5/31/2014 Lucerne Valley, CA
Contingency and tech. inspection for the MORE McKenzies 400 was once again held at the Lucerne Valley High School/Middle School. It has been more than a few years since it was held at the school, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of Cody Jeffers and Jim Clements it was once again allowed. There were close to a hundred cars entered for this race. Due to the SNORE, LOORS, Baja 500 Prerunning events, it was a little less than expected but overall it was a decent showing for the race filled weekend. The race started at 9:00am and there was always a steady gust of wind to help clear the dust. The course was a 42.5 mile loop that included some areas that haven’t been raced for at least 10 years.
TT/Class 1 Clarence Cleary was first off the line in his Single Seat Class 1 racer 197. Cleary had a list of fast drivers behind him including Grove TT 32 driven by Shawn Croll, 150 John Bartol, 58 George Pondella, 170 Kevin Thompson as well as a few more drivers. Shawn Croll was the leader after lap one, but John Bartol and Clarence Cleary were not letting the trophy truck out of their sights. The Grove TT with Croll behind the wheel were leading the whole race but suffered some issues with the drive line and converter seal on the last lap. The Grove Lumber TT32 would have to settle for 2nd place. The 150 car of John Bartol rolled on the third lap in hunt for the lead. At the end it was Clarence Cleary taking the overall in a time of 6 hours 33 minutes and 44 seconds. Class 10 had one of the largest classes of the race and they all battled it out to the end. All day it was a battle between David Norris in the 1040 and Sammy Erenberg in the 1075 car. The 1075 car suffered two flat tires and finished in second place. LJ Kennedy brought the 1075 car to the finish. David Norris took the win in class 10 and was less than 7 minutes out of the overall win. In Class 12 it was a duel between 1299 Don Myers and Brian Bowles in 1248. At the finish it was the team of Brian Bowles, Scott Kinmann and Brian Wilson taking the class. The Class 5 coalition had a strong field entered as well. All day it was a battle between 547 Adam Spitz, 545 Wes Taylor, 514 John Willard , 503 Richard Sletten and 502 Scott Moldenhauer. At the checkers it was the 502 of Scott Moldenhauer on top of the box. Class 1600 was well represented with a field full of talent. Race mile 8 appeared to be a challenge for the whoop skippers, more than half the cars in the class turned it over there at some point in the race. However, that didn’t slow the class down. On the first lap it was a great race between, 1699 Mike Meehan, 1677 Johnny McCall, 1686 Daniel Deen, 1622 Tom Craig, 1666 Lucas Knecht, 1611 Zack Sizelove, and 1697 Matt Depue. Matt Depue was the first to fall victim to race mile 8, but made up some time and was still running with the field by the end of the first lap. At the checkered flag it was 1622 Tom Craig, 1666 Lucas Knecht, and 1611 Zach Sizelove. Class 900 racers also had their fair share of troubles except for the 990 Matt Creveling. Matt is always pushing the pace and is always in the lead pack. The 990 ran trouble free and walked away from the class for the well deserved win. Harley Young had a rough first lap rolling the car right at the end before start/finish. Harley was still nursing some injuries from his tumble at Ridgecrest. Nate Himmerlick helped Harley finish both races with podium finishes at both. Mike Brown has been making some improvements to his suspension and said the car felt the best it’s been. He had some clutch issues and ended up pulling the motor and replacing the clutch. The 976 car of Rob Macdonald and his son battled some throttle issues but they were able to bring the car around for a long awaited finish! In 5/1600 it was a battle of man and his machine vs. the desert. Sean Hoglund beat the desert and took first in class. Class 2000 at the end is was a battle between the 2047 truck of Kurt Youngs and 2022 truck of Joser Herrera. Kurt Youngs and the 2047 truck took top spot by 6 minutes. In Class 1400 it was Robbie Cockwell that walked away from the class and took the win. In Class 3000 it was Cheri Nutter on top of the podium at the finish.
With the “Return of the Wall” and the new additions to the course, M.O.R.E put on a really great race. Cody Jeffers is anticipating a 100% new course for the MORE/SNORE race in Lucerne for September as long as the BLM will approve it. Cody said he feels confident that the BLM will issue the permit. The next MORE race will be the Freedom 250 in July, with a 65 to 70 mile loop in Barstow. Congratulations to all the winners and finishers of the MORE McKenzies 400.