillips could not get his Kawasaki to refire and did not finish. Gage sailed to the moto win, while Williams rolled across in second ahead of Lucher. Moto two saw Gage again lead wire-to-wire, but in this round Phillips managed to take over and hold on to the runner-up slot the whole way. With Williams and Lucher three-four in the moto, Williams grabbed second overall to Gage. Lucher’s third overall allowed him to retain second in the series points standings just ahead of Phillips. Williams’ second overall moved him into fifth for the series just behind Rayford Collins, Jr.
John Short brought his Fit-N-Wise/Horton Racing/Beau Boynton Training-backed Suzukis into the final round with the points lead in both the 250cc and 450cc Pro classes, and battled with Wild West Graphix/Awards To Go/Action Suzuki of Mesquite’s Cheyenne for the day’s overall and series championships in each division. Short took an early lead in the first 250cc Pro moto, with Peyton Malugani, Tracy Morgan, Dalton Drake, and Harmon close behind. Short went down in a tight off-camber corner in the creek section on the first lap, which also claimed Harmon on the second lap, leaving Malugani and Morgan to battle with Harris for the lead. Short and Harmon both quickly rejoined the fray, but on the fourth lap, with Malugani leading, short in second, Morgan third and Harris fourth, the same corner claimed Morgan and his Team Green/Granbury Motorsports/JM Racing Kawasaki. As the leaders emerged from the back section, Short was running out front, with Harris second and Munn Racing’s Derrick Kemp in third. Harmon and Morgan emerged in fourth and fifth, but Malugani never came out from the creek section. The rear brake on his Munn Racing KTM seized in the tight sections, ending his moto and any shot at the overall. Short remained out front for the remainder of the moto, and crossed the line with Harris putting his Answer/Shock Sox/Berm Honda in second just ahead of Kemp, Harmon and Morgan. Short and Harmon again shot out to the early lead in moto two, and once again Short went down on the opening lap and emerged well behind the leaders. In a rather surreal moment, Harmon crossed the finish line triple on the opening lap with Blake Wharton and the Rogue Locusts playing music in the background, and yelling encouragement to their friend Short who was nearly three quarters of a lap behind. Morgan gave a close chase to Harmon the entire moto, but could not work around the leader, and at the checkers, Harmon took the moto and overall victory for the day. Morgan’s second place left him in fourth overall, as Harris rallied to take third in the moto, second overall, ahead of Short. Kemp rounded out the top five in the moto, and picked up fifth overall for the day. The win moved Harmon into second overall for the series championships behind Short, nipping Dillon Johnson by three points. McCoy Oldenburg and Mitchell Oldenburg rounded out the top five for the series.
In the 450cc Pro action, Short grabbed the holeshot in the first moto, but Malugani powered past on the inside of the long sand whoop straight into the second corner and grabbed the lead. Short wasted no time in repassing Malugani before the end of the first lap, then set sail for the remainder of the moto. Harmon worked inside Malugani at the end of the two table tops on lap 2 and completed the pass for second in the following corner, and on the next lap it was Harris’s turn to slide past the Munn Racing/Speed Graffix/ASV KTM rider. That set up a battle of the MUNN Racing KTMs of Malugani and Kemp for fourth, and the two went bar-to-bar the entire second half of the moto. Kemp emerged late in the race to take the fourth position on his MUNN/Hodges Collision KTM. Moto two turned out to be a close freight train of a race, as Short grabbed the holeshot, with Harmon, Harris and Kemp close behind. Although there was never much separation among the top four, no one was able to improve their position, and at the wire it was still Short, Harmon, Harris and Kemp in line. For the overall D-41 Series standings in the 450cc Pro division, Short again bested Harmon in the final tally, with McCoy Oldenburg, Johnson and Mitchell Oldenburg rounding out the top five.
Shelby Peterson again captured both motos of the 250cc B class and the overall aboard his Speed Graffix/Moto X Vest/Vertex Kawasaki, but Series points leader Jeremy Jonas did just enough to capture the Series Championship with a 5-6 6th place overall for the day. Peterson’s wins in the final two rounds left him fourth in the series standings. Billy Ottervanger battles Italy’s Ivanleonardo Priori in each moto, with Priori’s 3-2 score besting Ottervanger’s 3-2 in the overalls; however, in the Series standings, Ottervanger nipped Priori by one point for second overall, putting his McMahon Honda on the podium just above of Priori. Ryder Floyd put his Paris MX-sponsored Honda into fourth for each moto and the overall, earning him ninth in the series, while Travis Ashburn went 6-5 and fifth overall, winding up seventh in the series totals. Bret Welch rounded out the top five for the 250cc B series standings.
