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Round 1 Hardrock, Ocala, FL 3/4/01
Round 2 GNC, Mosier Valley, TX 3/16-17/01
Round 3 Badlands MX, Celeste, TX (AMA Sanctioned) 4/1/01
Round 4 Daniel Boone, London, KY (AMA Sanctioned) 4/28-29/01
Round 5 Jolly Rogers, Lempster, NH (AMA Sanctioned) 6/3/01
Round 6 Mammoth Mountain, CA Enter w/Mammoth  (points only)

Round 1-DM Sports Women's World Series MX Championships
Raemish/Keuntjes/Hodges Survive Mudd-o-cross
Hardrock, Ocala, FL
March 4, 2001

By: Debbie Matthews

Round 1 of the DM Sports Womens World Series MX Championships in Ocala, Florida kicked off Bike Week in nearby Daytona.  Clear skies and warm weather greeted the riders all week, but come race day, Mother Nature had other ideas in mind.

By 6: 00 AM race morning, the winds kicked up and blew in a torrential storm, and with it, slim hopes of getting the races underway.  As the rain continued to pound the ground, many of the male riders gave up and headed home.  The women riders however, had traveled great distances from as far away as Canada, California, Ohio and Wisconsin to run the opening round of the Championships, and no one was leaving. 

The track promoters, recognizing the determination of the women riders, braved the conditions and opened up practice.  Many portions of the track were closed, as they were impassable.  

The rain continued its onslaught, determined to send the riders and spectators packing.  With no let up in the heavy rain, riders negotiated the track, with mini riders almost disappearing under the wake they created as they fought and sloshed their way around the track.  With a Championship on the line, it was determined that the modified track was passable, although barely.  Moto's were shortened from 25 min to five laps, to ensure everyone would get at least one moto, with Pros and Amateurs run together. 

As the gate dropped for moto 1,Tiffany Reed-OH (MC Gear, WSMX, Scott, Maxima, Shoei, Motion Pro, Cti, Boyesen, Ohio Motorsports, Brad Wood Suspension, EVS) holeshot the moto, but not before colliding with Raemish as they hit the first jump.  Tiffany, never raced in the mud before, and was leading some of the worlds best.  Kirsten Raemisch-WI coming off a recent knee surgery was a half bike behind with Angie Keuntjes-FL/WI transplant hot on her heels in third.  Fourth was held by April Hodges of West Palm Beach, with Leah Cantrell-GA (Fox, SYD, Oakley, Suzuki, Swaney Desgns) sliding her way into the top 5.  

Raemish and Keuntjes made quick work of Reeds inexperience in the muddy conditions and took over the top two positions.  Reed held her composure in third, quickly learning the tricks of the trade to keep pace with the leaders.  Raemisch was a little skittish the day before the event, concerned about the readiness of her knee.  Raemish showed no such concerns during the moto as she distanced herself from Keuntjes and Reed. 

Hodges (Powersports of Palm Beach, WMR, Scott, Engine Ice, Carbon Tech, One Ind.) stole third from Reed and closed up on the leaders.  Reed still held a safe distance over Patty Whitehouse on the Palmetto,Fox, GB Works, So Cal, No Toil, Engine Ice Suzuki in fifth.  Whitehouse held no such luxury as she was being heavily pressured by a fast charging Leah Cantrell.  Jennifer Veltre was also entrenched in the battle along with Danni Russell riding for FEW racing, Lana Karnow and Kimberly Kocher.

Cantrell wouldnt be denied and slithered her way past Reed into fourth.  Cantrell consistently held some of the fastest laps aboard the Suzuki, suffering only from a poor gate.  

