November 20, 1974
Vol. 2  Issue 45
    










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3,400 At Irwindale For The CMC Nationals.


Daring Dave Pessy was on the gas totally as he took home a second place finish in the 250 Pro class. Hayt photo.
Daring Dave Pessy was on the gas totally as he took home a second place finish in the 250 Pro class. Hayt photo.

CMC at Irwindale Raceway
Friday November 8, 1974
By: Buzz
Baty

The weeks preceding tonight's CMC National Championship Night Motocross were rife with rumor concerning the expected entrants and the size of the spectator attendance.

It is the expressed desire of everyone, all the way from track manager, Steve Evans to announcer, Bruce Flanders, to apologize for their short-sightedness. Although one section of extra grandstands sufficient for 1700 spectators was added to the existing 2000 capacity grandstands for the motocross track, no one had expected the huge turnout that had to be the largest spectator turnout for a night motocross in Southern California with the exception of the Superbowls. The good folks were still coming through the gate an hour after racing had started. You can bet your tutu that the next heavyweight show that Steve and the CMC put on, there will be more seats aplenty.

A happy FMF rider, Tim Lunde, smiles as he gets his rewards for gassin' it so much at Irwindale. Photos by Buzz.
A happy FMF rider, Tim Lunde, smiles as he gets his rewards for gassin' it so much at Irwindale. Photos by Buzz.

In the hectic frenzy after the race, and with Ken Mackow making his jump, it was impossible to get accurate attendance figures but in my two years of reporting on Iwindale's CMC night motocross action, my educated guess would be four to five thousand spectators packing the stands and lining the fence.

I know this is supposed to be a race report, but there is just too much more to it than that. The participation of so many companies contributing cash and merchandise awards was marvelous indeed, particularly in light of the almost total lack of restrictions they put on the giving of their contingency and cash.


Nancy Payne and Sue Fish were in the top spots most of the night in the Powder Puff class. But when the results were tallied, they had a second and third. Photo by Buzz.
Nancy Payne and Sue Fish were in the top spots most of the night in the Powder Puff class. But when the results were tallied, they had a second and third. Photo by Buzz.

The superb turnout of spectators were rewarded with motocross racing at it's finest in every class, from the Mini Experts to the big bore Open class. Every class, with the exception of the Powder Puffers and the 500 Intermediates, were filled with enough riders to require qualifying motos for a 'final go-for-broke' race.

Big Luke Messer gets his trophy and money from HRL's Kathy Laudenback. Photo by Buzz.
Big Luke Messer gets his trophy and money from HRL's Kathy Laudenback. Photo by Buzz.

The Powder Puffers caught the spirit of the evening early. Although the field was small, it did contain Nancy Payne, the Powder Puff winner at Hopetown. A first lap pile-up between Nancy and Janice Kline, who were running second and third to the leading Sue Fish, as it turned out was to cost Nancy the overall win. Sue Fish won the first moto, and was running well out in front in the second moto, having a virtual lock for first overall. A mental boo-boo, no doubt due to the excitment of the evening, caused Sue to mistake the last lap flag for the checkered flag. Sue pulled off the course and headed for the pits, thinking she had won it, only to have the rest of the field to continue on around on the last lap. Sue got back on the course and finished, but that mental mistake cost her the overall win. The third moto was won by Nancy Payne with Sue Fish running in second, when the ignition went bad on Sue's Hodaka, and the overall winner, with steady mistake-free riding and three second place finishes to her credit, was Sandy Gonzalez.

The 500 Intermediates also ran three motos. Conrad Weber, notching victories in the first two rounds and then settling for second in the last round, took the overall win. John Pfeiffer won the third round. It was in this third round that Carter Read managed something that I have only seen once before. Read, off of the big back straight jump, looped his Maico backwards, ending up taking a ride to the hospital in the infield ambulance with a suspected broken hip. Finishing third overall behind Weber and Pfeiffer was CZ's Trent McGee.

The only flap, of the protest variety, occurred in the Mini Experts, when a protest was lodged against Lance Moorewood for riding two different machines in the two qualifying heats. Rather than participate in a big donnybrook over the protest, the Moorewood's packed up and called it a night. When the gate dropped for the final go, it was Bill Fancher jumping to the lead, followed by Bobby Jones and Ron Utaski. Fancher and Jones continued to pull away from the field, but Fancher could not pull away from Jones. On the last lap Fancher got out of shape for just an instant, with Jones passing him over the Steve Kurd jump to take the win. Fancher was second and Utaski third. Doug Nicol, who had been all hipped up to win this one, managed to crash and ended up eighth overall. Mark Richardson was the only non-Honda in the field, getting ninth on his Gemini.

