|06-08-2014, 10:07 PM||#91|
Lust for dust.
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Tulsa... it's OK
Oklahoma Gold Rush 2012
Well, my inaugural BlackJack Enduro Circuit season was officially over , but the bike and I still had a bit of life in us, so we gave it one last hurrah. I had heard tales of this race called Gold Rush and was intrigued. It is held at a local Hallett Speedway approximately 40 min west of my home. This speedway has track days for bikes and cars and is nestled right next to a highway that I frequent, but had never stopped.
What was interesting about the Gold Rush race was the fact that it utilizes different surfaces to make a hybrid race. They basicaly added paved track sections and an MX course to a harescramble. They have class races for bikes, quads, and UTVs, so why not a KLR? I knew a couple friends were racing. I didn't make any firm plans, but decided to give it another go at an ironman enduro (harescramble, really).
I put the highway gears, mirrors, etc. on the KLR and got all kitted out for a DS trip over to the raceway. Paid my entry and prepped the bike alone in the pits. Swapped out my counter-sprocket from a 16 to a 14, shed the mirrors and luggage (except the tank bag), and got myself ready to race. I signed up for the beginner / vintage race, and of course I got a fresh series of the typical questions "You're racing on what?" No big deal. Been there, done that.
The harescramble dead start was a new one for me- bar to bar in a dense line of bikes, straddle the front wheel with hands on the grips facing backwards. Right in front of the starting line was a face-high berm that was psyching me out from the get-go. I took a slow start and sort of worked from the back of the pack, letting the torque do the work. I rode a steady race and never had any serious mishaps or crashes. A few typical minor stalls and drops, but nothing chronic. All the obstacles and technical sections were doable for me and the KLR. Shit, if a UTV can do it, it should have been cake, right?
All images below courtesy of inmate Silver. I definitely owe him a beer for taking so many pics of me in the race. I didn't know it till after, but I was beeping my horn and waving at him and other paparazzi while riding the MX track. I couldn't see his face behind the camera.
Fellow inmate Celtazon
Pics are from silver, but I laced a few into an animated gif.
What makes this race so cool and interesting for me is the mixed surfaces. It has woods, grass track, MX track, plus a few miles of curvy pavement. I probably passed more riders on pavement than on the dirt. The 650cc was tough to match WFO in the straights. The knobby tires were a bit scary in the curves though.
Celtazon has way more track experience than I.
Inmate Celtazon again in the woods section.
Jumping a KLR is sketchy at times, but it can be done. Fortunately, the pictured jump managed to catch me in decent form. I nosed-in and assed-in several times, but never crashed. Jumping MX isn't something that I really had much experience in, especially on a 400 lb bike.
Yes, I have modified suspension, but nothing too exotic. I have Progressive springs in the forks and have my sag set with custom preload spacers. For the rear shock, it's actually a stock shock body with a heavier Progressive (brand, not wind) spring. I forget the spring rating.
Technically speaking, it was way easy compared to an enduro. Way fast and open. The woods sections were DUSTY 2-track. The MX section was pure fun with huge jumps. I skipped the water obstacle... maybe on purpose the first time, but every lap after that was just maintaining the same line and trying to get better. The grass tracks were fast with plenty of stutter bumps and jumps. The paved track was a good change-up and required a completely different set of skills. They had a radar set up on the long, uphill straight section, and I got clocked doing 76mph with my offroad gearing. I don't think the bike had much else to give, as I was using 14/47 stump-pulling gearing. I bet I was at redline or close to it in 5th gear. According to Gearing Commander, my top speed with that gearing is 80.7 mph.
Results of the Gold Rush 2012 were modest for me, but I wasn't pushing it too hard. I really enjoyed the race, probably more smiles per mile than in any other race I've ridden. I just really liked the diverse format and it was challenging enough to test you, but open enough to allow for some major speed. My first lap was pretty slow and I was just getting the feel of things. I progressively turned on the speed and rode a pretty clean race. I never rode too aggressively, but I know for sure I could have passed several more people in the last lap alone. Maybe I was feeling a bit of self-preservation and just enjoying the race rather than taking it too seriously. There were only a handful of plated enduros in the field; nearly every bike was a true dirt bike.
I finished middle of the pack, which I think is still respectable considering my bike and racing experience level.
If I had to list one negative, it would be the ridiculous $20 gate fee I had to pay to ride my KLR through, race, and then ride out. No discounts for the ironman. Most expensive race I have ever ridden.
I also rode Gold Rush in 2013, but on my KDX and in the team race with a dude I met in the registration line. Planning to ride it again this year.
"This place fucking runs on beer, you buy the right person a beer, and you get a job, a blow, a place to sleep, whatever.
You're hot, cold, thirsty, hungry... beer will fix that.
Beer is a god damn miracle, and don't you forget it!"
|06-09-2014, 04:31 PM||#92|
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Huntsville ON.
Thanks this was and is a great story of man and machine prevailing against the odds lol. Thanks for bring us along for the ride, job well bone sir.
The road less traveled is the road I travel more.
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Dean Martin
|06-10-2014, 12:33 PM||#93|
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Memphis, Motorcycle Purgatory
that Gold Rush seems like my kind of race! I won two vintage class roadraces at Hallet a decade or so ago and would love to do this race.
God. Family. Motorcycles. Guns. Music. Books. Dogs. Beer. Baseball. Work. That about covers it.
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