AZOP’s Lake Powell Grand Prix and Hare Scrambles Saw Perfect Weather and a Perfectly Brutal Course
Third round of AZOP’s 2019 Rowley White RV Championship series challenged competitors and machines just to finish.
2019 AZOP Series, Round 3, Page, AZ March 30-31, 2019
Written by: Miller Truby, All images © Miller Truby
The Arizona Offroad Promotions Rowley White RV Series made its way north to Page, AZ and the picturesque edge of Lake Powell for the third round of the 2019 season. Though the Lake Powell race has been a staple of the AZOP series, this year’s race weekend – which was presented by Page Honda Polaris, B&B Auto Repair, and Antelope Slot Canyon Tours – featured a new format in the form of a short-course grand prix race on Saturday and a long-course hare scramble on Sunday. The Saturday short course was a heavily whooped-out and mostly very sandy 5-mile loop, while the 15-mile Sunday course used the first half of the short course, but then split off and ran down to the bluffs above the lake which kept competitors on their toes by sending them out of the soft red sand and onto the slippery rocks. The rocky sections were surprisingly technical, with steep drops, off-camber sections, and softball-sized rock gardens leading directly into sandy climbs.
Racers and volunteer sweep-riders all seemed to agree that this was one of the most challenging and interesting tracks AZOP has ever run. I can personally attest that my poor KLX 450 got dumped in the deep sand a handful of times, and I heard several of the sweep riders make similar remarks about their own rides. Sure enough, a cursory glance at social media after the weekend revealed a wealth of helmet-cam footage from riders struggling through the various sections of the course. In the end no one was complaining and even the riders and drivers who struggled seemed to appreciate the challenge posed by the AZOP track-makers.
Saturday – Grand Prix Races:
Saturday’s racing started bright and early as a beautiful, calm day dawned in Page. The “pee wee” classes were up first as they took to their own short course, which was essentially the infield area of the full size track near the pits. Even for the kiddie classes, the course was sandy and difficult, with some big whoop sections and steep hills.
The 170/250cc UTV’s were up first with four entries – all competing in the 170cc class. The top three drivers all managed to finish 12 laps across the 30 minute race, with Liam Salas Fisher (115) eventually winning by a few seconds over Stevie Mclaws (66) and Erik Alvidrez (116).
The Pee Wee Quads rolled to the starting area next for their turn in the sand. The four riders in the 80cc+ Advanced Pee Wee class battled all the way through the full 30 minutes, with multiple passes happening for the lead throughout the race. Landen Johnson (34) took the top podium spot in his class and in the overall with 14 laps completed, while Tevin Freeman (44) and Brendon Turner (95) placed second and third, respectively, with 13 laps each.
In 80cc+ Beginner Pee Wee Jack Wilson (222) rode to an 11-lap win, while Tatum Bransitter (5) finished second and Kaiden Lee (7) came in third, both with 11 laps completed as well.
The 50-79cc 4-6 year old class was won by Lane Johnson (289) who managed 10 laps in the 30 minute time limit. Second place went to Tyler Wade (88) who finished 9 laps, and third went to Emma Martinez (56) with 8 laps completed.
The Pee Wee Bikes made their way to the start area for their turn in the deep sand. The track was packed with parents and volunteers expecting carnage in the challenging conditions and though there were certainly some crashes, the kids acquitted themselves very well! It certainly helped that the top three overall spots were won by local riders familiar with the conditions around Page.
For the second weekend in a row, Kaycee Curley (238) came out and dominated, putting down 20 laps at a blistering pace and taking the overall and class win in 50cc 7-8 years old. Rhylan Benally (12) finished second in class and overall with 19 laps done, while Ryder Yates (153) finished third in the class with 9 laps.
The 65cc-C Pee Wee class was won by Aayden Tracy (308), who also garnered the third overall podium spot. Karlyle Barney (045) took second in class while Wyatt Massey (419) finished third.
In the 50cc 4-6 years old class it was Courtney Curley (25) making her way to the top spot on the podium. Brayden Almendarez (187) finished second, and Jayce Tracy (301) finished third.
Once the Pee Wee classes had cleared the course, it was time for the big quads to make their way onto the the full-length GP track. In the Pro class, two local riders from Page jumped out to an early lead and never really let up, showing that comfort with the local terrain was definitely an advantage. Jarrett Curley (15) completed 7 laps and won the class and the overall with a commanding lead. Erin Simmons (1) brought home second place in class and overall with 6 laps completed. Third in the pro class and overall went to Tyler Benally (12).
The Expert quad race went to Noah Harris (62), with Nick Helton (808) and Michael Mack (821) bringing in second and third, respectively. All three riders completed 6 laps.
