Article and photos by John Gasso
The Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals Wolverine XC was contested at the Twisted Trails off road park outside Mesick, Michigan. A mix of sandy trails, large grass tracks, and trip through an off road truck special test section filled with hills and holes greeted the racers for this event. Heavy rain overnight before the event made conditions near perfect for the riders, and spectators were treated to eleven laps of intense competition by the top six racers. The top ten ATV’s completed at least ten laps, while nine laps were tallied all the way out to twenty sixth place. The GT Thunder GYTR Yamaha of Brandon Sommers grabbed the holeshot, but fellow traveling companions Taylor Kiser and Johnny Gallagher were tight on Sommers for the entire race. Kiser put his Maxxis Factory KTM in the lead for a short time, but the Florida racer said “Brandon pulled a really good line on me and he led it to the end.” After one hour and forty seven minutes of battle Sommers was scored three seconds ahead of Kiser to collect another OMA Nationals win. Kiser would have to settle for second place, while Gallagher rounded out the podium two minutes and forty five seconds later.
Brandon Sommers wrestled out the holeshot over Johnny Gallagher and rocketed across the twisting grass track section headed toward the woods for lap one of the OMA mid season event presented by DP Brakes. “I just rode as hard as I could and I could never shake him,” Sommers recalled of his battle with Kiser. “We had a good race going for sure. When Taylor was pitting I thought I had him and somebody stalled it in front of me in the finish line and I had to sit and wait.” A string of eight laps in the nine and one half minute range landed the Scott Goggles Wiseco Yamaha of Sommers at the top of this very exciting race, but Taylor Kiser never let off on the pressure.
Kiser said he “had a pretty good day.” The Factory KTM FRE rider helped make this one of the most exciting and interesting OMA Nationals ATV events to date. “Me and Johnny and Brandon hooked up and were running pretty good,” said Kiser. “I got out of the hole third and Johnny stalled it in a corner and I got by him. I lucked out in the pits and got the lead for a couple more laps. It was a solid day, we both had really good runs, and I was really happy with the bike.”
Third place went to Aurora, Ohio rider Johnny Gallagher, who admitted “I started to get tired. These guys are a little bit younger and in a lot better shape.” Gallagher was part of the fast three lead pack for much of the race but, according to the GT Thunder Yamaha rider, “a little over an hour in, right after we stopped for fuel, I just started making mistakes. It was a good day though, happy to bring home third.”
David Crane managed to get his Maxxis Rekluse KTM up to fourth place. The DC Cycle and Racing backed rider said “it was good, a lot of fun.” The Mississippi pro finished his eleventh lap at one hour, fifty three minutes, and eighteen seconds. Three minutes later Missouri Hare Scrambles Champion Bryan Hulsey rolled his Duncan Racing Smith Goggles Honda through the Moose Racing scoring tent. According to Hulsey “the race was just fast and rough. The leaders just got away from me and it’s all I could do to finish fifth.”
Shea Dickson was the final pro to complete eleven laps of the circuit, while six time GNCC Women’s champion Traci Cecco collected seventh place with ten laps aboard her GT Thunder GYTR Yamaha. She said “I raced the pro class with the men, so I probably got last, but it was for the experience, you know. In order to get faster you have to ride with faster people.” Rounding out the top ten were Shane Gaunt aboard the Aupperle Racing Honda followed by Plus 30 Yamaha rider Lynn Smith and A Class racer John Pitts riding a Dirt Works Performance Honda. Conspicuously absent from the top finishers was former series champion Rob Zimmerman from Team Honda Racing. A practice lap incident left Zimmerman with a possible fractured wrist. It was all Zimmerman could do to finish eight laps to collect ninth in class and twenty ninth overall and gather some valuable series points.
The OMA Nationals DP Brakes Wolverine XC was a great event that provided some of the best racing action you could find. A three second margin of victory for Brandon Sommers over Taylor Kiser gives some indication of the level of competition at this installment of the off road racing series that maintains its place as just a little bit different than other racing series. The combination of technical trails and friendly, low pressure atmosphere make the OMA Nationals a good choice for those seeking good competition and a technical challenge. Check out omanationals.com for more information on this unique and exciting off road racing adventure.
DP Brakes Wolverine XC Pro ATV Results
1. Brandon Sommers Yamaha
2. Taylor Kiser KTM
3. Johnny Gallagher Yamaha
4. David Crane KTM
5. Bryan Hulsey Honda