What are everyone’s plans for Bike Week? Daytona Supercross, GNCC, Alligator Enduro, flattrack, Daytona 200?
In the past week, I’ve practiced at Croom twice, which is some kind of record. On Thursday after Christmas, I met up with a few CFTR riders for a few hours of light trail riding. We found as many logs as possible to motor over and blazed some new trails between the old ones.
Then, yesterday, I tagged along with a few of the fast guys and spent most of the morning eating a lot of dust. We found trails at Croom that I haven’t seen or forgot about, including the infamous FTR trail that I thought no longer existed. I rode sweep, or that’s what I told myself, because I was left behind from the start and had to rely on my heightened sense of awareness and navigational prowess to keep up. It reminded me of my childhood as I was often the slow poke among my dad’s friends and crashed a lot so I was always scouring for their fresh tracks and looking through the forest for movement, all while trying to ride a vigorous pace. Yesterday was just like the old days except, instead of chasing my dad and his buddies, I was trying to keep up with the likes of Clay Lyons, Matt Boni, Jeff Smith, Seth Robbins, TJ Ridgeway, Clay Wilder and Barrett “Beardog” Smith, among others. Yeah, right!
The first time out, we rode almost 10 miles, most of which through whooped out, tight trails at near race speeds. I could barely keep up to their dust, which was good practice for me. After a while, we ended up at the front pit where Clay and Matt completely blasted each other around two sand turns, their motoring drawing a crowd. After lunch, we headed out for another session, this time accompanied by Derek Winship and his friend Travis. I was almost the only non-KTM machine, besides TJ and Barrett who were also riding Yamahas. I was definitely the only 125…After less than a mile, Barrett stalled it in a corner and I passed him, but the group ahead was gone, and I could not decipher any details from the trails. Alas, Barrett and I turned around and headed back to camp more bummed that we were slow than that they didn’t wait for us. No hard feelings, guys!
We just learned of the passing of these Enduro riders who will be remembered by many FTR members, especially those who competed in FTR Enduros in the 1980s and early 1990s.
FTR member Buddy Gaillard passed in mid-December. A long-time FTR enduro and hare scrambles competitor, Buddy and his wife were involved with the organization and operation of the annual FTR-sanctioned enduros put on by the Polish Pathfinders, River City Dirt Riders, and Big Scrub Trail Riders. If you rode any of those events you expected to be “greeted” by Buddy and Connie at one or more of the emergency checkpoints. After retirement from Georgia, Buddy moved to Florida and became a hare scrambles competitor and was instrumental in starting several of the older age-based classes that have become the growth classes in the series.
Chuck Wicker, FTR member and Tallahassee Trail Riders member, passed in October. Chuck was a long-time FTR enduro competitor and he and his family were part of the core group that put on the annual TTR Capitol City enduro (also an AMA national enduro) for many years. Always part of the layout crew, and always found around the sign-up and scoring table, Chuck was someone you always associated with that long-running enduro. (via Jack Terrell) (We are Having a Tribute Ride on a Hare Scrambles/Enduro-like woods trail on his property Jan 11 and SE&TRA and AMA Gurus are Invited. I’d like to see an FTR guru or two come also. – David Tharp)
Don Lilley passed in October. He was a long-time SETRA member and a major force behind the efforts of the Georgia Recreational Trail Riders Association (GARTRA). He was involved in the layout and running of numerous south and central Georgia enduros, including the Cochran enduros. He also is remembered as the competitor who came to enduros on his street bike, towing his enduro bike behind it on a small trailer. Don’s passion was cutting new trail in the woods, and his work with GARTRA and the USFS was an extension of that passion for providing and preserving single-track trails on public land. (via Jack Terrell) (Don’s the guy who would haul his dirt bike on a single rail trailer behind his street bike to FTR Enduros. – David Tharp)
Bill Hughson was on Team Frog (Tallahassee Trail Riders ) back when we were winning team trophies at lots of Enduros. He was a behind-the-scenes TTR member who only came to work a section or two in the Enduro in layout and final arrowing and on the race weekend for many years when he didn’t evenride. He would come on a Polaris four wheeler and sometimes ride my old 1982 430 WR Husky that eventually got him bit by the bug and into racing himself. (via David Tharp)
Godspeed to all of you.
Before I left for the race, I found a lens in the back of a desk drawer that I never open so I shot on Shutter priority all weekend. I usually always just shoot on Automatic, which is a deadly sin for professional photographers. One of my favorites:
This weekend’s race in Samsula marked Hare Scrambles #5 of the 15-race season. Lately, we’ve had plenty of rain but the course at Samsula held up nice for the most part, I thought. It was my first time actually racing there but not my first time on the property. Here is the weekend’s best shot of the overall Highpoint, Garrett Edmisten and here are the rest of my photos. – JS
Yesterday we saluted to veterans at the Sunrunners Hare Scrambles race in Bartow. I was on assignment this weekend, shooting photos of this month’s cover story, and it nearly killed me hearing everyone say this track is the “best one of the year” and I “must be crazy to miss this one.” Oh, well. Duty calls. I was able to capture some incredible footage from the sidelines. So there!
More photos, here.