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First Race Report, Clark sighting!

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Well I took the plunge and went racing on Saturday. The race was a "European Scrambles" put on by the Four Aces Motorcycle Club. It

was held near Red Mountain California. I didn't know anything about desert racing before Saturday except it sounded fun! You

may know this ( I didn't) A "European Scrambles" is a race over a course shorter course than a "Hare Scrambles", instead of one 40 to 60 mile loop, you do laps around a shorter course. I think the course Sunday was around 16 miles.

I called the organizer a couple of days before hand just to get the scoop and to see what I was getting myself into! The event organizer, Steve, treated me like a new friend. After a half hour on the phone explaining everything from where to sign up, to what to expect on race day. When I hung up the phone, I was really excited!

Friday it decided to rain, but this was a very good thing as the Red Mountain area had been even dryer than normal and I was really concerned about trying to ride in the dust! Saturday morning was clear and cold with the wind blowing a bit. I showed up a couple of

hours before my race and signed up for "VET Beginner OPEN". I was given a "pie plate" number, It's a number on a no kidding paper plate! They use them for people who aren't racing for points as part of the AMA District 37 Desert Racing series. I duct taped it on my front number plate and drove over to the starting area. I was lucky enough to watch the start of the race before mine and I'd recommend this to anybody that's thinking about running a race. The guys before where the experts and I took note of the lines they used on the start. After they started,

I went down to the line and put my bike on the spot I wanted, I picked out a line off the main line so I wouldn't have to fight everyone to the first turn. So I'm sitting on the line and up rides a WR400 with carbon fiber number plates, our very own Clark Mason! We talked for a bit while I waited for the start. As the time drew near the Starter came by and checked me for my number, Green Sticker, and spark arrestor. The butterflies where as big as B-52's as the time approached. I kept starting my bike and warming it every few minutes as we waited. Next a guy came riding back from the starter truck and down our line holding up 2 fingers, 2 minutes to go, I wish I didn't have the

second cup of coffee! :D The banner goes up and all the engines go silent for the dead engine start, one minute. I've got the bike in first, foot on the kick starter and my eyes on that banner! I pull in the clutch and wait. It's eerily quite now, then the banner drops! 100 bikes come to life, my bike starts on the first kick and I'm off about mid pack.

I've got three goals, finish, don't be last and don't crash! I drop into the first single track behind a guy on a KTM. Then I hear

it, is my top end coming apart? NO! I look down to see ROCKS from the KTM bouncing off my chest protector! We keep running down

the single track until a we turn up a sand wash, and I mean SAND! Deep sugar sand, I keep the throttle on and the front wheel stays on top. After a couple of hundred yards we turn up a little goat trail and the fun begins. I got a little sideways and a guy hits me from behind and knocks me sideways in the trail and I stall the motor. Okay, I'm blocking the trail, I push to one side, hot start button out, TDC,compression release,

KICK!!! The bike starts, I slap the hot start button back in and I'm off! I turn and see this big hill, I down shift and start up the

right of two lines and climb the hill. Down the back, wait there's a bigger hill! I see the KTM going up the left side between two rock, looks good, I'm closing in on him. Wait he's stalled, no where to go! I roll back and try to go around but I stall the bike on the hill, hot start drill and I'm off again past the KTM. Climb one more hill, that not as bad as the last, past the check point on top. Just past the crest, WOW! Look at that down hill, ruts and boulders!! I pick my way down to the flats, Okay now I can see it's 3 or 4 miles of single track to this hill in the distance.

Time to gain some ground back. I lost a bunch of spots with the adventures on the hills and I'm at the back of the pack. I finish the downhill run, climb one little rocky hill and I see a group in front of me.

We flash by the start finish line, no white flag, that means at least two MORE laps. Okay, better settle down and be smooth. I

find out later that the first lap was 35 minutes. I get to the hills, this time I look and see what lines are open and pick my way up around a couple of stalled bikes. Okay I'm not last! . I climb all the hills no problem a get to the big decent, pass one guy on the decent, I'm starting to feel good. Bikes running great. I blast down the back 4 miles and around to the start. 25 minutes, cool, white flags out and so is my tongue!

Okay last lap, I'm going to finish if I can just keep my head together! I'm really tired, I sit where I can, but the whoops stand me

back up with a swat on the butt! I get up the first climb no problem but stall on the second, I restart, and get going. That cost a lot of energy, one guy passes me back while I'm stalled. I'm sure he's gone, but I catch him on the decent. I can't find a place to pass, we run down the back side of the course together, I go for the pass in a rocky corner but I'm too hot into the whoops.....brake slide, hit a rocky berm and drop the bike!

It's still running, so I grab the clutch and jump back on....then stall, I'm in third, damm. Hot start drill. I'm starting to see the value in one of the handle bar mounted hot start buttons! I take off but the guy is long gone, I race on alone to the finish. There it is! I wheelie across the last road crossing and toward the checkers. I slide across and stop. I did it, I finished! As I sit there a few more bikes trickle in,I feel good,damm tired, but good. I finished, I wasn't last...two out of three isn't bad! :)


Chris in the Mojave

'98 YZ400F

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Sounded like a great time! Wish I could have tried it also. I haven't raced in a scramble yet only Enduros. On 3/26 there is a National Hare & Hound, and on 5/13 another Euro Scramble both at Red Mountain. I will try to make one of those for my first.

Speaking of Enduros, on March 19th I plan on entering the Prospector Enduro out to Red Mountain. One or two loops each 40 miles long. The 2nd usually a little more challenging than the first. Last year I finished both loops only a 1/2 hour late on my '83 kdx200 and got to ride next to Ty Davis among others briefly.

Would you and anyone else like to join me on my minute? I just purchased a computer that I haven't used yet, and need to install to help with the time keeping. Otherwise I usually just make sure I don't pass the rider on my row that looks like he knows what's going on.

This will be my first race on a WR and I'm looking foward to it.



'99 WR400


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