June 11, 2000
8th of 8 in Open B
What a difference a week makes. A bonehead mechanical oversight put me well out of contention less than two minutes
into the race. Matt and I raced together again on a typically hot June day in Southern Illinois. We walked a small part of
the course beforehand and the trails looked to be in great shape. The starting point of the race was an open field that
had been laid out with wood stakes and yellow ribbon, into a series of 180-degree turns before dropping into a creek
and then heading back up through the woods. I made it into the woods ahead of Matt and suddenly discovered my
clutch didn't work. I pulled over and saw that the bracket had come loose and the clutch perch was flopping around.
Fortunately I was only a couple hundred yards from my truck and made the repair, but it took me about 10 minutes to
get the job done and get back onto the trail. Too bad, because the course was excellent. I didn't try too hard to catch
up to the rest of my class, especially since the race was shortened to 1.5 hours due to the heat. I used the race for
practice, more or less, and worked on my passing skills. Matt finished in 4th place and took home a trophy, while I
finished dead last for the first time in a long while. About 30 minutes after the race ended, the skies let loose and
poured down rain for 20 minutes. A week later I opened my toolbox and found an inch of water and many rusty tools.
June 25, 2000
St. Joe State Park
Park Hills, Missouri
5th of 11 in Open B
This race set up the way it was years ago when it was known as the Flat River Grand Prix. The object was to do 6 laps
(100 miles), but I figured I could get in 4 before the pros got their 100 miles and the rest of the field was cut off at the
finish line. But two days before the race I came down with a cold and didn't feel 100%. The race started in the little
town of Park Hills, just like in the old days, with each class lined up on the main downtown street. Before lining up for
the start, all of the motorcycles paraded from the setup area in St. Joe State Park all the way through the
town--probably a two-mile slow-ride of 150 or so bikes. At the start, a 4-wheeler "paced" each class before pulling off to
the side and turning the riders loose into the trail. To get to St. Joe park, the trail wandered through a wooded area
before going across a highway overpass and down into the main part of the course. They wanted us to go slow over
the overpass and had a bunch of orange plastic barrels spaced very closely. We were supposed to ride between the
barrels, but I knocked over about five of them.
After two 16-mile laps I stopped for gas and a long rest. My cold was sapping all my energy, but I still wanted to get in 4
laps. But after the third lap I couldn't take anymore and called it a day. I felt horrible for a couple hours, and most of
the drive home was pretty bad, sort of like Kahoka last year. When the scores were posted on the Internet, I could see
that if I had just done that 4th lap I probably would have placed in the top three in my class.
July 9, 2000
8th of 11 in Open B
Now matter how hard I try, this race leaves me incredibly frustrated. Tebbetts is the most wide-open race in the Missouri
series, but somehow I just can't maintain the speeds necessary for doing well here. Matt and I drove out together, and
at the start he jumped out ahead and I didn't see him again until the end of the race. The course was nearly identical to
last year's race with the exception of more jumps in the wooded motocross track. My favorite part is the fence crossing,
which was two ramps on each side of the fence that met over the top. You ride up one ramp and down the other,
praying not to stall right at the peak.
The mile-long creek bed was challenging as always, and this time I didn't fall over, thanks to the steering damper that
kept me going in a straight line. The day was extremely hot, but I had been doing a little bit of "heat training" on the
mountain bike during the prior week, which mostly consists of torturing myself during the hottest part of the day by riding
10-15 miles without stopping. When I finished the race, I saw Matt completely changed into street clothes, and I couldn't
understand how he finished that far ahead of me. Actually, he quit after only three laps because of the heat, so he
ended up in 10th place and was as ready as I was to go home and recover.
Park Hills, Missouri