Ousley gets off to great start in 2009

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cliff Ousley started things off in ‘09 exactly where he left off in ‘08.

At the first Southern Enduro Riders Association harescramble of the season, Ousley grabbed the holeshot away from Opelika’s Will McConnell just before the riders got out of sight of the race fans to go on and win first overall SERA.

Perry Mountain’s 11th Annual Southeast Cross Country Shootout turned out to be a great success with the turnout despite heavy rains early in the week and once again on Jan. 10 before and during the quads and youth races.

The Shootout was a combination of three different organizations competing for points in their respective series as SERA, SETRA and Midsouth Winter Series riders competed together.

At least 15 states were represented at the weekend’s event, including Alaska. A total of 658 competitors turned out for the challenging event, and, fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

The quads started things at 11 on Saturday morning with 139 entered. A young man from Illinois took the overall win with Billy Ballance, a professional competitor who can be seen on Racer TV competing in the GNCC series, coming in second. He led the entire event until the last lap.

The course was 8 miles of hills and muddy trails, and competitors raced for 5 laps. Brian Giles of Maplesville and Mitch Moore of Clanton were two of the local men to compete, and both fared well on the day.

The Youth Race was held at 2 on Saturday afternoon with five classes of different ages and skill level competing. Grayson Davis finished fourth in Beginner Pee Wee, and his older brother, Jackson, finished fourth in Intermediate Kids.

Connor Barrett finished fourth in Pee Wee, and his older brother, Landon, finished in the top 15 in Vet Kids.

Ethan Gregg finished seventh in Pee Wee. Neal Ousley had mechanical failure on his KTM and was unable to finish in Vet Kids.

The younger youth classes raced for 20 minutes, while the older ones had 40 minutes to compete.

At last year’s event, the kids all got to compete in the snow that had fallen overnight on Friday, and this year, the ground was wet but not covered in snow.

At 10 a.m. on Jan. 11, one of the races started that included the classes of the beginners and senior competitors. Randy Roper of Maplesville competed and finished fifth in Super Senior A and 19th overall.

The Junior class had Jared White and Jacob Davis of Maplesville going for the top spot among 39 other competitors. White finished 10th in class and fourth SERA, while Davis had mechanical problems and was unable to finish.

Chris Aultman of Maplesville and Nick Campbell of Marbury finished 13th and 14th, respectively, in the Open C class. The top riders in this race made 3 laps.

The 1 p.m. race may have been considered the main event of the day with the Professionals and those almost pros tackling the ripped-up course. The Pros rode on the same 12-mile loop for 4 laps that the earlier race of the day had rutted out.

Charlie Mullins and Jordan Ashburn—professionals who can be seen on Racer TV racing in the GNCC series—took the top two places. Cliff Ousley claimed third overall and first overall SERA, the series he won the championship for in 2008.

Will McConnell of Opelika grabbed second overall SERA, and Chad Earl, formerly of Maplesville, rode his new Kawasaki 450 to a fourth overall SERA and second Open A SERA finish. Earl did not ride many races in 2008 but looks to have his game on for this season.

Tyler Carter had a great day going until mechanical problems took him out of the competition. Burton Huff of Stanton got a great start in Senior A but was unable to finish.

Jonathan Seales of Stanton got off to a good start for the season and finished second SERA in Lites B with Hunter Sanders of Clanton claiming fourth SERA in Open B.

Awards were presented promptly, and everyone was headed home to prepare for the next race, on Feb. 1 in Meridian, Miss.