PHOTOS | Emery

Once the final moto of the summer wraps up, riders turn their attention to the many offseason events that fill the calendar from September to December. For almost a decade we've hosted a simple race with a lucrative purse that serves as the highlight of the TransWorld Motocross SLAM Festival free riding day in Southern California. Over the years we've experimented with the format, including head to head brackets or different courses, but we've found that nothing works better than a traditional two-moto program on a track that many riders are familiar with. The main track at Milestone MX Park is the perfect venue for our event, as the Southern California facility gets creative with the layout by adding “pro line” obstacles like massive Supercross-style bowl turns and rhythm sections to the course.

The 2018 running of the SLAM Pro Race had a number of talented racers on the entry list, as thirty total competitors signed up and spun laps in the timed qualifying practice session. The sixteen fastest racers from qualifying plus one "Editor's Choice" Wild Card made up the starting roster for the afternoon's two five-lap motos, all of which had high hopes for their chunk of the 10,000-dollar purse and SLAM trophy belt.


Mike Alessi's starting abilities were key to his result in Moto One, because the Kawasaki-mounted racer blasted into the first turn at the head of the pack and immediately put distance between himself and the competition. Sean Lipanovich and Mitchell Falk diced for second place for nearly the full duration of the race, and Lipanovich's knowledge of Milestone's track gave him an advantage over Falk. On the final lap Lipanovich made a mistake exiting a quick, flat turn and lost control of the motorcycle, which put him in the direct path of Falk. The resulting collision was brutal and kept Lipanovich from finishing the race, while Falk managed to stay upright and finish in second place and Nick Schmidt inherited third place. Tyler Bowers was deep in the running order on the opening lap of the sprint race but the defending SLAM Pro Race champion made a number of passes to get near the front of the pack. Unfortunately for Bowers, a small mistake in the back section of the track sent him into a deep, muddy spot and his progress was instantly erased. Bowers would ultimately finish the race in tenth.


1. Mike Alessi
2. Mitchell Falk
3. Nick Schmidt
4. Chris Johnson
5. Hunter Schlosser
6. Derek Drake
7. Ryan Surratt
8. Alex Ray
9. Gared Steinke
10. Tyler Bowers
11. Colton Aeck
12. Robbie Wageman
13. Blake Lilly
14. Kai Aiello
15. RJ Wageman
16. Sean Lipanovich
17. Gage Schehr


The first turn was the hectic place to be at the start of Moto Two. As the pack funneled into the tight right-hander, frontrunners Mike Alessi and Chris Johnson slammed and Alessi shot off the track, but he quickly regained his composure and rejoined the track in the next turn in the lead. Tyler Bowers managed to get to the front of the pack in the opening lap and for five laps he pursued Alessi at a wicked pace. Together the two Kawasaki riders took off from the rest of the pack, which included Mitchell Falk in third place and Nick Schmidt in fourth place, but it became clear that the final results were going to be greatly determined by Alessi's Moto One win plus Bowers struggles and no real battle for the lead formed. Alessi and Bowers were feet apart at the finish line, with the moto win and overall going to Alessi. Falk and Schmidt maintained third and fourth at the finish line, which was more than enough to put them on the podium.

For ten laps of racing and his clean sweep of the motos, Alessi was awarded 5000-dollars from the total purse, the SLAM belt, and a set of Maxxis truck tires. Falk was given 3000-dollars for his runner-up finish while Schmidt took home 2000-dollars.


1. Mike Alessi
2. Tyler Bowers
3. Mitchell Falk
4. Nick Schmidt
5. Chris Johnson
6. Gage Schehr
7. Robbie Wageman
8. Ryan Surratt
9. Derek Drake
10. Colton Aeck
11. Alex Ray
12. Hunter Schlosser
13. Kai Aiello
14. Blake Lilly
15. RJ Wageman
16. Gared Steinke


1. Mike Alessi | 1-1
2. Mitchell Falk | 2-3
3. Nick Schmidt | 3-4
4. Chris Johnson | 4-5
5. Tyler Bowers | 10-2
6. Ryan Surratt | 7-8
7. Derek Drake | 6-9
8. Hunter Schlosser | 5-12
9. Robbie Wageman | 12-7
10. Alex Ray | 8-11
11. Colton Aeck | 11-10
12. Gage Schehr | 17-6
13. Gared Steinke | 9-16
14. Kai Aiello | 14-13
15. Blake Lilly | 13-14
16. RJ Wageman | 15-15
17. Sean Lipanovich | 16-16