Thunder Rocks, in New York’s Allegany State Park, was once again the site for the 20th year of the Raccoon Rally Trials Competition. Mother Nature had an extra hand in challenging riders with heavy rain Friday and more rain on Saturday for the first hour of the competition. This made for some slick and muddy sections, truly testing each competitor’s skill on the bike as well as mental judgement of traction and terrain. Despite the rain, everyone seemed to have a great time and made the best of it. The sections were combined as Pro/Expert and Sport/Beginner with split lines for each class. Each class rode four sections for three loops. There were a total of 23 competitors with two of them being first timers.
In Beginner class, Massachusett’s Nathan Kovacs rode his first competion and gained some valuable experience. It was great to see some of the Sport riders coaching and cheering him along as they made their loops together. Thanks guys. I hope to see Nathan at more events in the future.
The Sport class was the largest of the day with nine riders. David Rucker rode very well and took the win with Devin Hightman and Anthony Vioglavich rounding out the top three. Michel Houle-Pilon took fourth on his custom pink RCP mod. First timer Andrew Kemble finished in a respectable fifth place. Warren Kennedy made the trip from Connecticut and took sixth place. Nice to see you back Warren. Pennsylvania’s Mike Hightman, Ed Watt and Robert Wolfe rounded out the class. It’s always great to see the comeraderie in the Sport class with riders from several different states all cheering and urging each other on. I hope to see you all again.
The Expert class had a close points battle with Joe Janicki edging out Brian Eberle for the win. Joe’s riding has been improving lately and it was good to see Brian return to competition. Drew Fortner was close behind for third place. Carsinn Wilson, Vincent Boivin and Roman Rebellon rounded out the class in fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively. These sections were tough and all of the guys rode solid. Vincent even took home some custom road rash courtesy of Thunder Rocks. Some of these guys will be knocking on the Pro class before too long.
The Pro class had some amazing riding by all. Trevor Bodogh made it look too easy while taking the win. Trevor has stepped it up another notch with some super smooth riding and impressive strength. Mike Steidley gave Trevor a run for his money and took second place. Colorado’s Robbie Plunder made the long trip out and rode to a solid third place. And with bald tires to boot! Matt Thibeau and Ian Poor battled it out for fourth and fifth place respectively. Good riding guys. Nigel Kohring, who took sixth despite crushing his right hand in a small crash on the second loop, pushed on and finished the day. Randy Gibson made the trip out as Robbie’s co-pilot from Colorado and finished in seventh place. As the youngest Pro, Randy will be one to watch in the future.
A big thanks goes out to Mark Lawrence for continuing to support the trials competition at the Raccoon Rally. I would like to also thank the Kovacs family and Anthony Vioglavich and his girlfriend for helping tear down sections. That was greatly appreciated. A thank you is also due to Mike and George the volunteer ski patrol medics on site. Fortunately, they had a nice quiet day. Finally, a huge thanks to all of the competitors who came out and endured the weather. See you all next year!