View Full Version : ESPN - Great Outdoor Games VI - Race Coverage

07-08-2005, 07:17 PM
Orlando, FL – The ESPN Great Outdoor Games are underway at Disney's Wide World of Sports ® Complex with the ATV racing getting underway this evening for two qualifying rounds where only the top six from event qualifier advanced with the remaining riders heading to the LCQ Saturday Morning at 10:30AM to determine the final riders making it to the Main Event Scheduled for 8:30PM, Saturday Night

The list of competitors has been constantly changing over the last few weeks with several top riders not attending the games due to injuries and other racing commitments, which included Chris Borich, Tim Farr, Keith Little, Harold Goodman, and several other riders.

The Finalized Entry List:
GNC MX Entries
1. Jeremiah Jones
2. Heather Byrd
3. Kory Ellis
4. Travis Spader
5. Jason Dunkelberger
6. Rocco Arno Jr
7. Joe Byrd
8. Doug Gust
9. Dustin Wimmer
10. Cody Smith
11. Giovanni Colon
12. Angela Moore
13. Cody Miller
14. John Natalie Jr
15. Pat Brown
16. Tavis Cain
17. Jason Luburgh
GNCC Entries
18. Bill Ballance
19. Johnny Gallagher
20. William Yokley
ITP Quadcross Entries
21. Dana Creech
22. Dustin Nelson
23. Jeremy Schell
WORCS Entries
24. Doug Eichner

Brief Description of the Track
The track layout has a mix of terrain ranging from sand, grass, clay, and topsoil. The start is in the sand with the riders immediately merging onto the grass for a high speed straightaway that then quickly narrows down around a turn where the riders will be greeted by the alligator pit jump, which got its name from an alligator that had to be removed from the pit. Remainder of the track layout contains a 12 jump rhythm section similar to Loretta Lynn’s 10 jump series and there is also a high speed whoops section. The course also has a tight woods section with your typical wood obstacles of stumps and trees for the riders to get hung up on.

The sand portion of the track quickly deteriorated after practice with huge moguls forming which look like angry waves in the sand.

Gate and Qualifier Heat Selection
The riders had a 2 hour practice session on Friday, which gave them a chance to dial in their machines and bodies for the qualifiers Friday Night. During Practice, Joe Byrd ended up in the gatorpit, which took the Disney crew over 20 minutes to get his Honda out of the water, which let everybody know right away that they had to be committed to hitting the jump or take the bypass.

Following practice, each rider headed out for one sight lap followed by a second lap which the laptime was recorded to determine the qualifying order. John Natalie Jr recorded the fastest laptime followed by Jeremiah Jones and Dustin Wimmer. Travis Spader and Heather Byrd both found themselves stuck in the woods, which ruined their lapimes and sent them to the back. Cody Miller had a hard crash and ended up burning himself and needed to repair his machine with some parts from his practice machine to be ready for qualifiers.

The gate selection order for the qualifiers was as follows with the even numbers going to the first qualifier and the odd numbers going to the second qualifier.

Fastest Lap Time Order
1. John Natalie jr
2. Jeremiah Jones
3. Dustin Wimmer
4. Jason Luburgh
5. Joe Byrd
6. Kory Ellis
7. Cody Smith
8. Dana Creech
9. Doug Gust
10. Rocco Arno Jr
11. Tavis Cain
12. Jason Dunkelberger
13. Pat Brown
14. Bill Ballance
15. Jeremy Schell
16. Dustin Nelson
17. Giovanni Colon
18. Doug Eichner
19. Johnny Gallagher
20. William Yokley
21. Angela Moore
22. Travis Spader
23. Cody Miller
24. Heather Byrd

Qualifier #1 Overview
As the riders lined up on the starting gate for the 1st Qualifier, the rain started with a torrential downpour, which had the camera crews scrambling to cover their equipment and left everyone soaked from head to toe. Because of the rain, it was decided that the alligator pit jump was too dangerous because the take off wrap was extremely slick, so it was removed from the qualifying events. Fortunately, the rain did stop before the start of the first qualifier.

Jason Luburgh and Jeremiah Jones battled for the Holeshot heading into turn one, but Jason was able to grab the lead with Jeremiah right behind him, and unfortunately start basically determined the race results because their really wasn’t any passing to speak of in the first qualifier with Luburgh pulling away from Jones after Jones had enough of eating sand and dropped back after getting completely covered in black sand/mud from the roost of Luburgh’s tires. The only other news was that Dana Creech blew his headpipe on the third lap, which took him out of the race.

