WORLD VET RESULTS: NO MORE “MR. SECOND-PLACE”

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Photos by Dan Alamangos

wvstart30plusThere is not a first turn in the world that can match the majesty of Glen Helen’s 45-degree banked, 180-degree arced, 60 mph Talladega first turn. Josh Coppins (6) demonstrates how to do it right.

KTM factory test rider Mike Sleeter finally shook his reputation as “Mr. Second-Place” with a solid holeshot int he second moto to go 2-1 for this first-ever Over-30 World Vet Championship. Over the years Mike had to believe that it was never going to happen as time after time he got second place. For 2016 Sleeter grabbed the golden ring. In what was the biggest World  Vet Championship ever, with a tremendous number of riders from 19 countries, over 1000 riders showed up to battle for titles in the Over-30, Over-40, Over-50, Over-60 and Over-70 categories—with Novice, Intermediate and Expert divisions (and even lesser classes at Over-35, Over-45, Over-55 and Over-65 years of age). The two days of racing were divided into the incredibly rough and tumble Glen Helen track on Saturday that turn muscles into Jello (in typical Glen Helen fashion) and a much more rider friendly version on Sunday, that while still rough as a cobb, was less demanding on riders from places that don’t have massive hills littered with massive bumps.

OVER-30 CHAMPIONSHIP
wvsleeetermike111Mike Sleeter got the monkey off his back at the World Vet Championship as he finally took the win that had eluded the KTM test rider for years. To win he had to beat Josh Coppins, Travis Preston, Daryl Hurley, Cole Siebler, Javier Garcia Vico, Arik Swann, Gordon Ward, Ryan Hunt and Sean Collier.

Josh Coppins was the star of the first Over-30 Pro moto as he opened up a lead over two-time Vet Champion Travis Preston and later over Mike Sleeter, but in the second moto Sleeter got to the front after a small collision that sent Sean Collier and his KX500 for a wild ride through the infield. After Sleeter took command, New Zealander Josh Coppins began to close in. It looked like Mike Sleeter was destined for second place again. Then Coppins pushed the front end in the sand turn by the museum and went down. He was up quick, but now behind Sleeter and former World Vet and AMA 250 West Champion Travis Preston. Although Coppins turned some fast laps in pursuit to Sleeter, Mike was able to take a comfortable win in the Over-30 class.

OVER-40 CHAMPIONSHIP
wvdarylhurley912
Daryl Hurley was the best placed Kiwi as he won the Over-40 World Championship on Saturday and came back on Sunday to take 4th in the Over-30 race.

New Zealander Daryl Hurley did not have any troubles with the competition as he easily handled 2015 Over-40 World Champion Kurt Nicoll—but perhaps Hurley’s win was the hardest of the weekend. Why? Saturday’s Glen Helen track was brutally rough. To many of the congregated AMA National and FIM Grand Prix riders it was much rougher than any previous Glen Helen race. Hurley mastered the bumps and took the win with Nicoll second, Japanese rider Kenjiro Tsuji third, Spanish GP racer Javier Garcia Vico fourth, South African Ryan Hunt fifth, American Gordon Ward sixth, Brit Brian Wheeler seventh and Canadian Julian Cerny eighth. Quite the international field.

OVER-50 CHAMPIONSHIP
wvkurtnicoll8Last year Kurt Nicoll won the Over-40 title, but lost the Over-50 crown to Doug Dubach. This year he lost the Over-40 title, but took the Over-50 crown.

When Doug Dubach came down with the flu and could not defend his 2015 Over-50 World Championship, the gates were thrown open for a new Champ. The odds-on favorite was Kurt Nicoll. The former Grand Prix racer had finished second to Dubach in 2015 and scored a 2-2 finish in the 2016 Over-40 World Championship the day before. His competition came from former Over-40 (2000) and Over-50 (2012) World Champ Pete Murray and Arizona racer Ed Foedish. Nicoll was super dominant and won the first moto by over a minute. His 1-1 score bested Murray’s 2-2 and Foedish’s 3-3.

OVER-60 CHAMPIONSHIP
wvpetedegraaf16Pete DeGraaf nailed down his fourth World Vet Motocross Championship, but his first in the Over-60 class. The Canadian was untouchable.

Everyone expected Pete DeGraaf to be a multi-time Over-60 World Champion by this stage of his career. Why? Because the Canadian had won the Over-50 World Championship in 2007, 2009 and 2011. His first try in the Over-60 class last year came with a surprise defeat at the hands of Don Grahn in a nail biter. This year, DeGraaf left no room for any doubts. He swept both motos in front of Japanese rider Isao Ida, 1980 500 AMA National Champion Chuck Sun and New Zealand MXDN team member Tony Cooksey.

OVER-70 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
wvjimoneal37actionJim O’Neal has never raced the World Vte because the date always conflicted with his preparation for the Baja 1000. This year he made the time to come to Glen Helen. He won the Over-70 World Championship to make his sponsor proud. This year saw the biggest biggest Over-70 class in World Vet Motocross history. Over-70 motocross racers don’t grow on trees.

