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Octane Fest thrills

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Steve Puterski / LVN Photo

A heart attack is two-fold when it comes to Octane Fest.

For starters, it’s a high-flying motocross trick performed at heights of up to 80 feet in the air. Second, the traditional definition nearly hit Rick Gray, the executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority.

Gray, the director of Octane Fest, watched — sometimes in fear — Saturday as six professional motocross riders threw down their best tricks before a packed house at the Monster Truck Jamboree at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

Fernley native Drake McElroy, who now lives in Sparks gave Gray his biggest scare when the veteran rider maneuvered his bike parallel to the ground and appeared to have no time to land safely. The longtime rider, though, pulled his bike steady and connected with ease with the landing ramp to a gush of sighs from the crowd.

“You have a little bit of nerves the first time,” McElroy said. “The portables (ramp), you know, are a little sketchy. Your first time over it is kind of ballparking it. You have a little bit of butterflies.”

The event also featured a two-part Monster Truck show in which the pros competed in a two-lap race and a freestyle event. Between acts, though, the show put the future of dirt track racing on display with two heats of the Northern Nevada Outlaw Karts series.

The Jamboree, though, entertained its largest crowd in three years, Gray said. In addition, the flow of the event moved fairly well.

“I thought the show was pretty well paced,” Gray added. “The monster trucks did a great job this year. And the jet dragster car burn as the night’s finale was a huge success. The grandstands were still full when it took place around 9:45 (p.m.).”

The drivers from as young as 7 whipped around a makeshift track to the delight of those in attendance. The karts drivers competed in two races at Rattlesnake Raceway on Friday and Saturday afternoon before showcasing their skills at the jamboree.

The finale, though, saw “The Beast” jet dragster light up a truck with the flames from its engine.

Despite the energized audience, some events were down in attendance, which Gray attributed to the record-breaking heat. Temperatures soared in to the upper 90s on Saturday.

“I think the heat may have kept some people away,” Gray said. “There were a couple of people treated for heat-related illnesses.”

Expansion of Octane Fest, though, is at the front of Gray’s mind. He said numerous sponsors including local, regional and national brands have sustained the festival.

“I would like to grow the Maine Street Rumble car show,” Gray said. “Extend (it) for both days over the weekend, have some music and bands on stage, a car cruise, some pop-up restaurants, maybe a spud donut shop or a Bob’s Root Beer burger joint from the past. And, of course, I’m looking for some additional turnkey events to plug into Octane Fest such as an off road desert race, a water event at Lahontan (Reservoir), and a sand event at Sand Mountain. The goal is to have a half dozen events all taking place at once.”

Over at the oval, Amanda Olsen swept the Outlaw Karts beginners division with two wins. Evan Rauscher finished the day second in points (71) behind Olsen (80). Piper Crook, Jolena Ayers, Ryan McGee and Shansen Ternora rounded out the class.

The box division was a bit closer as Stevehn Schroetlin, who won two preliminary heats and placed second in both main events, finished on top with 78 points.

He was followed by Caleb Gonzels (75), Cade Maestas and Coupe Urrutia (73) and Riley Gonzalez (67).

Payton Ayers came away with 79 points in the 250cc division and was closely followed by Jacob Dias and Eric Taylor (72) and Katelynn Robertson (69).

On the 500 circuit, Nick Isaacson earned a clean sweep with 80 points. Steve Evans (77), Jacob Bell (72), Robby Wickland (68) and Charles Connell capped the top five.

Rattlesnake racing continues on Saturday at 6 p.m.