Jan. 13, 2013 Salem, OR- Bitter cold temperatures in high twenty’s to low thirties greeted the largest turnout of “Slideways Saturday” competitors for round four “The Prelude” to the Buddha Saturday at Salem Speedway. By far the best turnout of competitors were on hand to get a final tune up for the BIG ONE, the fifth annual Buddha Kinser Memorial race which will be held Saturday January 26th. Bone chilling temperatures didn’t stop the 46 competitors from providing some of the best racing action seen all season.
Where 2 Race.com’s Bryson Smith was on hand to debut and work the bugs out of his brand new Rotax Micro Max package which was basically in asphalt form with dirt tires, and he did an outstanding job taking the win in the kid Kart division over the “Mini-Bad Boy” Carter Patterson… Both drivers did an excellent job considering the very cold temperatures.
In the Junior division it appeared early as if Portland’s Katherine Spear was going to have her way of things after taking heat race number one handily over Albany’s Austin Smith and Jefferson, Or driver Bailey Storey…But Storey had made other plans as he came roaring out in the second round of heat race action masterfully working the outside groove ( a place that he loves) and went flag to flag untouched to take make things interesting for the main event. In the feature it was Storey jumping out and taking command early only to have engine woes at the half mark bringing out the yellow giving the lead to Speer…Back under green Storey gets things figured out and runs down a hard charging Austin Smith and leader Speer to retake the lead… and it looks like Storey will go the rest of the way untouched, until the engine demons return and this time for good ending Storey’s chances and giving the win to Katherine Speer and the runner up sport to Austin Smith.
KT Light was another awesome class and don’t let the count fool you, what it lacked in count it more than made up for in hard charging competition. It was Renee Angel sweeping both heats and the feature in round four, but not without having to work for it as veteran youngster Corey Marcum gave Angel all she could handle until sticking a motor off of turn two in the feature ended his day. Other notables were Richard Speer who had an awesome piece underneath him and was close all day, but a just a bit off in handling department, enough so that he couldn’t quite hold off the charges of Angel and Marcum…but Speer definitely had some speed and will without question be a contender once the handling department gets all the way dialed. The other notable was the performance of Chris Trickle ( No, no relation to the NASCAR Trickles) but you wouldn’t have guessed as he had a outstanding performance, but was in the same boat as Speer…just a bit off in the handling department. Once these two drivers get things sorted out, I expect some big things coming from these two hard chargers…and you heard that here first. Rounding out the top five was the veteran Bob Millard from Molalla, OR who once again was steady and sure as he always is.
Super Sport 200 action had some of the best race action of the day. These karts are very evenly matched and have some of the best up and coming wheel men around…it was the ‘The Todd” Todd Brown taking care of business in heats one and two and looked to be the odds on favorite heading into the feature….But come feature time, it was one of the most under rated wheel men around Paul Weatherford who was picked up by engine builder Dave Schrock to pilot his RPM racing engines entry, after health issues forced Schrock into retirement…the RPM team made some chassis adjustments during the break and it was the smooth and consistent Weatherford going to work early getting by Brown and was running away with things until a yellow just before the half way point re-bunched the field and put Brown back to within striking distance.
On the re-start is was Weatherford again back in command with Brown in pursuit…Weatherford looked to be well in control until he got into turn three a bit hot and almost gathered the outside turn four wall, allowing Brown to take command….Weatherford amazingly only lost once spot as a hard charging third place runner Marc Wooten couldn’t take advantage of Weatherford’s mishap…Weatherford re-grouped and was all over Brown as they started in on lapped traffic…Brown charging hard into three had to check up on the low side and Weatherford went high, re-taking the lead with three to go and would go on to win the feature…Weatherford and Schrock together could be a pretty tough combo to beat, as they worked together flawlessly for the first time working together. Normal front runner B.J. Koppert was a bit off and struggled most of the day and Ty Easton who continues to improve with every event, had issues and retired early…..Cam Baughman captured Super Sport 200 Jr.
AKRA Builder Prepared is one of the quickest growing classes at Salem Speedway and it did not disappoint as eleven quality entries took to the race track and put on the best show of the day. Black Star Motorsports owner Chris Hatch came out and took control early and handily took heat race number one…Steve King in his number 57 “Christine” took heat number two, King has really started to get the hang of things after going through a pretty steep learning curve last season but was smooth, fast, and dialed all day Albany’s.Greg Normandin in his T-Plus Steel Fabricators machine followed King across the stripe in second. Hatch had all kinds of handling issues after bolting on a fresh set…and I mean a fresh set of skins…and was amazingly not a factor in heat two….Come feature time, Normandin who’s consistent runs of second in heat one and first in heat two put him on the point in his gorgeous red, white, and blue number 66 machine along with rookie veteran Don Holmboe on the outside showing signs of a solid chance of an upset; by the way he had run the first two heat races….On the drop of the green it was all Normandin early with Holmboe, Hatch, Green, and Steve King going two and three wide, swapping spots looking like a very fast version of a Mexican hat dance….then the unheard of happened as Hatch tossed a rod through the block of his AKRA clone coasting to the infield…leaving Holmboe, Green, and King in pursuit of leader Normandin.
