Desert Racers Fight Through Dust, Rocks, and Cactus in AZOP Vulture Mine Off-Road Challenge
2019 AZOP Rowley White RV Series, Round 10, Wickenburg, AZ October 19-20, 2019
Photos & story by: Miller Truby
With autumn shortening the days and lowering the temperatures in Arizona AZOP brought racers back to beautiful Wickenburg for the second Vulture Mine hare scramble of the season. Ever a competitor favorite, the tenth round of the 2019 Rowley White RV Series – presented by RideNow Powersports and SinFab Industries – promised a long, brutal desert loop more akin to Baja than to the short-course GP races that make up much of the AZOP season. And with the area around Wickenburg having been pounded by Arizona’s summer monsoon rains this year, the course was even more technical and nasty than it had been for the initial event of 2019 in January.
The full course loop totaled about 34 miles (trucks, buggies, and UTV’s ran a slightly shortened 29 mile lap) and was run in the opposite direction that racers were used to from previous events. The track offered the expected mix of fast, whooped-out sand, rocky climbs and descents, dry washes, and cactus-lined trails. And of course the slow-settling dust was an omnipresent hindrance; even in the slow sections.
With only one more points-paying event (two for the Trucks and Buggies) left in the season after this race, the class-leading competitors showed up all business looking to solidify their leads, or perhaps make a run at a vulnerable leader. While several of the classes are already decided, many others will be up for grabs right up until the final race of the season.
In the Vet 30+ B class, #732 Darren Ben holds a 31 point lead over #83 Jacob Letner with up to 60 points available in the final race of the season. Likewise, #415 Tate Van Voorst will go into the final weekend of the year holding a 39 point lead over #317 Jarren Atwater with up to 60 points available. And while #343 Jake Moffat has secured the Open C championship with a 67 point buffer, only 8 points separate #403 Jacob Robinson in second place and #814 Lewis Wright in third. The Pro Quad class is surprisingly undecided with only 35 points separating #32 Koby Dodson from second place #1 Erin Simmons. Neither rider participated in the last several events so the final race of the season could become a showdown to determine who goes home with the year-end hardware.
One of the best season-long contests has been taking place in the 170cc UTV class where #147 Braden Krah and #192 Ryland Stowell have been trading blows all year long. Stowell took second at Vulture Mine while Krah finished in third, resulting in a vulnerable 26-point lead for Krah heading into the final weekend. Over in the 1000cc Non-Turbo class, the three-way race for the championship got even closer after the dust settled in Wickenburg. #2004 John Nix got the class win at Vulture Mine, while #901 Clayton Winiecki took third. #902 Evan Striplin had held the points lead but suffered mechanical issues during the race, earning a tenth-place finish and 0 points. The result of the chaos is that Winiecki has retaken the class lead over Striplin and will take an 18-point cushion into the ultimate race of the season. Nix, meanwhile, is only 8 points behind Striplin for third, which means any of the three of them could finish the season as class champion! Over in the Unlimited Turbo class, Dan Hurn has enough of a points lead to have the championship sewn up; though it is worth noting his switch from a turbocharged Can-Am to a non-turbo Honda Talon midway through the year, meaning that the Unlimited Turbo class championship will belong to a naturally aspirated car!
AZOP next heads to Shorty’s Sports Park in Blythe, CA for the non-points-paying Shorty’s Slammer GP and Motocross race. The weekend will include a long-format team race, night racing for the UTV’s, and much more. Registration is open now!
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 full race results, videos, and photos or to find out about upcoming events go to www.azopracing.com.
