Competitors traveled from four states and Canada for the 2012 Raccoon Rally Trials Competition and NATS Championship Series event. The weather and conditions were near perfect. Mid 80’s and several weeks of dry weather made for a day of amazing traction on the rocks and few flies and mosquitoes.
We had a few first time competitors to Thunder Rocks although attendance overall was a bit low. All competitors rode three loops of five sections. The section layout was changed to split lines for Pro/Expert and Sport/Beginner. This seemed to be a successful change for few reasons. It left some rocks that were used last year out of the mix which will allow for “fresher” lines each year which also means less work setting sections. The riders could also compare side by side in the sections what they were riding over versus the class above them. It does take a bit more thought in marking out split sections but overall less work. I would definately recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it. Fortunately the only injuries were some minor scrapes and pedals to the shins.
Lee Weston was our only Beginner as well as a first timer. He put in a great ride and we hope to see him back next year.
Gerry Radder rode quite well as the only Sport rider. Sport is usually our largest class and hopefully we’ll see more next year.
Kai Christensen took top honors in the Expert class with an impressive ride. Carsinn Wilson challenged Kai to the end and took 2nd place. Newcomer Drew Fortner put in a great ride for third place. Shawn Epp, Vincent Boivin and Roman Rebellon finished out the class respectively. Keep an eye on Drew, Shawn and Vincent. They are young and rode very well.
In the Pro class Mike Steidley took an impressive win with only one point. Mike has stepped it up another notch this year and made it look easy. Trust me these were not easy sections. James Barton took 2nd place after returning from some time off from competition. He rode exceptionally well and did it all on an Inspired Hex with street tires! Chris Stephenson made the move to Pro this year and earned a very respectable 3rd place. Robbie Pfunder made the trek from Colorado and rode well to a 4th place finish. It was good to meet you Robbie. Ian Poor took 5th place with some smooth riding. It’s good to see Ian back in competition this year. Joe Janicki finished out the Pro class. Despite some mechanical problems Joe stuck it out and still rode well.
I need to give a big thanks to Brian at NorthWest Trials for donating some great prizes. Check them out at NWTrials.com.
I would also like to thank Mark Lawrence and the rest of the Raccoon Rally staff for their help and the opportunity to continue trials at Thunder Rocks, the Allegany State Park staff and the volunteer ski patrol medics that tended the event, Kai, James and everyone else that helped with the event. I look forward to seeing you all next year.