AZOP series brought big numbers of fans and racers alike to this very unique track for some long-weekend Grand Prix racing
2019 AZOP Rowley White RV Series, Round 4, Payson, AZ April 20-21, 2019
Written by: Miller Truby All images © Miller Truby
Easter weekend has always been important among the off-road community. In the hot deserts of the southwestern US it typically signals the end of the riding season, as temperatures soar with the approach of ssummer, while in other parts of the country it signals the start of the warm riding season. This year, in the sleepy mountain town of Payson, Arizona, Easter Saturday meant it was time to go watch some racing, as the fourth round of the Arizona Offroad Promotions Rowley White RV Series presented by Four Seasons Motorsports and Cactus Jack’s Auto rolled into town and took over the Payson event center.
This year’s track featured a number of interesting elements including an extended motocross-style section, a couple runs through the cedar forests which define Payson’s mountain landscape, and a section inside the arena which hosts the town’s annual rodeo. The track was designed to reward riders and drivers who could master multiple skill-sets, with elements borrowed from desert racing, enduro riding, supercross, and flat-track. And while multiple water trucks worked to keep the dust down between races, the local fans crowded to the various viewing areas to take in some wheel-to-wheel action on the grand prix course.
The young racers started off the action on a cool Saturday morning with the 170/250cc UTV’s heading out onto a slightly abridged version of the track. Vincent Riccitelli (17) took the overall and 250cc wins as the only entry in the 250 class. Braden Krah (147) got the 170cc class win and second overall. Ryland Stowell (192) took second in class and third overall, while Erik Alvidrez (116) took third in the 170 class.
The Pee Wee Quads took to the short track next. In the 80cc + advanced class it was a very close fight between Tavin Freeman (44) and Brendon Turner (95), with Freeman eventually getting the overall and class win. Turner took second overall and in class.
Jack Wilson (222) took third overall and won the 80cc+ Beginner trophy. The class was rounded out by Cade Little (85) and Kaiden Lee (31), who finished second and third, respectively.
In the 50-79cc 4-6 year old class it was Tyler Wade (88) getting the top podium spot. Lane Johnson (289) took second, and Brantley Little (100) took third.
The Pee Wee bikes were out next as the cool morning warmed up to become a perfect, clear day. For the third race weekend in a row it was Kaycee Curley (238) pulling off the overall win and taking the top spot in the 50cc 7-8 year old class. Unlike her last two races, Kaycee had some serious competition as Mason Milacki (329) led most of the race, only to run out of steam in the second half. Milacki took second overall and in class. Jace Letner (70) took third in class.
Aayden Tracy (308) put in another consistent ride in the 65cc C class and took third overall and first in the class. Michael Vogelzang (7) finished second in class, while Kaden Schmidt (298) finished third.
The 50cc 4-6 year old class saw some very close racing with Brayden Almendarez (187) taking the win with Hayden Griffith (723) just a few seconds behind. Liam Gillespie (047) finished third in the class.
As the kiddos made their way off the track the huge class of Big Bikes were already lining up in the starting chute. With 91 entrants across 15 different classes it was clear that the course was going to be crowded and that lapped traffic could come into play for the faster riders.
For the second race in a row, Miguel Cordovez (909) put on an absolute clinic, lapping the entire field and finishing with an easy overall and pro class win. Ryder Pietro (050) took second overall and in the Pros, while Dominic Dugi (375) recovered from a terrible first lap to take third in the pro class.
Payson local Austin Alexander (95) put in a fast and consistent ride to take third overall and win the Open A class outright. Travis Azure (181) took second in the class, while Bret Gillespie (046) brought home third.
Open B went to Nick Reynolds (158), with Martin Craven (6) finishing second, and Tate Van Voorst (415) finishing third.
Open C was won by Juke Kelly (030). Second place went to Jake Moffat (343). Third went to Trevor McLaws (097).
125-250cc A was won by local rider Michael Boggess (044).
In the 125-250cc B class it was Collier Martinez (33) taking the top spot, while Thomas Maynard (999) took second place. Colton Edwards (29) was third.
Jaeqon Peterson (727) won the 125-250cc C class, followed by Taylor Wilson (724) in second, and Cole Haley (42) in third.
In Vet 30+ A, Dayton Raper (19) put in an excellent ride and won the class, taking the 5th overall spot. Jon Froust (553) was second in the class.
Vet 30+ B went to Jesse Romer (219). John Spires (015) was second, while Jacob Letner (83) was third.
