.

RACE STORY & PHOTOS

National Vet MX Championship
Motocross of Marion County


BY CRAIG AND ANGELA JOHNSON
REDDICK, FL, FEBRUARY 21-22, 2004

The first annual National Vet Motocross Championship was a huge success. Veteran riders came from all over the Eastern part of the United States to see who would be crowned champion. The riders raced for great contingencies with Vortex being the title sponsor. Vortex gave out contingencies to the top three in all classes. There were also plenty of other goodies given out to the top riders such as handlebars, goggles, grips, and oils just to name a few.

You could not have picked a better weekend to race, as there was plenty of sunshine and the temperatures were in the 70's. To make it even better there were no riders that completely dominated. It seemed that everyone had there chance at glory. One rider did win two classes but had to work in getting the wins. Zach Ische, from Bonita Springs, Florida, took the Over 25 and 30 Amateur classes.

The Over 25 and 35 Amateur raced a combined moto with Jacksonville, Florida rider George Masdea getting the first moto holeshot. Pennsylvania rider, Mark Burkholder was second followed closely by Ische, Curtis Johnson, and Craig Allen. Masdea put a few bike lengths on the pack when the green flag flew but lost it a couple of laps later. Ische passed Burkholder on lap two and reeled in Masdea. Just before lap three was over Ische made the pass for the lead in the new rhythm section. The battle for third on the track also tightened up with Johnson passing Burkholder at the finish line with still a couple of laps to go. Ische pulled out to the win with Masdea in second. The race for third was not over. Allen, leading the Over 35, pushed passed Burkholder and then Johnson to round out the top three. Burkholder lost one more place to Johnson on the final lap.

The second moto, Masdea again absconded into the lead. Ische was close behind and shadowed Masdea for half the race. Ische found his opening and took the second moto win. Masdea kept second ahead of the battle for third. Burkholder started third but by lap two Allen was putting the pressure on. Allen got third, as Jim Badgett also got by Burkholder. Johnson suffered from a bad start and raced to catch a tiring Burkholder. Johnson finished fifth on the track ahead of Burkholder at the flag.

The race of the day was the Over 30 and 40 Pro combined moto. The first race saw Arty Coker grab the lead ahead of Ricky Hampshire, Tom Engel, Tony Carreiro, and Dan Zullo. The race for the lead stayed tight, as Zullo and Johnnie Shields move to fourth and fifth. A couple of laps into the race Zullo passed Engel before the long table-top, as Shields did the same on the outside of the next corner. The race got even better going into the pit, as the top four were all side-by-side. Coming out of the pit, Zullo was out front with Coker, Hampshire, and Shields in tow. Coker lost second to Hampshire along the woods, as the long moto was starting to take its toll. Shields passed Coker next in the rhythm section for third. At the halfway mark, Zullo was feeling the heat from Hampshire. Shields was closing once again to make it a three way battle. The two front runners crossed the finish line jump side-by-side and Hampshire got the lead going to the inside of the next turn. Hampshire pulled out a few bike lengths, as now Shields was all over Zullo. Shields move into second thru the double/double section. Hampshire had the 125cc machine screaming ahead of the bigger 4-stroke machines, but was it going to be enough. Shields closed in but came up only a bike length short when the checkers flew. Indiana's Jeff Heaston came up to get fourth just behind Zullo and just ahead of Engel.

Coker grabbed the holeshot for the second moto. Samuel Allen, who suffered a bad start the first moto, was second. Zullo, Erik Burkholder, and Heaston rounded out the top five. Allen was out for revenge and passed Coker early to lead the pack. Coker started his trend back and lost second to Zullo. Hampshire and Shields were on the bad end of the start this time and were way back in the pack. Coker lost third to Burkholder and the top three made a breakaway. Zullo passed Allen in the end to win the combined moto whipping it at the flag for the fans. Allen got second three seconds ahead of Burkholder. Engel got ahead of Coker, as Heaston rounded out the top six.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

1.  A class gets ready to take off at the Vortex Vet MX Nationals.
2.  Dan Zullo (202) raises his hand in victory winning the second moto of the +30 Vet Pro class and becoming the champion with a second the first moto.
3.  Ricky Hampshire (21) worked his way up to fifth in the second +30 Vet Pro moto after winning the first moto.
4.  Johnnie Shields (2/3) won the +35 Expert with double moto wins.
5.  Samuel Allen (929) pulled off the +40 Senior Pro championship with a 4-1 tally.
6.  The second moto win and overall was this close for Bridget Prevatte (44) and Beth Rewis (77) in the +25 Womens class.
7.  Zach ische (331) was the only double class winner of the day winning the +25 and +30 Amateur classes.
8.  Ryan Kelley (386) and Dan Zullo battle in the +25 Expert class.
9.  Ed Garlin (41) brought the vintage iron out to take a 4-3 and third overall in the +40 Amateur class.
10. George Masdea (949) pulls the holeshot on the second combined moto of the +25 & +35 Amateur classes with (979) Curtis Johnson & (120) Mark Burkholder close behind.

 


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