Steve Schilling, X51, was taking absolutely no chances. In qualifying round one, Steve got nipped at the flag for the win by Mark Lawrence, Yamaha mounted 88D, but Steve came back to win qualifying round two. In the expected duel between Schilling and Lawrence for the final, it didn't come off. Mark Lawrence lost fire off the starting gate as Schilling boogied away. When Mark finally did get started, he tried too hard to catch up crashing on his effort. Steve Schilling took the checker and the win followed by the Hondas of Eddie Clark and Dave Fox for a Honda sweep for the 125 Intermediates.

All of the fields, the 250 Intermediates, 125 Pros, 250 Pros, and 500 Pros, had a minimum of twenty entries. Six riders were taken from each of the two heats run in each class, making up fields for the finals of twelve riders. Chris Gray, an Irwindale regular, as well as Tim Silva and Tim Wyant, having made the final-go, made it WFO off the starting line for the final. Chris Gray took his Honda to the front and for the first lap and a half pulled away opening up a pretty good lead. Maico mounted Tim Wyant would have none of this second place business, gassing up his Maico hauling in Chris Gray, getting past, and taking over the lead from Gray on the next to last lap. The final standings for the 250 Intermediates then came out Wyant on the Maico, Gray and Silva, second and third on Hondas.

Of the 125 Pros entered, only three non-regular Irwindale racers made the twelve-man final. Factory Honda rider Bruce McDougal made the show, Ron Sun in his first ever ride at Irwindale made it, and Rick Bean although not a stranger doesn't make Irwindale a habit. When the starting gate dropped, last week's winner Gary Denton got one of the worst starts he's ever had, getting pushed into the course banners. Mark Tyer took. the lead, followed by Tim Lunde, Bruce McDougal, Dave Eropkin, and Mike Bell. Bob Welsh, 85Y, had turned Pro just this evening. Last week he had earned enough points as an Intermediate to make the transfer. Not only did he make the transfer, but he also made the final. Tyer continued in the lead, followed closely by Lunde, McDougal, and Eropkin, with Bell in fifth, trying to play catch-up. McDougal kept pressuring Lunde, Lunde pressuring Tyer. Finally with two laps to go, Lunde put the pass on Tyer, and in almost the same moment McDougal went by Tyer. Eropkin, held fourth and Bell fifth as they started the last lap. Gary Denton finally had to stop to remove the long string of course markers wrapped aroung his machine. As they came over the jump on the back chute for the last time, it was Lunde, McDougal, Tyer, and Eropkin. Bell, still gassing it, crashed. Taking the checker and the win was Tim Lunde on the Donny Emler Flying Machine Factory Honda, followed by Honda works rider, McDougal, and the second FMF Honda of Mark Tyer. As they pulled into the pits, the reason for Tyer loosing the lead was discovered. His gas tank had split and was only getting a partial fuel flow to the carburetor. He was lucky to end up third. Donny Emler had all the reason in the world to be as ecstatic as he was, two out of the top three ain't bad! Although Mike Bell crashed, he can console himself with the big No. one plate he'll be riding with next year.

In the 250 Pro class there were a bunch of names that seldom, if ever, ride Irwindale. Yet, it was these riders that made up at least half of the twelve-man final, Rex Staten, John DeSoto, Bruce McDougal, Bill Payne, and Ron Self.

A nice touch for the spectators was the introduction of each individual Pro prior to the start of their race. They rode the course backwards with their helmets off so that the fans in the grandstands could get a look and cheer for their favorite competitor.

The twelve 250 Pros lined up on the starting gate and were off, but fifty feet out, Mike Stearns, Billy Payne, and Bill Rubly all went down in a tumbling heap. Since the track was blocked, Stu Peters put out the red flag and a restart was in order. Unable to make the restart were Payne, and Rubly, which made absolutely no difference to Rocket Rex Staten. He pulled the lead off of the starting gate, while Jeff Vidic, who had won the second qualifying round, got the worst start of his career, when his Maico's gearbox kept getting him nothing but neutrals. Following Staten, who went wire-to-wire, were Dave Pessy and John DeSoto. The two Ossas of Pessy and DeSoto seemed to be no match for the fast disappearing Honda of Sexy Rexy. Jeff Vidic finally got his gearbox sorted out, and in the end got a ninth place finish. Strong rumors abound that Jeff will be riding a different brand of motorcycle very soon.

The 500 Pros, although having some names foreign to Irwindale, like Bill Clements on the Works Husky, Mike Yorba, Dave Smith, it was the Irwindale regulars who maintained the form for the evening, taking the first six places out of the twelve starters in the final. Joe Johnston, the one referred to as Jumpin' Joe, pulled the lead over the first lap jump, ahead of big Luke Messer, Dave Pessy on his over-bored Ossa running third. Joe continued to pull away from the field, giving the huge crowd it's money's worth, and showing them why he's called 'Jumpin' 'Joe', hitting the big back chute jump hard and fast, with long high leaps before touch