Story by Jessica Danielle Edmond
Photos by Josh Rud
The best amateur dirt track racers in America kicked off the 2016 AMA Dirt Track Grand Championship in Du Quoin, Ill., in world-class fashion on July 1: racing for national championship points on the Du Quoin Magic Mile.
View results from Day 1 - 2016 Suzuki AMA Dirt Track Grand Championship
Dallas M. Daniels piloted his No. 1 Yamaha to the win in the 250cc Modified main event. The Mattoon, Ill., native summed up his day: “I felt good about the race. We had some bike problems in the heat race. I was also riding a stock bike… All of those guys were riding modified. I was just riding my stock bike that didn’t have anything done to it. I had to start from the back row, but was able to get a good start and keep it out front.”
It was a tight battle between rider Tyler Raggio (No. 51z Honda) and Daniels for the win, but Daniels was able to close it out. Raggio finished second.
Hot Rod Vintage Multis
Dennis Williams (No. 76 on a Harley-Davidson) from Murfreesboro, Tenn., took the lead in the second lap, followed closely by Jody Hale (No. 66 Yamaha). The pair stuck close to each other through six laps. Williams opened the gap by a large margin down the final straight to the finish line.
“The weather was wonderful, the track was great, and I was around all my friends," Williams said. "I’ve been going to this event for over 40 years, so this is my second home. I bought this bike in 1977. I raced it for a long time, then I sent it to a museum. They offered it back to me, so I got it and restored it. Then I brought it back here six years ago and won the race, and I kept coming back year after year. And today, I won it again, so it’s a great deal.”
450cc Open Singles
James Ott (No. 12e on a Honda) from Simi Valley, Calif., won the race. After being asked about his victory, the 15 year-old California native said, “This is my first time out here and I won, so I’m glad about that. I’ve never ridden this track before.... I just try to stay consistent each lap even if it wasn’t a fast lap just make it consistent because at the end it will pay off.”
Super Senior 50+
Vince M. Holt (No. 2 on a Rotax) from Issaquah, Wash., won the race.
“It was pretty awesome, but scary," Holt said. "They red flagged the first lap, and I got a really bad cramp as we were going around the first lap and I had to stop for like two minutes because I had to walk off the cramp. We got back up and we got the holeshot. I got challenged by Dallas Mayer for couple of laps. Then all of the sudden, he wasn’t there anymore. I thought, ‘thank, God’ because I was exhausted. And that was just the first of three main events I had to run.”
201cc – 250cc
Dallas M. Daniels (No. 1 on a Yamaha) from Matton, Ill., won the race.
“I was right up front at the start and started to gap away a little bit," he said. "Their bikes were fast, so they were able to stay up with me.”
In the second lap, Tyler Raggio (No. 51z on a Honda) from Lockeford, Calif., took the lead, briefly passing Daniels along the back straight. Daniels regained the lead in Turn 3 and never looked back.
“I started to dial in my lines a little bit, so they weren’t as close to me going across the finish line," he said. "I was more relaxed going across [the finish line].”
450cc Open Mod (Single & Twin)
Cody J. Chisham (No. 66 on a Honda) from Indianapolis, Ind., won the race, but he had to work for it.
“I didn’t get a really good start, but coming out somebody broke down, so I was able to go around and get the draft going into Turn 3," he said. "And from there, I was by myself. With a couple laps to go, I saw [riders] start to draft me on the inside and I just knew I had to push harder. I didn’t want to go down, so I just pushed myself the best way I could. I did good tonight. Hopefully, I will do good the rest of the week.”
Dallas M. Daniels (No. 1 on a Yamaha) from Matton, Ill., took the win.
The 13-year old Daniels piloted the No. 1 Yamaha to the lead in the first turn and never looked back.
“We were all on the same bikes, DTX bikes," he said. "I was able to get out in front. A guy who is helping us, James, my cousin was waving his hands. I didn’t know what that meant because my bike was like going off the wall and I didn’t know if someone was going to draft me and I looked back and I was like "Wow!" I had a huge lead. That one was the best one out of the day for sure.”
David Scullard (No. 23a on a Rotax) from Sydney, Australia, won the main event.
“It’s pretty different racing over here," he said. "I wasn’t really looking for the win, but it was good to come over for the win. I’ve been riding since a baby and it was cool to come over and get a win.”
Vince M. Holt (No. 2 on a Rotax) and Thomas Engledhart (No. 73f on a Honda) stayed close all eight laps to finish second and third.
251cc – 500cc DTX
Jarred Brook (No. j21 on a KTM) from Gympie, Australia, won one of the biggest main events of the day with 11 riders.
Brook, Max Whale (No. 8i on a Kawasaki) and Jason Bloss (No. 21 on a Kawasaki) battled for the top spot the entire race, with Brook getting the victory.
“Yeah, it was pretty good," he said. "This is my first time in America and this was my first time on the mile as well. It was pretty good. I had a good battle with the other Aussie [Whale]. We are good mates. So, yeah it was good.”
Vince M. Holt (No. 2 on a Rotax) from Issaquah, Wash., won the main event.
The race started out pretty rough with rider Dallas Mayer bumping into Andy Van Valkenburg (No. 67v) off the line.
“I don’t know who it was giving me a run through the first half of the race," Holt said. "And he went under me on lap one and two, because I was riding a high line and came across front of me and as I was going by he was headed for the fence.... I thought he wasn’t going to be a bother any more. And he wasn’t, but he was riding me hard. Honestly, I just survived that one. For the rest of the week my only concern is Dallas Mayer. He is really fast on the half mile.”
Max Whale (No. 8i on a Kawasaki) from Gympie, Australia, won one of the most exciting races of the day.
The riders were grouped tight throughout the main event. Morgan R. Monroe (No. 10 on a Honda) led the race in Lap 1. On Lap 2, the racers began to tighten, with Jarred Brook (No. j21 on a KTM), Kyle Vanconant (No. 90 on a Honda) and Whale in tight formation.
On Lap 3, Turn 3, Whale made a move and shot past Monroe, Brook and Vanconant for the lead.
Whale, Jayson Bloss (No. 21 on a Honda) and Brook remained in a tight grouping through the last lap with Whale winning in picture perfect fashion.
“The competition was very hard and tough," he said. "I got Aussie rivals and American competition stepping up… the boys ride really hard. Yeah, it was good.”
Women’s (12+) 250cc – Open Single
Elizabeth Fitch (No. 21 on a Honda) from Belcamp, Md., won the race. Sara Saathoff (No. 19 on a Yamaha) led the race though the first two laps. In the third lap in Turn 3, Fitch passed Saathoff and never looked back.