BLOUNTVILLE — Kingsport rider Steve Clark had never competed at his home track before Saturday’s National Vintage Motocross Championship race at Muddy Creek Raceway.
He made up for lost time with a third place on the podium and a victory in the weekend’s event.
Clark rode his Yamaha to a third-place finish behind Georgia rider Bill Wright and Alabama rider Larry Decker in the Vintage 60+ race. Elizabethton’s Dennis Ornduff was fifth in the count.
For Clark, there was more business to attend to, as he won the Vintage Open Age Novice race.
“It was a great day. (Track owner) Sam Gammon and his team have done a great job preparing the track,” said Clark. “I’ve watched national races here, but this is my first time riding here. It feels so good to finally be able to ride on the track.
“This track is much better prepared than the ones we ride across the country and there are lots of elevation changes which makes it fun for the riders. Lots of family and friends came and we have had a good time.
Others across the country also had a great time with winners from the Carolinas, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Alabama and half a dozen more from Georgia.
Jerry Mattox of Bryson City, North Carolina won the Sportsman 125 Expert class, beating fellow Honda rider Tommy Greer of Augusta, Georgia for the win. Kenneth Thomas of Burnsville, NC won the Premier LWT class.
MORE THAN THE COMPETITION
The National Vintage Motocross Championship served as a showcase for older motorcycles and a reunion of past and present racers.
One of them was former Pro rider Sam Dayton, originally from Unicoi and now from Charlotte, North Carolina. Dayton has been racing for 54 years, with the Saturday races being its first race at Muddy Creek in seven years.
He was trading stories with former rivals Barry Higgins and Mike Graham at the weekend’s event. It was quite an accomplishment for Dayton to be on the racetrack after being in the hospital with him ready to undergo heart surgery before doctors examined him once more.
“God is good because the doctors came in there, examined me and told me to go home,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m going to Muddy Creek.’ I love being here with so many friends and family, some of them I didn’t like so much back then because they were such tough competition.
Piney Flats rider Hans Neel swept the motos in the Unlimited A/B class and 30+ race with 22 riders to headline Sunday’s racing action. Neel, on a KTM, edged out Cory Cooper in the A/B race with Mitch Hunley third.
Cooper also won a race for runners ages 16-29 with Johnson City runner Trey Emert second. Bristol’s Brandon Whited won the Unlimited C/D race as he and Zach Brewer finished 1-2 over a pair of Hondas.
A pair of Erwin riders also picked up wins. Justin Ramsey took victory in two classes and Steve Tilson won the Ultima 4-stroke race.