Grantsburg Motocross Park Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Grantsburg MX, May 3, 2009

Photos  Results

A beautiful spring day at Grantsburg Motocross Park really brought out the green. No, not the foliage, but the green of Kawasakis and cash. The first dry, District 23, Kawasaki contingency race of the year brought a lot of new and familiar faces back to the deep sand. Long motos for the 250 A and Open A classes, as well as the “Buy Two, Get a Third Entry for Free” offer by the promoting Straight Arrow Enduro Riders, gave nearly everyone as much track time as they wanted, and provided some entertaining races for the spectators as well.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the track. One rider who was at that first race in 1974, and many times thereafter, made a return visit on this day. Former Kawasaki factory rider, Tom Benolkin, made his first trip back to the track since 2002. Commented Tom, “I was here at the first event and would have never imagined I’d be back 35 years later.”

Benolkin rode on the factory Kawasaki team in 1981 and 1982. It was the era when works bikes were very experimental, and the Kawasaki was the most experimental of them all. Tom pushing his broken machine back to the pits was an all too familiar sight, especially in 1982 on the fragile KS250. Never one to hold a grudge, all these years later, he chose a KX250F as his weapon of choice.

Benolkin signed up for the three classes, which may have turned out to be one class too many, but more on that later. His first class in the race order was the 40+ A class. In the first moto, Tony Ulrich, who ran a few nationals “back in the day”, got the holeshot, but by the end of the first lap, Benolkin had worked his way into the lead and then pulled away. Rob Irving was a solid second over Chuck Thompson, Ulrich, and “Super” Jack Parenteau.

The second race played out much the same, with the top four the same in both races and overall. Late starting moto-one rider, Norman Meisen, started with everyone this time and was able to take fifth in the race and overall. Much further back, the author got his motocross “brush with fame” as he proudly got lapped by the green blur that was Benolkin.

The contingency cash really seemed to help the turnout of the A classes. A respectable total of 12 riders lined up for the Open A class, 8 of them eligible for the Kawi bucks. Absent for the track’s season opener, but appearing in full strength this race were the Dehn brothers. John, the eldest, has won many races at this track, has qualified for several nationals, and has followed the Arenacross circuit. Next in line is Bruce, who has had a bit more success recently, finishing on the podium at the most recent Des Moines Arenacross race. Kyle is the next in line, and has shown many demonstrations of speed also. They were all mounted on KX250Fs.

Bucking the odds, and the sea of green, by leading the first moto all the way was Yamaha 450 mounted Nathan Rosso. John Dehn was pressuring in second but crashed early in the second lap, losing a lot of time. Bruce Dehn worked up to second, but was unable to pass Rosso in the relatively short, six-lap race. John recovered for third, followed by up and comer, Michael Riehm, and Dan Holmes.

In the longer second moto, John and Bruce Dehn broke away for their own personal duel. John lead across the line for the first seven laps before Bruce took over and took the close win. Overall it was Bruce (2-1), John (3-2), Rosso (4-1), Riehm (4-3), and Holmes (5-5).

After the first Open A moto, a decision was made by the scoring division of the club to run the Open A and 250 A motos more laps, because “6 laps was just too short”. Whether the riders knew about this or not is hard to say as they were merely told that there would be timed motos. There were many long looks for the white flag in the first race that was affected, 250 A, Moto One. To their credit, the author did not hear one rider complain. These are the premier classes after all.

In the first 250 A race, John Dehn lead early and often, leading all 10 laps, and taking about 18 minutes to do it. Bruce Dehn was second all the way, but unable to ever make a move. Benolkin, racing against the “kids”, looked strong in third early, but didn’t make it to the finish. Riehm finished third, with Sheldon Fratzke next, breaking up the green stranglehold with his Suzuki 250 two-stroke, and Kyle Dehn rounding out the top five.

In the second and deciding moto, Bruce lead from lap one, with brother, John, right on him the whole time. Making up for the second Open A race, this time it was John making a late pass, last lap actually, for the moto and the overall victory. Rounding out the top five in the moto and overall were Riehm, Fratzke, and Cody Breitbach.

Opting to sign up for “only” two classes, was Grantsburg uber-Vet, Bill Medek. His usual 50-100 laps at the Saturday practice day was probably enough for to get him familiar with the slightly revised track layout, which included the return of the “Ross’ Wrists Sweeper”.

His first race up was the 25+ A class, where he won the first race, despite pressure from Fratzke. All the way from Thunder Bay, Ontario was the third place rider, Dana Yacuk. Following them home were Senior foes, Irving and Thompson.