Ian Sessions (27) took the win in the Sportsman class, finishing just 9 seconds ahead of second place rider Layne Fryar (974). Brian Jackson (133) took the third podium spot.
The mini quads took to the GP course once the big quads had finished up. Marcus Harris (3) won the overall and the 250cc-400cc Mini class. Gabriel Simmons (4) finished second overall and won the 91-300cc 10-15 Year Old Mini class, while Sarah Tsosie (8) finished third overall and second in the class.
While the mini quad turnout was fairly small, the mini bikes saw a relatively large field and featured some extremely close racing. Keegan Hardy (381) held on for the overall and 80-150cc A Mini class win, finishing just 1.6 seconds ahead of Jonathan Kirat (1429), who took second in class and overall. Third overall and in the class went to Brett West (532).
Marley Kuhn (21) took first place in the 65cc A mini class.
Clayton Hixon (130) took the top podium spot in the 80-150cc C mini class, while Colin Skersick (413) took home second. Jaxon Steele (199) brought home third place in the class.
Ellie Koester (93) dominated the Women C class, finishing a full lap ahead of Skye Greenfield (049) and Grace Vinagro (191) in second and third, respectively.
Chase Boyd (4) took first in the 80-150cc B mini class. Danny Baca (48) took second place in the class.
In the 65cc B class, Cooper Skersick (247) won with three laps completed, while Owen Wesley (928) finished second and Mason Koester (76) finished third.
As the beautiful morning gave way to a warm and clear afternoon, the 60-plus entries in the Big Bike classes headed to the starting area for their turn on the sandy whoops of Page. The Pro class and overall podium was topped by Miguel Cordovez (909), who put in 6 smooth laps. Taylor Stevens (063) took the second spot in class and overall 25 seconds later. For the second time on Saturday Jarrett Curley (047) put himself on the podium, this time in the third spot in class and overall – having won the Big Quad race earlier in the day.
The Open A class went to Austin Alexander (95), who managed to find the speed to finish 3-plus minutes ahead of second place, despite not having a functional 5th gear. The second podium spot went to Luke Vermilyea (96), and third place went to David Richards (196).
Kaden Vermilyea (100) won the 125-250cc A class, while Tim Dana (104) finished up second in class.
Kaden Bedlion (429) brought home first in the 125-250cc B class. Colton Edwards (29) took second, while Malachi Manheimer (166) took third.
Matt Young (72) took the win in the Senior 40+ A class ahead of Starley Stevens (066).
In the 125-250cc C class, Dakota Tojan (471) took first. Anthony Luna (700) brought home second place and Cole Haley (42) finished third.
Open B was won by Dylan Manning (249), with Jarren Atwater (317) finishing less than a minute later. Wyatt Moore (305) brought home the third podium spot.
Richard Genovese was the only entry in the Super Senior 60+ class, but that didn’t stop him from completing 5 laps and ending up well into the top half of the overall standings.
Open C went to Jake Moffat (343). Graigen Jordan (061) took second place, while Channon Yazzie (376).
The Senior 40+ B class was won by Cliff Anderson (149). Zack Greenfield (312) placed second in the class and Micah Chlarson (133) took third.
Senior 40+ C went to Francisco Teran (713) ahead of Ron Corey (044) and Juan Rivas (5), respectively.
Josh Serna (121) took the win in Vet 30+ A.
Vet 30+ B was won by Jacob Letner (83), who was followed by Darren Ben (732) in second, and Matthew Land (864) in third.
Vet 30+ C went to Ian Denetsosie (057).
The Women’s class was won by Shania Stevens (064).
With the full course cleared of the smaller machines, it was time for the UTV’s to have their opportunity to challenge the deep sand. The 570cc class had three entries, with Grace Vinagro (1910) taking the win over teammate Ellie Koester (1901). Third place went to Chelsie Lee (212).
As the 570’s cleared the course, it was time for the UTV main event to get started. With the sun falling low in the western sky and long shadows falling across the course, the 16 entries across four classes hit the starting area. The Pro class and overall was won by Aaron Henry (209). Kody Winiecki (903) took second in the class and overall.
Clayton Winiecki (901) took third overall and won the 1000cc non-turbo class. Evan Striplin (902) took second in the class, while John Nix (2004) took third.
Tobias Gavin (1212) brought home the Unlimited Turbo class win, followed up by Daniel Hurn (969) in second and Kirk Sutherland (998) in third.
The 700cc class was won by Aidan Lee (211) with Robert Brizzee (1176) coming in second.
Sunday – Hare Scramble Races:
As a second day of perfect weather dawned on Sunday the pits were buzzing with activity as the first time format change called for a very different course that would force riders and drivers to adapt on the fly without the benefit of having seen the full track the previous day. As the larger classes made their preparations, the pee-wee riders and drivers took to the short “infield” track to duke it out in the sand.
