Catalina GP News

Motorcycle racing returned to California’s Catalina Island after a 52-year hiatus when the Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix visited the island Dec. 3-5.

The popular Southern California vacation destination hosted thousands of racing fans and more than 800 competitors during the three-day event. Cycle World was there in force with Off-Road Editor Ryan Dudek and Associate Editor Mark Cernicky, both of whom raced to successful weekends.

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Dudek clearly made his mark on Catalina, dominating both races he entered with flag-to-flag victories in Saturday’s Veteran Heavyweight A and Sunday’s +30 Pro events riding Cycle World’s KTM 350 SX-F testbike.

On Saturday, Dudek beat notables such as Baja racing legend Johnny Campbell, X Games gold medalist Ronnie Renner and Olympic alpine skier Daron Rahlves.

Ryan Dudek says: "I was a little nervous because I hadn’t raced in a while. But the starting procedure was a bit long, so by the time we were lined up I was relaxed and ready to go. I got a good start and was up front but running behind Renner and Campbell. Renner crashed early, and then I got by Campbell a few corners later and was by myself for the rest of the race."

Sunday’s Pro race was split into three starting waves for the three age groups: +18 Pro, +30 Pro and +40 Pro. Dudek dominated the +30 Pro category, leading across the stripe on every lap. At the checkered flag, it was Dudek over former factory motocross/Supercross racer David Pingree and Renner.

Ryan Dudek says: "I got the holeshot and then just tried to go as fast as I could on the first lap and get a gap. I started catching guys who started one minute ahead of me by the end of the first lap, so I knew that I had a good lead and just settled into a consistent pace."

Cernicky, meanwhile, took a second in Saturday’s Senior Lightweight B race behind winner Ed Paulsen and a fourth after leading then crashing and remounting in Sunday’s 45-rider 250cc B race. On Saturday, Cernicky led every lap-except for the one that counted.

Mark Cernicky says: "I was leading lap after lap Saturday but then made a huge mistake by letting a guy by on a two-stroke that I thought was lapping me. I turned my fastest lap on the last lap after realizing my mistake, but it was too late."