“Focus” On Phoenix Racing
Phoenix Racing Honda Team Excels at Mason-Dixon GNCC
Salisbury, NC (9/29/2019) – Phoenix Racing Honda riders Noah and Haedyn Mickelson each posted second-place finishes during the Mason-Dixon GNCC held adjacent to High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, PA. Noah Mickelson extended his points lead in College A, while Haedyn posted his best finish of the season in 4X4. Grayson Eller rebounded with a fourth in College B, and Andrew Delong posted a season-best fourth-place finish in XC1 Open Pro motorcycle. Austin Lee was fourth in XC2 250 Pro motorcycle.
The race was held at new facility near the highly regarded motocross track. Set up in the woods surrounding the facility on the border with West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the twisty 10-mile track was extremely narrow. With little rain leading into the event, dusty conditions abounded.
In College A, Noah Mickelson took the holeshot and held the lead for two miles before dropping to second. From there, he ran a near-flawless race to net the podium finish, his eighth of the season. At the final two races, he needs only to finish ahead of the second-place rider to clinch the championship.
“We’re getting closer to winning a GNCC championship,” said Noah Mickelson. “I held my pace, cruised through the woods, and stayed in second. It was interesting. The track was very rough, but it ended pretty well. The Honda 450 is awesome. We really have it dialed in and I had a blast riding it.”
Noah’s brother Haedyn negotiated the tight track with ease. After starting fifth, he came out of a two-lap battle with a season-best runner-up finish.
“I’ve had such bad luck this year, so it was about time I got some good luck,” said Haedyn Mickelson. “We passed each other several times over the last two laps. Right at the end I pulled a gap, but lappers held me up. So, I could hear him right behind me coming to the finish. The track was tough. It was really tight which makes it hard on the 4X4. You can’t really throw it around trees like you can with a sport quad.”
Eller fought his way back from bad luck in the last round. After taking the holeshot, Eller ran second for most of the race before finishing fourth and keeping his championship hopes alive in College B.
“The trails were not very kind; they were extremely rough and extremely dusty,” explained Eller. “It was pretty silty, so I had on the new Maxxis RAZR Plus tires. It was my first time using them and they worked really well. As rough as it was, the Elka suspension was really soaking up the bumps.”
Delong used the superior dependability of his Honda 450 to make to the finish, while many competitors fell out with engine problems caused by the dust. His fourth-place effort was his best so far this season.
“I tried to stay out of the dust, tried to ride a smart race, and made it through,” said Delong. “I rode a cautious race. A lot of bikes didn’t finish because of the dust and the Honda ran perfectly. It’s taken me some time to learn how to ride it, but the bike is super competitive. The speed is coming back to me and I think we have a strong foundation to build on for next season.”
Lee also won a battle of attrition in the XC2 Pro class. After a slow start, Lee had to make his way through most of the field. While riders fell out with broken motorcycles due to the dust, Lee’s Honda 250 soldiered through it and brought him home fourth, equaling his best finish thus far this season.
“Three hours in hot weather and it was extremely dusty, so it was a long day,” said Lee. “I just kept fighting and I had to pass a lot of guys. Guys were dropping out of the race with problems with their air filters causing engine failures. We had no problem with our bikes and that put us fourth.”
The Phoenix Racing team will next head to Beckley, WV for the second-to-last GNCC round of the season. The Mountaineer GNCC is being held at Summit Bechtel Preserve on October 12-13th.