With the break in the outdoor schedule, I found myself with a rare Saturday that was free of plans. Instagram was going wild with posts about Perris Raceway's Saturday Night Knockout series, presented by ARMA and headlined by Jeremy McGrath. The night race offered locals some reprieve from the heat and a brand new track layout by the folks at Perris MX, so I decided to head out and have a look.
The pits were packed, so I threaded through rows of trucks and rigs to find a spot to park the ol' Tacoma. Racing got under way at 4:00 and the intermediate class was set to take to the track. The stands were full of people watching on, many of which had come from the Jet Skis races in Lake Elsinore earlier in the day. If there's one thing about motocross fans in Southern California, it's that they love racing; local, pro, dirt or water, fans will always turn out to get their fill of action on any given Saturday.
Pitted underneath the ARMA tent was a familiar Yamaha 450 with #338 on the plates. Scott Sepkovic, the head of the energy drink brand has been racing J-Law's former race bikes and keeping the local vibe alive. Pitted next to him was a stock RMZ-450 with a crooked 811 on the plates. "Hmph," I thought to myself and assumed they were offering some support for one of the local riders.
As the pro riders headed to staging, I started sizing up the obvious front runners. Michael Lieb was my first pick; he's been over at the GP's and gaining some good experience in the pro ranks with fitness to match. Lining up at the gate was also Brandon Scharer and the mysterious 811. It didn't take long to realize that its rider was rocking "LAWRENCE 338" on the back of his jersey and suddenly I knew we were in for a treat.
J-Law was on the line going through a typical pre-race routine of throwing air punches, adjusting his goggles and letting out a few good yells before the gate drop. Next to him was Leib and when the gate dropped the two were bar to bar down the straight, with Leib getting the holeshot followed by Leib and Scharer. For the first 2 laps it looked like Leib would have his hands full. Lawrence was all over the place and using every opportunity to show a wheel and let out a panic rev or shriek just to let Leib know he was coming for him. The laps clicked off and Leib's fitness allowed him to pull away for the win with Lawrence finishing 2nd and Scharer 3rd. Fans lined the fences to cheer on motocross' anti-hero and anyone with a camera could be found filming or shooting to capture their own record of the occasion. Whether or not Lawrence ever returns to the pros is a moot point. He's having fun riding his dirtbike and no matter where he's doing it, it's a treat to watch.
Perris has been hard at work lining up quality events and bringing out some big talent to match. With McGrath headlining the series and names like Lawrence lining up to race, you never know who you'll see out there next. Bottom line: If you live in SoCal, you need to start going to Perris MX.