ROUND #4 – WALTON RACEWAY
Expectations were high leading up to this event. Between the hype of a Motocross / Off-road shoot out, the stellar reputation of the Walton Raceway, and the “Moto-Cross Country” format, all eyes were on World Enduro Canada to perform and deliver a quality event. What racers and spectators saw unfold was another ground breaking race that thrilled spectators and showed unparalleled professionalism in organization.
Round four started off with a Pee Wee race that featured a newly constructed course with a pine forest trail section mated to a lengthy custom Pee Wee motocross track. Miniature table tops, rollers and sweeping berms entertained the young riders in their 30 minute race. Jackson Andrews had an early lead until Connor Taplay poured it on and took over at the front of the pack on the fourth lap keeping that position until the finish. Jackson held on to second finishing just ahead of Aiden Billings and Nathan Taplay on his Suzuki JR50.
Once the dust cleared after the Pee Wee event, our Mini Junior and Mini Senior racers lined up at the Motocross starting gate for an exciting live engine start. The Mini classes were rich with talent with eight Junior riders and seven Senior riders. Stirring things up were a few MX kids showing their skills on the motocross section only to be schooled by Cross Country series regulars in the woods portion of the course. The Mini Junior podium of Jack Reid, Tanner Charette and Emerson Lines were stand out performers that were able to put in five laps in their one hour moto. The Mini class rode a course that was the same as the adults with only a short “extreme” section removed. Mini Senior class was dominated by the hard charging and confident Kyle Bichard. Kyle even showed some adults how to style it up on the MX track with his high flying antics. In hot pursuit was the ever consistent and fast Mike MacLennan and the up and comer Wolfgang Wiesner. The top three stayed in that order for the whole race with MXer Matt Manson finishing just off the podium in fourth. With lap times coming in around 11 minutes these Senior riders were able to fit six laps in before the checkers.
The adult “Moto Cross Country” format began sharply as scheduled at 10:45am with the first one hour moto. Each class was released on the backwards falling motocross gate with Moto #1 featuring; Beginner, Vet Junior, Vet Senior, Super Senior, and Women. The Beginner class was a highlight with a lot of passing on the wide course. Jordan Place ended up first overall for the day with two consistent third place finishes. Greg Andrew’s second and fourth place finishes were good enough for second overall and his fastest lap was good for $100 from Wiesner Insurance as it was the Beginner class that was selected for this award this time around.
Vet Junior was also a hotly contested class. A brilliant performance was put in by Brad Brown who’s first and first guaranteed top spot for the day. Other racers that took exceptionally well to this course lay out were Mark “Hoser” Hosie, Charlie Lake and Tyler Scott.
Vet Senior saw Keith Billings not only take the win but he walked away with $100 courtesy of Apex Cycle – KTM for nailing the Holeshot. His acceptance speech got some chuckles from the crowd as he grinned ear to ear with the giant cheque in hand.
In Super Senior it was Bryan Hill’s first and first finishes that earned him the high spot on the podium. This is after his first place at Wingham two weeks ago. Bryan and his trick Gas Gas appear to be giving series Super Senior Champion Jeff Golden a bit of a run for his money this year. We’ll all have to stay tuned to how things shake out come September.
Moto #2 racers include the up and coming Junior class alongside Intermediate, Vet Master as well as the premier Pro racers. After the drop of the gate in this moto spectators quickly ran to the MX track and specifically the famous Walton “Natural Double”. As the first riders powered into sight it was well know MX racer Derek Arnold with a good lead and MXer Ben Toye hot on his tail. Jaws dropped when Derek hit the “Natural” catapulting to heights that XC racers rarely go. Wojo appeared not far behind and looked quite determined. On lap two Wojo passed Ben Toye for second and set his sights on Derek Arnold. It was a battle of epic proportions between these two highly experienced Pros. It wasn’t until the fifth lap of the seven lap moto that Wojo took the lead when Derek went down. There was not enough time left to make up the 20 seconds lost in his get off and Wojo to the win. With the first moto win Wojo earned an extra $50 from Royal Distributing for leading at the halfway point.
The last Pro moto of the day was much more cut and dried. The Wiesner insurance $100 Holeshot award was given to Honda racer Seven Azarkiewicz for just edging out a gate of 9 determined Pro racers. Once around the turn though Wojo quickly slipped into the lead and held off all challengers for the full hour. The top three places were a mirror of their first time out and the overall podium ended with a complete Yamaha sweep with Brian Wojnarowski, Derek Arnold, and Ben Toye earning their pro payback.
Intermediate saw two back to back wins by David Taplay who’s 510 Husky worked very well on this fast course. Corey Brooks as well proved consistent with his two second place finishes. Teron Construction’s Jason Kliengeld looked to be on his way to achieving a three and three finish but a high speed get off on the MX track saw him taking a break trackside for a couple of moments. Unfortunately for Jason this gave away third overall to Cale Barnes.
Vet Master had identical finishes in both motos. Chris “Dude” Donald was fast as usual taking first but Keith Billings was welded to his rear fender for both 6 lap motos. Keith is showing astonishing speed and comfort these days on his beautiful Husaberg 300 two stroke. None other than series regular Brian West was right in the hunt with two third place finishes.
It was a dusty day with very little rain and high heat leading up to the event. But when this dust did settle, the Walton Moto Cross Country met and exceeded all expectations and racers are even more excited about coming back next year. At the awards ceremony track owner Chris Lee was duly impressed with the level of competition and the professionalism of organization. He also noted that scoring was so quick and accurate that the motocross community could learn a few things from what was displayed at this event.
The Wiesner Insurance Ontario Cross Country Championship will take a short break for the early summer as we head out west for the first four rounds of the Royal Distributing Canadian National Off-Road Championship. Check www.worldendurocanada.com for up to date news stories of the premier off-road race series in Canada as well as updates on Facebook and Twitter.
The Ontario Cross Country Championship will resume July 29th in Parry Sound at the now famous site of the 2006 and 2007 Canadian rounds of the World Enduro Championship. With three rounds left in the Ontario Championship, its still anyone’s guess as to who will end up on top.