Everyone’s a winner at MDIR cancer event
Local Clontz takes top prize at cancer event at MDIR
Though many drivers reached the winner’s circle this past weekend at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, other winners were those battling breast cancer thanks to the Paint the 1/4 Pink event held during Bike Fest 2016.
Now in its sixth year, Paint The 1/4 Pink is a womens-only competition which features competitors racing head-to-head on drag bikes and street bikes. A total of 10 riders took part in the event.
“It feels great, [but] it feels really good especially for all the people who are going through the struggle,” said Kelly Clontz of Hughesville, who took the title after defeating Robin Procopio in the finals. “My bike was very consistent this weekend, and my reaction times were pretty good, too, so I can’t complain.”
Clontz won the event in 2013 and 2014 but came into the event this year with a chip on her shoulder after being knocked out in the second year last year.
The event helps to raise funds for “Bikers Against
Breast Cancer.” In 2014, bikers chipped in $7,000 and last year $13,000 was raised for the charity.
“Our mission is to provide temporary assistance to people with cancer, any form of cancer not just breast cancer, or people who are indirectly affected,” said Sheila Green-Barnhill, founder and CEO of the national organization, which is based in New Jersey. “We provide a mini-grant up to $300 to help them pay a bill or two so they can concentrate on recuperating. The thing is a lot of the organizations are focused on research, which is so needed, but the fact that people go home after surviving but are stressed out by the bills they can’t pay so our goal is to help people relieve that little bit of stress. We know we can’t give to every single person every single time so we make referrals and that helps the person totally all around.”
The foundation, which relies on volunteers, contributes 100 percent of all donations to the grant foundation while merchandise sales go toward the operating budget. Paint The 1/4 Pink raised $700 in 2013, but that number ballooned to $7,000 a year later.
“That’s a big push and it tells me they’re doing something right,” said Green-Barnhill, who lost a sister, Lenora Haywood, to lung cancer in 1979. “Last year the ladies were able to raise $13,000 so that type of donation allows us to serve more people and with that type of service to the community we’re able to get our name out because we’re getting referrals from major cancer foundations across the country. So events like these bring our name to people who have never heard of us. So when they see our name it allows them to know who we are and what we do.”
Tanya Lovett, a stylist from Seaford, Del., made the nearly three-hour drive exclusively to race in the event. The 44-yearold had a reaction time of .053 of a second and a reached a speed of 145.52 mph aboard her 2006 Suzuki 1000 to defeat Jaleesa Minor in the first round.
“Because it’s for a good cause,” Lovett said of why she entered the race. “Anything for a charity or to help someone out, especially another woman, and it’s a good cause.”
Lovett, whose grandmother died nearly 20 years ago from pancreatic cancer, was eliminated in the second round by Julie Burkhead.
“I got a good start and had a good time so I’m happy,” said Lovett, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year.
Jorene White of Mineral, Va., who recently took up bike racing — this weekend’s event was just her fifth — was eliminated in the first round after a reaction time of .190 and a speed of 117.48 mph, but the 41-year-old is just happy to be alive.
White was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2006 but fought the disease and today is completely cancer-free.
“It is what it is. You take it one day at a time,” said White, who was racing a 2002 Suzuki 600. “The cancer part [of this race] is very special.”
Clontz received a bye in the second round and then advanced to the final after a win over Burkhead in the semifinal in which her reaction time was .096 and reached 159.36 mph.
Though she had a slower reaction time to Procopio in the final, .040 to .009, “You’re going for [the good start] and you hope [the Christmas tree] doesn’t go red,” said Clontz, who claimed the crown when she reached 159.17 mph. Clontz’s speed of 160.29 in the first round was the top speed of the event.
Riding a 2008 Kawasaki, Necka Lancaster of Waldorf was eliminated in the first round.
“It is very fun,” said Chisa Yokota, who made the 12hour flight from Japan to race in the event. Yokota, who co-owns a custom motorcycle shop with her husband, also raced last year.
In other races this past weekend, Mark Schwalm won the FBR Shop 5.60 Index, Joey Gladstone took top honors in both the DME Racing Real Street and Orient Express Pro Street Class and Boo Brown won the IDBL Crazy 8s.
David Ashton was named IDBL Top Sportsman. Indian Head’s Shayne Proctor was second, Prince Frederick’s Durwood Rawlings finished fifth and Chris Clontz grabbed seventh place.
Tyler Cammock won the Vance & Hines 4.60 Index while Marvin Savoy of Charlotte Hall placed second.
When asked what advice she’d give to other women who have been diagnosed with cancer, White paused.
“Stay positive, it’s going to get better,” she said before climbing aboard her bike.
Hughesville’s Kelly Clontz burns rubber before her qualifying run in the Paint the ¼ Pink event on Saturday. Clontz won all four of her races and reached an event-best 160.29 mph to win her third title in four years.