Green, Koester and Preece Claim Victories in AMA Pro Hillclimb Round 4
NEWS July 3, 2013
Photo by Jeff Whitehead
OREGONIA, Ohio (July 3, 2013) - AMA Pro Hillclimbers faced off for Round 4 of the AMA Pro Hillclimb Series, sponsored by Wiseco and PsychMXGrafix, for a night race dubbed the “The Stairway to the Heavens.” Shane Green dialed it just right and chalked up his first Unlimited Class win of the season with one blistering run up the historic Devil's Staircase hill. John Koester posted his third win in a row in Xtreme Class in this, his rookie year in the expert classes and newcomer, Ryan Preece took the win in Pro Sport on his first appearance of the year.
Pro Sport riders hit the hill first, with Devin Sweitzer setting the pace at just over 10 seconds. Series points leader, Nick Bleau rode next and set the mark to beat at 9.845 seconds, then Nick Drummer upped the ante with a 9.76 E.T. Preece rode next to last in the order and obviously paid attention the riders before him. He posted a 9.529 second time, moving into the lead.
After intermission, Preece opted to wait out the half to see if anyone could better his time. Rider after rider tried, but a passing storm had degraded hill conditions and no one could break 10 seconds. With no credible challenge in the second half, Preece took the win. He was joined on the podium by second-place, Nick Drummer and third-place, current points leader- Nick Bleau.
In Xtreme action, the first half rides got progressively faster. Jay Sallstrom posted a 7.975-second time only to be bested by Vinny Nuzzolilli with a 7.667 E.T. Jockamo Baldina who moved into second when he crested in 7.913 seconds. Then Koester rode and stopped the clock in just 7.330 seconds for the lead. Koester's time would turn out to be faster than any bike in any class on the day, including the Unlimited Class big bikes. Late in the order, Shane Green knocked Sallstrom off the podium with a 7.707-second ride for third.
After halftime, with hill conditions somewhat degraded, riders struggled trying to best Koester. They studied the hill, taking note of where the best lines might be, but to no avail- no Xtreme Class rider broke the eight-second barrier in the second half, so Koester never had to defend his position. In fact, the top five order from the first ride stood at the finish with Koester on the top podium step, joined by Nuzzolilli and Green in second and third, respectively.
When asked about his formula for a successful season so far, Koester said he has just been “pinning it and holding on.” Seems to be working- he leads series points by 14.
Last up was the Unlimited Class with Shane Green, the lead-off rider, posting a 7.436 E.T. just before a cloudburst turned the hill surface to grease. Chris Chartier, Jr. followed Green, laying down a respectable 7.651-second ride. 2012 Champ, Vinny Nuzzolilli rode faster with a 7.436-second time. Later in the order, riders found it tough to beat eight seconds with worsening hill conditions. Koester did it, crossing the finish in 7.837- fast, but still in fourth.
In the second half, only Koester bettered his standing. He topped the hill in 7.439 seconds, advancing past Nuzzolilli and Sallstrom to take the number two spot by just 0.003 of a second. The Unlimited podium was a reshuffle of the Xtreme winners with Green on top followed by Koester and Nuzzolilli, in order.
Jay Sallstrom retains series points lead, but is now just 2 ahead of Nuzzolilli and Koester.
Round five will be at West Branch, MI on July 14.
U/L: 1. Shane Green (Hon); 2. John Koester (Hon); 3. Vinny Nuzzolilli (Hon); 4. Chris Chartier, Jr. (Yam); 5. Jay Sallstrom (Yam).
Xtreme: 1. John Koester (Hon); 2. Vinny Nuzzolilli (Hon); 3. Shane Green (Hon); 4. Jockamo Baldina (Hon); 5. Jay Sallstrom (Yam).
Pro Sport: 1. Ryan Preece (Hon); 2. Nick Drummer (Hon); 3. Nick Bleau (Hon); 4. Broc Williamson (Hon); 5. Devin Sweitzer (Hon).