In the second and deciding race, Fratzke had the lead early, with Medek “looking for places to set him up”, but he didn’t have to, when Fratzke hit the ground. Medek lead the rest of the way for the moto and overall win, with Fratzke recovering for second in the race and overall. Following him in the race and overall were Yacuk, Irving, and Jason Heindl.

The last race in the order was Vet A. It was Medek versus the local legend, Benolkin. Unfortunately, for Benolkin, there was only one moto to rest between the 10-lap 250 A marathon and Vet A (I told you I’d get back to that). After ripping the holeshot on his Honda 450, Medek began to feel pressure from Benolkin on the first lap. Looking a bit ragged, by his normally flawless standards, Benolkin went down and took a while to get back going, finishing the moto in 7th. Club fast-guy, Charlie Forrest, rode to an uncontested second place, followed by Heindl, Thompson, and Meisen.

In the second race, Medek lead early again, but this time Benolkin stayed close. It was a classic duel, as they both had places on the track where one seemed to be faster than the other. In the end, Medek held on for the moto and overall win. “Medek and I talked about the race for 20 minutes afterwards”, commented Benolkin afer the race, ”That’s the most fun I’ve had finishing second in a long time.” Over all it was Medek, Forrest (2-3), Heindl (3-4), Benolkin (7-2), and Thompson (4-5).

While the A classes provided a lot of the excitement, there were also some fine performances in other classes. The top Youth rider was Brandon Riehm, who won 85cc 9-12 and Supermini, leaving the family trophy total at five for the day. The outstanding B rider of the day was Chad Noaiell, winning 5 of 6 motos, with overalls in 250 B, Open B, and 14-24 B. In the C ranks, Matthew Brisbois doubled up, winning both second motos for overalls in 250 C and 14-24 C.

Despite not as many riding this time as usual (and some out-of-shape race story authors racing only one moto in two different classes), the Straight Arrows took a few overall wins. Local favorite, Justin Whilhem, took Open C, winning both motos, as did Mark Brunsberg in 45+ and Ross Thompson in 125cc 12+. Prospective club members, Dan Holmes won 14-24 A, while Craig Cherrington topped 50+ over long-time Arrow, Tim Kight, and Steve Benolkin. Steve had a CR500 motor that he shoehorned into a new CR chassis. Yes, you can buy them that way, but that’s not how Steve rolls. The bike looked and sounded sweet as he negotiated it through the normally power-robbing sand.

Photos courtesy of WholeShotMX

Tom Benolkin was stylin' all day

A fall in the second 14-24C moto prevented Justin Wilhelm from a two-class sweep

Ross Thompson buries his 125 in one of the many berms at the end of the Parking Lot Section

Here's proof that good photography can make even the slowest rider look like he's charging

50cc Multi-Speed 4-8:
1.Josh Fedder (KTM); 2.Jonah Gingras (KTM); 3.Olivia Corcoran (Yam); 4.Domenic Hegman (Yam);

50cc Oil Injected 4-8:
1.Nickolas Engler (KTM); 2.Josh Fedder (KTM); 3.Jonah Gingras (KTM); 4.Nick Paige (KTM);

50cc Pre-Mix 4-6:
1.Jeffery Lilienthal (KTM); 2.Jackson Lindberg (KTM); 3.Josh Fedder (KTM); 4.Jonah Gingras (KTM); 5.Nick Paige (KTM);

50cc Pre-Mix 7-8:
1.Tallon Parent (COB); 2.Jeret Corty (Kaw); 3.Pheenix Schaffer (KTM);

65cc 10-11:
1.Jeremiah Lindberg (KTM);

85cc 9-12:
1.Alex Timmer (KTM); 2.Ryen Swiatly (Hon);

85cc 12-15:
1.Brandon Riehm (Kaw); 2.Alex Timmer (KTM);

Supermini 12-15:
1.Brandon Riehm (Kaw); 2.Ryen Swiatly (Hon);

Schoolboy 12-16:
1.Zachary Bromenschenkel (Hon); 2.Holden Mock (Kaw);

126cc - 250cc Jr. 14-16:
1.Michael Riehm (Kaw); 2.Zachary Bromenschenkel (Hon); 3.Jordan Kemmerer (Kaw); 4.Timmy Mccoy (Kaw); 5.Jeremy Nathe (Kaw);

122-125cc 12+:
1.Ross Thompson (Kaw);

122-250 A:
1.John Dehn (Kaw) 2.Bruce Dehn (Kaw) 3.Michael Riehm (Kaw); 4.Sheldon Fratzke (Suz); 5.Cody Breitbach (Kaw); 6.Kyle Dehn (Kaw); 7.Travis Grendzinsk (Kaw);

