Tuesday, November 23, 2021

AHRMA Mid-Atlantic Cross-Country

 Round Nine – Frackville, PA: October 10, 2021

Author: Joshua Schucker

Photography: Nolan Matthews

After a successful inaugural event in 2020, the accomplished competitors and event coordinators from South Penn Enduro Riders (SPER) once again welcomed the Mid-Atlantic gang back to its stomping grounds outside Frackville, Pennsylvania. The racers were greeted by a picturesque fall day with leaves starting to begin their seasonal color change and temperatures settling into the low sixties. Looking north, the scene was dominated by a large pile of culm blanketing the horizon reaffirming the history of this land and its striking features. Everything was in place for a spectacular start to the series’ penultimate event. It is remarkable to think that forty-eight hours ago we weren’t supposed to be here…well, not this exact “here” anyway.

If the previous round in Ohio had to deal with a last-minute change of venue, the folks at SPER had to deal with a last second change in Frackville! You see, the event in 2020 was held across the street from where we’ve set the stage for this event. And, all of that event’s layout and acclaimed trail from last year was all set-up, trimmed, and marked as a repeat in 2021 until SPER was notified by the land’s management that, due to an unforeseen communication lapse, the event would NOT be able to commence as planned. The SPER team had to quickly leap into action to salvage round nine.

Thankfully, the club also has access to the land south of the blacktop road and is intimately familiar with its topography through years of hosting modern hare scrambles events there. So, with only Saturday to work with, SPER leveraged its knowledge and willing manpower to connect existing trails, cut a bit of fresh trail to reroute some areas for vintage friendliness, and just get the site in general ready for the incoming racers. A serious amount of coordination and effort went into relocating the event to the southern side of Morea Road in such short time, but amazingly the SPER team was able to make it happen with no sacrifice to the experience. Anyone unfamiliar with the tribulations that occurred would not have known the event wasn’t intended to be in this spot from the start…that’s high praise in itself!

Ultimately, the course was a blast with a combination of existing and fresh trail with the requisite number of exposed roots, rocks, ruts and mud puddles, all connected by old access roads, and with an occasional view of the unsuspecting traffic hustling by on Interstate 81. A few rock gardens were encountered, with the shortest route arrowed, while some nice elevation changes came courtesy of fresh trail through abandoned mining pits. Huge thanks to series’ regulars, and SPER members, Mark Hummel, Steve Bowman, and Sandy Quickel, who with many more volunteers, too numerous to mention here but equally appreciated, made this event happen.

Vintage Races:

Josh Zerance jumped in front early to take the overall and AA class lead, but he ran into trouble on lap three as Dave Kutskel was able to squeeze his Yamaha MX360 past for the overall win. Zerance’s Can-Am fell to third behind Brett Reichart before Josh put on a last lap charge past the Puch of Reichart to take the AA win (second overall) while Brett hung on to third overall. Sandy Quickel (Penton) secured the Classic Expert class victory along with fourth overall. Jay Parkins had no answer to Ed Weger’s performance as Weger led from the start and relegated Parkins to the runner-up position in Vintage 50+ Intermediate. Ryan Horan would finish just ahead of Parkins in the overall standings as he put in an impressive ride for a novice; however, Brandon Rowe would outclass Horan and take top novice honors. Both novices would take their respective Vintage class wins with Rowe topping the Open class and Horan the 200 class. Charlie Walker scored his first win of the season in Vintage 60+ Expert class over Randy Marshall (Husqvarna).

Post Vintage Races:

John Ashcraft (CR480) laid down the fastest lap times throughout the middle race in claiming the overall and AA win over fellow AA rider Mike Blackwell on an IT175. SPER’s Mark Hummel would hang close to Blackwell on his Husqvarna but was unable to make his way past in settling for third. Hummel was able to win the competitive Post Vintage Open Expert class as Adam Stelmack and Dane Brownawell followed Hummel closely across the line going two-three in class. Father and son IT175 pilots dueled in the Post Vintage 200 Intermediate class with the elder Merrell, Sam, taking runner-up as his progeny Sylas steadily pulled away in a convincing victory. Eric Rupp made a last lap for third and completed a trifecta of sky-blue Yamahas. Nick Patterson, also riding an IT, would nail down the Novice win in Post vintage 200. Craig Shenigo, making his series return after a rib shaking crash at Coyote Run, proceeded to chase down early leader Eric Weiland to make the pass for the Post Vintage 50+ Expert win on lap four. Joe Cole was able to hustle his Husqvarna past Weiland on the last lap to take second with Weiland sliding back to third.

Disc Brake Races:

John Ashcraft’s overall win put an exclamation point on his domination for the day with another show of blistering speed besting runner-up Michael Cramer by nearly a minute per lap. Mark Hummel secured another third in the overall standings and a class win in Early modern Open Expert with the KDX of Roy Miller and Brain Schwein’s YZ250 going two-three. Fellow SPER member Steve Bowman took fourth on his CR250. Joe Wallace (expert) and Brian Turk (intermediate) took the wins in the Pre-Modern 200 classes. The KDX200s of Ken Wagner and Greg Kemp took the top two spots in “KDX Battleground” Early Modern 200 Intermediate.

As always, thank you to the Mid-Atlantic region’s volunteers and the sponsors that support the regional events; Potomac Vintage Riders, Preston Petty Products, Stainless Cycle, Vee Rubber, Grove Printing, KMI Printing, Horizon Homes, and Works Enduro Riders. The complete results from this event and the upcoming schedules can be found at https://www.ahrma.org/ahrma-mid-atlantic-region

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