It was a day of paddle wheels and stretched swingarms, modified frames and chains in Canaan, NH as Ridge Runner Promotions hosted the second annual AMA Pro Hillclimbs held during the Laconia Motorcycle Rally. Swirling winds and grey crowds couldn’t keep an enthusiastic crowd from cheering on the racers as they barreled up the steep, sandy slope as the hillclimbs have a strong following in this part of the country. For years the Laconia event was a grass-roots affair held at Gunstock Resort before moving up to the pro ranks last year, attracting some of the best talent around to challenge the Canaan incline.
John “Flying” Koester was the rider of the day, laying down the fastest runs in both the Unlimited and Xtreme classes. In the Xtreme Class, Jay Sallstrom set the time to beat in the first round, a 7.88 blast on his Yamaha-powered racer with Troy Lee Designs/Wiseco/Monster rider Vinny Nuzzolilli sitting in a solid second at 0.062-seconds back. Neither was able to improve on their first round times though, opening the door for Koester who got a great start in the second round, flying over the first gate and holding a clean line as he barreled up the hill to trip the clock at 7.85 seconds for the win. It was almost identical to the run he did last week at Freemansburg where he also won the Xtreme Class.
“It’s crazy. Coming out here with these guys, Green and Jay and all of them, they’re just so fast, and to be out here with them is an honor, and to beat them is awesome,” Koester said on the podium after winning the Xtreme race.
In the Unlimited competition, Koester’s first round run of 7.61 seconds stood up to the challenge of defending 2012 Unlimited National Champion Nuzzolilli, who put up a fast run himself at 7.69. On Nuzzolilli’s second run, he came off Gate 2 a bit sideways and went down at the 150-foot mark. Sallstrom would join the two on the podium after putting up the third-fastest run, barely holding off Chris Chartier, Jr. who moved up the ranks with a better second run.
Riders were flying up the hill in Canaan during Round 3 of the AMA Pro Hillclimbs held in conjunction with the 2013 Laconia Motorcycle Rally.
John Koester was the rider of the day, capturing both the Xtreme and Unlimited Classes at the Laconia hillclimbs.
Koester also won the Xtreme Class All Star Challenge Shootout for good measure, but Greg Dunbar stepped it up to prevent him from celebrating a perfect day by claiming the Unlimited Class All Star Challenge Shootout. So far the AMA Pro Hillclimb Series, sponsored by Wiseco and PsychMXGrafix, has seen three Unlimited winners in three rounds in what is shaping up as a terrific season. Sallstrom doubled in the Hillclimb opener in Jefferson, PA, while Nuzzolilli captured the win in Freemansburg, PA.
Sixteen-year-old sensation Nicholas Bleau continues to show skills beyond his age by backing up his victory in the season opener at Jefferson with another Pro Sport Class win today at Canaan. Josh Kobel put up the time to beat in the first round with an 11.11 run up the hill, but Bleau was able to carve out the victory on his Honda with an impressive second round effort of 10.72. Devin “The Devastator” Sweitzer also put together a strong second run to capture second place, taking out the checkered flag with his Honda as he crossed the line. Kobel couldn’t improve on his first run and would have to settle for third place.
The AMA Pro Hillclimb paddock heads to Oregonia, Ohio next on June 22 for the fourth round of the 2013 season.
Unlimited Hillclimb Laconia Results 2013
1. John Koester 7.61
2. Vinny Nuzzolilli 7.69
3. Jay Sallstrom 7.96
4. Chris Charter, Jr. 8.49
5. Phil Libhart 8.26
Xtreme Hillclimb Laconia Results 2013
1. John Koester 7.85
2. Jay Sallstrom 7.88
3. Vinny Nuzzolilli 7.94
4. Phil Libhart 8.18
5. Shane Green 8.30
Pro Sport Hillclimb Laconia Results 2013
1. Nicholad Bleau 10.72
2. Devin Sweitzer 10.89
3. Josh Kobel 11.11
4. Molly Carbon 12.83
5. Angie Farnsworth 13.43