Glen Helen the last round of the 2017 International Old Timers MX series.
Let’s get the bad out of the way. Friday offered up Santa Ana winds. For those not familiar with them suffice it to say they are nasty. High winds, dust and heat along with a practice day track that not been prepped. So what we got was Thursday’s beat up practice track. With all that going on for some it wasn’t worth the money. I know more than a few riders who didn’t bother practicing.
I was one of those who did practice Friday, if you want to call it that. And on top of that when I came off the track in front of the front grandstands (Luckily for me empty grandstands) I jumped off the side of the track right into the path of a fully charged two inch water hose in a snake like pattern going the same direction I was. I didn’t have enough time to react (Old slowing reaction times here) and that piece of shit hose put me on the ground so fast I couldn’t believe it. My leg was trapped under the bike; another rider stopped and got the bike off me. I jacked up my neck, left knee and my little pinky got smashed between the handle bar and clutch lever. That was it for practice I limped back to the pits and spent the rest of the day out of the wind licking my wounds.
Saturday morning had the promise of a better day, with the wind changing direction and a slightly cooler forecast, and a track that had been prepped. The track layout was a little different than last year’s track, slightly longer I’d say. I think most everyone liked the layout except there were a series of corners that were wet with deep sand. I’d say the vast majority of us struggled with those sections.
I don’t think the ambulance left all weekend, one rider did crash at the highest point in the Talladega turn and they red flagged the race, but I think he was alright.
Still feeling the effects of my Friday encounter with the water hose (Hose 1 Doug 0) Saturday morning I got to practice something my friend Eric McKenna first told me about when we were riding in Baja many years ago and unless you have broken something to the point of not being able to get on a bike you practice it, it’s called active recovery. Which means even when you are beat up you go out and ride thereby starting the recovery process. So I raced Saturday practicing AR. I actually felt pretty good and rode well to boot. Thanks to ice packs and Ibuprofen.
After Saturday’s racing dinner was served and the raffle prizes were given out. Last year they ran out of food so people showed up early for dinner. By the time we got there the place was packed almost out of food and it was only 5:20.
The start of practice was delayed Sunday waiting for flaggers who apparently didn’t get the memo about this being a two day race. They also deliberately (I assume) did not prep a couple of the really nasty sections and completely changed a couple of others. (Some thought it was better and others not) No matter, there were only seven motos so we still got done early Sunday. The last time I raced was at Washougal where practice started at 7:30 AM and the last race left the starting gate about 7:30 PM on Saturday.
I didn’t watch much of the racing over the weekend; I was still recovering from Friday’s encounter with the hose and Friday’s weather for that matter. Saturday’sweather was much better the wind was a lot less and had changed directions and it was a bit cooler. Sunday definitely had the best weather for racing and getting out of town.
Only one of my starts over the weekend was good (The last one on Sunday) I even ran into the gate once. I had no one in my class (first time this year) so as usual I raced whoever’s in front of me.
I accomplished the two things I set out to do this weekend; I clinched the Sierra Old Timers Club championship and my class championship for the International Old Timers MX association. I guess its congratulations to me.
Despite the start to the weekend the track and weather turned out ok. Oh by the way we shared the facility (It was packed) with the car guys who were also having a three day event using the stadium track. There were cars for the eight-nine year olds all the way up to the trophy type trucks with the big horsepower engines. They were spread out and camped among us bike guys and my first thought was aw shit this will probably not work out, but it really wasn’t that bad. They also had a concert at a nearby outdoor venue and shuttled the artists in and out using buses escorted by police using a back a road that leads out of the back of the Glen Helen Raceway, the heightened security no doubt as a result of the Vas Vegas shootings.