Craig competitors dominate Sunday’s Thunder Ridge motocross races
Results from Sunday’s motocross races at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park:
250 and 450 amateur:
(Name — city)
- Talin Behrman — Maybell
- Wesley Chapman — Craig
- Darren Walpole — Grand Junction
- Kreece Papierski — Craig
- Blake Juergens — Craig
- Nick Stephanie — Granby
- Wesley Chapman — Craig
- Dustin Willey — Craig
- Jake Blevins — Craig
30 and 40+:
- Mike Mercer — Craig
- David Dempster — Craig
- Jordon Anthony — Craig
- Landon Willey — Craig
- Bryan Muhme — Hayden
- Devlyn Mosman — Craig
Wesley Chapman looked down the Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park track Sunday and saw only the backs of his opponents.
Chapman, 17, said his bike didn’t start well out of the gate and he fell back to last place in the 250- and 450-amateur class.
But, Chapman said he wasn’t ready to give up.
Riding his 2007 Suzuki 450 bike, Chapman battled his way back through the pack, taking advantage of turns and wrecks to fight his way to a second-place finish.
“It was a well fought race,” said Chapman, a Craig resident. “I finished maybe a second behind the first-place guy and I think if I could have had another lap or two I could have caught him.”
Chapman didn’t suffer the same slow start in his next race, however.
With a better start out of the gates, the 17-year-old won the adult beginner class on the same bike.
“I did about as good as I hoped to do in both my races,” he said. “The adult beginner class wasn’t as close as the first race, so it was nice to get a win.”
The motocross event was the third of the summer at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park, a new racetrack development south of Craig.
Chapman said it was his second time racing at Thunder Ridge, and he noticed several changes facility president Gregg Kolbaba made to the track.
“(Kolbaba) took out the S-curve and did some dirt work on the jumps that made the ride smoother,” he said. “Before, racing in the S-curve there was a whole lot of bumping and grinding and it was dry, so taking it out helped the track a lot.”
Talin Behrman, of Maybell, came in ahead of Chapman in the 250- and 450-amateur class to become the only out-of-town racer to win on the day.
Kreece Papierski, Mike Mercer and Landon Willey, all of Craig, also took first in the 50+ cc, 30 and 40+ and 100+ cc, respectively.
Between six and 10 racers competed in each race, a rise in participation from the last event.
Kolbaba said changes to the track would continue to bring in more racers for future events.
“The track is finally starting to get like it should be,” he said. “A facility like this takes time and I have only been able to work on it for four months. With everyone’s help, I was more prepared and the event went better.”
Chapman, who began racing dirt bikes two months ago, said all the competitors at the track have formed a friendship by racing together.
“I love the competition of racing, but off the track we are all friends with everyone,” he said. “When we aren’t racing, I ride with Jordon Anthony, Mike Mercer, Dustin Willey and Jake Blevins. Riding dirt bikes is just a fun thing to do.”
When racing is taking place, however, Chapman said nerves are a big factor until the gate drops.
“As soon as you start going, all the nerves vanish and are replaced with adrenaline,” he said. “But, you have to be ready because if you aren’t first around the corner, you will eat the dirt from the other bikes.”
With the last motocross races scheduled for Sept. 17, Kolbaba said he will only make minor changes and tweaks and leave the major adjustments for the offseason.
“I am going to keep maintenance up on the track all year so it stays in good riding condition,” he said. “Next year, we will be sanctioned with a riding organization and we will run their schedule and bring in a lot more racers.”