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My Hawaii adventure, 1988 Kaua'i Hare&Hounds

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I enjoy reading about Hawaii trails. I rode two Mauna Kea 200s and one Kauai Hare and Hounds No one over here (Washington) can really comprehend what Hawaii is like and the trails they ride (Maybe they know in Vancouver BC?). Hawaiian novices have expert level technical skills and they don't even know it. And they never whine!

Here's a classic Hawaii dirtbiking story:

I rode the 35th Annual Kauai Hare & Hounds (1988). It started on a beautiful white crescent beach near Kapaa. The start was a dead-engine, and I remember straining my eyes to see across the bay where the trail left the beach into the hills. We could see the course marshalls off in the distance trying to climb the first big hill, falling off their bikes and tumbling down the hill. As we waited there in line, and more riders lined up, each rider having to go farther out into the ocean. We sat there waiting with the waves splashing through the wheels. When the waves would come in I'd lift my legs hoping the water would pass under, but I could only balance so long and then I'd have to put one foot down and the water sprayed all over and drenched me. It was suprising the power and speed of the waves and moreso when the bigger sets came in. There were two rows of bikes, and I was in the second row, probably about 60 entrants. It was 8 AM, and the sky was broken with clouds, with the morning sun busting through in places. I was on a dirtbike on a beautiful white sand, crescent beach. Aside from 60 dirtbikes, the beach was mostly empty except for a few spectators. That morning ranks fairly high among good vacation days and good dirtbike days too.

At the start, I never knew wet sand would hurt that much coming off the rear tire of a motorcycle, so I slowed down and let the pack go ahead. At the end of the bay, there was the obligatory bottleneck and pile-up, so I just went around it and moved right into the top 20. Things were looking good.

I remember following these dark tunnels in the dense foliage that snaked around in the jungle. At some point you'd see some light ahead, but it was this "reddish brown light". When you get there, the brown light was actually the face of a hill (a vertical wall) illuminated by the sun, which the trail went straight up perhaps 100 or 150 feet. On the way up there would be bikes hanging off in the trees.

There was no running start to these hills. Remember you are in a "tunnel" thru the trees, you can't even see the hill until you pop out of the tunnel, which ends right at the wall. You had to stop at the bottom and first look up and see if it was clear. And there's a guy right behind you who will pass you if you dilly-dally, so you just have to dead-start right at the bottom in first gear. By the 1/3 mark, you're already slipping the clutch, right at the balance point of wheelie-ing over, at about 2 mph. And they keep going up......up.....up and the whole time you're thinking that if you stop and press the rear brake, the bike will just tip over backwards and you will tumble down to the bottom. The traction was incredible on the firm clay, with 6psi in a sharp new Metzeler. It was unseasonably dry that day in 1988.

As usual, when there are uphils there are downhills too. Some of these had a signs that said "shut off your motor and walk down". Then we came to this riverbed of TV sized rocks. The arrows did not point across, they pointed upriver. About 50 feet ahead, there was this guy with his head on his handlebars. Cool --- I was going to pass the sucker.

It took me forever to go 30 feet. When I got within 20 feet, he started his engine and yunk-yunk-yunked another 10 feet, then put his head back down. I was breathing so hard that I thought my lungs were going to pop out of my mouth. I passed him at a relatively blinding pace with another rest stop during the last 20 feet. I could see the ribbons going back into the forest, a welcome sight, as if thee forest was a place to rest. I heard the guy behind start up and yunk-yunk-yunk over a few more boulders, then quiet again. When I got to the forest, I was so tired I had to tell myself: "Ride slowly, but just.....keep....moving....try to regain some strength without crashing....".

The race was 35 miles (one lap) and it took me 3.5 hours. I was on a KDX 200, and there were lots of wide gravel roads where I had it topped out. Nevertheless, I averaged *10 mph* and this was during the prime of my racing career. I came in 7th, and the locals couldn't believe it. They said "usually mainland guys don't even finish - you're lucky this year was dry". Anyway, I missed one tag, so I got a DNF dangit. A guy on a Beta trials bike came in 6th. I can't remember his name (Domke?), but I know he was the Hawaii State Trials Champion. That was the toughest race I've ever entered, also the most memorable.

