Gates opened on Thursday evening to the Ross County Fairgrounds, on the outskirts of Chillicothe, in south central Ohio, home of ChilliTown MX, one of Ohio’s premier racing facilities. It was the first ever running of the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Loretta Lynn’s Mid-East Youth Regional at the venue, with amenities including paved pits throughout, shower houses, water and electric hookups at each pit, bike wash stations, and much more. The entire place is very much like a tip-top campground built around a challenging, technical circuit that is known as CTMX. Pulling in Friday morning, an hour before practice was set to get underway; it was jaw dropping with just the sheer number of people that have flocked to the first capital of Ohio. With sign-ups breaking 800 riders, it was by far the largest event many aspiring racers have ever been a part of. Being a stepping stone to the Amateur National Championship in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, the small city along the Scioto River, just a half an hour south of Columbus, Ohio, drew riders from nearly all 50 states and some from other countries. It was a sign of unity with all 50 states flags being represented around the FMF infield area. The beautiful facility was really a sight to behold. It was set to be a spectacle of a racing event with beautiful forecasts, a three moto format over two days, and Friday dedicated entirely to practice, all the traveling youngsters had their game faces on trying to punch their tickets to go to The Ranch.
Friday showed for promise as the pits were full and practice went underway as scheduled. Nearly all participants of the weekend spun their first laps on the racetrack and began to familiarize themselves with the fastest portions of the track. Riders could get printouts of where they stand against their competition so they could get a mental edge on the competition. All would be decided as the first gate would drop on Saturday morning.
Saturday would show for some great racing as many classes fought through divisional races to get to their final two motos to be ran on Sunday, all counting towards that final three moto format score. In the divisional races, the top 17 riders from each division were advanced to Sundays final two races, the rest went to a consolation race to be held at the end of the day on Saturday, deciding the last ten riders to fill that huge 44 man gate at ChilliTown. Track conditions were ideal for the little competitors as the track was prepped to perfection both days for optimum traction and line development throughout the hot, dry, windy weekend in mid June.
Highlighting the entire weekend was moto number one of the event; the Supermini 1 (12-15) class is a stepping-stone for a lot of racers moving to the big bike. Leading the way to making that step is the Team Green Kawasaki Rider of Parker Earl. The #26 bike out of Herriman, Utah got decent jumps off the gate both days, but motored around the outside of the wide first turn at CTMX, putting himself inside the top five in all three motos going into the second turn. Easily working his way past the rest of the pack and moving into the top spot, Earl went 1-1-1 on the weekend to sweep the class. Earl also competed in the Supermini 2 (13-16) division, where he also took the #1 spot with 1-1-2 finishes. KTM riders fought it out for the rest of the podium as the #37 of Chase Prince and the #94 of Kimble Jett hooked up in all three motos and ended up with solid moto finishes of 4-2-3 and 2-3-4 respectively for second and third overall.
Also racing at the Youth Regional event are the Women (12+) Amateur and Girls (12-16) classes. Both classes showing some great action across the entire weekend, but showing all the ladies how it’s done was the Rock River Yamaha sponsored rider of Danielle Grigoletti. Out there on the #41 250 2-stroke in the Women (12+) class, the Elwood, Illinois native pulled three holeshots and gapped the entire pack and easily went 1-1-1 on the weekend. Her little sister Gina Grigoletti, rode hard and battled many riders in the field, including the aggressive rider from East Concord, New York of Julia Krzemien, and the determined rider on the supermini of Alyssa Cole. Gina went 3-3-3 to take the second step on the box while the ATV’s and More Kawasaki sponsored rider of Alyssa Cole rounded out the podium in the women’s division with 2-4-4 results. The #98 out of Ashley, Illinois of Cole also swept the girls division with Jada Murphy taking the second spot with a 3-2-2. Sidney Wagner rode consistent all weekend as she went 2-4-3.
Showing a lot of promise in the 51cc (7-8) Limited class was the rider out of Freeport, Illinois, Mikah Carpenter. The #710 Factory Cobra sponsored rider rode solid all weekend as he easily rode to a divisional win on Saturday, advancing himself to Sunday, where he went 1-1-2 for the overall ahead of the #62 of Klark Robbins out of Shamong, New Jersey. Wyatt Bass out of Cleveland, Georgia took a while to get accustomed to the soils at ChilliTown, as he struggled early on, with a 12th place moto score on Saturday, but working his way forward to 12-5-1, good enough to round out the podium.
