YOUTH GONE WILD
UMRA 24hr Endurance Race
Grange Motor Circuit
Apple Valley, CA
Youth Gone Wild was a team of kids that Team Captain, Mike Davis, had assembled. The team descended onto the Grange Motor Circuit track to participate in United Mini Racing Association’s (UMRA) Second Annual 24-hour Endurance Race. Mike Davis had a goal to assemble a team of young talent as “underdogs” to win the Grom Class Race.
The team roster included Mike’s own son, Blake Davis (10 years old) the father/son team are from Virginia, Rossi Moor (9 years old) from Oregon, Kevin Nolde (12 years old)from Louisiana, and Kayla Yakoov (9 years old) from Pennsylvania. These kids have many accolades and achievements in the mini-road race scene. So, together as a team working towards the same goal, Mike knew that they would be a force to be reckoned with.
The race started Saturday, September 10 at 12 noon with a Le Mans style start and a countdown of the last few seconds ended the race September 11th at noon. Grange Motor Circuit is in Apple Valley a part of California’s “high desert”. The sun was bright and the daylight was hot; when the sun set it became 35 degrees cooler making it chilly racing in the wee hours of the night. when the race ended, Youth Gone Wild had done exactly what Mike had anticipated; they won the Grom Class Competition!
The Le Mans style start of the race was reminiscent of old high school football games. As the racers stood across from their motorcycles waiting to hear the word, “Go!”, a 10’ tall paper banner was pulled across in between them and their machines. With adolescent excitement the racers ripped through the banner hopped on their motorcycles and the race was on. There were 5 different classes with bikes ranging from Honda NSR50’s and Yamaha YSR50’s all the way up to Honda 150R’s.
Mike was the first rider for Youth Gone Wild. When the race started he ripped through the paper banner, getting on his teams’ 2014 Honda Grom, and taking 2nd going into the first turn. After an hour of riding, and spectators still hyped up at the perimeters of the track, Mike was in 3rd place.
Pit Crews Make the Difference
Riders began going in for pit stops making it practically impossible to tell who is in what class and position making the pit crew an essential asset to the racers. That is where riders Rossi, Kevin, & Kayla’s dads came in; serving as pit crew for the Youth Gone Wild team.
The first pit stop was completed quickly and Kayla went onto the track in 2nd position. Kayla could see a group of riders from other classes ahead of her and in one turn she passed all four bikes. After an hour and a half on the track she came into the pits in 2nd position handing the motorcycle over to Blake.
Blake went out on the track and was able to make a few good set ups for some nice passes and after about another hour and a half got his team into 1st place. After, coming into the pits and passing the bike off to Kevin the team was in 2nd. Kevin was extremely hot and not feeling the best from the heat but was still on the top of his game when a rider crashed out in front of him. He clipped the rider’s back tire sending the bike into a small head shake but, Kevin was able to keep it up and hold onto the 2nd place position.
Rossi now had his chance to get on the motorcycle and show what he could do for his team. As Rossi began to get in a groove two bikes crashed in front of him. With nowhere to go he became part of the pile up. However, he got right up and after the motorcycle gave him some trouble, he got it started, went through tech, and was back in the race.
Down by 3
Through all of that team Youth Gone Wild was down 3 laps but still in 2nd position. Kayla went out with consistent lap times and before she handed the bike over to Blake for his 2nd time out she had regained a lap and a half for her team. Blake did the same with his time on the track gaining back the last of the lost laps and moved the team into 1st place once again.
When Blake came in, the pit crew, checked the wear on the tires that K & J Racing Solutions had supplied for the team. They were worn but the crew determined that they had some more laps left in them. Kayla was on the motorcycle as the sun set and the track began to cool down. She adjusted to the conditions well. Right before finishing her last stint of the day she squeezed under one of her opponents for the pass, hit the curb, almost high-siding. She saved it and came into the pits. Keeping Youth Gone Wild in 1st place.
The team had confidence that Kevin would be able to race and get as much life out of the Mitas tires as possible. Once he was out on the track the team realized they were in 3rd position overall. Now, the pit crew was hoping their decision, to keep the worn tires, was a good one. Kevin rode another hour and half on the declining tires. He lost traction a few times but was able to maintain control of the bike and hold the teams position.
Thirteen hours on one set of tires was long enough. The pit crew moved quickly to add gas and get the new tires on before Blake headed back on the track. It was a great pit stop! When Kevin brought the bike in, Youth Gone Wild was 8 laps ahead of 2nd place and once Blake was back out on the track they were still ahead by 6 laps.
Where is the Pit Crew
Blake surprised the team when he motioned that he was coming in after only a half hour. He came in not feeling well and went to sleep it off. Rossi had already headed to get some sleep and Kayla and Kevin were trying to get naps in as well. So, Mike jumped on the Grom with a goal of going through a tank of gas. No one was quite sure how long that would take but Kevin and Kayla’s dads were there ready to wake the next rider and fill the gas tank whenever Mike came in to pit. Two hours had passed, the gas light was on, and Mike was looking for his pit crew. A few more laps around the track and he finally spotted them…asleep in their chairs. One of the crew members opened his eyes to see Mike frantically motioning that he needed to come in for gas. They hopped up, got Kayla ready, and called Mike in to the pits.
After re-fueling Kayla went out to ride a stint, so Mike could nap, but was too tired to go as long as she had been. With a 45 minute break, Mike was back out and rode another long stint through the early hours of the morning. Kevin was next to push through the cold. Coming out of turn 9 he ran off into the dirt for about 20’. He went to grab the brake but quickly realized that was a bad move and got the bike back on the track. Still maintaining the teams 1st place position in class and 3rd overall, Kevin passed the bike off to Kayla at around 6 in the morning and she rode for another hour and a half.
Rossi, was up and ready to go. He took over after Kayla and enjoyed battling back and forth with another competitor. He felt comfortable and then a crash happened right in front of him but he was able to miss the wreckage and continue on pushing for his team.
Kayla Goes The Distance
Kayla was going to do one more stint before handing the bike over to Blake who would finish the race. However, Mike and the other crew members realized that even though they were certain to get 1st place in the Grom Class, the 4th place overall competitor was just 3 laps behind the Youth Gone Wild team. Kayla had already been out for almost 2 hours. After discussing it, the decision was made; Kayla would stay out and finish the race so that the team could maintain their 3rd overall position. She was hot and tired, getting worn out. The perfect storm for mistakes to be made but none were.
The crowd counted down the last 10 seconds of the 24 hour time period and Kayla crossed the finish line. Youth Gone Wild finished the race 1st in class and 3rd overall! UMRA held a podium ceremony that had advertised a champagne celebration but appropriately handed root beers to the young and talented winners!