Two-strokes haven’t returned; they never left. This weekend’s MTA Two-Stroke World Championship proved it. Glen Helen Raceway had its best turnout yet for the annual race, and there wasn’t a four-stroke in sight. Many of the riders were two-stroke regulars. Even the youngest riders in the crowd felt a kinship to premix burners; many of them had only recently graduated from the mini ranks.
Probably the biggest group were the returnees–riders who raced two-strokes for years and have been waiting for a chance to make a little blue smoke. One of those was Moto Concepts rider Mike Alessi, who made good use of his one-week break from the Monster Energy Supercross series. His father Tony had actually started on a two-stroke project a year ago for the same race. Mike was injured at the last minute, so the 2006 Suzuki RM250 had to wait a full season. Mike’s domination of the first Open Pro race was absolute. He surrendered the holeshot to Fast House rider Sean Collier, who was riding his crowd-pleasing Kawasaki KX500 once again, but Alessi took the lead early and pulled away throughout the race. Rockstar Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne tried to make it a race, but eventually arm pump set in and he started going backwards. Then Scott Champion rose to the challenge. He passed his way into second place with Glen Helen regular Ryan Surratt in tow. At the end of the first moto, that was the podium.
In the second moto, Osborne made it much more of a race. He never let Alessi get away, and the two of them gapped the rest of the field in a big way. Champion took a distant third, which was good enough for second-place money. Osborne’s 4-2 score put him in third ahead of Surratt, Dirt Bike Magazine test rider RJ Wageman, Collier, former winner Austin Howell and newly crowned Super Enduro World Champion Colton Haaker.
Alessi wanted to make it a sweep in the 125 class, but it wasn’t to be. His borrowed RM125 only lasted a few laps. The class of that act was Surratt, who is one of the riders who never left two-strokes behind. He dominated the first moto with Justin Hoeft, Robbie Wageman and Husqvarna’s Mike Brown following. The second moto had the same riders in front, but this time Hoeft had a much better race and kept pushing Surratt harder and harder. But in the end, Surratt wasn’t going to be beaten. For full results, go to www.glenhelen.com.