Father-Son Motorcycle Hillclimb

July 26, 2023

The Wildlife Refuge Cabins-Pat’s Motorsports Motorcycle Hillclimb should have been billed as the ‘Father-Son’ Motorcycle Hillclimb.  The tradition of this Hillclimb dates back into the 1970’s.   Without any Village promotion, the hillclimb continues to put South Range on the map.

“Other than the first year we (MASTERS) brought the Motorcycle Hillclimb back to life, we had the best turnout of racers,” explained Sandy Schulz of the MASTERS.  The MASTERS is an acronym for Mid America Snow & Terrain Expert Racers.  “We had racers from Iron Mountain, Gwinn, Champion, and of course the strong group from Ishpeming.”

Mass City’s Gabe Kirtland won the Junior King of the Hill

The Hillclimb opened up with Gabe Kirtland of Mass City taking the Premium Spray Foam and Coatings Junior King of the Hill.  After what appeared to be a disastrous start, his Father Mike, went on to take his 5th Consecutive Moyle Construction/Diamond House International Pro Mod King of the Hill.  This would not be the first Father-Son duo.

The Hillclimb looked like it would also be a Father-Daughter event.  The defending Diamond House International/906 & Company Queen of the Hill, Hanna Havela of Ishpeming decided to forego her attempt in the ‘shoot-out.’ 

Taking home the Queen of the Hill in her FIRST Motorcycle Hillclimb was Dollar Bay’s Jamie Moilanen. Next to Jamie is Leif Forcia Sr of Lake Linden who provided Moilanen with the LF Enterprises Motorcycle.

That left the Queen of the Hill run to Jamie Moilanen of Lake Linden and Kristy Junak of Ishpeming.  Moilanen went the highest in both the Qualifying round and the Final Round.  That gave her choice as to whether to go 1st or 2nd.  She chose to go 2nd.

Junak went up 83 yards, and Moilanen followed by going 107 yards.  That shootout run was the farthest of all the gals’ attempts at the steep South Range bluff.

“I wasn’t nervous and while I didn’t know if I would win, I knew I had a good shot with the LF Enterprises bike,” explained Moilanen after the hillclimb.

Dollar Bay’s Colin Kemppaninen and Rockland’s Brian Pence were the first riders to make it over the top in the Keweenaw Motorsports Stock Class. Kemppaninen turned in a 21.52 second run, Pence made it over the ‘Wall’ with an 18.49 second run.  It would turn out to be one of the only runs Pence would conquer the Hill.

Rockland’s Brian Pence won the Pro Stock King of the Hill

Pence did go the highest to win the M & M Power Sports Stock King of the Hill by making it 178 yards.  “I kept losing power three quarters of the way up.  By the time I down-shifted, it was too late.  While I have been riding bikes all my life, this is only my 2nd time hillclimbing,” commented Pence.

The feature race was the Stampede Sport and Feed Jesse Perry Memorial 450cc class.  It was after last September’s MASTERS Hillclimb that Perry passed away in a non-motorcycle event.  The class would payback 100% of the Driver Entry Fees to the top 3 riders.

Winning the Jesse Perry Memorial Feature was Brad Havela (left). With him is Marisa Corkin of Stampede Sport and Feed.

Ishpeming’s Gage Havela qualified 1st by running the hill in 16.30 seconds.  He chose to go first in the Final and set the bar with a 16.92 second run on the Serv-Pro of Ishpeming/Havela’s Finnish Bike.  His Father, Brad Havela knew win to have his best run of the day.  The Chain Gang Racing rider made it over the top in 15.15 seconds!

“Jesse (Perry) was a team-mate and one of my best friends, so this class and run meant a lot to me,” commented the Bartanen’s Auto Body/Havela’s Finnish rider, Brad Havela.

“I went there with positive thoughts and knew Jesse was looking down on the whole Chain Gang crew wishing us a safe and effective day of racing.  I was giving my Dad a run for the money for the Jesse Perry Memorial race but he best me this year,” commented Brad Havela.