Raemish and Keuntjes continued to hammer the track and each other oblivious of the battle raging behind.  Cantrell now had Hodges in her sights, but the moto was winding down.  Cantrell pulled out all the stops swapping through the slime in a desperate attempt to nip Hodges at the flag.  It was not to be.  With Cantrell climbing up Hodges exhaust as the two hit the final table, double, double, Cantrell made a small error giving Hodges the breathing room she needed to nail third.  Reed, slipped back to fifth after getting cross rutted on the final lap, followed by Whitehouse, Veltre, Karnow and Russell who settled their battle in the waning moments of the race with Kocher rounding out the top 10. 

With no let up in the downpour, Moto 2 became a question of survival.  By now the track was a virtual sea of mud.  Riders sloshed their way around a track with two feet of watered down mud in a continual downpour.  Raemish holeshot the moto with Keuntjes running tandem.  Reed was running third with Hodges fourth and Russell rounding out the top five. 

The conditions were so bad, goggles were tossed and motors sucked so much water that they barely finished or quit all together. Cantrell was one such victim.  Cantrell racing in both the mini and amateur divisions had just about all the poor luck and great riding she could handle.  Coming off another dismal start was Cantrell with Whitehouse, Veltre, Karnow and Kocher in tow.  Little passing was attempted as the primary goal was to finish.  Cantrell despite a very sick motor caught and passed Russell for fifth at the halfway point, while Karnow dropped Veltre a notch the following lap.  The finish order remained the same with Raemisch taking the checkered over Keuntjes, Reed, Hodges and Cantrell.  Raemisch was beaming following the race.  I won today, because my left knee is screwed up, but the track today was pretty much all right turns joked Raemisch who took the overall in the Amateur division.  Once I get strong enough, I hope to ride pro, but for now, this gives me a big confidence boost.  Keuntjes, by virtue of her runner up finishes, took the pro class win over Reed and Veltre.  Said Keuntjes, I just wanted to ride smart and safe in these conditions.  I could have passed Kirsten, but it would have been really risky. 

In the 60-105 class April Hodges took the holeshot with Kimberly Kocher following.  Still reeling from nearly watering out the first moto, Cantrell, missed the start of the moto in a big way and started off nearly a quarter of the track behind.  While Hodges pulled out a big lead over Kocher, Cantrell was riding the wheels (and motor) off her RM 80.  By lap three, riding with wild abandon, Cantrell closed to the back wheel of Kocher.  Kocher held her ground , making Cantrell ride off line.  Cantrell kicked in the burners and rebounded past Kocher in the following table, double, double section to claim the second spot.  Cantrell was unable to make up the distance on the fast starting Hodges at the flag. 

Moto 2 of the 60-105 class held a surprise holeshot by Kocher.  Kocher used her monstrous holeshot to her advantage over Hodges in second, followed by Cantrell.  With back-to-back motos, Cantrells bike, which sucked water in the previous amateur moto, was barely running.  Hodges, pushed and probed Kocher but found little to go on.  Cantrell was pinning the RM for all it was worth in an effort to keep it running long enough to finish the moto.  Kocher, had it all together the final moto and romped to the win wire to wire over Hodges and Cantrell.  As the riders pulled off the track following the moto, Amateur and Pro riders tackled Cantrell dropping her into the muddy goo in a show if support for her valiant efforts.  The somber Cantrell broke out into a smile and tossed some mud of her own towards her comrades.  

The Series, with heavy industry backing, continues to boast the largest total cash, prize and contingency payout in the history of Women's racing, ($ 75,000) and has been home to some of the best women's racing ever showcased.  Round two is at Mosier Valley during the GNC in Texas. 

Results: 

Pro:  1. Angie Keuntjes (Kaw), 2. Tiffany Reed (Hon), 3. Jennifer Veltre (Suz)

Amateur: 1.  Kirsten Raemisch (Suz), 2. April Hodges (Kaw), 3. Leah Cantrell (Suz), 4. Danni Russell (Yam), 5. Patty Whitehouse (Suz), 6. Lana Karnow (KTM), 7. Kimberly Kocher (Kaw)

60-105: 1. April Hodges (Kaw), 2. Kimberly Kocher (Kaw), 3. Leah Cantrell (Suz)