Qualifier #1 Advancements
1. Jason Luburgh
2. Jeremiah Jones
3. Kory Ellis
4. Travis Spader
5. Jason Dunkelberger
6. Rocco Arno Jr

Qualifier #2 Overview
The start of second qualifier had Doug Gust grabbing the Holeshot, but a four rider pileup in the first turn involving Jeremy Schell, Tavis Cain, Cody Smith, and Cody Miller forced a restart. Upon the restart, Joe Byrd grab the Holeshot this time with yet another tangle up in the turn involving Johnny Gallagher and couple other riders, but the race wasn’t restarted this time. Joe Byrd maintained the lead from start to finish with Doug Gust holding onto the second spot. The only real passing in the qualifier was done by John Natalie Jr as he worked his way up several positions from a poor start to finish fourth behind Dustin Wimmer

Qualifier #2 Advancements
1. Joe Byrd
2. Doug Gust
3. Dustin Wimmer
4. John Natalie Jr
5. Pat Brown
6. Tavis Cain

The following riders didn’t qualify on Friday, and will go the LCQ Saturday Morning at 10:30AM where only 4 out of the 12 will advance to the main event Saturday Night to compete in the 16 rider Main Event at 8:30PM

Dana Creech
Bill Ballance
Dustin Nelson
Doug Eichner
William Yokley
Heather Byrd
Cody Smith
Jeremy Schell
Giovanni Colon
Johnny Gallagher
Angela Moore
Cody Miller

07-09-2005, 09:51 AM
Saturday’s Update

Heat and Humidity remains the story, but now Hurricane Dennis has been thrown into the mix as bans on rain begin to come ashore with scattered rain showers arriving this morning at the Disney Complex, which virtually shut down practice as only a few riders put in laps before the LCQ event, and once again, the alligator pit jump was removed from the track.

Doug Eichner grabbed the Holeshot with Dustin Nelson and Dana Creech in hot pursuit until Nelson hit a tree with Creech right behind him, which sent him into the rear or Nelson. The two riders became stuck together, which formed a mini bottleneck, which was the prefect opportunity for Bill Ballance and William Yokley to use their XC skills to maneuver their way through the riders and into the top three behind Eichner. Cody Miller held onto the fourth and final qualifying position for the 16 rider Main Event.

LCQ Advancements
1. Doug Eichner
2. Bill Ballance
3. William Yokley
4. Cody Miller

Main Event Live Race Coverage – Saturday, 8:30PM
If everything goes according to plan, ATVriders.com will be bringing you live updates throughout the Main event, so be sure to be online this evening, and hopefully the event won’t be a washout because Hurricane Dennis is moving up through the Gulf and could make tonight’s event miserable with heavy rain, which may even force the event to be postponed till tomorrow.

Be sure to check back for updates.

07-09-2005, 05:43 PM
Heavy rain & winds continue to pound Florida as Hurricane Dennis intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico, and currently the Orlando area is under a tornado watch, and no one is allowed on the track, and the rest is still set to start at 8:30PM, but a riders meeting will be held shortly.

If I were a betting man, I would lean toward the race being delayed till later tonight at the minimum or postponed till tomorrow, but I will keep you posted with any updates that I receive from the track.

07-09-2005, 06:19 PM
ESPN has decided that the ATV races must be run tonight because they have already postponed several other events, so the ATVs are going to have to race in the mud with the race getting underway atleast 15 minutes behind schedule.

07-09-2005, 06:37 PM
Another Line of Showers are headed toward the track, and if the race will most likely be held during the rain, which is really disappointing because the race will look more like a mudbog than what was intended.

The one oppurtunity the ATV World gets to shine on ABC and ESPN, and the event is ruined in my opinion due to the hurricane :(

07-09-2005, 06:51 PM
While we wait for the start of the Main Event, Here are some stories and reports from the track provided by now other than Dana Creech's Mom, Teresa Creech, and hurry her commentary

Anyway, we, along with 45,000 little league all-star players, another estimated 60,000 parents of all-star players, the lumberjack competitors, the big-air dog competitors, agility dogs, and of course the competing dogs, makes for a new and improved sit-com one would think... But it is actually organized chaos at it's best.