Vet 30+ C was won by Mike Kamminga (198), with Travis Steinfadt (868) finishing in second and Josh Malia (307) taking the third podium spot.
Senior 40+ B went to Jeremiah Schnurpel (43); Andrew Smallhouse (254) was second. Micah Chlarson (133) was third.
Senior 40+ C went to Jason Baxter (98) with Gary Mortimer (120) finishing second.
Master 50+ A was won by Brandon Roberts (746) with second place going to Gary Peterson (59).
Master 50+ B went to Richard Heyer (311). Ron Bailey (41) finished second in the class, while Tim Smith (84) finished up third.
Richard Green (75) took the Super Senior 60+ class win.
The Mini Bikes were out next and also featured a very large field of 33 entrants. Samuel Campbell (052) put in a dominant ride and was rewarded with the overall win as well as the 80-150cc A class win. Keegan Hardy (381) took second overall and in the class. Jonathan Kirat (1429) took third overall and in class.
80-150cc B was won by Danny Baca (48), while Chase Boyd (4) took the second spot.
80-150cc C was the biggest class in the race and was won by Hunter Bowman (094). Gage Papa (45) took second place, while Donoven Christenson (042) took third.
The 65cc A class was won by Marley Kuhn (21).
65cc B went to Tristin Andrade (2). Bryce Petrie (44) took second place, while Cooper Skersick (247) took third.
The Women’s C class went to Grace Vinagro (191), followed in second place by Ellie Koester (93), and Nikki Earlewine (38) in third.
The Mini Quads followed up the bikes as a warm and breezy afternoon drove spectators to seek shade under the many trees lining the track. Dakota Hibler (57) continued her excellent season, taking first overall and in the 250-400cc class. After a dominant performance in the Pee Wee class at last month’s Page race, Landen Johnson (34) moved up to minis and proceeded to put in an excellent ride, taking second overall and winning the 91-300cc 10-15 year old class.
Talon Burt (202) took third overall and won the 71-125cc 8-11 year old class. Younger sibling Kallie Burt (131) brought home second in the class.
Following an extended break to water the course the Big Quads/ATC’s made their way to the starting area for their turn on the course. Koby Dodson (32) got the overall win as well as the Pro class win.
Nick Helton (808) took second overall and won the Expert class. Lynn Prosser (153) took second in the class, while Emilio Garcia (165) took third.
Brian Jackson (133) put in a monstrous ride to get the third overall podium spot as well as the Sportsman class win. Wyatt Rock (380) took second in the class and Robert Dearth (106) took third.
The Vet Pro class went to Todd Ellsworth (54).
In the ATC class it was Ed Hicks (208) taking first place, while Paul Airey (71) got second.
With all the other classes done for the day, it was time for the bigger UTV’s to hit the course. First up was the 570cc race, and as always the midsize machines put on a show. Ellie Koester (1901) eventually got the win, with TJ Siewers (57) getting second place. Ashton Stowell (193) got third.
As the sun sank over the mountains to the west, the final race of the day saw the 18 entrants in the four full-size UTV classes line up wheel to wheel. Clayton Winiecki (901) took the overall win as well as the 1000cc Non-Turbo class win. Jerome Vinagro (1973) took second in the class, and third overall. John Nix (2004) finished third in the class.
In the Pro class it was Kody Winiecki (903) getting the win and second place overall. Don Daley (829) finished second in the class, while Kali Kinsman (143) took third.
Chase De Sousa Dias (904) won the Unlimited Turbo class. Daniel Hurn (969) took second place, and Greg Hamilton (23) was third.
Todd Waling (411) won the 850cc class.
With most of the track having been freshly prepped overnight by the excellent grounds crew, Easter Sunday dawned as another cool and breezy morning perfect for some motorsports. First out for the day were the 570cc UTV’s. Just like Saturday, the racing was close, with lots of lead changes and 2-wide racing on the tight and technical Payson Track. Once again it was Ellie Koester (1901) pulling out the win. TJ Siewers (57) finished just a few seconds later for second place. Grace Vinagro (1910) took third place.
Vinagro sits in first place in the season standings with 159. Koester is second with 123, and Siewers is third with 86.
Continuing the 4-wheeled theme, the 170/250cc UTV’s rolled out next onto the shortened version of the course. Braden Krah (147) got the overall and 170 class win. Stevie McLaws (66) took second overall and in the class, while Liam Salas Fisher (115) took third in class and overall.
Salas Fisher is first in the championship points with 147. McLaws is second with 123, and Ryder Wilson is in third with 111.
