— Lawrence Wernik —
—Reporting LIVE on my experience at Round 6 of the PNW Vintage MX Series at Eugene Motocross Park—
This is only the third vintage race I have ever entered. For all three races a good friend of mine has put me on one of his bikes, a 1981 YZ 465. I really love that bike and we have definitely bonded, but more on that later…
My first observation for the day was how awesome Portland, Oregon, traffic is at 7am on a Sunday! My second observation was that the Willamette Valley is so very flat. It is so flat you wonder how a mighty river can possibly flow through it. My destination was Territorial MX Park in Eugene, Oregon. Never having been there I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was told this was a beautiful facility, but descriptions don’t do it justice. Very nice track laid out in the rolling hills with plenty of trees all around. Very different than what you see in the flat valley one mile away.
Upon entering the facility, it was very apparent that all the riders and spectators alike take this “Race for A Cure” very seriously. There was Pink everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, including pink tutu’s and pink streamers laced through the spokes of wheels on bikes. Even the checkered flag was pink! I wasn’t really expecting that, but next time I will have to step up my game and get my pink on.
Rider’s Meetings are usually not a highlight of any MX race. This was a little different. It’s not often you see every single rider attend a riders meeting. Of course, all the normal race track stuff was covered, but then some reps from the American Cancer Society spoke about the alarming numbers of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Oregon. Skeet Hise, who was recently awarded by the club for his splendid work, also had some emotional words to share. He spoke of his cancer-surviving friend, who was also in attendance. I am sure I am not the only one in the crowd fighting back some tears. That turned out to be an amazing gathering of friends.
It is so great to be able to engage in your passion for racing, while doing and experiencing something truly meaningful at the same time. There was a pink MX boot for donations, and of course all the money raised went directly to the Cancer Society. I would also like to offer a big shout-out to Skeet, Oley Glover, Willie Parish, and Linda Parish for all they do. Great people. And did I mention the BBQ? No? It was epic! The best potluck BBQ ever. Truly amazing!
And now, back to the track with your trusty reporter. No fake news here. Did I mention that the track was awesome? No? Well, the track was awesome! The crew did an amazing job of changing the normal layout to accommodate all the Vintage, Evolution, and Revolution bikes. They ripped it up and watered the heck out of it. It is a high-speed track with tons of elevation changes. It really is a fun track! The one common thing I heard from others was that it was very fast. And I would have to agree. I almost blew through a few corners.
Over 20 motos of Vintage, Revolution, and Evolution classes made for some great racing, as you would expect. It blew my mind watching all this amazing “old” equipment getting put to use as it was intended (and sometimes not intended) to be. To see a twin shock bike with minimal suspension travel and a down pipe railing corners and getting hucked is so bad ass!!!
I love this vintage racing and I love this community. Every event seems to be full of surprises, good friends, and great experiences. Now, back to that bike. I have been racing that 1981 YZ 465 Yamaha and feel very comfortable on it. Well, the #22 Yamaha was made available for me to buy! Of course, I jumped right on it. I am in! I just bought a 37 year old dirt bike. Like me, it may have some years on it, but it is still full of life and ready to go. Looking forward to more great experiences on that bike, and in the community. Life is good. See you at the track!
photos by KATHY PATTERSON and STEVE COLLEEN MILES