WEST BRANCH, Mich. (July 27, 2012) – The most unique form of sports entertainment took place in downtown West Branch, when Taco Bell® sponsored an event that produced a temporary asphalt and dirt course where spectators could watch the racing for free. Pennsylvania’s Johnny Lewis, on a Van Way Racing KTM, led the field by winning both Pro main events during the Taco Bell Ogemaw Hills Supermoto Spectacular in downtown West Branch, Mich.
In less than eight hours, the downtown of West Branch, with its Victorian architecture made up of restaurants, salons, antique stores and specialty stores, was transformed to a racing circuit. The main street, a side street and a parking lot compromised the temporary course that included high-speed asphalt straight-aways, 180-degree asphalt turns, a dirt tabletop on main street, and a dirt section with multiple jumps. More than 2,000 spectators had safe access to view nearly any part of the course.
Racers from Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin traveled to the northern Michigan town. These athletes were from different racing disciplines including motocross, flat track, enduro, and even rally car racing. They brought their supermoto specialized motorcycles that are based on lightweight motocross bikes with long-travel suspension with a few changes including road race-style slick tires and large front brake rotors.
“People have so many options for entertainment, we strive to bring them something unique by putting on a different type of race in a downtown setting,” said Dave Duprey, owner of MISuperMoto and promoter of the event. “This was our second year holding the event and we had a deeper field of riders from more states. With a year under our belt, the event ran well and the races were blast to watch. This was only possible with the support from the City of West Branch, the Ogemaw County Sheriff and the Ogemaw Hills Bike Week Committee.”
The highlight of the Taco Bell Ogemaw Hills Supermoto Spectacular was the Pro Class main events. The first Pro main event led the evening racing. Adam Beldyga of Clio, Michigan on his Honda CRF450R was on the pole position after winning the heat race with Johnny Lewis on his Van Way Racing KTM 450SMR of Coatesville, Pennsylvania and Chase Guthrie of Mentone, Indiana on his Bloomington PowerSports’ Kawasaki KX450F on the front row. The pro riders were five rows deep.
As the green light went on for the first 12-lap Pro main event, Beldyga, Lewis and Guthrie fought for the holeshot with Lewis getting squeezed out at the first turn. By the end of the first lap, Lewis would pass Beldyga and set his sights on Guthrie who was leading the race. Within the first five laps of 12, Lewis had snatched the led from Guthrie. The 2011 Pro Class winner, Zac Rosine of Sussex, Wisconsin was closing in on his Honda CRF450R. He was soon on Guthrie’s rear tire as both riders would back-it-in at the corners, a unique feature of supermoto. Lewis continued to pull away as Guthrie and Rosine battled. At the checkers, Lewis won with Guthrie holding off Rosine.
Following the first Pro main event, the Beginner, Amateur and Vet classes all had their time on the temporary course. Jack Mayer on a Honda took the checkers in the Beginner Class in front of Israel O’Boyle on a Suzuki and Jerry Jackson on a KTM. All three riders hail from Michigan. Thunder McHaffie of Tallahassee, Florida won the Amateur race on a KTM followed by Jason Arnott on a Honda and Ben Kairys on a Honda. Both Arnott and Kairys are from Michigan. In the Vet 35+ Class, Pat Buchanan won away on his Honda followed by John Lukasik, Jr. on a Yamaha, with Andy Cule on a Yamaha in third. Buchanan and Lukasik are from Michigan, while Cule is from Ontario, Canada.
In the second 12-lap Pro main, the racers gridded in the same position as they did in the first main event. This time Lewis would quickly move to the front after the green light, leaving the other riders to battle for position on the podium. However nothing is ever certain even if you’re in the lead. Guthrie, who is the current points leader for the Michigan Supermoto Championship, would try to make a run on Lewis. With Rosine switching bikes for this main event due to a mechanical problem with his race bike, he struggled some in the early going. Buchanan, who finished tenth in the first Pro main event and won the Vet Class main, was inching upon the lead pack. Lewis continued to have the track dialed in and began to gain time on the rest of the field, especially in the asphalt corners and on the tabletop on main street. At the checkers, it was Lewis again followed in second by Guthrie and this time in third was Buchanan.
The Taco Bell Ogemaw Hills Supermoto Spectacular awarded points toward the Michigan Supermoto Championship. In the Pro Class, Guthrie has 138 points. He leads Beldyga by 29 points followed by Jonathan Kelsey who is 17 points back in third. Kelsey had 8-9 finishes in West Branch. Lukasik is ten points back in fourth. He finished 9-8 in the two Pro mains in West Branch. In fifth, Dillon Van Way, who was 5-5 in West Branch, is another ten points back. The final round of the series is on Sunday, August 26 at Auto City Speedway in Clio, Michigan. Each class will have two points-paying main events.
Full results and event information for the Taco Bell Ogemaw Hills Supermoto Spectacular are available at www.supermotospectacular.com. The event was sponsored by Taco Bell, Dean Arbour Ford, Bridgestone, Magnum Distributing, Midwest Motorcyclist and Violation Goggles.
MISuperMoto.com is the premier supermoto racing and track day series in the United States. Its urban-style, through-the-streets motorcycle races gives competitors an exciting venue to showcase their skills, and provides the public a unique entertainment experience. Test and Tune Days enable current enthusiasts to ride supermoto on a safe course, while new riders can try their hand at this fascinating motorcycle discipline including renting a demo bike. In 2012, MISuperMoto will promote the four-round Michigan Supermoto Championship, including the Taco Bell® Ogemaw Hills Supermoto Spectacular on Friday, July 20, and 11 Test and Tune Days. These Michigan-based events are held at Auto City Speedway in Clio, in downtown West Branch during Ogemaw Hills Bike Week and at Jackson Speedway in Jackson. Support is provided by Taco Bell, Bridgestone, Magnum Distributing, Violation Goggles and Midwest Motorcyclist. Visit www.misupermoto.com for more information.
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