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Sunday, September 9, 2007 -- Barboursville, WV / Barboursville City Park
The Dirt Derby- WVMBA #13 Series Championship Race (iPO Event Id#: 10089)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]
Coverage: [2006]

End of the Season

2007 Dirt Derby
2007 Dirt Derby photo by JR Petsko
Story and photos by JR Petsko

The destination Sunday was Barboursville, WV for the WVMBA series championship at the Dirt Derby. With series championships on the line nerves were running higher than normal before the race. The 21 mile expert and 15.5 mile sport course would be the deciding factor for many classes.

The race started with a pace truck that led riders through the streets of town and to the first trail section. In an effort to save energy during this road section some riders like Steve Hill, Matt Marcus, and Aron Yevuta rode right up to the back of the truck to stay out of the wind. These riders got so close to the vehicle that their front wheels actually went under the tailgate.

With a hundred yards left of black top before the woods the truck hit the gas and got out of the way. The racers pushed hard to get the hole shot into the single track because those who knew the course already had an idea of what was ahead. The river trail which would take the riders deep into the Barboursville City Park was a tight trail with very little room to pass. This would prove to be a handicap for the single speed riders who got shuffled to the back during the long three mile road parade lap.

2007 Dirt Derby
2007 Dirt Derby photo by JR Petsko
Catching up to the riders in the middle of the woods the leading position was held by series Pro/Expert point leader Steve Hill (Charleston Bike Center). Coming into the race Hill was holding a nine point lead over Joey Riddle (Vicious Cycles) in second place in the standings. Hill was followed closely in the race by Andrew Wiedrich (Pittsburgh Pro Cycling) and Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry's) who where both fighting for third and fourth overall for the series in points.

Running high in the top ten was Gerry Pflug who was in an extremely close race with Gunnar Shogren (BWB Cannondale WV 29ers) in the Vet/Expert category. Shogren got dropped a little ways back in the pack during the road section on his single speed and Pflug knew it and was determined to make it count.

Matt Marcus (BWB Cannondale WV 29ers) also was running in the top ten overall and looked to have the Masters/Expert series title on lockdown. The same could be said for Morgan Miller (BWB Cannondale WV 29ers) who already had six victories this year in the Junior/Expert class and was holding a twenty four point lead on second in the category, J.J. Ford (Fat Tire Cycle).

2007 Dirt Derby
2007 Dirt Derby photo by JR Petsko
It wasn't long until Betsy Shogren (BWB Cannondale WV 29ers) made her way across the ridge top. Shogren was in first in the Women's Pro/Expert points lead over second place Mandi Riddle (Vicious Cycle). Riddle was coming off back to back wins in the series and was trying to make it three in a row.

Wes Rhodes was wearing a Marshall jersey the day after the big game between WVU and Marshall. Although Marshall lost that day, Rhodes explained that they were going to win today, meaning him in the race. He races in the extremely competitive men's high school category and was so far correct in his prediction. The high school class standings did a flip flop the day before when trail maintance points got added to the series total. Kevin Deal and Corey Chambers got leap frogged by Cai Clothier who did his trail maintance to move him into second in the points.

Speaking of trail points, in the Clydesdale standings James VanHorn dodged a bullet because the standing between him and James Miller was very close, buy Miller failed to do trail maintance to get an extra twenty point bonus which would have moved him into first in his class because Van Horn also didn't do trail maintance. I have a feeling after seeing the standing shake up from trail points that the number of people who get out and do maintance next year will be much higher.

2007 Dirt Derby
2007 Dirt Derby photo by JR Petsko
At the finish line the day's victory and the Pro/Expert series title went to Steve Hill finishing in 1:43:08. Second in the race went to Andy Gorski who would end up finishing fifth in the season final series total. Gorski finished the race in 1:45:25. In third was Rob Spreng finishing in 1:47:01 and Spreng also finished third for the series.

Second overall in the Pro/Expert series went to Joey Riddle even though Riddle was unable to finish the race due to a terrible crash that left him with two broken wrists, a broken collarbone, a separated shoulder, and a concussion. One a side note, due to Riddle's injuries and the subsequent hardship this will put on the family, a benefit race as been planned for Oct. 7th at Big Bear Lake, Race for the Riddles.

The Pro/Expert women's win and series title went to Betsy Shogren who finished the race in 2:10:48. Second in the series went to Mandi Riddle who was also unable to finish as she was escorting her husband Joey to the hospital.

In the tight race for the Vet/Expert series title the edge went to Pflug who was able to hold off Shogren for the race and series win. Pflug finished in 1:49:45 and Shogren in 1:51:17.

From the beginning of the race Matt Marcus stayed out front and won his class in 1:57:49 locking up the Masters/Expert series title.

In the open single speed class wild man Ben Klimas was able to hold off Greg Moore for the day's victory in 1:51:41. Their race finishing order would mirror the standings for their class.

The junior expert win went to Morgan Miller in 1:58:46 in what may be his last WVMBA series race for some time. Miller said after the race, "I don't know about anybody else but I thought The Dirt Derby was a little too short. I was thinking we had another lap to do. Anyway, it feels great to win Junior Expert this year, especially after all of my DNFs last season. I don't think I'll be doing much if any WVMBA races next year. I'll be focusing on road races but I still plan to do some of the Ultra series." Second in the race in the junior class and in the series was J.J. Ford in his last race as a junior. Ford is planning on racing in the open single speed class in 2008.

It was a great way to end the 2007 WVMBA series. Thanks to Mike and everyone who helped out at the Dirt Derby. For a full list of all the Point Series winners and visit Hope to see you all at the benefit race for Joey Riddle on Oct. 7th at Big Bear.