In the 450cc B ranks, Ottervanger was unstoppable, taking both motos ahead of Limu Experiences’ Andre Mock on the day, resulting in the duo also finishing one-two in the series overall standings. Brice Reed captured third overall for District 41, just ahead of round winners Cody Williams and James Milson who tied for fourth overall in points.
Logan Kustanborter won every moto of the 250cc and 450cc C classes at Buffalo Creek, and dominated the overall series standings in both classes with his Answer/Turfs Up/Royal Purple KTMs. Eric Flory was the only rider to steal a series round overall from Kustanborter in the 450cc C class. Ty Bench went 3-3 for third overall on the day, followed each moto by Brennan Fellows but it was Justin Huckaby’s 6-5 fifth overall on the day that captured third overall for the series in the 450cc C, just ahead of Wade Shepherd (5-6, sixth overall for the day). Flory went 3-4 to take fourth overall aboard his Grapevine/Team Green/O’Neal Kawasaki, which was good enough to leap into second overall in the series standings in the 250cc C class ahead of Derrick Rule. Colton Rothhammer put in two solid motos going 4-5 fifth overall, but in the series standings, Kent Whinnery and Hall rounded out the top five series winners in the 250cc C class.
In the age-rated classes, Jesse Chambers captured both motos and the overall of the Over 25 Amateur class aboard his LKQ Auto Parts Kawasaki, while Taylor Knight, Wayne Huckaby, and Jayson Martelle swapped positions throughout the day in each moto to wind up second, third, and fourth overall respectively. For the series, Chambers captured the overall title, as Knight just beat out Jason Shaffor for second by two points when Shaffor dropped to fifth overall for the day. Wayne Huckaby and Justin Huckaby rounded out the top five, separated by a mere 3 points in the end.
The same group of riders returned in the Over 30 Amateur action, and once again Chambers captured both motos and the overall, adding another Series Championship to his credit. Wayne Huckaby went 2-3 for second overall, and jumped into fifth overall for the Series. Martelle battled to a third and fourth in the two motos, topping Adam Montoya’s 6-2 in the overall after Montoya went down in the first turn of the first moto. Montoya flipped the script in the Series overall standings however, topping Martelle by just two points in the end. Shaffor rounded out the top five overall for the day, and did just enough to top Wayne Huckaby in the Series overalls with a four point edge for fourth overall.
Montoya returned in the Over 35 Amateur division to take both motos and the overall, but the D-41 Series Championship went to Matt Grant, who’s consistent 5-4 fifth overall earned him just enough points to top Mike Freeman, who had a rough day going 4-6 for sixth overall. Gary Phillips captured second in each moto behind Montoya, and his second overall on the day moved him into seventh overall for the series, while Brodie Soliz captured third overall for the day going 3-5 in the motos, and third overall for the series championships. Montoya moved into fourth for the series with his win, just ahead of Greg Swirczynski, while Dirk Williams went 6-3 for fourth overall on the day, moving him into eighth in the series standings.
Freeman returned in the Over 40 C/D class to capture both motos and the overall for the day, earning him the Number One plate for his Bledsoe Braces Kawasaki in the final D-41 standings. Stan Ashburn gave chase to Freeman in both motos, and his second overall efforts wrapped up third for him in the series standings behind Brody Erwin. Kenny Schreiner and Mark Brown swapped third place finishes in each moto, but Schreiner’s fourth in the first moto topped Brown’s second moto 6th in the overalls, and Schreiner also captured fifth for the series behind Johnie Cook. Mike Buccofusco rounded out the top five in each moto and overall.
The Over 50 class Championship went down to the final moto of the series, where Brian George needed the overall win to overtake Jeff Marks by one point for the title. In moto one, George jumped out to the early lead a board his CR250R, and held the point the entire way, with Timm Lucher and Mark Brown battling for second. Brown managed to slip his Munn Racing KTM by Lucher on the final lap to take second, while Marks trailed in fourth. Brown grabbed the holeshot in moto two, but George dove inside on the third corner to take the lead and never looked back. Lucher stalled his 450 at the start and had to charge from dead last, passing Marks early on, then working his way back up to Brown. On the final lap, Lucher caught and passed Brown for the runner-up spot, earning second overall for the day and third overall in the championship standings.
In the Vet Beginner class, also running with the Over 50 group, Mike Campbell took his red number 1 Series Points Leader plate and put it in front of each moto, capturing the overall win for the day and for the Series ahead of Steve Ebeling, second in each moto, overall, and in the series. Jerry Clinard finished third overall for the day, but couldn’t crack the series top five, where Christopher Allen, Mike Stephens, and Michael Huddleston went 3-4-5 overall.
