Though two-strokes no longer rule at the top levels of motocross, two-stroke fans have at least one race a year to look forward to, and that race took place the day before Easter, April 20. It was the 9th Annual Wiseco Two-Stroke World MX Championships, Hosted by Fasthouse, which was held at Glen Helen Raceway, April 20-21.
Robbie Wageman Tops Two-Stroke World Championships
Over 500 entries (including stars like Mike Alessi, Mike Brown and many others) made this the biggest edition yet, with everyone enjoying great conditions on a cool spring day with excellent track conditions, a fun layout and—of course—the aromatic and auditory bliss of full gates of two-strokes on the mainjets up the many hills at Glen Helen Raceway Park.
As Open Pro winner Robbie Wageman said, “I love the two-strokes! If I could race them all the time, I would—I love them. There’s something about the sound, the vibration, the smell—just everything about the two-strokes, it all comes together and puts a huge smile on my face.”
In the two Pro classes, Wageman took the prestigious Open Pro title for the first time (after winning the 125cc Pro Championship the past two years) with a 1-2 score, followed by fellow Yamaha riders Carlen Gardner (3-1) and Coty Schock (4-3).
Yamaha-mounted Justin Hoeft topped the 125cc Pros with his 1-1 over Chris Plouffe (4-3) and Colton Aeck (6-2).
It didn’t take Wageman long to control the first moto aboard his Gasper Transportation/Pro Circuit/Fasthouse YZ250, as he led every lap to finish almost eight full seconds ahead of Tyler Bowers—one of the few to choose an old big-bore (a 1991 Pro Circuit/Dunlop/Bell Powersports Kawasaki KX500)—with Carlen Gardner third aboard his BWREngines.com/Race Tech/Fly Racing Yamaha YZ250.
In the deciding second moto, Slam Life Racing (SLR) Honda’s Ricky Dietrich led the way aboard his 12-year-old Lava Bonanza Plumbing/Lava Propane/Monster Energy Honda CR250R for a lap before a yielding to a younger crowd, including the eventual podium finishers.
“I felt completely naked on stage coming out of the second corner [with the lead], like, ‘Oh my God, what do I do now?’” Dietrich joked.
Hoeft Tops 125cc Class At Glen Helen
Wageman said, “I got an okay start—top five or so—and I knew I had to beat Bowers, so my main focus was catching him and passing him.”
That task got easier when Bowers pulled off after the second lap with a flat rear tire. “I tried to limp it—like on a 450 you can kind of limp it a little bit, but this 500, man, when it hits, it lights up that tire, so having a flat tire makes it feel really slick, and when the power would hit, I would just go sideways—like in the middle of straightaways, down hills. I decided it was too sketch and I just pulled off.”
Though understandably disappointed, he still enjoyed his day overall, saying, “I’m a little pissed off because, as I said, the competitiveness [in me], but it’s supposed to be a fun race for me so here I am.”
“Once I got around [Bowers], I was just trying to ride a smart race,” Wageman said. “I didn’t want to make mistakes. I just wanted to stay out front and get on the podium, which I did, and it ended up being a great race.”
Though he came up two and a half seconds shy of moto winner Gardner, second place was good enough to give Wageman the overall and succeed 2018 champ Zach Bell.
Bell, on the Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki, was a victim of a moto-one engine issue in his 2007 KX270 that was admittedly thrown together at the last minute.
In his first-ever race at Glen Helen, Deleware’s Coty Schock came from eighth on the first lap to third halfway through the moto aboard his SwapMotoLive/Boyesen/FXR-backed Yamaha YZ250. “I got off to two top-10 starts and just managed my race,” he said. “People were making mistakes, and here, I can tell you [it’s important to] stay up and be consistent and not let the track get to you. I had some wise words from Kris Keefer—‘Respect Glen Helen!’—and I did.
“I knew that these hills were big, but TV and videos don’t do justice. It is incredible, and you get a whole new perspective and a whole new level of respect for watching the top guys at the nationals go as fast as they do around this track!”
One of the few to race both Open Pro and 125cc Pro, Hoeft topped both 125cc motos on his Simi Valley Cycles/Gasper Transportation/Fasthouse-sponsored Yamaha YZ125. He said, “It was a lot of motos—four motos were tough, but my fitness is really good right now (after spending most of the last year recovering from two broken feet). I’m getting ready to go to Hangtown and do the first couple outdoor [nationals] and see what happens. I’m having a lot of fun, and the 125 was a blast.”
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