Vroom is the best word that comes to mind in this photo.
Revved Up: 2010 Powder Mountain Motocross
By: Sean Zimmerman-Wall
The mellow vibe, scenic landscape, and impending storm combined to make this year’s Powder Mountain Motocross one to remember. The four days of racing began on a rain soaked Thursday and treated the competitors to a mud-fest that tested the skills of even the craftiest rider. Friday and Saturday the weather cleared up and the contestants received ideal racing conditions to make their bid for the final day. On Sunday, the stage was set for some epic runs by the country’s favorite pros and rising stars.
The serpentine-like road to Pow-Mow winds through a steep walled canyon and requires courage and focus to navigate safely. Since I wanted to throw back a few cold ones, I decided to leave the driving to the shuttle service. Boarding the bus at Wolf Creek, cooler in hand, we headed up the mountain. The spectators on the bus were excited to view the final day’s events and everyone was in good spirits. Arriving at the resort, the temperature was a cool 70 degrees and the lingering clouds cast eerie shadows across the course. Despite the ominous weather, the crowds continued to pour in and fill up the stands.
This year’s course was one of the most insane, hairpin turn ridden, step-up speckled, and elevation gaining tracks on the planet. Right from the start, the riders were forced through a bottleneck that led to an uphill right hand turn that made going for the hole-shot a daunting task. More than a few racers were foiled in this section as they tried to cut the inside and make a hot move. After the turn it was a high speed step-down to a fear inducing triple followed by a massive table. Next were the rhythm sections and a few hairpins, one of which was banked at a 30-degree angle. A massive step-up then led to the corkscrew and then back into the uphill bottleneck. It was truly a one of a kind course tucked into the hillside of an epic mountain.
After reviewing the track, my associate and moto aficionado, Ben Napolitano, led us to the pit where the racers were making their last minute adjustments before the days events. Once inside, we stopped and talked with a talented and attractive young woman from Salt Lake City named Jessica Goodman. The eighteen year-old was in her tenth year of racing, and she reflected on her chances for the race, “I finished up mid-pack with the ladies, and I am excited to race against the boys in the open novice class. If I get a good start, things could go my way.” Jessica’s dad, Mark, later commented that she had finished in first place 26 times out of her last 27 races. A proud father indeed, he was stoked to see his “little girl” step up to race against the 38 men that lined the start. Although Jessica didn’t podium in her event, she was just happy to be in the mountains enjoying the crowds and the competition.
As the tempest continued to brew, the festivities rolled on. DJ Knuckles blasted the crowd with his own unique blend of hip-hop mixed with some of the classics. Riders on the Storm by The Doors pumped across the venue and seemed a fitting tune for the day’s activities. By 3:30, the event was in full swing, and the old-timers of the 40+ Pro Class blazed out of the start gate to show those whippersnappers that they still had a few moves left. Downtown Mike Brown (not SLUG’s) laid out a sick line and delivered a stellar run reminiscent of his younger days.
Catching up with moto legend and course designer Jeremy McGrath before his Open Pro race revealed his thoughts on how the competition was shaping up. “I don’t really race much anymore, but this contest is so unique, it’s a must. I feel great about where the event is headed in the future and believe it will be around for a while,” said McGrath. During his race, McGrath pulled well ahead of the rest of the field and sealed his place in the final.
One of the most entertaining aspects of the entire competition was watching the Supermini Class tear up the course on their diminutive machines. Amanda Maheu of Clinton started strong and threaded her way into the hole shot to take the lead. She maintained her position for the first few laps, but the young and fearless Axel Hodges proved he had what it took to win. His massive airs over the triple jump awed the crowd and put him in the winner’s circle. It was something to see Hodges standing next to McGrath after the race comparing notes about the course.
Before long, the clouds began to part and golden rays of sunshine illuminated the venue just as the main event was about to begin. McGrath and company took the stage and the familiar brrrp, brrrp of the 450’s echoed off the canyon walls. The gates dropped and the final Open Pro race was underway. The pack blistered around the first uphill turn and over the first step-down. After that, they went airborne over the triple jump and table gap. The melee that ensued through the rhythm section was amazing as riders took seemingly impossible lines over the whoop-te-woos and into the next hairpin turn. By the third lap, McGrath had a handsome lead, and few challenged his authority throughout the remainder of the race. At the end of the day, the winners took to the podium to accept the trophies, their very own piece of Powder Mountain, an intricately carved slice of pine bearing the race logo and place.
If you missed this year’s Powder Mountain Moto X, make sure to attend next season’s event. It is sure to be even burlier than years past.
Check out www.powdermountain.com/motox for the info.
Big up to Carolyn Daniels for the tix and Patrick Lundin, the Marketing Manager at Powder Mountain, for ironing out the logistics of the race and hooking us up with the VIP treatment. Also, thanks to Monster Energy for putting on a great show and bringing the big event to the tiny mountain.