by Mark Wolbrink
photos by Tara Bogart / GingerSnaps
CIRCLEVILLE, OH May 13-14, 2006
The second round of the 2006 NASMOTO Supermoto Series rewarded the brave! Not because the dirt section was treacherous or the asphalt was crazy rough, but because every weatherman between Toronto, Ontario and Starke, Florida was threatening them. Every night during the evening news, Supermoto racers and spectators were warned that if they showed their faces in Ohio they had better bring an ark. In spite of losing Friday to the rain, Saturday and Sunday dried out long enough to debut ATV Supermoto racing and introduce the NASMOTO branded Umbrella Girls. In fact, if you needed a reason when you got home, the rain made it easier to explain why Umbrella Girls are required at the track!
Hosted by Ohio Supermoto, the races were held at the Circleville Raceway Park in central Ohio. This beautiful track showcases riding skill much more than horsepower. Every lap offers countless opportunities for passing and just as many for getting passed back. Working under the guidance of Graves Yamaha rider Mark Burkhart, a group of local racers recently added a new dirt section. And don’t kid yourself, this ain't no single file cow trail. The ATVs were just as comfortable running the multiple lines as the two-wheeled Supermoto bikes.
Numberr 47 - Zac Willett
With riders like Zac Willett and Gary Parker at the controls, the racing ATVs circled the track like snarling dogs. A pack three wide tearing around the asphalt corners and through the dirt, all four wheels sliding. In the rain, it was a battle for traction. One end fighting the wet asphalt and the other pushing against the steering stops. On a dry race line, both rear tires would lift when braking. Then once on the gas, only the outside wheel would gently settle down and the bike would slingshot out of the turn.
After the first lap of the first moto, the ATV racers were hooked on the speed of the asphalt. Just wait until guys like the crew at Duro Tire start getting a grip on bike set-up! By the second lap, the visual sensation of the ATVs had sold the spectators. For ten more laps, Willett, Parker, and Justin Fieldez slid, banged, and dove their way onto the Pro ATV class podium. I should also point out that earlier in the day, Parker and Fieldez had also rolled two wheeled Supermoto bikes onto the starting grid. With big grins, they claimed that the bikes were for cross training.
The Seventy Thirty Racing SM1 class had the most two wheeled competitors of the weekend. As the threshold to the pros, the SM1 class offers the chance for the fastest of the fast to be noticed. In Ohio, people were definitely paying attention to Yamaha privateer Aaron McDonald. After regional success, the young Canadian made the long drive South to see how fast he really is. Turns out he is dramatically fast. He proved exactly how fast by winning both SM1 motos and completely dominating the Seventy Thirty title class. The dramatic part comes from his win in the first SMX moto. After he and Burkhart each took a first lap spritzer on the wet track, they had to fight their way back into the lead group. It took nine laps, but halfway through the white flag lap, McDonald dove into second place. Three turns later he charged under the Red Bull arch to take the race line. By the next corner he had the lead.
Burkhart and McDonald battling for the win.
Whether there is two wheels or four in your garage no longer matters, the next NASMOTO round is at USA International Raceway in Shawano, WI on June 18th, 2006. Visit USA International for more info.
Information about regional Supermoto Ohio racing, including ATVs, is at Circleville Raceway Park