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ATVA GNC MX News
Glen Helen Raceway
San Bernardino, CA
Imagine the warm sunshine beating on the back of your neck, the extraordinary view of the desert mountain ranges and the deep-blue skies above. I cannot think of a better way to kick off the 2005 Moose/ITP Grand National Motocross Championship season than in the hills of sunny Southern California. Driving into the valley area of San Bernardino, I could sense a liberating feeling of shedding the dreary winter weather I had left back East. Rolling into the entrance of Glen Helen Raceway, my vehicle came to an immediate stop. I was now waiting in the long line of factory rigs and race trailers, which gave me time to kick back and soak in the scenery. A colorful array of sponsor banners hung uniformly around the facility, race flags were blowing in the wind and everyone seemed to be busy walking the track and wrenching on quads. I could not have had a better feeling than I did at that very moment. The '05 race season has arrived, and I predict that we will witness the most-competitive season that we have seen in a very long time.
First Day Of School
I was eager to arrive at the track early on Friday morning to visit with friends I had not seen in several months, and to see for myself many of the changes we all have been anticipating. As I walked through the pits, I quickly realized that the mood reminded me of the first day of school. Everyone was sporting bright, clean gear; quads were sparkling in the sunshine; race trailers were growing in size; and everyone was socializing. One of the first items on my agenda was to visit John "Ironman" Natalie and see the new Honda TRX450R on which he would be competing. This rocket was decked out with new Fox Shox and ready to be mounted by the Ironman himself. Natalie was all smiles, as usual, and pumped to get out there and show all of us that he has what it takes to win. As I looked across the pits, I saw the brand-new factory Suzuki rig where Jeremiah Jones and the defending champion, "The Digger" Doug Gust, were signing autographs. Suzuki has really stepped up its game with this setup. If this is any sort of sign of the future, expect the professionalism and eye candy that you might see at the supercross series to be brought to ATV racing. Suzuki is paving the way, and I think we all can be stoked about what the company is doing.
Kickstarting The Action
Saturday was the day when the race action was scheduled to kick off. Angela Moore went on to dominate the Women's class but not without a fight from the '04 Women's class champion, Heather Byrd. Later, Moore took on the guys of the Open A class and surprisingly dominated once again. Traci Cecco, a former GNCC Women's class champion, came out to test her ability as a motocrosser. To many people's surprise, Cecco hung in there to earn a fourth-place finish. The Pro qualifiers left Doug Eichner with a disappointing finish, resulting in a parked quad for Sunday's main event. A very excited Giovanni Colon of Team FMF/Media Allstars made the trek all the way from Puerto Rico and was able to qualify to fill the last Pro position on the gate.
On Sunday morning, the beautiful blue skies and warm weather that had graced us with its presence the two previous days was nowhere to be found. As I woke myself up with a cup of coffee, I peaked out the window only to realize that I had brought with me the miserable cold and wet weather that I thought I had left back East. Today was the day that Suzuki's Gust and Jones, Honda's Tim Farr, Yamaha's Kory Ellis and 16 other pro riders would battle to start the season in first place. The only problem was that the riders would struggle to grab traction on the slick California mud, resulting in a battle that could have been anyone's game.