RELIVE LAST YEAR’S WORLD TWO-STROKE CHAMPIONSHIP & THEN GO TO THIS YEAR’S RACE ON SATURDAY
This is the action in the first turn at the 2019 Wdeco World Two-Stroke Chamion. Ricky Dietrich (39), Tyler Bowers (43), Josh Mosiman (71), Mike Brown (3), Carlen Gardner (805) and Robbie Wageman (141)were among the 43 Open Pros on the line that day. Photo: Dan Alamangos
PHOTOS BY DEBBI TAMIETTI, KYOSHI BECKER, MARK CHILSON & DAN ALAMANGOS
There is no doubt that the younger set schooled their more experienced compatriots at the 2019 World Two-Stroke Motocross Championship. With a combination of sheer speed, bikes that didn’t break and the lucky breaks of having unlucky breaks forced on pre-race favorites like Tyler Bowers, Mike Alessi and Zach Bell, the youngsters got to the front. With the favorites gone, it was obvious that the crown was going to change hands to riders who are far from household names—except in their households.
The sad thing for Bowers, Alessi and Bell was that they looked like winners. First, Bowers KX500 two-stroke sounded like no other machine on the track. It had a whump, whump, whump sound, where its 250 competition was all-shriek all the time. After a solid second place finish in the first moto, Bowers dropped out of the second moto before anyone actually saw him on the track. One down.
Robbie Wageman celebrates his win, while being directed to the announcer for a post-race interview. Wageman, son of former AMA Pro Russ Wageman, went 1-2 to beat Carlen Gardner’s 3-1. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Mike Alessi got a decent start, but not his usual flyer. He put his head down and went to work on the guys in front of him. And with three laps to go he had whittled that down to just Robbie Wageman and Tyler Bowers. Could he or couldn’t he? We don’t know because he also had a wheel issue and was forced to pull out of the race. Two down.
The Open Pro pack charges to Glen Helen’s Talladega first turn in orderly groups of four, five and six. Robbie Wageman (141), Tyler Bowers (43), Kai Aiello (110) and Mike Brown (3) fan out across the track. Photo: Jon Ortner
Zach Bell looked like a winner all day long. He was buried in the middle of the pack off the start of the first moto, but with each passing lap he got faster and faster—and we mean quazar-fast. It took him 15 minutes to get through to the top ten and up to third place. It didn’t take long before Bell joined Alessi and Bowers on the sidelines. Three down.
WITH THE FASTEST GUYS ON THE SIDELINES, THE WORLD TWO-STROKE
RACE TOOK ON A NEW DIMENSION
With the fastest guys on the sidelines, the World Two-Stroke race took on a new dimension. Somebody was gonna win, but it wasn’t who they thought it would be. Nope! It wasn’t going to be a veteran. It was going to be a rider that no one outside of their circle of NMA, AMA, Loretta Lynn or local racing clubs had every heard of. They suddenly had not only the speed to win, but a good shot at it thanks to Bowers’, Bell’s and Alessi’s bad luck.
The names that moved to the front were Robbie Wageman, Carlen Gardner, Coty Schock, Deegan Vonlossberg and Kai Aiello. Of that bunch, the smart money was on Robbie Wageman. He had won two consecutive 125 Two-Stroke Championships leading up to moving to the Open class. He had a good head on his shoulders and knew exactly what it took to win at Glen Helen. And that is exactly what he did.
It should be embarassing enough to crash, but even worse when you get a healthy chunk of dirt roosted down the neck of your jersey as you hit the ground. Tallon LaFountaine’s 22-9 was good for 16th overall. Photo: Jon Ortner
When a race attracts over 500 riders, the track takes a beating as the day wears on. This year, because of the rainy winter, lots of sand had been washed down from the decomposed granite hills around the track. Suddenly, Glen Helen was a sand track, made all the more so because the track design was laid out to run through the places where the sand had collected the most. Helping the cause was a race day that started out cloudy and stayed that way until the afternoon. Clouds mean that a track won’t dry out too quickly. The soil will get to hold its water longer and longer.
As at all big Glen Helen races, the riders said that it was the roughest Glen Helen they had ever seen, but riders who had been their many times, said it wasn’t even close to the roughest ever. Arguments aside. It was rough. It had deep ruts. And the braking bumps on some the downhills were wicked—bringing up the question of who’s using their brakes at the the top of a downhill?
Broc Shoemaker (448) had a shot at winning the 125cc title after finishing second in the first moto. Unfortunately, Broc, the son of the late Mike Shoemaker, did a high flying crash off the top of Mt. Saint Helen. He walked away, but with his arm in a sling. Photo: Jon Ortner
With lap times that forced the Pros to struggle to get under the three-minutes mark, you had to wonder how the amateurs dealt with 5-lap motos that were closer to 20-minutes long than 15 minutes. As the day wore on the motos were cut in a race against the setting sun.
