This past Sunday we all gathered out at Glen Helen Raceway for the first Hell On Wheels Stadium Steeplechase of 2016. Many in the crowd were a bit hungover after a late night at The fundraiser party for Norra Mexican 1,000 at Alex’s bar. The pits began filling up with vintage trucks and motorcycles, some dating way back to the early 1900’s. The Velvets MC were hosting a women’s moto class so I was excited to see my friends Tammy, Joy, Toast, and Jessie pull in to participate among a handful of other awesome women.
If you have never been to a Hell on Wheels event you are missing out! These guys know how to throw one HELL of a good time. With a race schedule featuring :
The Velvets Mc ladies Race open to all bikes
Mini bikes up to 100cc
Vintage pre 1975
Open Twin and British Singles
Bomber 75-80 and dual sports
Harley Davidson and Street bike class
Tank Shift Class
You can image the shenanigans that go down on that track. Cheers to the dude on the 3-wheeler with his lunch box strapped to the back and his ass hanging off the side of his bike in the sweeper turns. Oh and double cheers to all the boys in the hand shift class. My ass hurt just watching you guys barrel over that table top with zero suspension! All in all it is a damn good time and watching your friends give it all they got is priceless!
As the women’s class rolled up on the starting line there was a wide variety of bikes and riding abilities! Sadly there is never enough female racers to divide the class by bike size. Maybe someday! Everyone had a smile on their face and a firm grip on the throttle! There is nothing quite like that nervous, excited, pumped-up feeling that you get when you pull up to a starting line, even if it is just all about a good time with your friends and not really about who finishes when. That feeling is there, and thats what makes racing so much damn fun! You get to root on you friends and push each other to perfect your skills all while having the time of your life.
Lined up next to me were my friends Joy Lewis on her 1976bYamaha XT 500, Tamara Raye on her 1966 Triumph T100 Desert Sled, Jessie Gentry on her 1986 Honda XR250, Toastacia Boyd on her 1970 Hodaka 100 and about 4 or 5 other ladies on a variety of bike sizes from modern mini bikes to vintage dual sports.
The flag went up and the race was off. I got an early lead thanks to my 1977 Yamaha DT 400 but I could hear the roar of an engine hot on my tail. We were a lap or two in before I could grab half a second to glance in my rear view mirror (yes I have a rear view mirror) and see that it was Joy Lewis hauling ass right behind me. A smile spread across my face…. “fuck yes, this is going to be a fun one”!!!
As I got in my groove I started to put a tiny bit of distance between us. I was practicing some techniques that I learned from watching a you tube video that demonstrated the best way to turn in a corners with no burm or rut. As nerdy as that sounds… I was starting to corner a little bit faster each time. I used to race motocross as a kid but was never really very good at it. But I loved it none the less! It wasn’t until my adult life that I have a new-found desire to better my skill and work hard to get faster!
Photo by Corinne Hall
In my efforts to work hard and get faster I ate shit in the last sweeping turn before the checkered flag! Yep… I washed out my front end right in front of all my friends hahah. I yanked my bike up and got it kicked over just as the pack of flying babes zoomed past me! In the words of Toastacia Boyd “ you were just a flying spec in the distance until you were on the ground and I was passing you” hahaha!
As I went to grab my clutch and take off to finish the race pulling up the rear I noticed that my clutch lever was completely broke off. So…. instead…. I pushed my bike off the track with the help of my boyfriend Evan (my hero). I was super bummed that I wasn’t able to finish the race but absolutely loved watching the pack of women wiz by me to the finish line.
Back in the pits, I was lucky enough to score a spare clutch lever from the Hell on Wheels legend himself: Greg Landers, whose bike had blown up during practice. My bike was ready to go for the main event!
We were pretty lucky to have the women’s race first because we all got to line up on the side lines and watch our friends go at it while we cheered and tried to avoid flying motorcycle parts!
Before I knew it, the 2nd moto was on and we were all lined up on the table top jump ready to race again. The flag went up and we all went barreling into the first turn. I scored the whole shot again (two stroke is no joke) but this time Joy was literally right on my back tire. Round and round the track we went neck and neck the whole way! The adrenaline was pumping and we were hauling ass launching over the rolling jumps and table-tops and fighting through the turns. There was 1 particular section of that track that I knew Joy was faster than me. Each lap she would close in just as we went into that damn right turn. I knew the only way I could hold her off was if I turned it on as much as I could in the jump section and the sweeping lefts. On the final lap we were literally side by side…. the checkered flag could go either way and there was no way I was going to go down in the last turn again! We were approaching the section where Joys skills far exceeded mine own and there were a couple of mini bikes entering that right hand turn just ahead of us. I took the inside and Joy took the outside and she pulled ahead of me.We went into the last turn with Joy a bike length ahead of me, her on the outside and me on the inside. I could hear my friends screaming from the side lines!!!
It was the same turn that I went down on in the first moto. As we came out of that last turn I laid on the throttle with all I had and my bike launched into the power band and barreled down the straightaway for what can only be described as a photo finish over the last tabletop. Me on my 1977 Yamaha DT 400 literally 2 feet in front of Joy on her 1976bYamaha XT 500.
We flew over the last jump together! I actually didn’t even notice the checkered flag, I was so worked up I continued to race around the track by myself like a dumbass. As We pulled into the pits we were both shaking from the adrenaline. It was an epic battle and we both had so much fun! It was one of the closest races of the day and the most fun I have had in a long time! All of us ladies left that day looking forward to the next time we could ride together again!
Congratulation to all the ladies that got out there and raced that day! And cheers to the overall winners Jessie Gentry in 3rd, Kerry Kress in 2nd and Joy Lewis in 1st! I really hope to see more ladies join in the fun so that there can be women’s race by bike size!!! Follow @hellonwheelsmc for more info on the next race! See you there!