Phil Libhart wins Round One of AMA Pro Hillclimb series at White Rose Motorcycle Club
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 7, 2016) - Phil Libhart took wins in both the Xtreme and Unlimited classes when the AMA Pro Hillclimb Championship Series held its 2016 season opener at the White Rose Motorcycle Club's hill. John Koester took the win in the inaugural running of the Expert Singles class. Sixteen-year-old Justin Fowler took the automatic win in Pro Sport as its only competitor on the day.
The Xtreme Class led off with 2015 Pro Sport Champ, Nick Briggs setting the pace at 9.202 seconds. Johnny Curry dropped into the eights with an 8.851-second E.T. Jay Sallstrom and John Koester upped the ante with 7.692 and 7.046-second rides, respectively. Jockamo Baldina moved into the sixes, cresting in 6.797 seconds. Libhart blazed up the hill at a blistering 6.402 seconds to take over the lead. After one run, Baldina and Koester sat in second and third, respectively.
After intermission, Sallstrom, Koester and Anthony Dehart all set times in the six-second range. Sallstrom took over third and Koester second until Baldina rode even faster at 6.463 seconds, bumping each back one spot. Libhart took his familiar spot on the top of the White Rose podium, flanked by Baldina and Koester, second and third, in order.
A new class, Expert Singles, was introduced for 2016. It has expert riders on gas-fueled 450cc singles, much like the entry level Pro Sporters ride. Nick Mosko rode first and set a pace of just under 11 seconds. Sallstrom broke into the nines and Koester into the eights with 9.576 and 8.878-second E.T.s, respectively. Nick Briggs rounded out the top three at 9.737 seconds after one ride.
Eddie Capelli moved into second in Expert Singles after half-time, posting a 9.512-second time. Sallstrom nudged Capelli to third with a 9.106 E.T. Although unnecessary, Koester chose to ride in the second half, posting an 8.924-second time. Koester's first-half ride clinched the win for him. Sallstrom took the two-spot and Capelli took third. Sallstrom took honors from Sponsor- TiLUBE as the “TiLUBE Top Gun.”
Justin Fowler posted a respectable 8.988-second time in his Pro Sport debut. With no other competition, he took the automatic win. His time would have stood for a second place had he ridden with the Expert Singles riders. He'll be moving up for round two.
Cory Strickler rode first in the Unlimited Class, setting a 10-second pace. John Harper dropped into the eights and Joseph Lowe into the sevens. Sallstrom moved ahead of Lowe when he topped the hill in 7.313 seonds. But Koester was first to post a time in the sixes, a 6.672-second E.T. Libhart rode late in the order and bested Koester by just over a tenth-second for the lead.
In the second half, just when the Unlimited Class riders were up, the heavens cut loose with a show of their own- electrifying the sky. The ensuing downpour doused the hill and any hopes of a faster ride. So the race was halted, leaving the first-half times to stand with Libhart on top, followed by Koester in second and Sallstrom in third.
The AMA Pro Hillclimb Series receives sponsorship from Wiseco, Cometic Gaskets, PsychMXGraphix, Alco Cleaners, Evans Coolant, TiLUBE, and Kawasaki.
Results Round 1
U/L: 1. Phil Libhart (Tri); 2. John Koester (Hon); 3. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 4. Jockamo Baldina (Hon); 5. Matt Luna (Kaw).
Xtreme: 1. Phil Libhart (Tri); 2. Jockamo Baldina (Hon); 3. John Koester (Hon); 4. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 5. Anthony DeHart (Hon).
Expert Singles: 1. John Koester (Hon); 2. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 3. Eddie Capelli (Hon); 4. Joseph Lowe (Kaw); 5. Nick Briggs (Yam).Pro Sport: 1. Justin Fowler (Hon).