The final person to qualify for the Feature race was Kemppaninen.  He made it to the 156 foot mark and had the Eagle Radio/Havela’s Finnish ‘Crash of the Day.’  Kemppaninen did not get hurt.

Winning his 5th Consecutive Pro Mod King of the Hill was Mass City’s Mike Kirtland

The Father may have won this feature but it was his son, Gage that totally dominated throughout the day.  The younger Havela went on to not only win an amazing 4 classes, but set the fastest time of the day. 

During the qualifying round, Brad Havela turned in a 14.70 second run for the Keweenaw Chevrolet/LF Enterprises Fastest time of the Day.  “A 14 second run up the steep hill is difficult but with the right bike set up, more important than all, have a good driver with practice and finesse,” concluded Brad Havela.

The MASTERS Racing Circuit now turns its attention to the winter of 2024.  They will open with Terra-X racing in January, then run the WINTERNATIONALS Hillclimb, February 3-4, and the Mid America Championship Hillclimb on Feb 24-25th.  The MASTERS will help with the Sleds for Vets Freestyle Show on March 2nd in Hancock.

Pat’s Motorsports-Wildlife Refuge Cabins

Motorcycle Hillclimb, Whealkate Bluff, 7/22/2023 Results

Stampede Sport & Feed Jesse Perry Memorial Class Feature:  1) Brad Havela, Ishpeming, 15.15; 2) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 16.92; 3) Colin Kemppnien, Dollar Bay, 156 yards.

Diamond House International/906 & Company Queen of the Hill Shoot-out:  1) Jamie Moilanen, Lake Linden, 107 yards; 2) Kristy Junak, Ishpeming, 83 yards; 3) Hanna Havela, Ishpeming, DNS.

Moyle Construction/Diamond House International Pro Mod King of the Hill Shoot-out:  1) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 15.65; 2) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 16.33; 3) Brian Pence, Rockland, High Mark.

M & M Power Sports/Diamond House International Pro Stock King of the Hill:  1) Brian Pence, Rockland, 178 yards.  Qualifying Run 18.49.

Premium Spray Foam & Coatings/Diamond House International Junior King of the Hill:  1) Gabe Kirtland, Mass City, 85 yards.

Keweenaw Motorsports 250-2/450-4 Stock:  1) Brian Pence, Rockland, 178 yards;  2) Austin Rivard, Gwinn, 153 yards;  3) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 146 yards.

Bobcat of Greenland Stock Engine/Swing Arm:  1) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 15.38;  2) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 203 yards;  3) Brian Pence, Rockland, 133 yards.

Eagle Radio/Q-107 Open Stock:  1) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 15.53; 2) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 17.39; 3) Brad Havela, Ishpeming, 198 yards.

Willie’s Tire Center/Bartanen’s Auto Body 350-2/450-4 Mod Swing Arm:  1) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 16.17; 2) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 19.17; 3) Brian Pence, 155 yards.

Serv-Pro of Ishpeming/Daily Mining Gazette 500-2/650-4:  1) Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 18:03;  2) Brian Pence, Rockland, 106 yards;  3) Leif Forcia, Lake Linden, (Qualifying Round-204 yards) Scratch in Finals.

Timberline Sports of Bergland TOP GUN:  Mike Kirtland, Mass City, 196 yards

Havela’s Finnish’s/Eagle Radio Crash of the Day; 1) Colin Kempainen, Dollar Bay; 2) Jack Goldworthy, Ishpeming; 3) Larry Madgewick, Rockland.

Keweenaw Chevrolet/LF Enterprises FASTEST TIME OF THE DAY:  1) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 14.70, Mod 350-2/450-4 Qualifying Round;  2) Brad Havela, Ishpeming, 15.15, Jesse Perry Memorial 450 Feature;  3) Gage Havela, Ishpeming, 15.38 Stock with Swing Final.

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