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THE Guam International Raceway was back to business as usual this past weekend with motocross racers hitting the track for opening round action in the Monster Energy Off-Road Monsoon Race Series.
The competitors went up against the elements including mud, rocks, spiders, and a whole jungle of trees. Fans in attendance witnessed participants in the Open Motorcycle and Open ATV classes going at it in an exciting first round. With an already tough course layout, the early morning rains that had been received had made for a most challenging event for the participants and their machines.
In the Open Motorcycle class, Tim Wenden took his powerful Honda-powered 450 to the front of the hungry pack right from the start. However, trailing closely behind on the first of 10 loops was Caleb Barretto aboard a Suzuki. Early in the race, the recently crowned Monster Energy Guam Motocross Champion JR Cepeda lurked behind the two front-runners.
For several laps, Barretto kept things interesting while applying pressure on Wenden. The native from New Zealand was not fazed by the moves of his opponent and continued to blaze through the jungle’s single track trails to eventually create some gap between himself and Barretto. Midway through the heat, Cepeda suffered a mechanical failure that forced him out of the race. When the checkered flag was waved, it was Wenden who stole the show with a victory, while Barretto and Marshal Vawters Jr. clinched second and third, respectively. Rounding out the top five was William Dunn and Paul Castro.
In the Open ATV class, Ramon Torres blasted out to an early lead throwing a rooster tail of mud and rocks from the rear of his Suzuki. The over-40 vet team of Tony Costa and Andy Painter elected to have Costa start the first portion of the race and was rewarded as Costa slipped into second off the start. Robert Bucek was within striking distance as he held on to the third spot early on.
As the lead trio disappeared into the jungles, it was Torres out front leading with Bucek now in second and Costa a close third. The riders emerged out of the trail portion of the course where Torres had stretched out his lead over Bucek and Costa.
However, midway into the heat it looked as if Torres was well on his way to the win when Mother Nature or perhaps Lady Luck along with a lot of mud and water intervened to cause the Torres machine to start to suffer and slow. Torres' crippled and suffering machine allowed the steady pace of Bucek to quickly catch and pass to take over the lead.
In the final laps, it was all Torres could do to nurse his machine to the finish line to salvage third place as the vet team with Painter now mounted and soaring through the course had also caught Torres and was now in the second place position.
At the end of what was a grueling 30-minute heat, Bucek took the win aboard the Cycles Plus Suzuki LTR450, the vet team of Painter and Costa taking second, and Torres making it to the finish for third place.
Round two of the Monster Energy Off-Road Monsoon Race Series will be on Sunday, Oct. 7. Gates open at 9 a.m. at the Guam International Raceway and races are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. with a full day of motocross.