Mammoth Motocross 2007
Instead of retuning everyone’s calls and repeating
myself here's the update - NO HOSPITAL VISITS!!
Of note but not an excuse because all competitors deal
with the same conditions, I wrenched my back in
Thursdays practice debilitating bad without even
crashing, and was considering spectating or at the very
least going a lot slower than I wanted to.
On top of that both Ian and I were fighting colds
Sat. that kicked in for real right after Sat races. Race
days would go like this: Track opens at 5:00AM, so up at
4:50AM, drive 5 mins to the track and wait in line for
45 mins. to get in and get parked.
The entire track crew are the same recognizable
Mammoth Mountain employees and locals from the years
before that we also see on the ski hill during the
They are always very chipper and awake, only
having to park cars and such for the day which is in
stark and noticeable contrast to the people they are
dealing with and parking.
We make small talk with the track crew laugh at
the people fighting over parking spots and unload the
rig and set up our pits with tarps, outdoor carpets,
chairs, bicycle trainers, tool boxes, tables, coolers
etc. which all has to get loaded back up after the race
then repeated at the condo to clean bikes then reloaded
again for the next day, only to be unloaded and reloaded
again at the track.
Hopefully after washing bikes and gear we still
have an hour to eat so we can get to bed by 9 (it always
ends up being 10) of course this all takes place on Sat
and Sun race days and Thurs practice day as well.
takes A LOT more than just riding well and being in
First practice 7:00AM, too dam early to ride MX!! – imho.
With both our qualifiers being races 2 and 3
(when the track is still smooth and NOT indicative of
how rough the Finals will be) and our finals being 22,
23 on the day our race times were 8:30 and 9:00 AM
respectively (too dam early to RACE MX!! - imho) and
3:30 - 4:00 for the finals.
We were both sick
as dogs and flat on our backs all day between our
qualifier and final in our friends rig so our sinus'
We would only get up to eat, rehydrate, and watch
one or two of our friends races.
We wouldn't have even gotten out of the rig to
watch the pros except that we could just climb up on top
of it and that Ryan Hughs was there and despite 2 week
old broken ribs and getting 2nd the day before behind
Jeremy McGrath had publicly said it WAS ON!! for day 2.
Unfortunately Rynos ribs got the best of him just
like the day before and the only person ON at Mammoth
was the King himself….and some Kong (That’s another
story I'll get to) so we only watched the first half of
the Pros race – we would of watched the whole thing but
we both would only get about 20 mins before our sinus'
would blow up in unison and we both had to retreat back
into the trailer…..weird?.
Both Ian and I had the same Event Format: 80
riders split up into 2 divisions. Each rider picks a
number out of a hat for qualifier 1 gate
"assignment", gate "pick" in race 2, the final is
determined by qualifier finishing position.
has a qualifier in which the top 12 go to the final,
the rest go to another qualifier for each division
from which the top 8 go to the final.
The rest go
to the bleachers - and that makes a 40 rider final
in which your score for the day is derived from.
I got 3rd after I was
leading for most of the race after a 2nd place
a couple mid-pack starts the weeks prior I was
starting to lose a little confidence in my normal
starting abilities but I always seem to come through
at Mammoth…..there’s NOTHING like leading a 40 rider
pack around Mammoth Motocross
cheering around the entire track.
I let 2 guys by since the 3 of us had left
the rest of the pack so I could both conserve energy
for the final and see if the other 2 guys had any
lines I needed to know about.
The only thing this moto is good for is gate
pick for the final and the first ten spots are OK so
I let them go by – I didn't learn much except one
guy seemed awfully fast and still fresh at the end.
In the final I spun my rear wheel and got
off the gate bad and could only work my way to
10th….it was a very chaotic, hectic, well earned and
humbling 10th I will add.
HUGE perfectly timed holeshot from way outside gate
31 (almost unheard of)…...I mean TEN bike lengths at
the top of the uphill - after one lap the ENTIRE
I was gone and trying to check out before my
sinus' kicked in and that guy from yesterday came
again led for most of the race until I didn't really
let anybody by today so much as someone just decided
it was his turn to lead before the checkered
flag…..same guy - man was he smooth, and starting to
piss me off!! I
I was spent, and so
was the track but all my competitors had to deal
with the same track as me and I had 3rd gate pick so
I had to man up and dig deep.
I had to
decide do I line up inside or outside of K. Safford
who had gate pick 2 because if I don't get holeshot,
sure as shit he will and he could push me off the
track if he gets a better jump on the inside.
But I can control the first turn if I get a
better jump from the outside - the last time we
lined up together I beat him and I noticed his
timing was a little off on the gate in his qualifier
(even though he still pulled holeshot) so I chose
outside and asked "Can I trust you?",
he said "Of course" I did get the jump so he
knew where I was but there wasn't enough time/room
to control the turn before he pulled me a bit to the
first turn, he did leave me room though…..about 10
inches thank god, cause I was there and not backing
off. I got a 2nd place start and the stage was
set at Mammoth once again for 2 old rivals; (I used
to race Kenny 27 years ago, and lost to him last
year after getting a flat while leading the final
with only 3 laps to go)
We went back and forth with about 2 other
guys and I ended up in 3rd after "Mister Smooth
Ironman" came marching through all of us yet again
for another win (but not by much), I have to respect
and give props to him, cause I trained my ASS off
for this. (just not quite enough, apparently)
Even though I didn't win I did accomplish most
of my goals and that was to stay on 2 wheels - pull
at least one holeshot - lead some solid laps and
finish top 5.
I also said that if I didn't win whoever did was
going to have to deal with me and indeed my division
was the fastest and the eventual winner did have to
go through me every time he hit the track……at 40+
years old he also raced the 30+ class and I know he
won his qualifiers both days for the 30+ as well as
40+ and was told he won the finals in 30+so but
haven’t confirmed. The
guy was pitted next to me out of a fricken
mini-truck with a cooler, a little umbrella and a
beach chair, his name is Robert Kong and he earned
Somehow 2 day final scores of
10, 3 gave me a 4th overall which is better than the
6th I got 2 years ago, or the 24th I got last year.
Under the circumstances I have to be happy with 4th
overall, since on this weekend I was a little off my
game and was probably only the 3rd fastest guy
anyway; K. Safford from division 2 had 3 holeshots
on the weekend and pretty much had my number as
well. I'm not sure who got 3rd overall but I can
tell you he was lucky….even though there is no such
thing in motocross.
BTW I weighed in at 151 lbs before I left and
I just got off the scale at 142….scary.
got 9th overall out of 80 guys in the 30+ class (no
more entries were available in the 40+ which was a
drag cause guys he's beaten won the class he should
have been in)
I didn't see much of his races
cause I was on the line for mine but I can tell you
he rode like a hero.
His best finish was a
3rd in a 40 rider qualifier, he also got a 4th in
the day 2 final - funny we both did our best when we
felt the worst?
Not one guy who beat him was even close to
Just wait till next year Robert Kong
it will BE ON like Donkey Kong!!