Tuesday, 22 July 2014

When Thor Went to Elma

Last weekend, the GNC series visited Gray's Harbor, Washington for a half-mile race. Our good friend and fellow Dirt Quake USA organiser, Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles went along...

I packed up the ol’ Purple Hog with the bare escentals; tent, sleeping bag and Polaroid camera. No plan in place, just a destination, 130 miles north of Portland to Grays Harbor Racetrack in Elma, Washington for the half-mile AMA GNC dirt track race. My little lady was on a separate trip with her family, coincidentally on the way. I met Tori in a logger bar about halfway to Elma. I roll up on my old leaky Harley, she jumps out of a car, we both load up on the Harley and hit the road. I wonder if this made any sense to the bar keep? 

The sun was shining and was about 85 degrees out, almost perfect conditions for a nice little jaunt up the coast. Leaving the house I had some sense to pack a leather coat knowing full well that in the Pacific North West the weather can change at a moment's notice. Exactly what it did about 20 miles away from the track. In an almost comedic way a black cloud wrapped its arms around the general vicinity of Grays Harbor, living up to its name apparently?!

As we made our way up the hill a slow mist coated us in a chilly blanket. Tori and I arrived at the turn off to the track, I saw some familiar faces headed the other direction. This does not bode well, I think to myself. Still holding on to some lick of hope we pulled into the parking lot. A guy in a golf cart rolled up and said, “Race cancelled.” Just to be sure, as though it was some surprise, I asked again. You mean to tell me the race is cancelled? “Yup” 
Tori and I set up camp in the field next to the track. We cracked a cold one and strolled over to say Hi to group of old timers, Some you may recognise.
They told us it was going to be dry in the morning and with any luck they will be racing by 1:30. 
We woke up at the crack of 10 the next morning to the sound of the intercom followed by some unmistakable V-twin engines. A quick “pack em up” and we purchased our $35 general admission tickets. We watched some practice, the Pro Singles and the Big Twins bouncing around the banked corners. Sammy Halbert #7 throwing down the fastest lap. 

A brief intermission gave me a chance to stop by the pits and say Hi to Brad Baker and Sammy. For whatever dumb reason I alway get super nervous in the pits, and this time was no exception. I was stumbling for words and spilling my drink all over myself while trying to take pictures. 

The races started promptly at 1:30 The first race was the Pro Singles. Jarod Vanderkooi yaking the win. Behind him local nice guy, Davis Fisher, in 3rd. Ryan Wells. Davis always gets a little nervous when he has to talk on the intercom. Poor guy choked up pretty good but rode one hell of a great race.

The main event for the Pro Twins followed. Sammy was in pole position and jumped out to an early lead. Pacing the pack for the first half of the race. He was caught about mid-race by both Bryan Smith and Jared Mees. Smith led the race for the next 6 or so laps and was passed right at the end by Jared Mees. Sammy and Brad scrapped for 4th and 5th. The top riders all aboard the HD XR750s, with exception of Bryan on his Crosley Kawasaki. Man, I love flat track racing. 
Tori and I jumped back on the hog and split southbound for a warm shower and a home-cooked meal.
Thor Drake, Portland, 21 July 2014

1 comment:

Nick said...

Polaroids, gosh I haven't seen them for years, SX70 I presume, I saw the other month that someone was making film for them, some many of them must have been chucked when Polaroid folded