Letter from the Editor

My name is Jack Bierbower and I am the marketing/media/journalist arm of Mid-East Racing Promotions. This tab will be the new landing page for my articles. My intent with writing these articles is to avoid droning on about results. "Fast guy rides fast" - WE KNOW. Rather, I plan to use this space to tell stories from the races as I seem them. People, topics, state of the union, rants, bench racing and whatever else I might stumble across. 

Motorcycle racing has so much to give - and without sounding like bullshit this is where I'll talk about it.


Uhrichsville, Ohio


Words : Bierbower

In an attempt to keep this short and sweet I’m going to run down each round of the inaugural MERP Grand-Prix Series - 4 rounds and go over some of the talking points from each round. I’ll cover the racing action as well as some behind the scenes information with some of our highs and lows as race promoters. 

Round 1 - Beans GP

We opened up the series with what would end up being the gnarliest course of the entire season. Beans is gnarly facility as it is - the terrain is unlike any other track in Ohio. When BJ says bring your skills to the hills he isn’t kidding. That goes for the woods too - deep valleys with hills line the entire property and if you’re going to get from one side to the other you’re going to have to climb some hills. Rain up until Wednesday before the race made the woods absolute grease. The two lowest points of the loop formed two giant mud bogs we had to re-route twice each. We had so many nerves going into our first race - we invested thousands of dollars in equipment, designed a race course, hired employees all before we knew if we could even get anyone to show up.  Thank god you guys did. First round blew our wigs back and we had a great turnout. Racing at round one was great to watch too. Our B class all season was stacked with gnarly dudes that would do battle all season long. Woods weapon Dave Antulis would grab the win and putting a notch in the belt for the woods racers - with the woods loop being pure survival I think most of the motocross specialists used up all of their energy trying to keep it on two wheels - by the time they reached the moto the woods guys had built a nice gap and sprinting on the moto track wasn’t going to make up that time. Koda Devore and Mike Pillar went to battle at the pointy end of the Open Pro Sport moto with Koda grabbing the win. Koda would reign MERP king for over half the season showing off his off-road and motocross skills pulling down over $1,000 earned on the season. Koda is no slouch on the moto but in the woods is where he shines - no line is too narrow for Koda to hold it wide and bounce off any tree in his way. His fitness deserves a nod too because at each round he went straight from the podium down to the line for the collegeboy moto where he would grab that win as well. 

Round 2 - Crow Canyon GP 

With literally one race under our belt I think there was more pressure on the MERP Crew going into Crow Canyon. We ran the program on time once and had a good turnout. Now we had to back it up. I’d say design wise Crow Canyon checked all of the boxes. The course was well balanced moto to woods ratio. Weather was great this time nice and cloudy to keep the motocross track from going dry bones on us. Racing again was great with some faces entering the picture - Andrew Hillis would pull down the win in the B-Class literally out of nowhere. Andrew is born and bred moto coming from a long line of speed in his family. From pops, to big brother, to little brother. It was pure comedy Andrew asking his competition on the line how to do a dead engine start. He literally had never done one until the green flag waved at Crow Canyon. Koda grabbed another win this time taking on the veteran racer Carl Schlacht. Carl has made supercross mains in the mid 2000’s and now chases the sprint enduro series - and sprint is something Carl does well. I got an insane clip of Carl dropping the hammer on his Honda in the grass track section to make the pass on Koda where he would manage the lead for several laps until Devore could make a pass stick. 

Round 3 - Grears GP 

While Grears was our biggest turnout of the season I personally left there the most frustrated out of any round. We backed ourselves into a corner on the course with time constraints and the layout of the facility to a point where we couldn’t recover after a week of no rain and beating sun. Using the turn track was a bone head move in hindsight and it was absolute dust bowl - and plenty of folks let us know about it too. All of us at MERP felt like we let the racers down by designing a crap course. If we get rain I think a lot of the complaints about Grears (mostly the turn track) go away. We had so many riders turn out it was honestly insane. Jojo Cunningham of Babbitt Kawasaki would introduce himself at Grears and pull down the win. Jojo likes to rev his bike and go real fast. Ohio LEGEND Jeff Gibson also came out to Grears - it was awesome seeing Gibby and his family come out to one of our races. It was really special to have our reach get out some bigger names in the state and I had a great conversation with Jeff after the race - he liked it so much he headed back to the line to race the afternoon motos too. I hope we get him out to some more rounds next year. Dust aside Grears as good as it could. I’ll take the blame on the dust too because we should have used our heads a little more on course design. I promise we will use them more next year. 

Round 4 - Malvern GP 

Coupe De Grace - the end. Malvern rounded out our 4 round championship with a Chamber of Commerce day to quote the legendary Tim Cotter. Weather was great. Track was unreal. Race day ran our smoothest program of them all. I guess having a little experience does pay off. Woods guys had beef with lack of woods but that’s the best we can do at Malvern. We even buried some culverts to tap into the woods sections that other race promoters never used. Jeremy Hand dusted off the old two stroke and went to BATTLE with Trevor Maley and Jojo Cunningham.  We bumped up the pro purse to $1000 and we had a stacked pro class. Warmed my heart to see pro riders duke it out. B Class delivered once again with Micah Grubbs pulling down the win after a fierce battle between Hillis, Grubbs and Putnam. Unfortunately Gavin would go down leaving the G and H to finish the battle. Hillis would pull down the championship and the Brock Sellards B Class Award for racer that’s ready to do damage at the next level. 

To sum it all up - thank you racers. We started this mission with a goal to bring something new and fun to the Ohio racing scene and it’s been met with open arms. We work hard so we can all enjoy excellent racing and have fun racing our motorcycles.  We’ll see you again On Any Sunday in 2023. 


Jack S. Bierbower