MXA brought Chris Plouffe out of retirement and gave him a 2019 Husqvarna TC125 to race. Plouffe obviously hasn’t lost any of his skills as he went 4-3 for second overall in the 125 World Championship. Photo: Kyoshi Becker
Watching Zach Bell (1) cut his way through the pack in the first Open Pro moto was a thing of beauty. He passed 15 riders and by the time he got to third he had first and second in sight. Sadly, his KX250 broke and his day was done, and his 2019 World Two-Stroke title went with it. Photo: Jon Ortner
Mike Alessi won the World Two-Stroke Championship in 2016 and tried to win it a second time, but It didn’t happen. He had wheel issues near the end of the first moto while running in the top three. Photo: Jon Ortner
You gotta admire Mike Brown. The 47-year-old won the 125 National Championship 18 years ago and the Over-40 World Vet Championship two years ago. The evergreen Brown signed a deal to race Yamahas in 2019. Photo: Jon Ortner
Flyin’ Mike Brown, who was famous 15 years before the current Mike Brown came on the scene, shows a photo of the car crash he was involved in earlier this year. Brown, who is in a wheelchair, was pulled from the burning van by a passing driver. He’s lucky to be alive. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Mike Brown struggled at the 2019 World Two-Stroke Championship. He didn’t get his normal holeshots and had to fight his way up towards the front in both motos. Here, Mike and Ricky Dietrich put on a valiant struggle in the second Open Pro moto. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Hawaiian Brian Medeiros (934) raced a KTM 125SX in the Open Pro class and the 125 Pro class. He was third in the first 125 Pro moto, but never cracked the top 25 in the either Open Pro moto. Sadly, he was taken out in a crash in the second 125 Pro race and DNF’d. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Glen Helen’s start straight takes everything that a two-stroke has—and it’s not unusual for a five-speed gearbox to top out before you get to the first turn. Josh Fout, on MXA’s fuel-injected TE300i off-road bike, wheelied away with massive holeshots all day—because the TE300 has a six-speed transmission. Photo: Jon Ortner
Chuck Sun got second in the Over-60 Expert class with a 2-2 after first moto winner Randel Fout went 1-3 and Mike Harper went 3-1 (for the win). Even nicer, Chuck took the time to go visit the Tom White Memorial on Glen Helen’s Walk of Fame. It was recently refurbished and looks great—both the monument and Chuck. Photo: Jon Ortner
MXA got AMA Pro Jerry Robin a full-on TM deal on a 2019 TM 300MX project bike for the World Two-Stroke Championship. Jerry came from the back of the pack to 8th in the first Open Pro moto, but had issues in moto two. Photo: Jon Ortner
Multi-time AMA Arenacross Champion Tyler Bowers showed up on a KX Guru-tuned KX500 two-stroke. Tyler finished second in the Open Pro class in moto one, but disappeared from the track early on in the second moto. His 2-DNF was only good enough for 19th. Photo: Jon Ortner
Husqvarna’s off-road team manager Timmy Weigand decided to ride a Husky SuperMini in the 125 Pro class. It had a 112cc engine, but was built on a TC85 chassis. We are sure there was a bet behind this idea. Weigand pushed this SuperMini to 6th overall. Photo: Jon Ortner
They had two vintage classes at the World Two-Stroke Championships, but it’s not a track that is well suited for vintage racing with the big hills, big bumps and plus-3-minute lap time. Here, four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones (88) and Australian Dan Alamangos (203) duel it out. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
OPEN PRO RESULTS: 2019 WORLD TWO-STROKE
1. Robbie Wageman…1-2
2. Carlen Gardner…3-1
3. Coty Schock…4-3
4. Mike Brown…5-5
5. Deegan Vonlossberg …7-8
6. Ryan Surratt…12-4
7. Josh Mosiman…6-12
8. Justin Hoeft…9-11
9. Dominic Desimone…11-10
10. Blayne Thompson…16-6
11. RJ Wageman…10-14
12. Ricky Dietrich…20-7
13. Dennis Stapleton…17-13
14. Kai Aiello…15-15
15. Carson Carr…14-16
16 . Tallon Lafountaine…22-9
17. Willy Simons…13-18
18. Keaton Ward…21-17
19. Tyler Bowers…2-DNF
20. Justin Muscutt….24-20
125 PRO RESULTS: 2019 WORLD TWO-STROKE
1. Justin Hoeft…1-1
2. Chis Plouffe…4-3
3. Colton Aeck…6-2
4. Alex Ray…7-4
5. Tyler Nicholson…8-5
6. Tim Weigand…9-6
7. Matt Cerami…10-8
8. Brian Begin…12-7
9. Ryan Wilson…13-10
10. Michael Blose…11-12
PAST WORLD TWO-STROKE CHAMPIONS (2010-2019)
2010 …Bobby Garrison (Hus)
2011 …Austin Howell (Yam)
2012 …Michael Leib (Hon)
2013 …Sean Collier (Yam)
2014 …Sean Collier (Yam)
2015 …Mike Sleeter (KTM)
2016 …Mike Alessi (Suz)
2017 …Ryan Surratt (Hon)
2018 …Zach Bell (Hus)
2019…Robbie Wageman (KTM)