Chad McMahon came into the series finale with a slim two-point lead in the 250 Beginner class, then proceeded to take his River Valley/McMahon Contracting Honda to the front of both motos, capturing the overall for the day and the D-41 Series Championship. Tyler Burris put his Burris Machine Yamaha into second each round, but came up just three points short of Brady Cashion for the series runner-up spot. Nicholas Bays, who came into the final right behind Burris, took third in the first moto, but a crash and DNF in moto 2 left him fifth overall, and fourth in the championship standings. Trever Bowman went 5-4 for fourth overall for the day, but just missed catching Bays in the series overall standings, taking fifth for District 41. Chance Craven battled to a 4-3 third overall for the day, earning seventh overall for the series.
In the 450 Beginner class, Craven returned to swap moto wins with Steve Ebiling, and Craven’s second moto score earned him the overall for the day. Ebiling wasn’t too upset and the final score, however, as he maintained his points lead over Craven to capture the series championship for the class. Mike Campbell and Colby Vondenstein tied for third overall for the series with one win apiece.
In the Collegeboy Amateur division, Parker Fleming went 2-1 for the overall win after first moto winner Kyle Williams DNF’d the second round. Andre Mock went 4-2 to just beat Dalton Duke for the runner-up spot, while Kolton Warren returned from a broken back suffered earlier in the series to capture fourth overall with a 5-4 ride. In the Series Championship standings, Shelby Peterson captured the title ahead of Mock, Warren, Brice Reed, and Cody Coffey.
Williams returned in the Open Amateur division to battle Dalton Leslie, Ty Bench and Reilly Freeman. Leslie managed to put his North Texas KTM into first in each moto for the overall win, and in doing so captured the D-41 Series Championship for 2013. Williams went 4-2 for second overall, but wound up sixth in the final series standings. Bench went 3-3 for third overall ahead of Freeman’s 2-6 fourth total, while Dalton Duke rounded out the top five overall on the day with his 6-4 score. Jeremy Jonas had a rough day finishing eighth overall, but earned enough points to take the runner-up slot in the series ahead of Wayne Shepherd, who took sixth overall at the finale. Freeman’s fourth earned him fourth overall for the series, while Austin Martin rounded out the top five.
In the Women’s Divisions, Alyssa Joplin dominated both motos of the 12+ age group, taking the overall win ahead of Joely Lindsey, Adisyn Joplin, and Brittani Clinard. For the Series Championships, Akana Larson took the number one plate, with Alyssa Joplin, Lindsey, Adisyn Joplin, and Clinard rounding out the top five. In the Girls 9-14 division, Alanna Joplin took both motos and the overall, but finished just one point shy of the overall Series Champion Rachel Dennis. Caralyne Novian captured third overall for the series standings ahead of Mackenzie Gamster. Women’s Pro honors for the Series went to Courtney Moore, who’s two round wins and a second bested two round winner Hayleigh Williams, followed by Ashley Crouch.
Drake Dunlap put his TISCO Racing Yamaha out front of both motos in the Two-Stroke Open Amateur division, topping Logan Kustanborter, Zane Merrett and Colton Rothhammer in each race. However, for the D-41 Championships, it was Kustanborter earning another number one plate, despite Dunlap taking every overall except the opening round at Underground. Merrett and Rothhammer went 3-4 for the series.
In the Schoolboy ranks, Shelby Peterson returned to dominate the Schoolboy 2 division at Buffalo Creek, taking both motos ahead of Dalton Leslie, Kyle Williams, Ryder Floyd, and Blake Polson. Overall for the Series, Peterson and Leslie went 1-2, with Polson capturing third ahead of Bret Welch and Robert Cole Berry. Schoolboy 1 saw Cody Eaton grab both motos and the overall, while Hunter Budd, Drake Dunlap, Polson and Merrett battled furiously behind. Budd posted a 2-3 score for second overall, with Dunlap’s 5-2 good enough for third. Merrett posted a 4-4 to edge McCay Flowers’ 6-5 and Polson’s 3-8 in the overalls. For the D-41 Championships, Polson took home the number one plate at the end of the Series, ahead of Eaton, Dunlap, Merrett, and Tristan Falls.
This same group returned to battle in the Supermini 12-15 Division, where Merrett and Budd swapped moto wins and second place finishes. Budd’s second moto win earned him the overall over Merrett, while Flowers rode hard for a pair of thirds and third overall ahead of Falls. Carson Prewett tallied a pair of fifths for fifth overall. For the Series, the championship went to Tyler Sudderth, while Merrett just nipped Flowers by two points for the runner-up spot. Prewett wound up fourth, three points ahead of Falls in the final count.
