WOW that was good racing.
AMA Flat Track has not been to Pomona in 10 years, and they were poised to do it Oct 24th. The event they were to join with, California Bike Week (which oddly was only 3 days long) was cancelled. Not to worry, flat track was still able to come together and give a great acount of itself.
Flat Track racing is as American as it gets. Big bikes at high speeds on dirt oval tracks. Pomona happens to be a horse racing track; 5/8 mile with very soft dirt to lower the impact on horses that race the course. The big bikes ran at over 100mph for sure. I was able to get a seat in the very front row, right at the entrance to turn 1. These riders were fantastic, turning in while at over 100mph, then slamming the throttle shut, and making HUGE slides over a rutted course that obviously was designed to handle one horsepower. They would then slip the throttle open and make awesome slides over a variety of race lines.
Strangely enough my buddy say “hey that’s Sandra Bullock”. I glance over and think, “yeah that does look like her.” I start thinking she would only be at a flat track race if she ws with Jesse James. A second glance over and, HOLY SH_T, there’s Jesse James. I hadn’t seen him since the filming of “Jesse James Is A Dead Man”almost a year ago. I went over to say hi and sure enough, Jesse remembered me as “my monkey from the sidecar episode”. We chatted for a few minutes but he seemed eager to just spend some time watching the races and being a normal guy, so I took my leave. He was nice enough to introduce me to Sandra and treat me like a normal guy too, so I felt it only fair to return the favor. Right after that, several people came up to take pics and talk to him, and I felt like a total dumass… I had blown his cover, so to speak.
Either way, I was there for the same reason he was; to see some good racing. The heat races were intense and the noise was deafening to say the least. The vintage bikes had a HUGE spill in thier heat race, with one rider snaggin the chain length fence and flipping in grand fashion. I nver saw him move. Not even a twitch. He was loaded by stretcher and carried away by ambulance. Get well buddy. The rest of racing had some spills, but riders were at least up and moving.
The main event has awesome… in the beginning. The first several laps featured intense racing for 3rd spot, until bike problems forced one rider out. After that I just honed in on individual riders and studied technique. It’s no secret I want to race flat track. It’s too much money to get into seriously while I’m still racing my sidecar, so I currently just watch from a distance.
Having scored some tickets from the event promoters, I was able to bring some friends with me, which was great. We had some beers, gave some cheers, and all-in-all enjoyed the night. After racing was over, the pits were accessible (located in the infield). We checked out some bikes, and it was interesting seeing the set ups. Though they primarily use Harley engines, the frames are quite skinny, and the whole set up looks pretty light. Many bikes are Japanese Motocross machines with highly modified set ups. The vintage bikes really caught my eye, particularly a TT500 Yamaha. This is a dirt bike version of one of my daily-driver bikes, the Yamaha SR500. Seeing this familiar engine in a flat track prepped machine instantly made my mind search out a plan.
Sadly, my Yamaha is clapped-out, burning oil and in need of a total rebuild. Making it into a relibale race bike is currently not an option. I have enough projects as it is!!!!
I had some video to upload but a crashed hard drive has thrown a wrench in the works. TOUGH!!! If you want to see flat track, search for Gene Romero’s West Coast Flat Track, or wait until the AMA comes back to Pomona next year. I’ll be there….