In all of the 51cc (4-6) classes, it was the #4 out of Ryder Andruzis. The Charleston, West Virginia on the Minton Cycle Cobra rode in both the Special LTD and Limited classes, where he went 2-1-1 and 5-4-5 for first and third in the respective divisions, punching his ticket to The Ranch. Also in the Special LTD class making a great show was the rider out of Buffalo, Minnesota, Colin Megaw. The little guy charged with all of his friendly foes to a 4-5-4 result, taking third in the class, also earning 3-4-5 tallies taking second in the Shaft Dr LTD division behind the #298 of Ryder Bloomquist. A lot of riders racing in the 51cc (4-6) classes already had their tickets to Loretta’s from earlier regional’s, but still opting to come to ChilliTown to earn that valuable extra experience battling with 43 other riders with the same mindset, victory.
The 65cc (7-11) and 65cc (10-11) Limited classes were pretty much a showing of the #105 of Mark Fineis. The Westfield, Indiana rider took the top spot in both classes he competed in with 1-3-1 and 1-1-1 finishes respectively. Fineis and the #15 of Thor Powell were the only two riders to get their tickets punched in both classes they competed in, as Powell went 5-6-4 and 6-5-3 to fifth and third overall. In the younger of the 65cc classes, the (7-9) Limited division, it was the Canadian rider of Thomas Munro on the #667 KTM taking the top step of the podium. Showing a lot of promise, and punching his ticket to the ranch, and hoping for better luck, was the #170 of Blake Pressdee. The local Ohio rider charged hard on Saturday to a second place moto finish in his division. Advancing to Sunday, he backed that up with another second when the divisions came together, but things weren’t so fortunate in the third and final moto, where he struggled to move up to seventh, still good enough to earn his ticket with fourth overall.
Having a great weekend was the #45 Team Green Kawasaki of Jayden Clough. The Elko, Minnesota rider raced in every single 85cc class he could sign up for, and was the only rider to stay consistent enough in all three classes to earn tickets to The Ranch with a pair of fourth place finishes in the 85cc (9-12) and Mini Sr 2 (12-14) classes and an overall in the Mini Sr 1 (12-13) class. Also making it to The Ranch in multiple classes in the 85cc divisions were the #55 of Jackson Craig, #16 of Myles Gilmore, #50 of Noah Stevens, and the #98 of Thomas Welch, proving that they could make passes on the track in numerous locations, and stay consistent throughout the weekend. However, no other 85cc rider could match the sheer speed of Wyatt Liebeck. The Woodstock KTM rider only competed in the Mini Sr 2 (12-14) class and was unmatchable in the first two motos, as he gapped the field by over 10 seconds. However, on a borrowed KTM, the Yamaha accustomed rider of Christopher Blackmer out of Muskegon, Michigan, was able to hold off the charges of Liebeck, pulling the holeshot, and picking the right lines at the right times to defend the Wisconsin rider to the third moto win. Liebeck and Blackmer go one and two overall with 1-1-3 and 5-2-1 moto scores each.
With the most intense action of the weekend, and the fastest speeds of all classes, the schoolboy riders showed that the track was plenty wide enough for creative lines and exiting passes. The Schoolboy 1 (12-16) B/C class was music to many moto dads’ ears as 44, 125cc 2-stroke engines sang on the line as the gates dropped. Making the most passes of all, and working his way through the pack in every moto was the Fort Walton Beach, Florida rider of Mason Gonzales. The #93 Yamaha rider charged hard on all five laps and muscled his way to a 1-2-1 moto score, just outmatching the impressive ride by the #243 Husky of Carter Biese, who went 1-1-4 for second overall. The two riders battled hard with the #10 of Gage Stine, who rounded out the podium overall in the class. In the 125cc (12-16) B/C class, the #243 of Biese plays bridesmaid again, but this time to the #10 rider. Stine, out of Woodsboro, Maryland proves consistency can win races, taking the overall moto win with 2-4-2 results, just outmatching the 1-8-1 from Biese. Making it to The Show in both the 125cc (12-16) and Schoolboy 2 (12-17) divisions are the KTM riders of Seth Brown and Bryce Hanson. Coming from opposite ends of the country, these two riders still seemed to always hook up on the track and provide great racing action, Brown finishing fifth and second overall respectively in the classes, and Hansen finishing sixth and third overall.
The first ever running of the Mid-East Regional at ChilliTown was a learning experience, as it should be, for not only the participants, but the promoters, the parents, the vendors, the outside staff, and everyone that took part in the weekend, inside and out. It was an honor to be a part in this groundbreaking race at a terrific venue. The racing action was as intense as it could have ever been, with not a single professional racer on the circuit; these amateurs are the bread and butter of our racing youth. These riders sculpted the track with lines that a pro could be proud of. Look for a lot of these names to be at the top of the pack, when gates drop in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee at The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship presented by Lucas Oil at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
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