Rain doesn't ruin motocross weekend

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Kyle Booth could only smile and sit quietly when he lined up in the staging tent for his races at the Yampa Valley Sports Riders Club south of Craig.

The mechanic at Craig's Action Motorsports store sat at least a foot shorter than all of the other racers he was with in the tent. His mini bike paled in comparison to all the full-size bikes that were racing in the Open Beginner class of the Rocky Mountain Motocross Association's Spring Series.

"When I pulled into the tent, everybody was laughing at me," he said.

Booth had raced regular bikes before, but after he "tricked out" the mini bike, he couldn't go back.

"I just didn't like the feel (of my big bike) anymore," he said. "It's fun to ride this guy."

It's fun and fast. Booth passed a majority of the guys who laughed Saturday and Sunday.

"I had it won Saturday 'til I stalled out," he said.

Booth ended with one fifth- and two sixth-place finishes in the 16-racer Open Beginner class.

Next to Booth's mini bike was Travis Nernbold's No. 747 450cc Honda. Nernbold, who lives in Hayden, said he grew up racing on the track that was named the RMXA Track of the Year in 2004.

"I've been here since I was 10," he said. "It's a great place to ride."

Nernbold finished fifth in the 250A class and earned fifth- and seventh-place finishes Saturday.

"It's my hometown track, and it deserves the credit everybody gives it," he said. "It started out gnarly today, and it's in great shape now."

The rain throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning left the dirt track a big mud pit. The track crew, which consists mostly of people with the last name of Zulian, went to work on making the track ready to race.

"We had a racers' meeting and asked them if they still wanted to race," Gary Zulian said. "They said yes so we got to work."

Wagner Equipment and Tri-State Equipment provided equipment for the quick fix on the track. The track was scraped, plowed and tilled for four hours. By noon, the races were ready to go again.

Matt Karlsen of Denver didn't mind the wait.

"I'm from Glenwood Springs so I know a lot of people over here," he said. "It was nice to get to sit around and just visit."

Usually there are two sets of races on Sunday, but with the delay, there was just one race for every class.

The main event of the weekend was the $1,000 purse Open Pro race Sunday afternoon. More than 20 racers took off at the starting line for the day's largest race.

Karlsen, who arrived in Craig at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, overtook Wayne Balliett of Bailey with three laps to go and didn't look back.

"The track really came around today," he said. "It was tough sometimes because there were only one or two lines and Wayne was riding well, but this is the best the Craig track has ridden and I've been coming here since the early '90s."

Zulian said that about 100 racers went home early on Sunday, but that there were still more than 300 present for the afternoon races. Overall he predicted that 600 racers took to the track during the weekend.

"We only had one minor injury, and that's always good," he said. "Another successful weekend."

The YVSRC is scheduled to host two more races this summer on July 16 and 17 and Aug. 20 and 21.

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