Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The Sierra Chapter National was held April 26-27, 2008 at The Oatfield in Turlock, California. This was my second time out there, only the track was changed considerably for this event. Last year I competed as a Beginner in the 45+ age group and this year I competed in the Novice Class in the 45+ age group. Lots of differences!

The dirt out at The Oatfield is some of the best in Northern California, and it is alot of fun to race on. The track has about 11 turns over the entire length with about a 30 bike gate. The track gets all torn up with the ruts, braking bumps and accelleration bumps all get huge but they are pliable and forever changing from race to race. The jumps are mostly double/triple combinations with a couple of areas that were double/double combos. It has a huge step up jump right in the middle and it looks like the matterhorn! There is a whoop section that starts big and gets tighter as you get to the end of it. The nicest banked curves you can imagine for railing the rim make up the last few turns on the course before the finish line.

The weekend weather was hot with just a breeze to cool things off only a bit. The races mostly went off without a hitch and mostly everyone came away no worse for the ware. I know of a few guys (including myself) that came home with more than a fair share of bruises. No major disasters or injuries though really.

The motos went along pretty quickly; I was in the Moto #9 on Saturday and Moto #1 on Sunday. My first moto I got a pretty good start, was about #3 to the top of the hill but fell back before turn #1 and then further back after that. About lap #3 I tried to clear the jump after turn #10 which is the double/double combo right alongside the starting line area. This was a major problem area and I should have rolled it but I didnt. I came up just a bit short, cased out on the landing and the rebound of the bike basically bucked me right off the bike and it went the other direction. Luckily I landed on my side and hip instead of my head and I rolled off to the side of the track as fast as I could. There were a bunch of people there right away to help me out. Another guy got my bike up and even kept it running by just pulling in the clutch before lifting it up instead of killing it. So I said "Keep it running, I'll ride!!!" everyone around me was saying "You sure?"... I guess my 'get-off' looked worse than it felt at the time. My head was ok so it seemed good to go.

Anyway I got back on the bike and finished out my moto, but it wasnt long before my hip and leg were letting me know that there was gonna be more to this story to be told later.... and needless to say that I wasnt going to be making my Moto #2 on Saturday.

So it became relax time and photographer time and IBUPROFEN TIME!!! Whats funny about hanging out with a bunch of old timers is that everybody has some kind of 'prescription pain killer' to offer up when needed. I was offerred everything from 800mg Aspirin to vicodin to darvocet!...

Scott was in Moto #11 and he was running in the "Over 100cc Beginner Class". That is anthing from 100cc to 450cc in that class, so he was really outclassed again. And of course there were many riders that weren't even beginners. It's too bad they dont make up some better classes for the real beginner kids to ride with us because it just discourages them from continuing to 'race'.

There were 12 motos for the days events on Saturday including the support classes, we had a great dinner catered in afterwards and a HUGE raffle all put together by the hard-working people of the Sierra Chapter Board and so many sponsors and shops and just plain folk that wanted to be a part of this gathering. It was a great evening of fun and bench racing among friends. I didn't win a thing at the raffle, but Scott got a bunch of plastics for his 125.


The morning practices got underway about 8:30 am and racing soon thereafter. We would have 15 motos this day due to some extra large gates form the first day. But I was in Moto #1 and ready to have a go at a fresh track and feeling not too bad after my prior crash-out. The hip was feeling ok and I was walking just fine again. I felt ready and able to take on the day. On the start I came within inches of getting the 'holeshot' into corner #1, it was between me and another guy both going into the turn together; he was up high on the outside of the berm and I came in low on the inside. I had to slow quite a bit to make the tight inside turn, he carried his speed and kept on going. I dropped into second and then back to about fourth or fifth with everyone coming around right behind him.

I held my position once I fell back to about 7 or 8th and then ran about 5 of the 7 laps we were doing. I got tired out and lost more places. On the last lap I was battleing with another guy and we kept exchanging positions, (for what position I had no idea at this point) but we were racing and having a great time. Coming into the last high banked berm turn he went to the high side and I went to the low side trying to cut under him for the position and I could've brake checked him right out and kept going, but... this was for fun! and so we drag raced to finish line from there and he got me by a half a front wheel... for 12th position (we found out later)

We congratulataed each other at the end as if we were running for the AMA Championship in Las Vegas!... In our minds, it was just like ole times!

Scott was in the next to last moto again. He had one little mishap but pulled it together and kept it going. He enjoys just being out there and being able to ride any chance he gets I think mostly.

My Final Moto was again a great start off the line, I got into turn #1 in about third position and tried hard to stay with the leaders, but the track had already gone away and there were huge ruts, multiple lines, braking bumps everywhere and it was just fatiguing me really quickly, Oh did I mention it was like 85 degress out too? I was sweating like a pig heading for the bacon shop, and dropping backwards faster then a rockstar on the Country Top 40.

OVERALL: Great Event, Great People, Great Fun. PRICELESS!

I finished: 17 / DNS / 13 / 15 for a 17th overall.

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