Duking it out in Mississippi

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, March 19, 2009

Camp Shelby at New Augusta, Miss., was the site of the Bear Whiz Enduro hosted by Fred Pittman and Mississippi Hi-Point on March 7-8.

The Beginner Pee Wee class was first, with each rider starting 10 seconds apart and riding a 1/2-mile course for 10 laps. Then, the rest of the kids’ classes started on a one-lap, 16-mile course.

The starting order, with each rider starting 30 seconds apart, was Vet Kids, Int. Kids, Girls, Beginner Powderpuff and Pee Wee.

Our area had one contender, Kelsey Duke in the Girls class. This was Duke’s second race of the season, and she bested her finish from fifth last time to being on the podium in third this go-round.

The kids all rode 3 miles, were re-started to race 10 more and then restarted to finish the final 3. All kids and young ladies rode well and showed great sportsmanship.

On Sunday morning, the day after we lost an hour of sleep, a lot of people still looked droopy-eyed on the starting line. However, it didn’t take long for the adrenaline to start pumping after the aroma of motorcycle exhaust filled the area as the competitors were leaving the starting line.

There were rows 1-60 to start with row 00 left empty in memory of Southern Enduro Riders Association members who are no longer with us. The course was fast-paced, open-wooded, and sandy at times with absolutely no hills for the first 34 ground miles. The special classes had a cut off at 34 miles out, and the A and B riders had to ride pretty much the same course again with a test section added at the end.

After a grueling week of travel and racing in three events already, Cliff Ousley started the day a little under the weather but still managed a good ride and finished the long course to drop 8 points and claim second overall. Dustin Stevens and Will McConnell both had good rides to finish sixth and ninth in the AA class as well as top 10 overall positions.

Tyler Carter, Kevin DeLoach and Bryan Petty finished second, third and fifth, respectively, in 250A. Hunter Sanders claimed fourth in 200A, and Jonathon Seales had a good day to finish second in 200B.

Brian Duke, Kelsey’s dad, rode in the large 4-stroke B class and finished strong, in second place.

All of these contenders rode the long course while the following completed the short course for their finish.

Ted Anz and Jack Willis both had excellent days to claim the top prize in their classes. Anz dropped six points to ace the Sr. B class, and Willis dropped seven to win 250C. John Huggins came out of the day with a fifth place finish in Sr. B. Tommy Seales rode the entire course but was only scored through the short course to claim third in Super Senior A.

Brad Belcher was omitted from the results report from Bonita Lakes but did take home the win from that one. He had another good day to claim third in the Sr. A class this week.

Vicki Anz, Ted’s wife and two-time Women’s class champion in 2006 and 2008, decided to step it up a notch this year and compete with the men. She had a great day and claimed fifth in the 4 Stroke C class.

Jimmy Gentry and Edwin Petty once again found themselves tackling an enduro after semi-retiring, and both seemed to have a good time. Gentry said he had to talk to himself while riding to remind him to go faster and not get tired. Gentry claimed fourth in Masters B, and Petty won fourth in Super Senior A. Petty had bike problems right off of the start but got it fired up again to finish the race.

Kim DeLoach, Kevin’s mom, claimed first in the Women’s class, and Brian Lewis had a great day going in Vet C until about 5 miles before the finish, when he busted his radiator and fell out of contention. Lewis was the only local rider to start and not finish. That is a pretty good percentage rate considering how many there were.

Clanton Track and Trail will host a SETRA harescramble on March 29 at the club’s traditional campground site. The next SERA event will also be a national enduro and take place in Louisiana on March 29.