Round 5 of AZOP Championship Series | Winslow, Arizona
2018 AZOP Series, Round 5, Winslow Grand Prix, May 5-6, 2018
This is a race report provided by AZOP…
Story and Photos by Jonathan Barrett
Thin Air Offroad Park in Winslow, Arizona made its grand debut hosting the AZOP Winslow Grand Prix. The event, sponsored by the Winslow Chamber of Commerce and the City of Winslow, was held on the brand-new track built by the staff and volunteers of Arizona Offroad Promotions. The 100-acre property is a perfect mix of motocross, desert and enduro sections. At 4.2 miles in length, a full lap runs approximately 8 minutes. The track also features a mini and peewee track for the up and coming youth to get the full racing experience on a shorter course.
The desert sections are fast and very silty, while the hard-packed motocross sections have plenty of large tabletops and berms to shred into. Thin Air, owned and operated by Katie and Craig Johnson as well as Scott and Bobbie Acklin, marks the first large MX park in northern Arizona, located 60 miles east of Flagstaff. The track will officially open to the public in July, hosting weekend practices. Johnson stated she has high hopes for the track, looking forward to bringing in different race organizations to utilize the track. The property was a great place for AZOP to bring their series to the round 5 stop, with bikes, quads and UTV’s all competing for the top spot on the podium.
The Pro Bike race had the trio of Luis Kortright, Wyatt Perry and Jeremy Newton competing for the top spot in a hard-fought race. The KTM 350 of Kortright grabbed the holeshot and took off with Perry and Newton hot in tow. Kortright spent half the race putting in solid laps as Newton pushed his Scootin’ Newton Racing Yamaha 250 as hard as he could, gaining on Kortright lap by lap, with Perry getting comfortable with the track and pushing his Blud Lubricants/ZR1 Suspension Honda 450 into the lead Newton put on him.
With only a few laps to go, disaster struck Kortright when he lost all compression in his engine and couldn’t start up again. Newton capitalized on his misfortune and took the lead, with Perry taking over second and pushing toward the finish. Newton took the win and Perry took second.
On day two, Kortright brought in his backup Yamaha 250 while Newton had to bring in his backup Yamaha 125 after sand and silt got past his air filter and deep into the engine. On a freshly watered track, Kortright and Perry were one and two going into the first two corners as Newton ended up sliding out.
Later in the lap, the boys found the slickness of fresh water as Kortright went over the bars coming out of a turn, followed by Perry going down in the next corner and Newton High siding at top speed in the same corner Kortright went down in. As all three got back to racing at nearly the same time, Kortright got sent off track into the trees as Perry and Newton pulled away.
Only two laps later, Perry maintained his lead and was pulling away from Newton when Newton’s throttle cable broke and sent him off track with a pinned throttle. After gathering himself back up, Newton jumped back in and pushed towards closing the lead Perry had put on the rest of the field.
Finishing day two would be Perry on top with Kortright taking second with a badly injured shoulder and Newton limping in to save points, taking third.
In the stacked Open C class, Jarren Atwater found himself a healthy lead and never looked back, pushing his Suzuki to the top of the podium. Gage Ross ran a good race as well, finishing second in front of Weston Atwater in third. Another notable finish in Open C was Adriana Mcneme, finishing midpack in 6th on her Northland Motorsports Honda.
Top 10 in the Big Bike race on Saturday was Jeremy Newton(Pro), Wyatt Perry(Pro), Austin Alexander(125-250 A), Dominic Dugi (Open A), Brian Perry Jr.(Open A), David Richards(Open A), Kyle Craighill (125-250 B), Kenneth Preston (Master 50+ A), Jon Froust (Open B), and Tim Dana (Open B).
Thin Air Offroad Park held up well against all the abuse the weekend threw at it. Keep an eye out for the best offroad racing experience in northern Arizona, opening in early July.
For more information AZOP’s championship series, visit https://azopracing.com/