Article and photos by John Gasso
A tight pack of racers rounded turn one at the Maxxis Wolverine XC and nearly downed old glory in the process. Kyle Martin pulled out the holeshot, and eventually captured a win after nine laps of a grueling mix of twisty woods, open fields, and two passes each lap through an off road truck test section.
2008 OMA Nationals Champion Bryan Hulsey took home second place at the Maxxis Wolverine XC. The Missouri racer finally put his Dirtworks Honda on the podium after struggling in the first three events this year.
Round four of the Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals series took place north of Mesick, Michigan at the Twisted Trails off road course. The Dirtworks Motorsports Maxxis Honda of Kyle Martin emerged victorious after nine laps of a course that held challenges for all and became a battle of attrition. Brian Hulsey was the only other pro racer to complete nine laps of the track that Hinson Scott Goggles Honda racer Shane Gaunt called “wicked.” Third place fell to the Moose Racing Dirtworks Performance Honda 450R of John Pitts with an overheating motor that caused him to end his race one lap short. It was a tough day for ATVs in Michigan.
John Pitts battled his way to a third place finish at the OMA Nationals round four event near Mesick, Michigan. Sand and mud caused cooling problems for the Dirtworks Motorsports Honda, but the Missouri based racer still managed a podium finish.
Kyle Martin started the day well aboard his Fox Shocks Scott Goggles machine, but soon had some issues of his own to address. Martin lead parts of the first lap and was on a good pace until the sandy soil helped de-rail his chain. According to Martin, “I ended up with the chain coming off end of the first lap after leading and everybody got around me, so I had to work my way back to the front.” After re-installing the chain it was clear that Martin was on a mission, and after nine grueling laps he took the checkers with a gap of two minutes and seventeen seconds over fellow Missouri racer Bryan Hulsey. “I’ll take it,” said Martin. “I had pretty good luck today.”
Kyle Martin blasted through the rural Michigan woods to capture his first OMA win at the Maxxis Wolverine XC. Martin's Maxxis Dirtworks Honda crossed the finish line with a two minute and seventeen second margin of victory.
Second place went to the Duncan Racing Rekluse Honda of reigning series champion Bryan Hulsey. “On the first lap people were just kind of making mistakes,” said the veteran Missouri racer. “I think Kyle lost his chain or something. I ended up coming through at the end of the first lap in the lead. I lead for a couple laps and just rode out there. Kyle came up behind me about the fourth or so lap and went by me and I just settled in for second. The motor was getting hot. It was survival of the fittest, I guess, as far as the bikes today. I’m happy to finish in second and get on the podium for the first time (this year).”
The first lap of round four in the Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals series looked good for the Aupperle Racing Maxxis Honda of Shane Gaunt. Unfortunately the Illinois based racer caught a tree stump, breaking his right front A-arm and tossing Gaunt to the ground for an early end to his race.
John Pitts picked up third place to complete the Dirtworks Missouri podium sweep. His IMS Duncan Racing Honda held on for eight laps, but a soaring temperature gauge caused Pitts to forgoe the last lap in favor of saving his motor. “It was hot out there,” recalled Pitts. “And then getting a little bit of the mud and sand, I guess it was clogging up the radiators a little bit.” Even though he sat out the final lap, Pitts said “it was all in all a great day. The dust stayed down luckily from the rain we had yesterday. I had a great time.”
Texan Shawn Hess was determined to get back on the podium at the Wolverine XC. Overheating issues spoiled his plans, and the Houser Racing Blingstar Honda retired three laps short of the checkered flag.
A couple other racers were really hoping to be on the podium at this race, but it was not such a good day for Shane Gaunt or Shawn Hess. Gaunt was running in the lead with Martin and the Texas based Houser Racing Maxxis Honda of Hess when Gaunt hit a stump. The Morton, Illinois racer said “After the first lap we were all out front and I hit a stump. It cracked my A arm and completely snapped my shock, so that put me out for the rest of the race.” A broken front end brought an early end to race day for Gaunt. Hess also had tales of woe to share. “Something was popping like crazy over here in the rear end,” he recalled. “I ended up having a log wedged in my chain. Unfortunately I had to pull over, and we got it out, and it was too late. We already broke some sprocket teeth. I thought, well, I’ll go ahead and try to make up time the best I can. Well, trying to make up time I just started flying through those mud holes faster and faster to make up time, and I ended up overheating my bike. Fortunately enough some other riders had to drop out and I knew I wasn’t going to gain or lose any positions so I chose to pull off before and save the motor.”
It was all Dirtworks racers on the OMA Maxxis Wolverine XC podium in Mesick, Michigan. Pictured left to right are Bryan Hulsey, second place, Kyle Martin, winner, and John Pitts, third place.
It was a tough day at the Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals Maxxis Wolverine XC. Hot weather and demanding trails took their toll on the men and machines that did battle in the sand, tight timbers, and rugged terrain of this rural Michigan venue. Kyle Martin finally took home his first OMA victory, and it took a tough ride to accomplish the win. Numerous spectators and racers spent the last day of spring 2009 doing something they truly enjoy at an event promoted by a tough old man who also enjoys his work. The OMA Nationals series has a reputation for toughness, and this event has not changed that status. If you are looking for challenging races at interesting venues in the Midwest, then this series is for you. Check out omanationals.com for more information and a schedule of remaining events in the ten race Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals Series. This is off road racing.
Kyle Martin pulled off a win at the Maxxis Wolverine XC after taking the holeshot but losing the lead when his chain derailed. The Dirtworks Honda racer battled back to the front to stand on top at the all Missouri podium.