ESPN and Disney are evidently hooked up in ways that I had not even thought of before. The racing is held at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, where they do everything from dog agility to soccer, and now ATV.

07-09-2005, 06:56 PM
Main Event Underway
#8 Jason Luburgh grabbed the Holeshot with #13 John Natalie Jr passing #1 Bill Ballance to move into second place with Dustin Wimmer, Kory Ellis, and Tavis Cain several seconds back

The Roost is shooting almost 20 feet into the air and riders are completely covered in a black sand/mud

07-09-2005, 06:57 PM
John Natalie Jr has now taking over the lead passing Jason Luburgh with Bill Ballance remaining in 3rd place.

William Yokley just stopped for goggles

07-09-2005, 06:58 PM
The youngest rider on the track Cody Miller is now a lap down, but still putting in a great effort

Wimmer is catching Ballance in 3rd and there is a huge gap to Kory Ellis and Jason Dunkelberger has moved into a battle with Kory Ellis after passing Tavis Cain.

07-09-2005, 07:02 PM
Natalie Jr remains in the lead followed by Luburgh and Dustin Wimmer has moved into 3rd after passing Bill Ballance

1/2 Way Point

1. John Natalie Jr
2. Jason Luburgh
3. Dustin Wimmer
4. Bill Ballance
5. Kory Ellis
6. Jason Dunkelberger
7. Tavis Cain
8. Joe Byrd
9. Pat Brown
10. Doug Eichner
11. Doug Gust
12. Jermiah Jones
13. Travis Spader
14. Rocco Arno Jr
15. William Yokley
16. Cody Miller

07-09-2005, 07:03 PM
With the extremely sloppy conditions the majority of the riders are running XC setups with Large tires

Jeremiah Jones just pulled in for Goggles

07-09-2005, 07:04 PM
Natalie continues to lead and hold a several second lead over Luburgh in second followed by Wimmer and Ballance. There is atleast a 10 second gap till Kory Ellis in 4th

07-09-2005, 07:05 PM
Several riders are now a lap down on Natalie with Doug Eichner going a lap down.

Only change up front is Cain moving past Dunk and taking over 6th and is now pressuring Ellis for the 5th spot

1. John Natalie Jr
2. Jason Luburgh
3. Dustin Wimmer
4. Bill Ballance
5. Kory Ellis
6. Tavis Cain
7. Jason Dunkelberger
8. Pat Brown
9. Joe Byrd
10. Doug Gust
11. Travis Spader
12. Jeremiah Jones
12. Rocco Arno

07-09-2005, 07:13 PM
Natalie Jr has just took the white flag with a lead of 17 seconds to Wimmer now in 2nd place and Bill Ballance has now moved into the final podium spot due to Luburgh disappearing in the back of the track.

07-09-2005, 07:16 PM
John Natalie Jr Takes the Checkered with the Win!!! Unfortunately, Jason Luburgh ran into more bad luck and dropped out of 2nd Place and a lap down, and there is no word on what happened to him.

Unofficial Results
1. John Natalie Jr
2. Dustin Wimmer
3. Bill Ballance
4. Kory Ellis
5. Tavis Cain
6. Pat Brown
7. Joe Byrd
8. Doug Gust
9. Travis Spader
10. Jeremiah Jones
11. Rocco Arno jr

Jason Dunkelberger appeared to have been in 6th place, but apparently something happened because he was scored in 12th?

07-09-2005, 07:30 PM
Photos from Friday's Practice

#13 John Natalie Jr takes the Win, which was no surprise considering he had the fastest laptimes during qualifying, and for the main event he switched to iRazor rear tires to handle the sloppy conditions and deep ruts and proved to everyone that he can race in the mud even after struggling in the early rounds of the GNC Series at Glen Helen and Lake Whitney, which were mudbog races.

07-09-2005, 07:33 PM
#191 Dustin Wimmer put in an impressive race passing #1 Bill Ballance by the 1/2 way point to take over 3rd place behind Jason Luburgh, but with only two laps to go, Luburgh dropped out of the race, which gave East Coast ATV the top two spots with Natalie Jr and Wimmer as they earn back to back podium appearances counting the Daniel Boone MX race last Sunday.

