The 2015 Road 2 Loretta’s continues to trek across the country, stopping last weekend for the North Central Youth Regional Championship at Indian Hills MX on the State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Illinois. RPM Sports hosted the event for riders vying for a ticket for the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Championship on the Ranch nestled amidst the rolling hills in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee that takes place July 26 through Aug 1.
Riders battled rough track conditions, mud, and heat throughout the weekend in the three-moto format that was perhaps a short preview to the actual Amateur National Championship at the Ranch. Qualified riders can take a little breather and focus on training; some who have qualified in the area qualifiers in other regions do it all over again, while others have to wait until next year to try again.
The Schoolboy 1 (12-16) B/C saw three different moto winners, but the overall went to someone who did not win a moto, Christopher Fortier (66) of Jacksonville, FL. Fortier went 4-3-2 to claim the overall.
“First moto I got a really good start and in my division I pulled the holeshot and took off, basically but I crashed really hard. I was in the lead but I dropped back to fourth. The second moto was really muddy and I ended up getting third. And in the last moto I got a decent start and was able to make my way up to second and grab the overall,” said Fortier. “It feels good. It’s my first time getting the overall at the regionals so it’s definitely a good feeling.”
Fortier plans are to go up north to train with Brad Jerominski of Club 57 at Byron Motosports.
Patrick Murphy (94) of Clinton, IA took two overalls for the weekend to qualify in the 85cc (9-11) Limited and in the 85cc (9-11).
“I had a pretty good weekend here at Indian Hills. I just went out there and did my thing and got the W,” said Murphy. “It feels really good going to Loretta’s and I’m going to train as hard as I can.”
Colin Marler (212) of Caseyville, IL impressed his home area locals with a 10-2-4 moto finishes for fourth overall 85cc (9-11) and qualified for his first trip to the Ranch. He will head down to Golden Pines in Prentiss, Mississippi this weekend to try to qualify in the 85cc (9-11) Limited class also. However, he was beyond pumped to get one class out of the way.
“It was pretty hard. I wrecked a couple of times, but I still came up with going to Loretta’s,” said Marler.
In the Women (16+) All Stars, Danielle Grigoletti (41) of Elwood, IL finished 7-2-1 for third overall. As the numbers show, Grigoletti’s weekend started out rough but she was happy about the end results.
“This weekend started off pretty bad. My bike was screwing up the whole week but thanks to Mike of Rock River for helping me out the whole time. He got my bike working again and it pulled strong through all these motos.”
Many women don’t get to race against such heavy competition on the local level including Holly Hill of Wentzville, MO who was all smiles coming off the track. Although her scores in the Women (16+) All Stars (6-6-6 for 7th overall) were not good enough for a ticket to the Ranch, she felt great about being able to compete against some of the fastest women in the country.
“It was just about finding the right lines and looking for opportunities to pass. It was awesome being up front with them. I think I got sixth overall probably in the Women’s Pro Sport ,” said Miss Hill.
On the other hand, Hill’s performance in the Women 14+( 4-2-2 for 2nd overall) earn her a spot on the starting gate for the Amateur National Championship.
One of best battles on Sunday during the third motos was in the Super Mini 1 (12-15) between Parker Mashburn (223) and Lance Kobusch (99/). Both riders were pinning it to win it as if it was for the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Championship. Each rider swapped spots multiple times but Mashburn got the better of the battle.
“It was pretty intense. I did not get that good of a start and I actually passed Lance (Kobusch) and he passed me first and I passed him back. And it was just a good race from there," said Mashburn.
When asked if he thought of backing it down a bit to settle for second he said, “I have been riding conservative all week and just wanted to hang it loose at least once.”
Going into the third moto, Kobusch was secure with two moto wins, as one would think. In the second to last corner, Kobusch, in an aggressive effort made one last attempt to pass Mashburn for the lead, but he was buried in a deep rut.
“I stuck a ring on the first lap in the second corner. I was just trying to ride. I was going for it even though it felt like I had my back brakes on. I was going for it, went in there, leaned it over and just leaned it over a little too far. It caught and just went over the bars,” recapped Kobusch.
Kobusch blew his motor during that crash and took a DNF. That also led to a DNS in the Super Mini 2 where Kobusch was sitting with a 1-1. Uncontested, Marchburn got the overall in the Super Mini 2 also.
Grant Harlan (11) of Roanke, TX qualified with a third overall (4-11-1) in Schoolboy 1 (12-16). He was pretty pumped on qualifying and getting a moto win.
“My weekend was pretty good, except for starts. I was not very good except for that last Schoolboy 1 moto. I got second on the start, took the lead and rode from there,” said Harlen. “Feels pretty good and I’ll probably going to go to Golden Pines next week and try for Schoolboy 2 again.”
As earlier mentioned, the track was rough and muddy early in the day, but you could not tell with Alyssa Cole (98) on the track. Cole of Ashley, IL tamed the track to dominate the Girls Jr. (9-13) with a three-moto sweep. She rode virtually unchallenged and came off the track after moto three with a huge smile on her face
“It rained a little bit, and I am good in the mud. I am feeling great; I made it to Loretta’s. I am going to train as hard as I can,” said Cole.
The other intense battle of the weekend was between Chase Sexton (486) and Austin Forkner (214) in Schoolboy 2 B/C (13-16). Forkner of Richards, MO grabbed holeshots all weekend, but gave it away on the first laps to Sexton. With very little passing opportunities, it was up to Sexton of Lamoville, IL to ride perfect. And that’s what Sexton did for the first two motos. Here is Forkner’s recall of the battles.
“They were pretty good. The track was hard to pass on. So, you are not going to really pass anyone unless they make a mistake. I got the start in the first one but overshot the turn a little bit and he passed me then. And in the second one, I got the start and messed up. One of the corners was super chewed out and I went into the high side. But it was good.”
Chase Sexton got the overall with a 1-1-2 and was with his results.
“The weekend went good. I won the first two motos. In the third moto I got a bad start and just passed everybody. I started catching Austin, made a couple mistakes, and I just backed it down; I didn’t need to push it out there. Second was just as good as first. Yea it was good this weekend,” recalled Sexton.
It was no surprise to see Hannah Hodges (172) of Deland, FL dominate the Girls Sr. (12-16) with a 1-1-1. When asked about difficulties and challenges, this is what she had to say.
“It’s just a different track; I was just trying to get used to it a lot. I struggled a little bit in the beginning of the weekend, but Kawi has made a great bike this year and I just felt really good. I started pulling through by the end of the weekend.” Hodges continued, “I feel pretty good right now. I’m just going to try to keep working and work on a couple little things. I really want a top five, maybe podium at Loretta’s on Super Mini, so hopefully I can do that.”
After his shortcomings in the Super Mini 1 and Super Mini 2 classes, Lance Kobusch earned tickets to Loretta’s in both Mini Sr. classes.
“There are some tough guys out there. We are all training real hard and we are all at our best right now so it ought to be a lot of fun with great battles at Loretta’s. Hopefully, I’ll get on top of the box down there and have some fun. “
Krystian Janik (27) of Oak Lawn, IL swept motos in the 51cc (7-8) Limited class and took the overall in the 65cc (7-9 ) Limited with a 2-1-1 moto finishes.
Preston Payne (81) also swept a class at the Indian Hills MX Youth Regional. He rode his Yamaha to the checkers three times in the 51cc (4-6) Shaft Drive Limited. Payne also qualified by finishing second in the 51cc (4-6) Limited class.