Monday, November 30, 2015
Las Vegas is a naughty place. A vibrant, energy pulsing disco ball in the middle of a baron desert. Despite the fact that I find no comfort with in it’s dressed up dirty streets and over watered gardens, I keep ending up there again and again. When Sideburn got with Roland Sands Design and offered me a ride on a new Indian in the Super Hooligan race; How could I avoid being sucked back into another one of Sin City’s vortexes of naughtiness. A Vegas Casino is a perfect place for a Hooligan race. A Hooligan bike after all is about being more show than go. An over legged, synthetic implanted, wig wearing, over weight show girl is exactly how I think of a Hooligan bike. The rules only said stock framed street bike with 19” wheels so I reckon I could have rode my trusty old gal, XS race bike but how could I turn down a ride with a show girl? As with anything to do with Sideburn; The pits were full of friends both newly acquainted and old. After watching the GNC on the little diamond shaped boxing-ring of a track I must admit that I was a bit nervous about taking the long wheel based cruiser bike out to do battle with some tough looking competition. There was every thing from performance built cheater bikes, big name pilots, I think The Sons of Anarchy were there and Mad Max and of course five other bikes just like mine with competitive racers behind the bar, just like me. After putting my “factory Indian Race Team” jersey on I was told the Hooligans would not get any practice. (We were there to provide entertainment after all.) Then we were told that because it was being filmed for broadcast they were going to not red flag any crashes. (Gladiators must provide brutal blood baths in the Coliseum). In the first timed qualifying session I was a bit sad to see my name in 16th position on the big screen. I figured I better try to pull the finger out somehow and honor my friends and family spectating. So I shared a beer with another racer in my “factory race van”. Onto the qualifying heats. Green flag race starts. I like these, I usually feel like a real wild west gun-slinging quick draw for a holeshot. After seeing the flagger wait longer than the time it takes a pile of ants to move a lead filled Hershey bar all weekend, he waived the green before I even had my steed in gear. The next five laps could best be described as a combination of a demolition derby, a bar room brawl and a refugee camp being invaded by C-130 dropped food ration bombs. I was happy to snag the last qualifying position for the main event. I was also scared for my life. I made it a point to spend some time with my wife and tell her how much she means to me. She said that what ever went down during the race, I must protect my face because she didn’t want a deformed monster. Fair enough. The queue in staging was a very interesting place to watch my fellow competitors. Nerves were a bit on end. After all, many Hooligan racers have little race experience. This was one racer’s first flattrack ever. Another racer who lost his transponder was told to hit the road, despite finishing 2nd in is qualifier. Another racer was stripping off his protective gear preparing for a glorious battle. Some of the ticks and twitches others were making even got me to start freaking out a bit. And then, we were waived into the arena like gallivanting warriors. The King’s best gladiators. Or sheep off to slaughter. I had a second row inside gate pick so I hoped with some luck I would avoid the first corner carnage that was eminent. The green flag flew. The rest was a total blur, ever lap I saw another body bouncing off the ground or crawling for dear life to avoid being steam rolled by twin cylinder behemoths swapping violently out of control. I managed to keep it up right despite some heavy bumping and take a checkered flag with all my flesh intact. Hell, I didn’t even loose my Harley Davidson cherry. That little sucker is going to stay un-popped!
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
What ever. Last year they asked for feed back and I told them my opinion. After the race this year while I was still catching my breath after dumping a beautiful bike a reporter asked me about all the negativity from racers regarding the race directors and their handling of safety. I said there was room for improvement and of course what I said was taken out of context but that's the press for you. At least I got to experience the mountain when it was still half dirt and organized half decent. I actually find this letter funny. Like a clown. What is not funny is how many others who wanted to return to the race again received the same letter. Mostly local racers and mostly racers who did not have a huge budget and a made for camera image. Even more of a bummer is the 2016 entry fee doubled to $1400 and another $1400 for an early practice weekend. This is the second time in four years that they doubled the entry fee. Not exactly appealing to the grass roots racer. Even more of a bummer is the announcement that they are only accepting 30 total motorcycle and atv entries. That is about 5 bikes per class. And like so many other american organizations, they call this progress. I think I am going to go ride my dirt bike. Peace, grease, and wheelies.