I’m just back from another great weekend of motocross and photography. I spent the weekend of April 15 through April 17 at Diamond Don Rainey’s 9th Annual AHRMA Riverport National Vintage Motocross Event in Jefferson, Texas. This was the third round in the AHRMA Vintage Motocross and Post-Vintage Motocross National Championship Series.
The huge Mobile Motocross Museum vehicle was on hand to host the Legends and Heroes of Motocross and provide an area for sponsor displays. Alex Moroz, General Managing Partner of the Mobile Motocross Museum, makes this RV/Toy Hauler rig available at select racing events around the country – AHRMA events, Supercross and the upcoming Motocross races. There is constant entertainment with ongoing historical videos and racer interviews. And a place for visitors to meet the many motocross legends who gather there to sign autographs and bench race with visitors and each other.
The bike on display is the one Brad Lackey rode in his final GP in 1983. That is Scott Sears and Lendon Smith, the guys who built the bike for Lackey. There is always an interesting display in the Legends and Heroes area; static displays and the people (legends) who made them memorable.
ED Note: roll your cursor over images for captions.
Enough with the formal reporting. I want to tell everyone what an exciting weekend it was for me, the motocross fan … and occasional professional photographer. I heard about this 100cc Motocross Challenge through the grapevine. That got the juices flowing. I could just imagine Tommy Croft and Tommy Benolkin banging bars on a couple of 100cc Pentons; maybe a Hodaka Super Rat.
I wanted to go but had to convince the Finance Minister (wife) that we could afford the trip. Or, that I could sell a picture or two. Then, BINGO!!! Racer X showed some interest in Diamond Don’s Vintage Race. The Finance Minister had her own event scheduled but gave me approval and an advance on my allowance. Jefferson, Texas, Here I come.
I didn’t get it in writing but was convinced that what interested Racer X was this 100cc Challenge. I gathered more information and learned that it is officially a Marty Tripes two-race series called the Marty Tripes 100cc Works Revenge. All the official stuff is Here
I made arrangement for my credentials far ahead of time. I’ve covered several special events at Diamond Don’s and have been invited to cover the race on occasion. Thanks Don and Francene for the hospitality and media support. I love this stop on the AHRMA tour.
I found a parking spot right next to the track, grabbed info on race order and rider numbers at rider registration and wandered around asking anyone who might know him if they had seen Davey Coombs. I stumbled into Brad Lackey and chatted for a bit. He had seen Davey but didn’t know where he was hanging out.
I gave up and started shooting the action. The sun was really harsh and I toyed with several techniques for softening shadows. My new Nikon SB600 Speedlight allows for high-speed sync (shooting at shutter speeds beyond 1/250). That helped but the recycle time is way too slow for shooting fast action. I settled on keeping the sun to my back or softening shadows in post-processing.
For those with the SB800 or SB900, they are the more expensive version. I’m certain they will do an even better job than my SB600. I’m not sure if they recycle any faster?
I was able to get a few good shots and was really enjoying shooting, not really paying any attention to who was leading or who the rider might be. Soon, it was time for the Marty Tripes 100cc race and still no contact with Davey. I setup in my favorite position on the track and got ready for the action. When I checked my rider list there was nothing for the Marty Tripes Race. I knew that Tommy Croft was there. Tom Benolkin wasn’t. I hate to rub it in but … “You really missed a good one.”
I decided to take pictures of everyone and sort it out later. There were several REALLY fast riders. They were flat wringing out those little 100cc engines. I love that sound and the smell of 2-stroke exhaust. Does that remind you of that Vietnam movie, Apocalypse Now?
I was pretty sure that number 76 had won and that 94 was probably second. 57 was up there too. Damn, that 76 looked familiar – his riding style that is. I realize you can’t see who is under all that safety gear.
Most ‘Old School” race fans will see this picture and know immediately who it is. Don’t roll your cursor over the image yet. Are you an “old school” fanatic?
Anyway, I finished shooting the races, took pictures of the posted results and stowed my equipment in the truck. I guzzled a Gatorade with some salty stuff while checking through my images. Not bad. I’ll get together with Davey later and coordinate the upload.
I finally crossed paths with Alex Moroz, former AHRMA National Off Road Director and a guy in the know. He passed on a message from Davey Coombs. “Just shoot everything..”
