2017 Washougal Old Timers race

44 are the number years the Oregon Old Timers have been putting on motocross events. I’m not sure this represents the number of years they’ve held International Old Timer events or not but that’s a lot of years. Also not sure how many of those have been held at the famous Washougal MX track, a lot I would think. There were rumors floating around over the weekend that this may be the last year at this iconic venue. But maybe those rumors just float around every year.

Taking pictures of this park is futile unless you’re a pro, you can’t do this place justice. It has to be experience in person to really get the feel.

This was my second trip to this event. I swore I wouldn’t ever go back and that’s not because I was there last year when Sunday’s races were rained out andSaturday’s races were almost as bad. I went in 2015 and by all accounts the weather and track conditions hadn’t been that good in six to eight years. Besides that I won all my motos. I figured no since tempting fate.

I changed my mind when the need for surgery and a date for it came up that will put me on the shelf for a little while. I had planned on going the to the BC and Alberta races this year. (Never been) So instead I decided to go to Washougal and tempt fate.

The weather was just about perfect. (I’m sure someone could find something to snivel about) The track was the same as it was in 2015 except the whoop section by the finish was a whole lot tougher. Something I didn’t notice last time but became aware of this time was as beautiful as this place is the spectator viewing isn’t that great. At best you can see only parts of the track, a lot of that has to do with the layout and the trees. I understand to get in there to see a National takes hours and hours just to stake out a small viewing area.

The track conditions were good for the most part; I did get to experience some of the famous over watering parts of the track they are known for, which can make for some sketchy moments. Saturday’s track dried out so they over compensated for that on Sunday by cutting the track deep along with a lot of water. Practice was not fun but surprisingly by the time my race started (2nd) it was good. They went from ten, to twelve then thirteen motos when they added the support classesSaturday afternoon and Sunday. Some of those were double gate drops as well, a lot of riders, which is normal for this event.

And I was I was lucky enough to repeat by winning all my motos. But not all was good one of our Sierra Old Timer members Art McDade (mx43.com) face planted on one the drop away down hills. Art says he knew he was going to eat it when his bike went sideways off the face of it. I was behind him and didn’t see any of it until I jumped off the downhill and there was Art and his bike lying part way down the hill in the middle of the track. Fortunately for me his momentum had taken him far enough down the hill that I didn’t land on him and had the time to move over. The other fortunate thing was we were way ahead of the next group of riders and the yellow flagger had time to get to the top of the hill. That happened on the last lap not far from the finish so I went back up the hill to check on him. When I got there they were checking him out and asking him lots of questions. Thank goodness for good helmets the fall destroyed his helmet but didn’t knock any of his teeth out. He’s very sore and has a very stiff neck but will in time be okay.

Something like that takes the wind out of your sails but one of the benefits of being old is having short term memory loss. So by Sunday morning it was but a distant memory for me.

The club puts on a sort of bare bones event no real fanfare or hoopla. The races are bang, bang, they have to be in order to get that many races in. Practice started at 7AM the racing finished up around 7PM on Saturday. Dinner is included for pre entries and they started serving at 5PM for those of us who were finished for the day. (The food was good) They don’t hold a raffle but I’m not sure anyone missed it. If you were lucky enough to have a camping place with grass and trees you just sat around and enjoyed it.

And as always once again you get the chance to catch up with friends most you haven’t seen since the last race.

Hopefully they will have more races at Washougal in the future. If you haven’t been it’s one of those places you should go to at least once. I definitely won’t be going back again, I’ve been twice and the weather was about as perfect as it can get.

Doug 21J

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