History shows that being a multi-time winner of the Over-70 World Motocross Championship is harder than one would imagine. First, you need a 70-year-old racer that is fast enough to win and has the stamina to defend his crown against all-comers. Next, he has to keep racing—when men his age as living on Social Security.  For 2016 Jim O’Neal won his first-ever World Vet Championship at the age of 70. O’Neal joins Feets Minert, Lars Larsson, Jimmy Redwine and Zoli Berenyi on the list of previous champs.

2016 EDISON DYE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

wvlarslarsonawardWhy is Lars Larsson dressed in his riding gear at his Edison Dye Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony? Because the 75-year-old motocross pioneer just came straight off the track from finishing 8th overall in the Over-70 World Motocross Champion. The crowd gave Lars a standing ovation.

As a professional motorcycle racer, Lars Larsson never really thought about the significance of his life in racing—but as the 2016 recipient of the Edison Dye Award, Lars Larsson was honored by his peers. The awards ceremony was emotional for Lars, his family and his friends. It was touching.

32ND ANNUAL DUBYA WORLD VET CHAMPIONSHIP

wvoverviewstartFrom above you can see how sweeping the Talladega first turn is. It has a record as the safest first turn in motocross. How can a 60 mph first turn be safe? The riders don’t need their brakes, and if they get it wrong they have plenty of run-off room. That is one of Pro Circuit’s two Supercross track at Glen Helen in the background.

RESULTS: OVER-30 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Mike Sleeter (KTM)………………2-1
2. Josh Coppins (Yam)…………….1-2
3. Travis Preston Yam)…………….3-3
4. Daryl Hurley (Hus)……………….7-4
5. Cole Siebler (Hon)……………….5-6
6. Tonni Andersen (KTM)………….8-7
7. Javier Garcia Vico (Hon)………6-9
8. Dennis Stapleton (KTM)……….9-8
9. Arik Swan (Kaw)………………….4-15
10. Gordon Ward (Yam)…………..10-10
Other notables: 11. Mattieu Smith; 12. Ryan Hunt; 16. Sean Collier; 22. Shawn Wynne.

RESULTS: OVER-40 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Daryl Hurley (Hus)………………1-1
2. Kurt Nicoll (KTM)…………………2-2
3. Kenjiro Tsuji (Hon)……………….4-3
4. Javier Garcia Vico (Hon)…….3-4
5. Ryan Hunt (Hon)…………………6-5
6. Gordon Ward (Yam)…………….5-6
7. Brian Wheeler (Kaw)……………8-7
8. Julian Cerny (Kaw)………………7-8
9. Jeff Willoh (Suz)………………….11-9
10. Brandon Milstead (Yam)…….10-10
Other notables: 11. Ron Lechien; 12. Shawn Wynne; 13. Mike Reefman; 16. Ed Foedish.

RESULTS: OVER-50 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Kurt Nicoll (KTM)…………………1-1
2. Pete Murray (Yam)……………….2-2
3. Ed Foedish (Yam)……………….3-3
4. Mitch Rowe (KTM)………………4-4
5. Jon Ortner (Yam)…………………5-6
6. Bob Weber (Hon)…………………6-9
7. Rob Engel (Kaw)…………………9-7
8. Luther French (KTM)…………..13-5
9. Ed Heacox (Yam)………………..8-10
10. Loren Pochirowski (Yam)……11-8
Other notables: 11. Bryan Schritter; 12. Dave Fontes; 13. Dana Wiggins; 21 Joe Root.

RESULTS: OVER-60 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Pete DeGraff (KTM)…………….1-1
2. Isao Ida (Hon)…………………….2-2
3. Chuck Sun (TM)………………….3-3
4. Tony Cooksey (Yam)……………4-4
5. Jim Latendresse (KTM)………..5-5
6. Rick Johnson (Hon)……………..6-9
7. Bob Rutten (KTM)……………….9-7
8. Jay Migliore (Hon)………………13-5
9. Massimi Marescalchi (Hus)….8-10
10. Jim Butts (Hon)………………..11-8
Other notables: 11. Jim Hanson; 12. Joe Pena; 13. Mike Marion.

RESULTS: OVER-70 WORLD MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Jim O’Neal (Hus)…………………1-1
2. Bill Van Vug (Yam)……………….2-2
3. Bart Kellogg (KTM)……………….3-4
4. Nobuhiro Furuta (Yam)…………5-3
5. Steve Machado (Yam)………….4-5
6. Rickey Anderson (Hus)…………6-6
7. Tommy Pearl (KTM)……………..8-7
8. Lars Larsson (Hus)………………9-9
9. Jan Lindmark (Hon)……………..7-11
10. John Huegel (KTM)……………11-8
Other notables: 11. Rod Harrison; 12. Gary Anderson; 13. David Davis.

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