Vincent Riccitelli (17) won the 250cc class.
Riccitelli is first in the season points with (145), while Reid Aikens is in second with 30, and Aaron Cuevas is third with 25.
The Pee Wee Quads took their spots on the line next. In the 80cc+ Advanced class the results were flipped from Saturday, as Brendon Turner (95) lapped the field and got the overall and class win, followed by Tavin Freeman (44) in second overall and in class.
Freeman maintains his slim lead in the series points with 186, followed by Turner at 172. Brayden Earlewine is third with 108.
In the 80+cc Beginner class it was Cade Little (85) winning the class and finishing third overall. Kaiden Lee (31) took second, and Keagan Trucky (128) finished third.
Jack wilson owns the series points lead with 175. Lee is second with 144, followed in third by Little at 124.
In the 50-79cc 4-6 year old class Lane Johnson (289) got the win just one second ahead of Brantley Little (100). Emma Martinez (56) took third place.
Little went into the season points lead with 136, followed closely by Tyler Wade with 131. Johnson sits in third place with 110.
The Pee Wee Bikes came out next to finish off the weekend for the Pee Wee classes. Yet again it was Kaycee Curley (238) getting the overall win and taking the 50cc 7-8 year old class. Mason Milacki (329) put in a great ride for the second day in a row and, despite an unfortunate run-in with one of the trees lining the course, finished second overall and in the class. Ryder Yates (153) took third in the class.
Curley holds a commanding lead on the season with 180 points. Lane Oden is second with 98, followed by Yates in third with 69.
In the 65cc C class it was Aayden Tracy (308) putting in yet another good ride and taking third overall and first in the class. Michael Vogelzang (7) was second, followed by Kaden Schmidt (298) in third.
Tracy has now doubled up his next-closest rival in the season points, sitting at 120. Cooper Skersick (who has since moved up to the 65cc B class) sits second with 60, followed by Chase James with 59.
The 50cc 4-6 year old class was won by Brayden Almendarez (187) for the second day in a row. Hayden Griffith (723) was second in class. Courtney Curley (25) took the third podium spot.
Curley sits atop the standings after 4 rounds with 172 points. Almendarez is second with 145, and Griffith is third with 107.
With the clear day turning breezy and warm, the Big Bike entrants readied themselves at the starting area. With 43 competitors signed up to race, the track would be clearer than on Saturday, but still plenty crowded in the tight sections. Miguel Cordovez (909) was the only pro who stuck around for the second day of racing and he put in a calm, smooth, and fast ride to take the overall win once again.
Cordovez leads the Pro series points with 120, having swept the last two race weekends. Dominic Dugi is in second with 53, followed by Quanah Smith at 36.
The Open A class on Sunday was won by Travis Azure (181), who also took second overall. Austin Alexander (95) took second in the class and third overall despite two tough crashes in traffic. Taylor Garcia (041) finished third in the class.
Alexander holds a commanding lead in the series points with 177, followed by David Richards with 136, and Azure with 55.
Open B went to Tate Van Voorst (415), with Jarren Atwater (317) in second and Wyatt Moore (305) in third.
Atwater leads the series points with 133, followed by Van Voorst in second with 117. Moore is third with an even 100.
Kyle Allen (4829) won the Open C class, followed by Jake Moffat (343) in second, and Branden Allen (89) in third.
Jacob Moraga leads the series with 113 points. Moffat and Jacob Robinson are tied for second with 101 points each.
125-250cc B was won by Collier Martinez (33). Kaden Bedlion (429) was second in the class, while Thomas Maynard (999) took third place.
Martinez now has a 1-point lead in the series with 120. Colton Edwards is second with 119, while Bedlion sits third with 103.
125-250cc C went to Taylor Wilson (724), followed by Tyler Snodgrass (54) in second place, and Chase Hamilton (222) in third.
Jaeqon Peterson owns the points lead in that series with 144, followed by Cole Haley with 133, and Snodgrass in third with 111.
Jon Froust (553) won the Vet 30+ A class.
Froust has a firm hold on the points in that class with 85. Dayton Raper and Josh Serna are tied for second with 30 each.
Vet 30+ C went to Travis Steinfadt (868), followed by Robert Melton (348) in second and Josh Malia (307) in third.
Steinfadt leads the points with 55, Melton is second with 43, and Malia is third with 42.
Senior 40+ B saw Jeremiah Schnurpel (43) get the win over Micah Chlarson (133) and Jesse Berchick (053).