Alex did suggest shooting the Legends and Heroes van. Of course he did; he’s the General Managing Partner – just kidding, Alex. It’s OUR museum and can use some publicity. Alex also indicated DC wanted atmosphere; old bikes, family picnics, bench racing, etc. Okay, I can do that.
I looked up Marty Tripes. He didn’t recognize or remember me. Not a surprise — I had last seen Marty in Cingoli Italy in 1981. He was riding for Team Husqvarna in the World Championship series and not thrilled with his equipment. (more on that another time.)
We chatted and I moved on, taking a few pictures and deciding to make an early departure. My luxury accommodations (Motel 6) were in Marshall, a few miles south, and I needed some computer time and recharging … camera batteries, computer batteries and me.
The festivities at an event hosted by Diamond Don’s crew are built around good old southern hospitality; plenty to eat, plenty to drink, music, dancing and fun for everyone. If you can make only one vintage event in a year, you will be disappointed if it isn’t this one.
DAY TWO – Sunday
Legendary motorcycle racer Steve Wise was on hand to offer morning worship services and kicked off the races with a benediction that was followed by a local singer’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Through my early morning exploring, I found that Marty Tripes was in charge of ALL things related to the 100cc Works Revenge race. Marty was very busy but found time to get me the info for identifying what and who I would be photographing – plus results from the previous day’s race.
I looked up and was nearly floored. Could that be Jim Gibson? Then it hit me – NUMBER 76 IS JIM GIBSON! I had met Jim and Christy (Jim’s Finance Minister) at the Trophy des Nations in Gaildorf, Germany in 1982. Jim signed with Yamaha that year to race the 125 World Championship Series in 1983. You can read about that here.
I photographed Jim’s first race on the YZ125 in Best, Holland as he and Yamaha went after the 125 World Championship in 1983.
Jim also didn’t remember me, of course, but I certainly remember him. How could anyone forget that riding style. I am embarrassed that I didn’t immediately know that Number 76 and the guy on the left are one and the same. Did you recognize Number 76 in the previous picture?
I still hadn’t found Davey Coombs but Alex caught up with me at the Sunday morning riders’ meeting. DC had to catch a flight. Then I found out that Davey had been racing yesterday (Saturday). He rode the 40 plus Expert Class on a Vintage RM 250.
I later saw a picture someone had posted. Davey was number 32; 32? That’s one of the riders I had used for testing the SB600 and fast sync speeds. Notice how the shadows are opened on his jersey and face mask.
Further investigation showed that he was a pretty decent rider. He even held his own against two-time World Champion Trampas Parker as they rode bar-to-bar down the start straight.
I spent most of Sunday morning in the Marty Tripes camp, talking with Marty, Jim Gibson, Tommy Croft and a fun crew of old-timers entered in the Marty Tripes 100cc Works Revenge. During preparations, Jim switched from the RM100 he had ridden on Saturday to a hot little YZ100 that he really liked. Jim entered the Post-Vintage Grand Prix 125 Expert Class riding that little YZ100 and ran away with the win. He claimed the YZ for the second moto of the 100cc Works Revenge.
The Post-Vintage races are always exciting and I did find a spot close to my truck with the sun to my back. I got pictures between walking back and forth to shoot the breeze with the Works Revenge bunch. I have some decent pictures but was anxious to watch my new friends squeeze every horse out of a bunch of screaming little 100s.
Gibson grabbed the holeshot on his #8 YZ100 with Tommy Croft riding a wheelie right behind on a Super Swift Hodaka Super Rat. The #94 is Jarrett Austin, a riding buddy of Jim Gibson’s and Racer X is Lee Hunter.
The Works Revenge was divided into classes according to combined weight of rider and bike. It seemed fair but made following the race difficult. It was easy to see, however, that Jim Gibson was GONE like a shot. Jarrett Austin stayed closest but Gibson was on fire. He started lapping the field on the second lap.
Marty Tripes is emailing me the results but, to me, it was more about watching the Legends ride than about who won. If you want to know, you should be able to Google the results. Or, find them at the official Marty Tripes 100cc Works Revenge web site.
Following are a few more pictures of the Works Revenge guys having a great time at Diamond Don’s absolutely perfect motocross track. Old School, Baby!
That’s enough for one session. Roll your cursor over the image for info. Had a blast watching you guys ride. Now just one more thing,
Diamond Don Rainey says, “Y’all come back next year; ya hear.” “