The 2018 AZOP Vulture Mine Hare Scrambles had a fantastic turnout this year for all types of racing.
There were 52 UTVs, 74 dirt bikes and 29 ATVs that showed up to the longest and most challenging race of the AZOP season.
On the two wheels side of the race, the Blud Lubricants Honda No. 188 of Wyatt Perry got off to a strong start and held a 44 second lead over the No. 009 of Miguel Cordovez coming into the timing gate of lap 1, with the No. 15 Yamaha of Jeremy Newton bringing up third.
After another 30 miles Wyatt Perry still had a lead of 20 seconds over the now second place Newton and a two-and-a-half minute lead over the No. 223 of Luis Kortright, who was now in third. On the final lap, Perry was running strong up until mile 24 where he ran out of gas after a miscalculation of not getting fuel in the previous pit stop. Perry was able to get fuel on the course, but not before falling to No. 6 as the competitors made quick work of the lead he had. Overall it was Newton with the win, followed my Luis Kortright and Juan Cordovez taking third. Other winners include Patrick Wells taking Open A on his Yamaha, Jon Froust taking Open B on his Honda and Jeff Ekstrom taking Open on his Kawasaki.
The ATVs were out in full force as the Pointless Racing Honda No. 35 of Erin Simmons rocketed off the start and took the lead. Simmons’ had the lead coming into the end of lap 1 with the No. 102 of Ron Suor three minutes behind him. Simmons kept the lead going into lap 2 with a one minute lead over Jones and Suor still only two minutes behind him in third. Coming across the finish line after 75 miles was Simmons in first, Jones in second and Suor taking the podium in third. Michael Tsosie won the Expert class with a 4th overall on his Honda, followed by the Tarno Racing and Motorsports No. 505 Yamaha of Travis Tarno and Dave Jobski taking third in Expert and 12th overall with his Honda.
The UTV class brought 52 to the start line this year, a very good number in recent years for AZOP. As they took off, the drivers knew it was going to be a tough four laps, traveling close to 100 miles. Coming across the end of lap 1 in first was the RnR Steel No. 1964 Polaris of Robert VanBeekum, followed by the No. 305 Can-Am of Tom Wilson and the No. 4524 Can-Am Garrick Lastra. Things would shake up from there as VanBeekum would end the day early on mechanical failures, as would the Mamelli Racing No. 1514 Polaris of Mike Mamelli midway through his second lap. Lap 2 would bring a whole new lineup with Mark Milne leading James Moore by two minutes and the No. 405 Can-Am of Troy Dyer coming by in third. Lap 3 would bring first and second through with Milne and Moore and Lastra would pass Dyer to take third.
Overall for the Pro class would be Milne beating Moore by 58 seconds and Garrick Lastra rounding out the podium. Overall at top of the podium would be the Polaris of Moore, the Polaris of Milne and the Polaris of Ryan Ottersberg from the 1000cc Non-Turbo class. Other notable finishes are the Pik Motorsports No. 143 of Kali Kinsman, winning the 1000cc Turbo class and 8th overall, and the No. 114 Yamaha of Robert Olander finishing No. 4 in 1000cc Non-Turbo and No. 7 overall.
Last but certainly not least, the junior racers on both two wheels and four came out strong for their chance at desert racing on their smaller tracks. The 65cc mini bike class, which represents the younger racers, had Casey Weatherford on the top spot of the podium with a three minute lead over Chase Boyd and a nine minute lead over Hunter Sixkiller. Tate Van Voorst took the overall win as well as the win in the 80-150cc A class, with Keegan Hardy 30 seconds behind overall, and winning his 80-150cc B class. The 80-150cc C class ended with Trevor Supalla taking the top spot and 3rd overall, followed by William Robinson (5th OA) and Travis Lash (9th OA).
The Peewee Bikes, whose ages range from 4-6 years old, showed that the young guns of offroad racing are a force to be reckoned with. Marley Kuhn won the 65cc C class, followed by Ryker Jirsa and Bryce Petrie. The 50cc 4-6 year old class had Abraham Hassan and Courtney Curley on the podium. In the 50-70cc 7-8 year old class, Kaycee Curley, Chase Dugan, and Cooper Skersick rounded out the podium respectively.
On 4 wheels, Tyler Tsosie, following after his dad in the big quad race, took the No. 1 spot in his 250-400cc class and the overall win, followed by Caliber Racing’s Carly Senter, Dirt Halo Racing’s Dakota Hibler overall and in class. Kasey Snyder finished first in the 90-300cc 10-15 year old class, followed my Caliber Racing’s Ryan Forward. In the Peewee division, Leighton Johnson won the 50-79cc 4-6 year old class, with Paisley Campbell taking second. Landon Johnson would take the gold in the 80+cc beginner class, with Sarah Tsosie and Brayden Earlewine finishing respectively. Pointless Racing’s Gabriel Simmons would win the 80+cc advanced class, with Wyatt Smith close behind.
The UTV 170 and 570 class showcased the future of UTV offroad racing. The 170 class brought out 24 competitors to see who can beat the unforgiving course. Ryder Chapman took the overall win in his Polaris 170, with Vincent Riccitelli and Parker Christian in second and third on the day. Xtreme Machine and Fabrication had a great day as their racers finished No. 1, No. 3, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7.
The UTV 570 class came out strong, racing in the transitional race between 170 and the big UTVs. Ryder Chapman of Xtreme Machine and Fabrication yet again took No. 1, followed closely by his teammate Jessie Owens. Riley Hein finished the podium off strong. Ryder VanBeekum would race with his dad as his co-driver and would race his rear wheel right off, finishing with a No. 7 place.
The Vulture Mine Offroad challenge is the hardest and longest race of AZOP’s season. Whether on two wheels or four, the rugged terrain and long distances made the best of the best shine.
The next race for AZOP is the Q-Town Grand Prix in Quartzite, AZ, on March 10-11.
For more info go to azopracing.com.