First up on Sunday were the Pee Wee Bikes and, just the same as she had on Saturday, it was Kaycee Curley (238) putting on a clinic. She completed 20 laps and took the overall win as well as the 50cc 7-8 Year Old Pee Wee class. Rhylan Benally (12) finished second in class and overall, while Ryder Yates (153) finished third in the class. Curley leads the season point standings with 120, followed by Lane Oden in second with 67, and Benally in third with 50.
In 65cc C Pee Wee Aayden Tracy (308) took the class win and was good enough for third overall. Karlyle Barney (045) took second in class and Wyatt Massey (419) took third. Tracy now owns a share of first place in the season standings with 60 (tied with Cooper Skersick). Chase James sits in third place with 59 points.
Brayden Almendarez (187) took first in the 50cc 4-6 Year Old Pee Wee class. Courtney Curley (25) was second and Jayce Tracy (301) took third. Curley now owns a commanding lead with 136 points on the season. Almendarez is in second with 85 points, and Hayden Griffith is third with 57.
The Pee Wee Quads were out next and the 80cc+ Advanced class set a blistering pace on the very short track. Landen Johnson (34) got the win with 14 laps completed. Brendon Turner (95) took home second place and Tavin Freeman (44) finished up third. Those three also took the top three overall spots. Freeman leads the season points with 131, with Turner in second at 117, and Brayden Earlewine in third with 108.
Top spot in the 80cc+ Beginner class belonged to Jack Wilson (222). Kaiden Lee (31) finished second in class and Tatum Bransitter (5) took third place. Wilson now owns a significant lead in the season points with 145. Lee sits in second place with 98, while Cade Little sits in third with 69.
In the 50-79cc 4-6 Year Old Pee Wee class it was Tyler Wade (88) taking a close win over Lane Johnson (289) and Emma Martinez (56) respectively. The win put Wade into the lead for the season points with 101. Second place belongs to Brantley Little with 90, while Destry Dugi is in third with 61.
The 170/250cc UTV’s were out next to finish up the “pee wee” course races for the weekend. Stevie Mclaws (66) jumped out to an early lead and reeled off 13 hard laps, taking the win over Liam Salas Fisher (115) and Erik Alvidrez (116), respectively. Salas Fisher owns the series lead at 111 points, with Mclaws in second with 98 points, and Ryder Wilson in third with 80 points.
As the day warmed up the Big Quads lined up to be the day’s first vehicles on the full-length hare scramble course. The 15 mile loop used the first half of Saturday’s GP course but then split off to the north and ran toward the bluffs above Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon before returning to the pits along the rocky base of the cliffs.
Despite the very different track conditions, the race was a near repeat of Saturday’s results, with Jarrett Curley (15) taking his Honda to the top of the podium in the Pro class and overall for the second day in a row. Erin Simmons (1) once again took second overall and in class, while Tyler Benally (12) took third in the Pros and overall. Simmons owns the Pro points lead with 80, while Koby Dodson sits in second with 64 and Curley sits third with 60.
Noah Harris (62) won the Expert Class for the second day in a row, followed by Nick Helton (808), who placed second for the second day in a row, and Michael Mack (821), who repeated his third place finish from Saturday. Helton leads the series with 140 points, followed by Mack at 100, and Harris at 60.
In the Sportsman class it was Brian Jackson (133) improving on his Saturday result by winning the class outright on Sunday. Jayden Jackson (77) took second place and Marcus Harris (3) finished third. Jackson owns the points lead with 111, followed by Layne Fryar at 89 and Ian Sessions at 48.
The Mini Quads headed out next to contest their two-entry race on the shorter Grand Prix circuit (the same as they raced on Saturday). Both 91-300cc 10-15 Year Old Mini riders completed 3 laps in the allotted time, with Gabriel Simmons (4) taking the win for the second day in a row over Sarah Tsosie (8). Simmons now owns the season points lead with 90, while Tsosie sits in second place with 75. Elizabeth George is in third place with 25 points.
The Mini Bikes came out next to take on the Grand Prix course for the second day in a row. In a reversal of the previous day’s results, it was Jonathan Kirat (1429) taking first overall and in the 80-150cc A class. Keegan Hardy (381) finished second overall and in the class. Brett West (532) took third place overall and in class. Travis Boyd leads the series points with 115, followed closely by Porter May at 109. Kirat is in third place with 85 points.
In the 80-150cc B class it was Chase Boyd (4) taking the win over Danny Baca (48). Boyd holds a massive lead in the season standings at 145 points, while Baca now sits in second with 50 points.