Chlarson has 67 points on the season to lead the series, while Schnurpel is second with 60. Tom Estelle and Cliff Anderson are tied for third with 30 apiece.
The Master 50+ A class went to Brandon Roberts (746). Gary Peterson (59) finished second.
Roberts owns the points lead with 60, followed by Peterson with 50.
Following up the big bikes were the Mini Bikes, who once again lined up a large field filled with budding talent. Keegan Hardy (381) avenged his second place finish from Saturday by getting the overall win on Sunday, as well as the 80-150cc A class win. Jonathan Kirat (1429) took second overall and in class, followed by Porter May (177) in third overall and in class.
Travis Boyd holds a slim points lead in the class with 148, followed by May with 146 and Kirat at 131.
80-150cc B went to Chase Boyd (4), who was followed across the line a few seconds later by Danny Baca (48). Jeremy Nash (043) took third place.
Boyd holds a controlling lead in the points with an even 200, followed by Baca at 145.
In 80-150cc C it was Clayton Hixon (130) getting the win, followed by Colson Skersick (413) in second, and Jaxon Steele (199) coming home third.
Hixon owns the top of the leader board with 167 points. Skersick and Steele are now tied for second with 147 each.
Marley Kuhn (21) took the win in 65cc A. Kuhn also holds the points lead in the class with 210.
The 65cc B win went to Bryce Petrie (44), who was followed by Tristin Andrade (2) in second place and Owen Wesley (928) in third.
Wesley holds the points lead with 161. Cooper Skersick is second with 156, and Andrade is third with 106.
In the Women’s C class it was Ellie Koester (93) getting the win on Sunday, followed by Grace Vinagro (191) in second. Nikki Earlewine (38) took third.
Koester holds a commanding points lead with 175. Vinagro is second with 118, and Emilee Carter is third with 111.
The Mini Quad class was out next, and with only two entries it would have been easy to dismiss this race as intermission; however the two competitors rode hard and after 40 minutes on the track the margin of victory was less than 2 minutes. Dakota Hibler (57) repeated her win from Saturday, and now holds 110 points to lead the 250-400cc class. Dylan Skaggs is second with 69, followed by Jayden Jackson with 60.
Landen Johnson (34) once again impressed in his first weekend in the Mini class, getting the win in the 91-300cc 10-15 year old class. Gabriel Simmons has the point lead in the class with 90, followed by Sarah Tsosie with 75, and Johnson now in third with 60.
The Big Quads were out next on the course and proceeded to put on a good show for the crowd despite having fewer entries than on Saturday. Nick Helton (808) put in a great ride and took the overall and Expert wins.
Helton’s 200 points on the season sees him doubling up the next competitor in the class. Michael Mack sits in second with 100, while Noah Harris has 60 in third.
The Vet Pro class was a family affair on Sunday, with Rick (121) and Todd Ellsworth (54) going at it on Easter Sunday. Rick took second overall and won the class, while Todd took third overall and second in the class.
For the season it’s Todd in first place with 135 points, followed by Rick with 115. Ron Suor is third with 21.
For the second day in a row the Sportsman class was dominated by Brian Jackson (133), who finished a lap ahead of every other rider in the class. Paul Airey (71) took second, followed by Kayla Dickinson (134) in third.
Jackson holds a commanding lead on the season points with 171, followed by Layne Fryar in second with 89, and Dickinson in third with 69.
After one final break to water down the dusty track, it was time for the final race of the day as the UTV’s lined up in the starting area. Kody Winiecki (903) got a strong start and never looked back, putting in an aggressive drive to take the overall win and topping the Pro class podium. Kali Kinsman (143) improved on her result from Saturday and got the second overall spot as well as second in the Pro class. Don Daley (829) took third in the class.
Winiecki holds a massive points lead in the Pro class with 177 on the season so far. Brian Crawford is second with 64, and Aaron Henry is third with 60.
Clayton Winiecki (901) took third overall and first in the 1000cc Non-Turbo class. Evan Striplin (902) finished second in class, and John Nix (2004) came in third.
Winiecki is in the lead for the season series with 171, while Striplin sits second with 137 and Nix is third with 102.
In the Unlimited Turbo class Chase De Sousa Dias (904) got the win. Greg Hamilton (23) took second place. Daniel Hurn (969) finished third.
De Sousa Dias holds a slim points lead with 115, followed by Hurn with 110 and Hamilton with 104.
As always AZOP would like to thank all of the sponsors, staff, volunteers, racers, and spectators for making this another successful and fun weekend of racing