Branscom wows crowd in Supercross
By KENT MINCER
Jonnie Branscom picked a great night for his coming-out party.
The 25-year-old Grand Junction resident had won his share of races before, but not in the Motocross Open B division.
“I’ve gotten seconds and thirds,’ Branscom said. “This was the first one I’ve won.”
He waited until Saturday in front of a home crowd to grab that first victory, beating a field of seven in the first of the two-race series of the Extreme Promotions Supercross at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
Branscom almost didn’t pull it off. Up to the final lap, he was having a good run.
He started in third place in the first lap but worked his way up to take a solid lead.
“I felt pretty good until that last lap,” he said, feeling like he was in a rhythm.
Then he hit a jump and almost caught his handlebars in his throat.
“I wasn’t paying attention,” he said.
Branscom righted himself and finished the lap, winning in convincing fashion.
Branscom took up Supercross racing when he was 8 years old with encouragement from his father, who used to race. He’s competed at a number of different levels.
Most of his training is north of town, where he heads to the desert to work on his craft.
“I’ve raced (Open B division) off and on for 15 years,” he said.
After taking the Open B race, he competed in the 250cc division three races later.
Branscom pulled off a double, taking his second victory of the first ride in one of the more exciting races of the night.
Branscom and another Grand Junction resident, Jarom Hullinger, put on a show for the fans.
“We used to ride in the early ’90s,” Branscom said, but they hadn’t raced against each other in some time. In fact, Hullinger was a late entry.
Hullinger led for much of the race. Branscom spent much of the race in fourth place, but moved up to third and then to second in the final three laps.
On the last lap, Branscom overtook Hullinger on a turn, but Hullinger grabbed the lead back on a jump.
On the final turn, Branscom took a tight line and retook the lead for good.
“He pushed me high on that last corner,” Hullinger said. “I was just too tired to do it.”
With mountains of dirt brought into the rodeo arena for the event, the highlight of the evening, besides the show put on by the local guys, was a performance by X Games Supercross competitor ‘Cowboy’ Kenny Bartram, who put on an exhibition during the intermission between the two runs to the delight of the crowd.
Seventy entries competed in 10 divisions at the Supercross.