| |Article and photos by John Gasso
Shane Gaunt had the speed to run with the pack after an early race problem with brakes set him back in the pack. The Morton, Illinois racer has been plagued with bad luck this season.
Round eight of the Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals was held at the Ken Martin family farm outside Bedford, Indiana. The event was sponsored by Johnny Signs of Bedford, Indiana and co-sanctioned with the Kentucky Off Road Hare Scrambles Series. The weatherman was calling for rain on Friday evening, which would have helped conditions greatly, but the light shower that appeared had little effect on the dry soil. This would be a dusty race. The dry soil was pulverized by the pounding ATV tires and some sections became thick with powder. It was a day where being out front carried a distinct advantage, although lapped traffic in the dust was a bit more challenging than normal given the limited visibility in some sections. Kyle Martin rose to the challenge again, taking his Dirtworks Motorsports Rekluse Honda to the lead early and stretching out a gap forty five seconds at the finish. The Rocket Ron Racing Rekluse KTM of Josh Beavers hounded Martin all day, but a clogged air filter dropped the power toward the finish. That left Beavers with second place, followed by John Pitts aboard his Duncan Racing Rekluse Honda to complete the Johnny Signs XC all Rekluse podium. Former series champion Rob Zimmerman resurfaced at this race and took home fourth place riding his Moose Racing Powermadd Honda, while Shane Gaunt overcame rear brake issues early in the race to finish fifth as the final pro to complete twelve laps of the circuit. Bryan Hulsey kept his Dirtworks Motorsports Moose Racing Honda in the battle, but a fuel miscalculation left the two thousand eight series champion about two miles short of the scoring tent on lap eleven. Fifth place overall was captured by A ATV class rider Tyler Bostock with twelve laps aboard his Scott Goggles Rekluse Honda.
Defending OMA Nationals Series Champion Bryan Hulsey ran well at the Johnny Signs XC until he ran out of gas. The Duncan Racing Honda was in third place but came up about two miles short on the final lap, leaving Hulsey sixth in class.
Kyle Martin did not start this race I the lead, but a little bit of luck got him through a bottleneck early and set up the day for what has become a recurring theme at the OMA Nationals. This victory makes five consecutive trips to the top of the podium for the Maxxis Hot Cams Roll Design Honda. “I’ll keep taking them,” said Martin. “We had a pretty good lineup today. I was kind of dreading that with as fast as the track was and the dust coming in to play.” Martin’s concerns were relieved early with a good line choice on a difficult uphill that landed the Missouri racer in second place within the first mile. He recalled “right off the start, about sixth in to the woods, they bottlenecked and I got right in to second. I’ll take that. It was awesome to have that happen. Early on, especially on a race like this, before the dust got too bad I was able to get up front.” Soon Martin had his Fox Shocks Maxxis Honda at the head of the pack after taking over the lead “about two miles in.” According to Martin “I got past the leader and started just putting my head down and charging. I was trying to make some dust and put some time between me and the other guys. I had a good section, about twenty, thirty seconds, it seemed like to me, on them. And then I kind of started slacking off in the rough field area and, sure enough I noticed it going through here, I was like, these guys are coming on strong. They’re not giving up. So I had to dig down and push late in the race and I was able to get it.” Martin made his twelfth pass through the Moose Racing scoring tent on the Pivot Works Wiseco Performance Products Honda just forty five seconds ahead of the ailing KTM of Josh Beavers.
John Pitts blasted through the dust near Bedford, Indiana to claim third place at the OMA Nationals round eight event.
Beavers had a good run to finish second with his Sick Racing Johnny Signs KTM. Lap number nine for Beavers was fast lap of the day. Unfortunately for the Indiana racer, the race conditions were taking a toll on his GBC Motorsports KTM. “The last two laps I didn’t know if it was going to run,” he recalled. “I couldn’t get over half throttle. I was right on Martin. I’d caught up to him and was feeling pretty good. Out in that grass track I felt like I could have got around him, man, it just started missing and popping and carrying on. I was just kind of praying the thing would make it the last two laps. I was waiting on third place to blow by me, but I got lucky.” Beavers ended his day with one minute and eleven seconds of margin over the third place machine.