In the 85cc 12-15 action, Cody Eaton returned to win both motos and the overall ahead of Ashton Bloxom, Cody Ware (3-4), Nick Lawrence (5-3), and Tristan Powell (4-5). Eaton’s overall gave him a perfect overall score for the Series, as he won every round en route to the District 41 Championship. Caleb Weaver captured the runner-up spot for the Series despite a ninth overall for the day, while Ware, Powell, and Lawrence made up the remainder of the top five.
For the 85cc 9-11 class, Branden Walther and Grant Harlan swapped moto wins, with Walther taking the overall and the Series Championship. Harlan’s second overall put him third overall for the series behind Riley Allen, who followed the lead duo in third each moto and took third overall. Clay Quick captured fourth in each moto and fourth overall, but in the Series Standings, Stockton Stinebaugh and Lucas Johnson went 4-5 in the end. Jack Bridger went 6-6 for fifth overall on the day and sixth overall for the series.
Trever Bowman went 2-1 to Nicholas Grant’s 1-2 to take the 85/150 Beginner division, but for the Series, Rachel Dennis topped them both. Bowman and Grant finished 2-3 overall for the Series ahead of Dylan McMahon and Shawn Switalski. Switalski moved into the fifth spot with a fourth overall on the day behind Hudson Lightfoot.
In the 85cc Combined, Harlan and Walther again swapped moto wins, but this time Harlan took the overall. Bloxom and Allen took third and fourth in each moto, while Lawrence captured fifth overall with a 7-5 score. No one could touch Walther in the final Series points standings, though, as he captured another number one plate, this time ahead of Allen, Harlan, Lawrence, and Cody Ware.
Walther captured his third number one plate in the 65cc 10-11 division, despite Cameron Harrison winning both motos and the overall Sunday. Harrison’s runner-up Series finish put him just ahead of Sebastian Bowman and Joseph Kastl, who battled all afternoon on the track. Kastl put together a pair of seconds in each moto just ahead of Bowman, but ended up six points shy in the overall tally. Blain Allen and Ashlyn Pozorski rounded out the top five in each moto and overall for the day, while for the Series, Talon Howard took home fifth overall.
In the 65cc 7-9 Division, Brock Walker did all he could scoring a 2-1 and overall win on the day, but it wasn’t enough to overtake Henry Wright for the Series Championship, as Wright-s 3-2 earned him second overall and put him four points clear of Walker in the end. Third overall for the day went to first moto winner Ethan Moore, while Garrett Alumbaugh went 5-3 for fourth ahead of Daniel Milburn’s 4-4 fifth overall score. For the Series, Mildurn hung on to beat Moore by two points for third, with Zachary Applegate fifth.
Walther returned once more in the 65cc Combined division, and captured an unprecedented fourth number one plate for the District 41 Series with another 1-1 overall win. This time Walker and Wright went 2-3 in each moto and overall, but Wright captured the Series runner-up slot for the class ahead of Ethan Moore, who went 4-8 and seventh overall for the day. Harrison scored a 6-5 fourth overall, which earned him fourth overall in the Series ahead of Walker, as Daniel Milburn went 6-5 for fifth overall.
51cc Limited action was hot in both the 4-6 and 7-8 divisions, with a different moto winner in each race. AJ Wright captured the first moto of the 4-6 class ahead of Kace Evans, but Evans turned the tables in moto two for the overall. Rylan Berry (4-3), Christopher Smith (3-5) and Brody Farris (DNF-4) completed the top five. Collin Allen and Brock Walker did the same thing in the 7-8 ranks, with Allen taking the first moto, and Walker grabbing the second moto and overall win. Walker and Allen posted the exact same results in the 51cc Combined Open division, with Applegate third behind the duo in every moto of both the 7-8 and Combined divisions. Carson Pinkston went 4-4 fourth overall in the 7-8 ahead of Ty Crunk’s 7-5 fifth, while in the Combined, Brody Farris’s 5-4 fourth bested Pinkston’s 4-7 fifth overall total. For the Series, Wright dominated the 4-6 class to take the overall ahead of Farris, Berry, Smith, and Konner Hayes, while Allen took home the 7-8 Number One plate ahead of Applegate, Pinkston, Crunk, and Christopher Petrie. Allen captured his second Number One plate in the combined division, followed by Applegate, Pinkston, Wright and Farris.
In the 50cc Limited Division, Cavin Harrison and Christopher Smith traded moto wins on the day, with Harrison taking the overall for the afternoon and the Series Championship ahead of Smith. Third overall for the series went to Konner Hayes, with Jackson McWhorter and Boston Allison taking fourth and fifth