MDK/WRA's "Happy" Gilmore Continues Incredible Comeback; Dally Breaks Through - Dirt Rider Magazine

March 25th, 2009Newbury Park, CA. The 2009 AMA Monster Energy Supercross series traveled north from the "Big Easy" to the "Gateway City" of St. Louis. The Fans and racers were greeted by fabulous weather and a track designed by the World's Most Famous Motorcycle Racer Travis Pastrana, which Travis said was inspired by the 1980's Supercross video game Excitebike. It certainly was unique and most seemed to enjoy the playful charm of the layout. It indeed suited the MDK/Warthog Racing Academy riders and the Warthog Nation graduates as the team reached new heights for the season. The pack of MDK/Warthog riders were enjoying the indoor pit setup of the Edward Jones Dome and came ready to do battle in the world's best sport. Riding for the Warthog Racing Academy (WRA) on big bikes was the lone #71 of Justin Sipes. In the Lites class, WRA was represented by #336 Dennis Jonon, #374 Cody Gilmore, #96 Tyler Wharton, # 831 Ryan Smith, #198 Jacob Saylor, #566 Logan Martin, #309 Spencer Dally, and #811 Josh Lichtle.Many Warthog Nation graduates were also set to go fight for respectability and fame. As always, Warthog Racing Team Captain Heath Voss, newly teamed with MotoConcepts Racing and Leader of the Privateer of the Year race was on hand, as well as the other MotoConcepts riders who represent the Warthog movement with recent graduates #979 Ben Coisy, #911 Tyler Bowers, and #719 Vince Friese.And let's not forget our old pal and veteran #125 Daniel Blair, who bleeds Warthog green. Daniel has made an amazing comeback, which has been even more incredible since he landed a factory-supported ride on the Geico Powersports Honda.Of the 14 riders of the Warthog Nation, all made it through timed qualifying with ease. For the fourth week in a row, the Warthog Nation made up 25% of the Lites class, which is record that won't easily be broken. In the Supercross class, all four riders made it again to the big show; they ended up comprising 10% of the heat races. Top qualifying Warthogs included Tyler Bowers, Ben Coisy, Daniel Blair, Cody "Happy" Gilmore, Vince Friese, and Spencer Dally.Lites heat #1 saw Cody Gilmore, the comeback kid for the ages, score an easy 8th place and a transfer to the main. Vince Friese holeshot the race on his powerful MDK Speed Honda and settled for a season best 3rd place finish. Dennis Jonon, Josh Lichtle, and Ryan Smith had races they'd rather forget as they pondered their chances in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).The second Lites heat saw Jacob Saylor, Daniel Blair, and Spencer Dally score 7th, 8th, and 9th, respectively, giving them the voucher need to make the main. It was Spencer's first trip to the ultimate in Supercross Lites racing; he would now join the 20 best Lites riders in the world on the starting gate of the main event. A lonely Tyler Wharton struggled through the heat and sealed his fate for the evening - either dominate the LCQ or go home. Those now were his only choices.The first heat for the big bikes saw Heath Voss finish a strong 6th and move directly to the main with a good gate pick. Justin Sipes didn't make the cut in the heat and headed off to the LCQ.In the second big bike heat, Tyler Bowers matched Voss' 6th to take his spot in the main. Tyler has now made the main five times in a row, an excellent run for the 17-year old protege. Ben Coisy had a bad crash in the heat and wasn't able to line up for the LCQ.The Lites LCQ was next and Tyler Wharton was up to the challenge. He gated well and ran a strong second the whole race, beating such notable riders as Broc Tickle and Branden Jesseman to take the final spot in the main. Jonon, Lichtle, Smith, and Logan missed the coveted first and second places in the LCQ and in the 3 minutes and 48 seconds it took to run the LCQ, their night was over.In the Supercross LCQ, Justin Sipes put in a strong ride to take 5th place, but that wasn't enough to get him to the main. A tip of the tusk to #57 Jacob Marsack, long-time friend of the Warthog, who rode a great LCQ race only to miss the final transfer spot by less than one second.Next up was the Lites main, where Cody "Happy" Gilmore put in a great ride to finish a career best 13th, Cody look smooth and strong all night and it is apparent to everyone that he has overcome his battle with cancer to take a seat among the best in the world in the sport of Supercross. His story is steeped in courage and hope. Cody Gilmore, all of the Warthog Nation salutes you!!Another breakthrough was had by Spencer Dally. He finished his first career main event with a respectable 17th place. Look to see Spencer in more main events as his career begins to flourish. Daniel Blair finished a strong 8th, Jacob Saylor 15th, and Vince Friese 16th.The big bike main saw Voss and Bowers get mired in the back of the pack, making for a tough night in the final. They would finish 17th and 19th, respectively.Said Scott Kandel, Chief Altruistic Officer, Warthog Racing, "The East Coast swing for Warthog Nation has been great!!. We're making mains by the bushel and every rider in the group has a compelling story to tell. We know well that we are living our mission -- to conceptualize, fund, and execute meaningful programs aimed directly at supporting the privateers."Another encouraging aspect of the Warthog Racing program has been the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) Internship. This program gives MMI's top students and graduates an opportunity to get real world tech experience in the ultimate racing environment. This week we hosted three MMI Interns, Javier Cruz, Aaron Swenson, and Brad Wilson. They all did a fantastic job. Thanks guys!!And finally we need to acknowledge the hardest working man in the pits - MDK/WRA Truck Driver and all around great guy Chris Parsons.This season would not be possible without our committed and actively engaged sponsor/partner group. For 2009, we have teamed up with the following entities: _MDK Motorsports, MDK Speed, DeCal Works, Smooth Industries, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI), P-LoK, MotoConcepts, Transworld Motocross, Vanquish MX, DT1 Air Filters,, Devol Engineering, Liquid Performance, LongShot Racing, CP Pistons, VP Fuel, Dunlop, The Plumber Inc., MB2 Raceway, Edgile Consulting, MX Sports, MotionPro, Dana K Business Parks, The Whitaker Wellness Institute, Atlantic Promotions, NXTAgency, Kardy Photography, Relentless Media, MotoTees, RacerX Illustrated, Dirt Rider Magazine, Motocross Action Magazine, MartialMoto, Honolulu Hills Raceway, L&M; Racing, and Fire and Police MX._ **With this fine group, anything is possible. And special thanks to _Feld Motor Sports**_. Because of their full support, dozens of privateers get the opportunity to live their dreams.Take care and we'll see you at the races!!