Elsinore GP 2005 Race Report and Photo Gallery - Feature Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

Team ECC Suzuki's Ryan Hughes took the big win at the 2005 Elsinore Grand Prix, winning Sunday's Mushman 100 over Kawasaki's Ricky Dietrich and Yamaha rider Mark Tilly. Hughes had a rough race from the very start, however. On the first lap of the race he blew through a turn, tumbling off the edge of the slippery fire road and down the side of a hill. He got his RM-Z450 back onto the course within minutes, but re-entered the race nearly a lap down. But Hughes showed his off-road racing prowess by riding with patience and finesse on the rough, choppy course, using the next few hours to work his way all the way up to the lead.The early race was dominated by Michael LaPaglia, also aboard an RM-Z450. During the first hour, LaPaglia looked like he had it in the bag, but he had fallen back to fourth by the race's end. Kawasaki rider Justin Soule rounded out the top five.Early front-runners in the race also included Kurt Caselli, Micky Dymond and Jeff Ward, but the course proved to be rough, as many of the pro-class riders (including Caselli and Dymond) did not finish. Caselli reportedly threw a crank and Ward, though he was riding extremely well, was plagued by several flat tires.True moto fans know that the Elsinore GP is more than just a race; it's a classic event and a relic of off-road racing. It was one of the biggest races of the year in its hay day, and thanks to GFI Racing's Goat Breker, was brought back to life in 1996. It has been running annually since then.This year marked my first trip to the historic race and I was pleased to find that even three decades later, the epic race still maintains much of the spirit that was captured in "On Any Sunday-where the classic event will forever be frozen in time. People still show up in droves, lining up on the start by the hundreds. And the characters come out in full force.You may recall seeing a motorcycle riding pooch named "Cookie" in "On Any Sunday." Well, last weekend marked the racing debut of another moto-mutt (actually, I don't think he's a mutt), "Oapie." He's been riding a WR450 with owner Michael for quite some time now, and friends encouraged them to enter this year's Elsinore GP. Together, they raced the Open class on Saturday and the Mushman 100 on Sunday. And yes, they finished both races!Another remarkable racing debut (remarkable doesn't even begin to describe it) came from Ricky James. Yes, Ricky James... the sensational youth racer who was recently paralyzed in a tragic crash. He defined heart and determination, and shocked everyone by making his race debut on an ATV. James was duct taped to the seat with a fabricated jockey shift, and a handicapped parking plackard hanging from the back of his quad. He rode an incredible race, too. He holeshot his row off the start in the ATV race, and may have even broken into the top ten of the pro class.The Dirt Rider staff was representing, with Sean Finley, Karel Kramer and Jesse Ziegler and myself (Jean Turner) all entering races. Finley, Kramer and Ziegler entered the Mushman 100 as part of the upcoming 250cc four-stroke enduro bike test (watch the pages of Dirt Rider for that one). The bikes (and our bodies) were definitely put through a good test on the rough, choppy course. The hard ground littered with rocks and gravel made for some lethal roost, and by Sunday's race, the braking bumps and square-edged bumps were like sidewalk curbs. Sean Finley was looking to repeat his top 15 finish from last year, but a flat tire took him out of contention. But we all finished our races and had a great time.Decades later, the Elsinore GP is still an epic event. The spirit of the race is definitely something to experience... as well as pinning it in fifth gear down Main Street. If you ever have the opportunity to race the Elsinore Grand Prix, do it! And a word of advice-don't forget your steering stabilizer.More photos from the '05 Elsinore GP

Kurt Caselli was running strong before bike problems took him out of the race.
Justin Soule rounded out the top five finishers.
Third place finisher Mark Tilly.
Jeff Ward rode well, but suffered multiple flat tires.
Jesse Ziegler (i-e, not e-i) race tested the Husky 250.
Suzuki RM-Z450-mounted Michael LaPaglia
Scot Harden was a last minute entry in the pro class.
Ryno aboard his dual- exhaust ECC Racing RM-Z450.
Oapie helps steer the WR450 into a turn.
Jesse Ziegler
Ryan Hughes
Kurt Caselli
Karel Kramer
I seriously can't get enough of this guy.
Micky Dymond
Me at way-too-early in the morning lined up at the start.
Ricky James give a thumbs up before the start of the ATV race.
Strapped into place and equipped with a jockey shift, James rode an incredible race.