IMPERIAL — Adding to Imperial County’s annual fair traditions, the Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta held a freestyle motocross show combined with a demolition derby on Wednesday March 8.
Kicking off the action-packed show, motorcycle riders Robert Haslan of Seattle and Vince Morgan, a rider out of Phoenix, performed variations of acrobatic stunts. Haslan was riding a yellow Suzuki RMZ 450, while Morgan hopped up on his Honda CR450.
Starting off slow, the pair of riders repeatedly jumped the ramp, warming up the crowd for their more dangerous tricks. Morgan began with a heel-clicker, drawing excitement from the audience. Haslan followed his partner with a Cordova, a trick in which the rider bends his body out in front of the bike, while keeping his feet locked under the handlebars.
Both Haslan and Morgan’s antics appeared to pump energy into the the grandstands as they performed backflips to end the first half of the show.
“With the crowd being rowdy with us, it made this trip a good first experience, allowing us to complete a energetic show for the crowd,” Morgan said.
“Believe it or not, it is hard to hear the crowd from underneath the helmet, and with them cheering as loud as they were, it allowed me to get in the zone and nail the stunts we had planned,” said Haslan.
Following the freestyle demonstration, the demolition derby began with the introduction of the drivers and their cars. The first contestant introduced was Rene Morales, who drove the “911” car and claimed to be a Cuban refugee out of Coachella.
Next in the line-up was rookie Tony Delara from Indio, driving the #9 car. Third driver Donnie McCollough of Imperial was introduced as a first-time driver of the “Ghost Car.” The fourth driver was another resident of Coachella, Rudy Garcia, driving the #0 car. Lastly, the crowd was introduced to a local out of El Centro, Travis Dove, who was the driver of the 01 car.
As the crashing action began early, Travis Dove and his “Dukes of Hazard” themed car were first to be taken out as Morales struck Dove on the left hand side of the vehicle. On the other side of the arena, the Ghost Car and #9 got locked together after a hit from behind by #9 driver, Delara. Morales then targeted these two cars separating the two, making it any one’s game.
Rudy Garcia was next to be eliminated after being struck repeatedly by Morales, bringing #0 to a shrieking halt. With two cars gone, the remaining three battled it out to the gritty finish, with the destructive 911 car and Ghost Car taken out by Delara, in a two for one take-down.
With the derby coming to a close, Tony Delara was crowned this year’s victor for the first demolition derby that promoters hope will continue as a new fair tradition. Coming in second and winning the consolation prize was Imperial’s very own Donnie McCollough.
“This was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone,” said Delara. “Also, I will definitely be out here next year with the improved tires for the traction that I’ll be needing.”
Following the derby, Haslan and Morgan jumped back on their motorcycles to close out the evening with more variations of their previous stunts.