Saturday Motorcycle Results
Pro:1.) #3 Jeremy Newton 2.) #909 Miguel Cordovez Open A:1.) #824 James Clark 2.) #548 Drew Holleran 3.) #95 Austin Alexander Open B:1.) #415 Tate Van Voorst 2.) #771 Justin Blessing 3.) #249 Dylan Manning Open C:1.) #800 Jacob Moraga 2.) #403 Jacob Robinson 3.) #250 Gabriel Gamez125-250cc A:1.) #210 Patrick Wells 2.) #310 Travis Wells 3.) #454 Brian Curless 125-250cc B:1.) #429 Kaden Bedlion 125-250cc C:1.) #700 Anthony Luna 2.) #727 Jaeqon Peterson 3.) #724 Taylor Wilson Vet 30+ A:1.) #19 Dayton Raper 2.) #219 Jesse Romer 3.) #320 Kyle Pethers Vet 30+ B:1.) #72 Jordan Luke 2.) #6 Martin Craven 3.) #118 Levii Pickett Vet 30+ C:1.) #070 Jose Pena 2.) #073 Edgar Medrano Senior 40+ B:1.) #43 Jeremiah Schnurpel 2.) #248 Dylan Manning 3.) #133 Micah Smallhouse Senior 40+ C:1.) #713 Francisco Teran 2.) #5 Juan Rivas Master 50+ A:1.) #59 Gary Peterson 2.) #738 Thomas Connelly 3.) #701 Randy Wells Master 50+ B:1.) #625 Ron Simpson 2.) #808 Bob Chartier 3.) #144 Dallas BrownSuper Senior 60+:1.) #62 Richard Genovese 2.) #1946 Ronald Kenyon 3.) #251 Guy Lake
Pee Wee Bikes
Pee Wee 50cc 4-6 years:1.) #301 Jayce Tracy 2.) #17 Asher Galindo 3.) #203 Radley Konkright Pee Wee 50cc 7-8 years:1.) #153 Ryder Yates 2.) #898 Kash Schmidt 3.) #299 Cayden Kleck Pee Wee 65cc C:1.) #308 Aayden Tracy 2.) #329 Mason Milacki 3.) #151 Jeron Kunzweiler
Mini 65cc A:1.) #21 Marley Kuhn Mini 65cc B:1.) #2 Tristin Andrade 2.) #928 Owen Wesley 3.) #247 Cooper Skersick Mini 80-150cc A:1.) #168 Samuel Campbell 2.) #1429 Jonathan Kirat 3.) #177 Porter May Mini 80-150cc B:1.) #4 Chase Boyd 2.) #48 Danny Baca Mini 80-150cc C:1.) #130 Clayton Hixon 2.) #413 Colson Skersick3.) #199 Jaxon Steele Women’s C:1.) #93 Ellie Koester 2.) #069 Noel Ojeda 3.) #371 Emilee Carter
Saturday Quad/ATC Results
Vet Pro:1.) #14 Brandon Siewiyumptewa Sportsman:1.) #133 Brian Jackson 2.) #77 Jayden Jackson 3.) #50 Hunter Howe Pro:1.) #11 Tristan Jones
Pee Wee Quads
Pee Wee 50-79cc 4-6 Years:1.) #89 Zane Gehrts 2.) #56 Emma Martinez 3.) #075 Deegan Ojeda Pee Wee 80cc Beginner:1.) #85 Cade Little 2.) #222 Jack Wilson 3.) #200 Cutter Gehrts
Mini 250-400cc:1.) #61 Wyatt Little Mini 91-300cc 10-15 Years:1.) #17 Brayden Earlewine
Sunday UTV Results
Pro:1.) #081 Jonathan McVay 2.) #925 James Moore 3.) #078 Bob Joblonsky Unlimited Turbo:1.) #866 Chris Leaming 2.) #082 Tyler Avelar 3.) #989 Hayden Thomas 1000cc Non-Turbo:1.) #2004 John Nix 2.) #1877 Randy Blume 3.) #901 Clayton Winiecki 900cc:1.) #521 Brandon Spitz
570cc:1.) #57 TJ Siewers 2.) #1910 Grace Vinagro 3.) #1566 Damien Rockhill
250cc:1.) #17 Vincent Riccitelli 170cc:1.) #866 Jaxon Leaming 2.) #192 Ryland Stowell 3.) #147 Braden Krah
Sunday Truck/Buggy Results
Trucks & Buggies
Open Buggy – Pro:1.) #085 Bob Elio 2.) #110 Tom Wood Limited Buggy – Pro:1.) #1664 Kyle McMullen 2.) #1621 Wyatt Wyllie Class 10 – Pro:1.) #1020 Conner McMullen Class 1450 – Sportsman:1.) #1495 Tyler Davis 2.) #1477 Rich McClellan 3.) #1471 Roman Ramirez Open Buggy – Sportsman:1.) #531 James HopperLimited Buggy – Sportsman