80-150cc C went to Clayton Hixon (130) for the second day in a row. Danny Carter (71) took the second spot on the podium. Colson Skersick (413) rode into third place. Colson leads the series points with 121, followed closely by Jaxon Steele at 115 and Skersick at 104.
Cooper Skersick (247) capped off his perfect weekend in the 65cc B class by winning for the second day in a row. Sam Yazzie (072) came second, while Owen Wesley (928) took home third. Wesley owns a slim series point lead at 122 to Skersick’s 120. Tristin Andrade is in third with 51 points.
Marley Kuhn (21) took the win in 65cc A and owns the series lead with 150 points.
Ellie Koester (93) won the Women’s C Mini class for the second day in a row. She now holds a commanding lead in the series with 120 points. Emilee Carter is in second with 75, while Grace Vinagro sits third with 63.
With the mini bikes finishing up for the weekend it was time to return to the full-length hare scramble course as the Big Bikes lined up for their second race of the weekend. Despite the very different course, the overall and Pro class podium was the same as it had been the previous day, with Miguel Cordovez (909) taking the win, Taylor Stevens (063) finishing second, and Jarrett Curley (047) taking third. Cordovez now owns first place in the Pro season standings with 60, followed by Quanah Smith in second at 36, and Dominic Dugi in third with 32.
David Richards (196) took the Open A win by a scant 5 seconds over Austin Alexander (95). Quintin Begay (074) took third place. Alexander leads the season series with 122, while Richards sits in second with 103. Brian Perry is in third place with 53 points.
125-250cc A went to Tim Dana (104) who now owns a big lead in the points standings with 115. Kaden Vermilyea sits in second with 60.
125-250cc B went to Kaden Bedlion (429) for the second day in a row, with Malachi Manheimer (166) finishing second and Herman Yazzie (071) taking third. Colton Edwards is first in the season points with 119, while Dustin Queen sits in second with 64, and Bedlion in third with 60 (tied with Collier Martinez).
In 125-250cc C the win went to Anthony Luna (700). Dakota Tojan (471) took second place while Cole Haley (42) took third. Luna and Jaeqon Peterson are tied atop the point standings, each with 100 points. Cole Haley sits in a close third with 96.
Master 50+ B wend to Dan Diemer (128). Ron Simpson (625) took second place. Diemer and Simpson are now tied for first place in the season points standings with 55 each. Richard Heyer is in third with 42.
The Open B class went to Dustin Queen (974), followed by Jarren Atwater (317). Atwater leads the points for the season with 94, followed by Tate Van Voorst with 66, and Wyatt Moore with 63.
Open C was won by Jacob Moraga (800), while Joe Walkup (58) was second, followed by Jacob Robinson (403) in third. Robinson holds a slight lead in the season standings with 87 points, followed closely by Moraga at 82 and Walkup at 75.
Matt Young (720) won the Senior 40+ A class and holds the class points lead with 60.
Senior 40+ C went to Juan Rivas, who took over the class points lead with 76. Francisco Teran is in second with 60, followed by Matt Gurtler with 21.
Vet 30+ B was won by Darren Ben (732). Ben now sits first in the standings with 55, followed by Nick McDonnell and Kyle Kinsman, tied at 30 apiece.
With the shadows elongating across the course and the prospect of the work-week beginning the next day, the decision was made to combine the 570cc UTV race with the full-size UTV’s. The two entries in the 570’s would start at the back of the field and would only run one lap of the full hare scramble course, while the full size machines would run the full 1.5 hour race.
The overall win went to Bill Nash (3262) in the Unlimited Turbo class. Tobias Gavin (1212) took second in the class, followed by Bruce Sutton (617) in third. Dan Hurn sits in first place in the class with 64 points, while Greg Hamilton is second with 58. Gavin sits a very close third with 55.
In the Pro class it was Aaron Henry (209) taking the class win (and second overall) for the second day in a row. Kody Winiecki (903) took second in the Pros and third overall. Winiecki owns the points lead with 117, followed by Brian Crawford at 64, and Henry in third at 60.
In the 1000cc Non-Turbo class Clayton Winiecki (901) took the win for the second day in a row. Logan Jespersen (11) took second, while Evan Striplin (902) took third. Winiecki is in first with 111 season points, followed by Striplin at 97, and Paul Romanek at 66.
In the 570cc class it was Grace Vinagro (1910) once again taking the win. Ellie Koester (1901) repeated her second place finish from Saturday. Vinagro leads the overall points at 120, with Mia Lloyd in second with 81, and Koester in third with 63.
As always AZOP would like to thank all of the sponsors, staff, volunteers, racers, and spectators for making this another successful and fun weekend of racing. For more coverage, videos, and photos or to find out about upcoming events go to www.azopracing.com