I met lots of new friends there and really wish I could go back, but it's kind of difficult place to get your dirtbike to. Hawai'i is really a different world, it's suprising to see the hippies on trick dirtbikes loving the forest instead of just bitching about having to share it.

....and in 1988 they'd been doing it for 35 years........... now it's 50 years.http://www.kauaiworld.com/articles/2004/09/25/sports/sports03.txt

50 years is an impressive history for a dirtbike race (although I think we have a Washington race that has had a longer run -the Webfoot?).

Tom

PS Hi Phil Oveland, is Dave Stillwell still riding? Amorin? Junior?

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Hello Kauai!

Come on, where's the Aloha? Not a single response? Is no Hawaii rider on this list old enough to remember Kauai in 1988?

Any Mauna Kea 200 riders on the list?

Tom

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Ah yes, the Labor Day Kauai Hare&hound. Nice to see you got to ride one. I too have suffered in Kauai races but usually it was raining. You are lucky it was dry. I didn't do it in 1988 but I did do 1984 and 90 in the A class. Both were muddy messes. Did you do the A class? If so, good for you. :cry: A real man among us. :cry:

The trials guy you are talking about was John Domke who hardly rides nowadays. David Amorin is still riding and he's still good. Phil is still around and still going fast. David Stillwell. Wow, haven't heard that name for awhile. I too am a veteran of MK200 campaigns in the A class. Everytime I hear about how tough races are they never include the true tough races which are the Kauai Hare & Hound and the former MK200. Both epic events along with the Turkey Trot put on by Matt Lyman on Dec 12th of this year. Its gonna be brutal as it always is and I'll be there... :cry:

Click here for the Turkey Trot write up...

:cry:

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Yes I rode A class, but I didn't feel like a man when it was over. We went down to the beach after and just floated in the waves so I wouldn't have to stand up - I was so wiped out. After that I layed on the grass under some guy's truck just couldn't stand up and couldn't get comfortable anywhere. That was some race.

I rode the Mauna Kea200 in 1988 and 89. DNF in '88 (due to sabotage in the impound!!! SHAME SHAME!!). I told some folks (casually) I was there to win not only for the ride and well I guess I learned a lesson.

----But in 1989 I got 3rd overall and 1st place 200A - took some Koa back to the mainland! Other O'ahu people I met there: Winston Matsuura, Dru Brenneman. I grew up in Hilo, left in 1979, 25 years ago.

Tom

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here is a good article on an MK200. There is a link to some videos too, but I wasn't able to get any of them to download.

http://www.off-road.com/dirtbike/97mk200/

I used my FTP program (Cute FTP Pro) to go to ftp://ftp.off-road.com/ and then opened the ghv folder.. tons of videos..Maybe 60 or more. looks like most are short.. Just about done downloading, I'll see what they are like soon

Turns out there were 98 clips in there and only 6 were of the MK200. Short clips of about 5 to 8 seconds each. All of the rest were desert buggys and a few bikes in the desert..... Go back to sleep.. :cry:

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I rode the Mauna Kea200 in 1988 and 89. DNF in '88 (due to sabotage in the impound!!! SHAME SHAME!!). I told some folks (casually) I was there to win not only for the ride and well I guess I learned a lesson.

----But in 1989 I got 3rd overall and 1st place 200A - took some Koa back to the mainland! Other O'ahu people I met there: Winston Matsuura, Dru Brenneman. I grew up in Hilo, left in 1979, 25 years ago.

Tom

oops.....seem to be getting faster as I get older - actually 7th overall but 1st 200A in the 1989 MK200. But I beat Steven Trinies and Phil Oveland....... that's not so bad.....(but they were just Supercross weenies back theen....)

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Aloha Tom, you still in WA?  Have you hooked up with the Hang On Riders yet... been 10 years on this comment but just saying

Cheers, FatBob Kutz

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Hi there wa-trail-rider-

I'm not sure how long the Webfoot has been going but I think the "Cowbell" ( Mt Baker MC) has it beat @ 80yrs in 2010 which was held at Walker Valley, I got 2nd in senior B class during a phenominal downpour. I love your race report and still kick myself for living on the Big Isle in the 90's and not riding at the time. Roost-on man and keep the Paradise riding stories alive!

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