Sallstrom and Libhart Win White Rose Hillclimb
Jay Sallstrom took wins in the Unlimited and 450 Pro classes when the White Rose Motorcycle Club hosted the AMA Pro Hillclimb, Round 5. Sallstrom’s wins catapulted him into the points lead over rival John Koester in both classes. Phil Libhart won the Xtreme and exhibition Verticross classes.
Greg Coyne rode first in the Unlimited class, setting the initial pace at just over 11 seconds. Cory Strickler followed with a 10.206 E.T., only to be bested in sequence by Libhart at 10.074 seconds, Vinny Nuzzolilli- 9.379 seconds, and Sallstrom at 9.458 seconds. Koester, in the points lead after 4 rounds, crashed on his first attempt in round 5. Late in the order, Jockamo Baldina and Alex Erickson crested in 10.073 and 9.989 seconds respectively. Nuzzolilli led at the half, followed, in order, by Sallstrom and Erickson.
Nuzzolilli sat out the second half of Unlimited competition, waiting to see if he’d have to defend his position. Libhart topped the hill in 9.927 to edge out Erickson. Sallstrom took over first with at 9.282-second ride, forcing Nuzzolilli to respond. Nuzzolilli was fast, but not fast enough for the win. His first ride would hold for second place. Late in the order, Baldina posted a 9.587 E.T. to take third away from Libhart. Koester couldn’t find the rhythm on the newly-revamped hill and finished a disappointing eleventh.
Riding first in Xtreme class, Jack Mason made his mark with a 9.67-second ride. Baldina slotted into second, cresting the hill in 9.854 seconds. Libhart took the lead when he laid down a near-perfect ride, posting a 9.397 E.T. Koester stopped the clock at 9.628 seconds, taking over second and pushing Baldina to fourth at halftime.
Libhart waited and watched through the second half of the Xtreme class to see if he would need to ride- he never did. Among the many riders who posted faster times in the second half, Sallstrom’s and Baldina’s times were fast enough to land them on the podium in second and third, respectively.
In 450 Pro competition, Sean Van Assen set the opening pace at 12.638 seconds. Baldina crested in 10.550 seconds. Libhart posted a 10.889-second time. Then Koester, riding in the middle of the order, posted the first sub-ten-second time in the class at 9.993 seconds. Baldina and Libhart sat in the two and three spots at the half behind Koester.
In second-half 450 action, Justin Fowler posted a 10.371 E.T. to move into second place. Jack Mason topped the hill in 10.349 seconds, bumping Fowler to third. Sallstrom rode last in the order and snatched the lead by a mere 0.003 of a second, forcing a ride by Koester and nudging Mason and Fowler down one spot each. Koester tried to recapture the lead but came up short, settling instead for the second step on the 450 podium.
In exhibition Verticross, i.e., side-by-side uphill moto-cross-style racing, Libhart lost his first heat, won in the losers bracket, and staged a come-from-behind win in the final.
The AMA Pro Hillclimb champions will be crown after the final round on October 8 at Oregonia, OH.
The AMA Pro Hillclimb Series receives sponsorship from Wiseco, PsychMXGraphix, Dyno Port, and Earl’s Indy.
Results Round 2:
Unlimited: 1. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 2. Vinny Nuzzolilli (Hon); 3. Jackamo Baldina (Hon); 4. Joseph Lowe (Suz); 5. Phil Libhart (Tri).
Xtreme: 1. Phil Libhart (Tri); 2. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 3. Jackamo Baldina (Hon); 4. John Koester (Hon); 5. Vinny Nuzzolilli (Hon).
450 Pro: 1. Jay Sallstrom (Yam); 2. John Koester (Hon); 3. Jack Mason (Hon); 4. Justin Fowler (Hon); 5. Jockamo Baldina (Hon).