Holmboe who found something since round three is now all over the backside of Normandin and takes a peak into three with two go…Normandin cool under the gun takes a peak over his shoulder off of two to check for Holmboe’s where a bouts, finding him right where he thought he was…THERE. It’s Normandin (who has lead flag to flag thus far) Holmboe, Green, and King off of turn four on the wave of chief starter Jeremy Mean’s white flag… just across the stripe Holmboe dives to the inside of Normandin in a do or die move for the lead, but is in to low and to hot and Holmboe can’t get his ride to pivot taking both himself and Normandin for a ride up the middle to the turn one wall as third place Bryan Green and fourth place Steve King wave thanks as they roll by out of turn two…King makes one last stab at Green going into three but can’t make it stick and Green goes on to take the checkers with King in the runner up spot in a wild “It ain’t over till it’s over” feature finish…Mark Reece, Jonathon Brown and Joe McClain finish out the top five spots…Young guns Justin “The Bandit” DeMars and Zach Franzke ran well with DeMars losing a chain while making a strong run to the front and Franzke having a tough first day fighting clutch issues early in the day and pitching a rod early in the main event.
A disappointing turn out for the very entertaining door rubbing, bumper banging Mini- Stocks as Crystal Faith from Troutdale, Or took the win over former Portland Speedway veteran Robert Summerhalder… The pair exchanged heat races with Faith taking the feature… Point leader and fan favorite “Gentleman” James Walker was absent and unaccounted for.
KT Heavy was runner up in behind the AKRA clones for race of the day…Heavy was the KT Light plus three…and when I say plus three, I MEAN three very tough competitors…2012 outdoor champ and birthday boy Jeremy Brown, 2012 outdoor heavy runner up Brad Banton, and karting legend Phil Pfau were the plus three added to KT Light roster. Give heat one to Renee Angel who had to work for every inch and every spot she got as she made a very nice late inside move on Pfau going into turn one to take heat one….Give Heat two to the vet Phil Pfau…at 65 years of age (matching is infamous racing number) it is just amazing to watch him roll…he still has reflexes and instincts of a cat…and can still tune with the best of them…a real treat to watch…the wins might not come as easy as they once did, but Pfau can still get it done….
In the feature it was ALL Phil Pfau as he led flag to flag in a flawless performance with Angel right there trying everything she could to get by the karting legend but to no avail… it was by far the best performance of the season for Pfau and he was really dialed in…Can’t wait to see what he has in store two weeks from now at the Buddha…Love him or hate him, Pfau has done SO much for the sport and in my book is one of the best ever.
In the UAS finale, it was defending indoor champion Eric Stansberry taking a heat race win, and the “Rocket” Ronnie Cox taking a win on his 250cc KTM powered monster. Defending BK4 Champ Wayne Felch won both of his heat races…Come main event time it was Felch on the pole with Stansberry on the outside of row one…On the wave of the green, Felch went right to work jumping (and I mean literally jumping) out early….It looked like it was going to be ALL Wayne Felch until lap 10 of the 20 lap main event Felch had mechanical gremlins strike again and was forced to the pit area handing the lead to Stansberry….and once again Stansberry finessed his 60 hp BRC powered machine to victory over “Rocket” Ronnie Cox who looked awesome and has got to be considered as one of the favorites as well for this years BK5…
Nobody has ever won the event back to back, but Felch if the gremlins stay away and he can keep his twin engine powered Frankenstein together, certainly has a shot a becoming the first ever back to back winner of the event…Following Cox across in the third spot was “Bad Boy” Jerry Patterson….what impresses me the most about Patterson is how does so much with so little….running only a 100cc Reed Jet Patterson always seems to find a way make his way to the front…much like another contender Joe “The Ironman” Stackman. J.R.Parrot was in attendance and had bad fast power, just not enough track time to get his machine dialed in…look for Parrott to be right there come Buddha time….Kevin White and Chuck Knutsen made their first appearances of the season and ran solid considering their lack of tune up time…I suspect both of them to be in the mix as well come January 26th.
Finally the annual “For all the marbles” event was run for the Super Sport 200’s, AKRA Clones, and the KT Light and Heavy competitors…in the Super Sports it was Paul Weatherford taking the win, it was Steve King taking the win in the AKRA division, and it was Corey Marcum taking the win the KT division on his back up machine… The fifth annual BK5 will be held at Salem Speedway January 26th with drivers from all over the NW and California coming to compete in what is considered the biggest indoor dirt race west of the Mississippi…for more information and details about the event, you can check NWUAS on Facebook, Salem Proboards on the web, and albanymx.com.
Until next time, I’m Terry Bridges and thanks for reading the Northwest Race Report! Your comments and suggestions are always welcome so please feel free to rate this article and leave any comments you may have.