This year Mother Nature added some spice, excitement and cold baths for the riders as, in addition to plenty of snow on the ground, there was melting ice and large puddles of very cold water for riders to fall into.
However, one local pro used the mud and slush for a challenging training session.
"Oh man, I just want to ride. We rode at Mustang a little bit yesterday and it was muddy," Justin Soulè said after winning the race. "And I needed to practice my mud as you never know what races are going to be muddy. So I was expecting slippery and I guess I got it."
The course used an up and down run through the trees as well as part of the motocross circuit but the hill, a signature part of the park, was avoided.
Riders rode in either the big bike or veterans group. And they either raced as teammates, who alternated being on the course riding their personal bikes, or as an "Ironman" if they raced solo.
While Soulè was one of the ironmen he had help in the pits from Mike O'Connor.
On the start Steve Gard got the holeshot followed by Tony Evans, who led the first lap. Shortly after that Soulè took the lead.
Once on the course the racers faced the challenge of melting snow and ice. Wheel spin turned snow into ice, while in other places ice sheets briefly hid water hazards. Due to the slick conditions everyone either got to taste the snow or received an unwelcome ice water bath.
"I went down a couple of times, just from little mistakes like sliding out. Then there was a really deep water hole that was all ice and when you broke through it became like a little ledge. I hit it and sort of crashed," Soulè said.
The race became a duel between himself and two half-brothers, Tony Evans and Brian Sjogren. Lap after lap, despite problems on course, both brothers tried their best to catch the fleeing leader.
One area where virtually every rider came to grief was an uphill series of banks and terraces. Leading into this section was a split left hand turn with a large puddle in each side.
The face of each bank was icy and the level spots were actually water holes of various depths with ice floating on them.
Many had their bikes stall in the water or just tip over giving the rider an icy bath. Once up it was almost a case of Mission Impossible for a rider to get their bikes up the face of the banks.
Many had to go back down the course so they could get some speed before proceeding. The top three solved this problem by riding on the right hand edge of this section but it wasn't easy.
As the laps rolled on all the riders got soaked and their bikes were getting mud caked as well. Still everyone, except one rider that went down early, soldiered on.
There were women were in the field. Highest placed was Sabrina Wosick, who teamed with Travis Mattoon in Group 1. Further back the team of Beth Legenbauer and Laura Townsend overcame crashes, stalls and an occasional bath to finish 13th.
Josh Morros, making a come back from serious injuries last year, rode solo and finished 11th, while in Group 2, team of Justin Lengenbauer and Cliff Townsend won that class.
Toward the end of the race Sjorgen was closing on the leader until he was held up be several lapped riders. To add insult to injury he then crashed heavily but was able to make it back to the pits.
Then Evans took off, did his best but couldn't close the gap with a very tired Soulè, who took the victory.
"I just wanted to come out and test my fitness as we've been working on getting that up for this year," he said. "For two hours I felt good but in that last hour, I felt tired. This is like Hare Scrambles time."
Back in the pits after the finish, Evans said, "It was gnarly, super slick super fun and easy to fall down. I think I fell down too many times today but I still had a good time."
After changing into some dry clothes, Sjogren said, "It was fun, a lot of snow but it was a good time."
Further up the pit lane, teammates Legenbauer and Townsend, who normally race in the MRANN series, were comparing notes on their day.
"It was muddy, and wet, and icy, and hard," Townsend said. "I learned I could life a lot more weight than I thought I could, that's for sure as the bike's heavy."
"It was okay, it had moments of fun as it was icy and wet," Legenbauer said with a laugh. "It was really wet and muddy today and I fell into a puddle at least twice."
Then Townsend laughed and said, "We're puddle magnets, we always fall into puddles and every race I always fall into a puddle."
Despite the cold, wet conditions, everyone seemed to have a good time although hot showers were something most looked forward to when they got back home.
Now the Honey Lake MX Park goes dark until the spring when racing returns. This year, in addition to their regular schedule, they will hold one of the Mammoth qualifier races.
After a 900-rider turnout last year, the Mammoth event has gone to a qualifier system that will determine 90% of the riders that will be able to compete in this summer classic.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•While New Year's is usually a happy time the Northern Nevada Kart Club has a cloud of sadness over it this holiday season. In mid December they lost one of their long time supporters when Mike Botelho Sr. lost his fight with cancer.
He was co-owner of MMS, a shop that has supported the club and kart racing for many years. This past summer Botelho watched his son, Mike Jr., not only win a national championship at the Sprint Grand Nationals but also be selected to receive the Lake Speed Award; the highest honor in karting.
We wish to extend our condolences to Botelho's personal and extended racing family. He will be missed.
Honey Lake Motocross Park - January 1
Group 1 (125, 250, 450 and Pro) 1. Justin Soulè, 2. Brian Sjogren and Tony Evans, 3. Joey Fascanore, 4. Jared Washabaugh, 5. Kyle Townsend and Ian Horgan, 6. Matt Bussell and Jonathan Ayers, 7. Sabrina Wosick and Travis Mattoon, 8. Robert McAdam and Reese Boeker, 9. Dann Bangrois and Zach Good, 10. Derek Kaunch and Keith Muchinson
Group 1 (+30, +40, +40) 1. Justin Legenbauer and Cliff Townsend, 2. Randy Wood, 3. Shawn Frandsen and Anthony Osterman, 4. Steve Gard, 5. Nedry Guitierez, Tommy Glenn and John Taylor