122-250 B:
1.Chad Noaeill (Hon); 2.Brett Nagel (Kaw); 3.Chas Kadlec (Yam); 4.Jordan Kemmerer (Kaw); 5.David Olson (Kaw); 6.Timmy Mccoy (Kaw); 7.Jeremy Nathe (Kaw);

122-250 C:
1.Matthew Brisbois (Yam); 2.Jordan Rapp (Yam); 3.Chad Reed (Suz); 4.Donald Zitur (Kaw); 5.Jacob Sjodin (Kaw); 6.Casey Hultgren (Hon); 7.Cameron Linge (Yam); 8.Michael Brumm (Yam);

122-OPEN A:
1.Bruce Dehn (Kaw) 2.John Dehn (Kaw) 3.Nathan Rosso (Yam); 4.Michael Riehm (Kaw); 5.Daniel Holmes (Kaw); 6.Cody Breitbach (Kaw); 7.Sheldon Fratzke (Suz); 8.Joshua Patzoldt (Yam);

122-OPEN B:
1.Chad Noaeill (Hon); 2.Tony Selle (Hon); 3.Timmy Mccoy (Kaw); 4.Michael Odencrans (Suz); 5.Jordan Kemmerer (Kaw); 6.Kyle Johnson (Hon); 7.Travis Butterfield (Hon);

122-OPEN C:
1.Justin Wilhelm (Suz); 2.Ryan Smoluch (Hon); 3.Colin Carpenter (Yam); 4.Benhamin Olund (Hon); 5.Donald Zitur (Kaw); 6.Mike Engesath (Yam); 7.Casey Hultgren (Hon); 8.Michael Bongiovanni (Yam);

14-24 A:
1.Daniel Holmes (Kaw); 2.Cody Breitbach (Kaw); 3.Korey Beach (Hon); 4.John Dehn (Kaw); 5.Travis Grendzinsk (Kaw);

14-24 B:
1.Chad Noaeill (Hon); 2.Tony Selle (Hon); 3.Kyle Johnson (Hon);

14-24 C:
1.Matthew Brisbois (Yam); 2.Benhamin Olund (Hon); 3.Justin Wilhelm (Suz); 4.Chad Reed (Suz); 5.Jordan Rapp (Yam); 6.Cameron Linge (Yam); 7.Matthew Wacek (Suz); 8.Lance Barber (Hon);

25+ A:
1.Bill Medek (Hon); 2.Sheldon Fratzke (Suz); 3.Dana Yacuk (Yam); 4.Rob Irving (Hon); 5.Jason Heindl (Kaw); 6.Chuck Thompson (Hon); 7.Norman Miesen (Yam);

25+ B:
1.Chas Kadlec (Yam); 2.Joseph Stumne (Kaw); 3.Travis Butterfield (Hon); 4.Taylor Curry (Hon); 5.Jamie Koch (Kaw); 6.Andy Odencrans (Suz);

25+ C:
1.Colin Carpenter (Yam); 2.Ryan Smoluch (Hon); 3.Caleb Keppeler (Yam); 4.Cory Minke (Hon); 5.Nick Osowski (Hon); 6.Matthew Aydt (Hon); 7.Derek Cherrington (Yam); 8.Nicholas Hopp (Yam);

Vet 30+ A:
1.Bill Medek (Hon); 2.Charles Forrest (Hon); 3.Jason Heindl (Kaw); 4.Thomas Benolkin (Kaw); 5.Chuck Thompson (Hon); 6.Norman Miesen (Yam); 7.Rob Irving (Hon); 8.Ross Thompson (Kaw);

Vet 30+ B:
1.Robert Rainer (Hon); 2.Travis Butterfield (Hon); 3.Jamie Koch (Kaw); 4.Chad Larson (Hon); 5.Robert Housh (Yam);

Vet 30+ C:
1.Ryan Smoluch (Hon); 2.John Dossett (Hon); 3.Eric Gibson (Yam);

Senior 40+ A:
1.Thomas Benolkin (Kaw); 2.Rob Irving (Hon); 3.Chuck Thompson (Hon); 4.Tony Ulrich (Kaw); 5.Norman Miesen (Yam); 6.Jack Parenteau (Hon);

Senior 40+ B:
1.Chad Larson (Hon); 2.Robert Housh (Yam); 3.Todd Mcilroy (Suz); 4.Bob Chase (Hon);

Senior 40+ C:
1.Eric Gibson (Yam); 2.Brian Baker (Kaw);

45+ A:
1.Mike Mineheine (Hon); 2.Jack Parenteau (Hon);

1.Mark Brunsberg (Hon); 2.Michael Rapp (Yam); 3.Brian Mackenzie (Yam); 4.Bob Chase (Hon);

1.Craig Cherrington (Hon); 2.Tim Kight (Hon); 3.Steven Benolkin (Hon);

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