The Indiana based KTM of Josh Beavers took home second place at the Parts Unlimited OMA Nationals Johnny Signs XC. Beavers was charging to the front until his machine began running rough near the end.
It was John Pitts taking third place today riding another Dirtworks Motorsports Duncan Racing Honda. The Missouri racer said “I made one mistake all day that I remember.” Too bad that mistake was directly in front of Josh Beavers. “Of course that’s when Josh (Beavers) was right behind me and he capitalized on it and got me,” recalled Pitts. “I pushed out of a berm, and there he was. I tried to stay with him. With the dust and everything I just couldn’t hang with him.” Pitts will take another third, his third this season, and widen the gap from teammate Bryan Hulsey in the points race. The two racing buddies are currently locked in a battle for second place, with Pitts moving the gap to ten with this race. Hulsey was running in third place today, but ended the race a lap early after running out of fuel. “I was not too bad until the last lap,” said Hulsey. “I ran out of gas. I even stopped and took about a half a gallon. I thought it would get me to the finish, but it didn’t. I hit reserve about two and a half laps from the finish, so I knew I needed to stop and get a little. I thought a half a gallon might get me, but it didn’t. I ran out about two miles from the finish.”
Another OMA Nationals win for Kyle Martin at the Johnny Signs XC held near Bedford, Indiana. The Missouri racer has strung together five victories in a row and is heading toward the series champion position.
Just off the podium was Rob Zimmerman riding a Moose Racing Maxxis Honda that he said was a bit under powered. The three time series champion said “It definitely doesn’t have the power I had last year. Hulsey was all over me and I couldn’t motor away from him. He just had a lot more motor. That, and my gearing choice was very poor. It was a little too high for out here and for the motor power. The motor couldn’t pull it very well.” Zimmerman also had some suspension tuning issues today. According to the Ohio racer, “I thought I had the suspension dialed in. I was gravely mistaken. It felt like about a million whoops out there.”
With twelve laps completed, Shane Gaunt filled out the top five pro list after another day with a problem. The Aupperle Racing Moose Racing Honda has been fast all year, but bad luck seems to follow the young man from Morton, Illinois. This race it was the rear brakes. According to Gaunt “my back brakes stopped working on the second lap. Finally I just stopped because I couldn’t go fast with no back brakes. We had to bleed it out. Once I got going again I felt really good. I was running one hundred percent the rest of it.” Too bad there were a few slow laps to start and a sixteen minute lap mixed in with the ones he ran just under ten minutes. Gaunt was able to push his Fasst Flexx GT Thunder Honda to within four minutes of Zimmerman. The teenager was disappointed, but said “at least I finished this one.”
Former OMA Nationals series champion Rob Zimmerman was hanging it out at the Johnny Signs XC. The Ohio racer took home fourth place in the pro atv class.
The OMA Nationals Johnny Signs XC was another tough race that provided great entertainment for the spectators while challenging man and machine on a course that held a good variety of terrain. A powdery uphill, some grass track, and numerous switchbacks through the woods made it another exciting event. The series is eight races through their ten race series and Kyle Martin has stepped up his game for the last five events. The smiling racer from Missouri seems to have what it takes to be series champion, while fellow Missouri racer Bryan Hulsey has had an up and down season in his title defense year. Meanwhile, another Missouri racer is coming on strong. John Pitts has put in some steady finishes, and currently holds the second spot. New venues and a variety of racers have made the season interesting for everyone. Check out omanationals.com for a race schedule and further information on the race series that keeps the off road in off road racing.
Johnny Signs XC Pro ATV Results
1 Martin, Kyle Honda
2 Beavers, Josh KTM
3 Pitts, John Honda
4 Zimmerman, Rob Honda
5 Gaunt, Shane Honda
6 Hulsey, Bryan Honda
7 Schoolcraft, Dalen Honda
8 Moore, Chris Honda
9 Stewart, Gregg Yamaha
10 Lewis, Jason Suzuki