Dave Coupe smoked everyone to bits on his 75 CR250M.

HOLLISTER. • Ahrma Nationals October 19th 2003

It’s a little like Mecca. Or maybe it’s like the Oscars. Or maybe something about halfway between them.

I’ve been hearing about it for years, but it’s always been just a little too far away. Anyway I was determined this year to BE THERE.

I took the decision to race the CZ400, which turned out to be a very good one. I bought the CZ because I want to race Vintage, but the discouraging experiences and cost involved with the gearboxes of the MX250 and the CR250M has had me racing Evolution Bikes over the last few years. So I could take one bike, and I was determined that it be the CZ. I drove down with Bobby Gravely, my VDR Evolution friend. I met Bobby this year at Hammer & Tongs. Bobby races a 79 XR500.

4:30am on Friday, in pouring rain we loaded up the small white pickup. After loading up all our stuff the truck looked like the Beverly Hillbillies. We drove down Interstate 5 all day, into the light, out of the rain, into the sun. We drove all day, and into darkness again. Finally we couldn’t drive anymore. We were about four miles from 152, which cuts over to Hollister, and got a room at Motel 6.

The next morning at 4:45 we got up and kept rolling, and soon we were there. We pulled up to the track in the twilight and the first person I saw was John Gulliford, and I said hey John out the open window, but when the man turned around it was Dave Janiec who looked at me quite rightly as though I were an alien. As we unloaded our gear, and I saw the many cool bikes I began to wish I had an Evolution Bike.

Saturday was Evo (Post-Vintage) and Sunday was Vintage. OK- awesome. Now that's how it ought be done. Cheers to the organizers! Bill Row went one coler by suggesting that I should ride his Husky. And that was that: I signed up to race the 1976 Husqvarna WR360 in 500 Historic.... my old stomping grounds! Hey wait- aren’t I the defending champion? I think I am.

Hollister is cool. I thought the track was EXCELLENT. It is big and fast, a bit the way Eugene is, but with better dirt; Dirt instead of Clay. Madras, by comparison is faster and straighter, but with rocks. The track swoops here and there, and because it has BERMS is wide enough for all kinds of lines, which makes for really fantastic racing. The last element on the track is the elevator shaft- a drop off into a gully and up the opposite side. Very cool- you had to be carefull not to throw it away going off the edge!

500 Historic heat • OK- I’m on the line, on a bike I’ve ridden for the first time today. But I’m the King of Adaptability, and I got a decent start. To my surprise, as I charged forward, who should I see ahead but Bobby, my friend & roommate (in the tent) and I had force my way past on a slippery uphill section. I can’t remember what lap it was- I rather think lap 2, but it may have been on the first lap. The bike was perfect- it was awesome. I finished 2nd out of ? Riders.

here I chase Colten Bear in the morning heat.

500 Historic main • For the afternoon moto I got a better start, but there was Bobby still ahead! I thought Jeeez! and I had to chase down a number or riders, slicing and hewing my way forward just to get to where Bobby was. His XR500 is a fast mofo, and Bobby was riding like a champion- pretty damn cool. Remember this guy was a top Rodeo Bull Rider, and large bucking things don’t seem to phase him. I was holding the flag for Hellbent Racing and had to administer the old Coup de Grâce down the elevator Shaft.

It wasn’t easy- the hairpin just before the drop-off was tight, and I’d feather the throttle through in 2nd gear, and shift into 3rd before I left the ground, and as I fell, wind out the engine, to make it jump forward as I touched down again. I say cheers to the Man. Again I finished 2nd.

The day was very good- it was very hot, and I got good & sunburned. But every person I spoke with was awesome. However dark was approaching, and with night falling the decision to stay had to be made. Where would we go? With no reservations, in an unfamiliar town, we’d have to go 45 miles back to I-5 practically to find a motel-6 that wasn’t full to the rafters. So with spirits falling, I bargained with a fellow that we’d put up our tent in his swapmeet spot overnight, and he could leave his tools as we’d be there.

Of course I hadn’t any provision for the ground which was very hard and rocky. I had no foam pad or anything because the truck was SO full. At 7pm I was exhausted both from racing and from being beaten by the sun all day, and now getting more miserable by the minute, I wish that we’d made arrangements to get a motel. Dark fell early- of course it did- it’s late October, but somehow the hot day made it seem as though it were August. I saw that the night was going to be long and not comfortable.

It was way too early to turn in, but my mind was a blur and I decided to turn in at least for a bit- I couldn’t think what else to do, and I thought I HAVE to lie down, as in NOW. I would maybe have dozed a bit, but it was hard on the bones, and to help me to sleep the loudspeakers were playing at a sharply audible volume some awful pop hits from the old days n’ stuff which turns out to have been the Marshall Tucker Band.

OK, Vintage Motocross recreates the best of the sixties and seventies, so we really needed something to balance it out. The worst part of the seventies was a propensity for upbeat flute solos in Pop Music, and this album seems to have a obscenely happy flute solo in every song which, through the crackling loudspeaker, cut through the top of my skull like a Sawzall.

This was maybe the lowest point on the trip- I was very unhappy and for a brief time began to wish very much that I’d never come on this trip- felt quite clearly that I hated bikes and this scene and everything. But about two hours later the music came to an end, and I slept.

CRASH! I awoke. CRASH, KLONG klink klong BONG bang crunch crunch

what in the hell is that racket at this hour- what time is it?


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©2003 SIEGE