Going into Sunday's big bike race, the overall title was at stake as the top two contenders were just three points apart. At stake was the #1 plate for next year, which signifies the series champion.
Prior to the start, leader Dennis "Desert Fox" Belingheri and Steve Tichenor were pretty realistic about the outcome. But they also knew that in racing nothing is certain until the checkered flag flies.
"Just going out there, having a good, smooth race and ultimately beating Steve," Belingheri said with a laugh.
Then Tichenor said, "Ditto that, love to beat him but doesn't happen really ever so it will be a first today if I beat him. Mainly go out, have fun, be safe and it'll be a cool day."
After the riders meeting the competitors moved about a mile cross the playa where they would start in their proper lines. Once a banner was dropped each line made a mass charge toward a small hill where the riders negotiated a sweeping left turn and headed for the course.
The turn, on the flat and somewhat slippery playa, was a challenge for a couple of experts that tangled. It took a few minutes to separate their bikes but both were able to continue.
Getting the hold shot was Kyle Fenner, who was riding a 250cc bike but was soon gobbled up by Irving Powers, Belingheri and others that were riding the more powerful 450cc bikes.
With only a faint breeze to clear out the dust, each line had a several minute separation so the riders had a clear view of the course ahead of them when they started.
Soon after leaving the playa the riders faced a five-mile long whoop section. Following that were single track, canyon and flat out runs.
The course was 44 miles long and to be classed as a finisher a rider had to complete at least one lap. However most of the riders rode for two laps.
At the end of the first lap as they headed to the pits, Irving Powers held the point with Belingheri 39 seconds back. Three minutes later, Fenner came with Tichenor less than a minute behind him.
Tichenor did fall once and Belingheri seeing his advantage on the second lap didn't go all out. Up front however Irving was on the gas as he left the entire field in his dust and finished at least two minutes ahead of Belingheri at the finish line.
"I started second then gained that position then about five or seven miles of whoops so pounded those out," Powers said finishing first overall. "Was able to hit some single track, glanced back, saw Dennis so I just kept up the pace. Had a smooth pit, went back out, didn't see anyone, the second lap went way smoother, I was a ton faster and enjoyed the course."
Then he gave special thanks to the Trail Blazers for pitting him, CMS, McCoy's, Agent Orange Racing, FMF and Dirt Tricks.
After Belingheri finished both he and Powers congratulated each other on their race.
Then Belingheri said, "The race was good, I just rode smooth and smart as I knew I had to finish. This year I think I got five overalls, two-second overalls and two DNFs. It's the third championship but I'm 43 now so it's a lot harder."
Then he gave special thanks to his wife, family for their support.
Although he seemed out-gunned on a 250, Kyle Fenner, who got the hole shot, fell back then used a determined ride to claim third overall.
At the finish he said, "It was a pretty good start, everyone else let off and I just kept going for it. By the time we got to the end of the lakebed I was about 10th or so and I had to work my way back to third."
Tichenor came home fourth, which earned him second in the MRANN championship but gave him the 4-stroke title so it wasn't such a bad day.
After taking the checkered he said, "I fell down halfway through the first loop, and I was worried as I lost a bunch of water and my bike was overheating Thursday. I put a new cap but it was overheating on the start so right before I came in, and before the second lap I checked it and it was OK. I rode a nice conservative second lap, got the 4-Stroke championship and second over all so I'm pretty happy."
Then he gave a big thanks to RMS, Dirt Tricks as well as his wife and family.
Behind the leaders came Josh Wilson in 16th, who beat Belingheri for the 30+ title and young Marcus Loll in 17th, the first amateur to complete two laps. For Loll it meant overcoming the several minute gap between his line and the expert start.
"That race was great and I loved it," he said. "I love the course, other than the whoops, as everything else was great. And I'd like to thank Darrol Brown, Steve Mendicini and my mom and dad."
Further back in 32nd place was the first Novice rider, Wyatt Brittner, who said, "It was a fun race, it was fast and I just kept it pinned. The start was my favorite part as I like going fast like that and I need to thank my parents."
One rider did go down during the first lap but he was able to get up, clear his head and actually finished the race.
The weather, although cold at night, was very mild and just right for racing. Now MRANN will total the final points for everyone and get ready for their awards banquet.
Soon after New Years the various clubs in the organization will begin the permitting process for next year's desert races.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•For those wanting a chance to experience the thrills of off road racing the Wild West Motorsports Park is hosting a Super Lites "Ride-A-Long" day on Friday, weather permitting.
The rides will be from 12:30 to 3:30 that afternoon and for further information or reservations please call 775-824-4300.
•The final race of the year for this area will be on Sunday when SMRA ends it season at the Fernley Lions Motocross Track. As usual the first motos will begin around 9:30 a.m.
MRANN Racing Series - Round 9
Cranberry Classic 100
• Sunday, Nov. 25
Big Bikes Overall - 1. Irving Powers, Open Exp., 2. Dennis Belingheri, 30+ Exp., 3. Kyle Fenner, 250 Exp., 4. Steve Tichenor, 4-Stroke Exp., 5. Michael Barenbak, 6. Adam Thissen, 7. Jason Alosi, 8. Titan McKibben, 9. Mark Doners, 10. Tayler Dahlberg. 11. Ryan Hamel, 12. Alan Cameron, 13. Jake Osborn, 14. Dan Rankin, 15. Jim Menesini, 16. Josh Wilson, 17. Marcus Loll, Open Amateur, 18. Joe Haney, 19. Jesse Cunnally, 20. Ryan Jackson, 21. Brad Kohler, 22. Tyler Bryant, 23. Robert McAdam, 24. Mike Schartz, 25. Doug Ferreira, 26. Daniel Spring, 27. Mark Galbreath, 28. Ed Sellers, 29. Darren Twilegar, 30. Brandon Thomas, 31. Matt Johnson, 32. Wyatt Brittner
• Saturday, Nov. 24*
- (6 & Under) 1. Ryder Thomaselli, 2. Ashton Moncreif, 3. Austin Hough, 4. Seth Rigsby, 5. unlisted
— (7 - 9) 1. unlisted , 2. Blair Rankin
— (Exp.) 1. Corey Fletcher, 2. Marcus Loll, 3. Austin Wilson
— (Ama.) 1. unlisted
— (Nov.) 1. Jonas Thissen, 2. Tyler Spelts, 3. Donavyn Morris
- (Exp.) 1. Chrystal Ponsock, 2. Taylor Kemp, 3. Katie Rosenquist
— (Ama.) 1. Jodie Fell
— (Nov.) 1. Janeen Rigsby, 2. Mackinze Dingley, 3. unlisted , 4. Lauren Watson, 5. Alyson Wilson
* - Some racers were not listed in the current points total sheet so their names and full results will be available later this week at: www.racemrann.com.