Friday, Jul. 06, 2012
By David Witte / firstname.lastname@example.org
LOS BANOS Michael Gomes began his motocross career at the Los Banos fairgrounds at 15 years old.
"We'd come out here every summer, every weekend," Gomes said. "It's my roots, pretty much."
Now 21 and living in Glendale, Ariz., Gomes took two weeks off from his job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car to visit his family here in LB. And he brought his bikes with him.
"I thought I have a couple of weeks off work, I'll come check it out," Gomes said. "It's definitely hard to get back into the swing of things though. Like I said, I grew up riding this, but down in Arizona, we don't have anything like this."
Most of the tracks Gomes rides in Arizona have an open-desert feel, and ride a lot faster. Dropping in on the Los Banos track for the fifth round of the Los Banos Top Gun Summercross Series on Saturday, Gomes had to make adjustments on his Honda CRF250R for the tighter track.
"It requires a lot of different suspension settings, sprocket settings. Over there, we run a 48-tooth sprocket, little bit longer gears," Gomes said. "Here we're running a 50-tooth sprocket, give it a little bit shorter gear, that way you come into the corners in second, third gear.
"And the suspension, you want it to be a lot stiffer. You land, and you turn. Jump, land, turn. Over there, it's a little more forgiving."
The change in racing mentality is just what Gomes needs -- he wants to pursue arenacross opportunities, which means a lot of tight courses.
"This is good to see where I'm at, and what I need to work on, and just go from there," Gomes said. "This is just all to learn and have fun."
Gomes took fourth in the 4-stroke pro class and eighth in the 450cc/250cc pro class, but qualified for the Top Gun Main Event, along with another former Los Banos native: Modesto resident Patrick Spadafore. Spadafore took sixth, and Gomes finished ninth.
Lodi's Daniel Blair won the main event, with Sonora's Ty Keenom in second.
The main event finish capped an up-and-down day for Spadafore, who won the 250cc novice and 450cc novice classes, but saw his half-brother Colby Copp leave in an ambulance with his leg broken in two places.
Copp, 11, tried to pass a rider in the 85cc novice class, but a collision sent him tumbling and ended his racing summer. Copp was fresh off a 10th-place finish in the 65cc open class of Mammoth MX 2012 Mini Race Days event.
Other local riders included LB's Brody Silva (fifth in 85cc beginner), Dos Palos' Kameron Geuder (who finished behind Spadafore for second place in 450cc novice), LB's Nick Uljanic (fourth in 250cc beginner) and Gustine's Cyrus Fonseca, who was the only 150cc rider present.
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at email@example.com