07-09-2005, 08:21 PM
The sloppy track conditions worked perfect for #1 Bill Ballance as he used his extensive experience riding in the mud to keep him in the hunt for the podium and received a break from Luburgh when he dropped out of the race to give Ballance the final spot on the podium.

I will admit that I was extremely disappointed that more GNCC racers weren’t invited to compete in the event because Factory Polaris, #4 Matt Smiley and #7 Chris Jenks deserved an invitation considering their top 5 standings in the GNCC Series this year and top finishes last season.


07-09-2005, 08:48 PM
#53 Kory Ellis once again put on a great show and finished 4th and just imagine if he could only get a Holeshot because he always seems to be working his way through the pack.

07-09-2005, 08:49 PM
5th Place went to #6 Tavis Cain after battling with Kory Ellis for the 4th place position

07-09-2005, 08:50 PM
#19 Jason Dunkelberger, Lost Creek Cycles was running in the 6th spot with only two laps left when his hand guards folded on him from the mud and prevented him from grabbing the clutch which stalled his YFZ and left him stuck in the mud and dropping back to 12th.

07-09-2005, 08:51 PM
#199 K&K ATV, Pat Brown

07-09-2005, 08:54 PM
Joe Byrd wasn't able to grab the Holeshot in the Main event after grabbing a string of Holeshots, but he was able to hold off Doug Gust who finished in 8th Place which is amazing considering Doug is riding with a tore ACL.

07-09-2005, 08:55 PM
Travis Spader

07-09-2005, 08:57 PM
#2 Jeremiah Jones finished in 10th place after having to stop for goggles.

07-09-2005, 08:58 PM
Rocco Arno Jr was the top amateur rider finishing in 11th place, and I am sure it want be long till he is found on the Pro Starting gate.

07-09-2005, 09:00 PM
#8 Jason Luburgh ran a great race until his engine failed him with two laps to go, which took him out of the race :(

07-09-2005, 09:01 PM
Doug Eichner didn't fair well in the mud and went a lap down

07-09-2005, 09:02 PM
#2 William Yokley also didn't have a great weekend and also was forced to stop for goggles during the race.

07-09-2005, 09:03 PM
Cody Miller surprised everyone by earning himself the final spot in the Main Event, but unfortunately he also had mechanical problems

07-09-2005, 09:07 PM
#52 Dana Creech made the long trip from California with high hopes, but he ran into bad luck in both qualifiers with a blown headpipe in the first qualifier and locked up with Nelson in the LCQ when he was well on his way to qualifying.

After watching tonight’s race, he didn’t feel as bad by not qualifying because of how bad the conditions were on the track.

Also, a big thanks to Teresa Creech for providing these awesome photos.

07-09-2005, 09:07 PM
Neither women riders were on their race quads because they were required to race production machines, Angela Moore actually looked really good out there this weekend, but she wasn't able to make the cut for the Main.

07-09-2005, 09:10 PM
The switch was more apparent with Heather as she didn't look as comfortable on the 450R as she does her normal race machine.

07-09-2005, 09:12 PM
Giovanni Colon made the trip to the US to compete once again, but unfortunately, he didn't qualify.

07-09-2005, 09:13 PM
Jeremy Schell also made the long trip from California along with Dustin Nelson as they represented the ITP Quadcross Pro racers.

07-09-2005, 09:14 PM
Dustin Nelson

07-09-2005, 09:17 PM
Finally, #18 Johnny Gallager (Johnny C) made some laps in the sand, but a pileup in his qualifier took him out of the race, and he didn't make the cut in the 12 rider LCQ.

07-09-2005, 09:19 PM
This concludes Saturday's Live Coverage of the Fourwheel Frenzy and be sure to watch ESPN or ABC this week to show your support for ATV racing and hopefully it gets high ratings, which will drive more primetime ATV events.

07-12-2005, 10:45 PM
I edited the coverage because I never intended to attack anyone personally, but I just had a different perception of the Great Outdoor Games than reality. I looked at it similar to an Olympic event with the currently top ranked athletes from all division of ATV racing gathering for a head on head contest on a course that would provide a mix of all disciplines to really see who would prove to be the fastest ATV racer and share a piece of the $30,000 purse.

By using poor wording, I offended some while invoking praise by others, but regardless, I am man enough to admit that I wish I handled it differently, so I removed it.

Instead of agruing about who was invited, be sure to be watching ESPN Wednesday Night and the rest of the week to show your support for the ones that were selected to compete.