Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1973 05 01

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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N " 1 Prospectors Finally Strike Gold M .... '" .: >:; '" ~ W Z w ...J o >- o It seemed like everything except the start line was off-camber. by Ron Schneiders BALLINGER CANYON, CAL ., Apr. 23, 1973 - After being twice foiled by weather, the Prospectors finally managed to hold their annual Goldrush enduro in its o rigin ally sc he d ule d location, Ballinger Can yon, approximately in the center of Los Padres National Forest. They took the only date available for this third a tte mp t and, as a result, had far fewer riders than had originally signed up . Estimates were that of the original 500 entries only about 250 showed up today. The Saturday of Easter weekend just can 't be co nsid ered a prime date. I t 's unfortunate because those riders who, due to work or religious committments, couldn't make the rescheduled event not only lost an entry fee but missed a fine run as well. Six riders were scheduled on ea c minute but most minutes had empty spots and some were entirely vacant. The first loop was 56 miles long with a gas stop at the 32 mi le point. The club used the same course that they had originally planned wi th the same average speeds. The result was that this loop was slightly easier than planned. We started at 15 MPH to the Cuyama River and made our wa y down the river at 18 MPH. Although this is rather slow for a sandwash, a much faster schedule speed might have produced some accidents because the river bottom is filled with camoulfaged rocks, pie ces of driftwood, eroded dit ches .an d holes, plus occasional mudholes. Just before we got to Apache Canyon , there was a check which some of the more impatient riders (m yself included) burned by a minute or two. We rode up Apache Canyon, foll owing th e wash most of the way rather than the road. This was the same co u rse as th e Dirt Diggers used last year, only in reverse. We climbed co n tin o usly up t o what was to have been the really tough spot of the first loop, a narrow con toured trail high up in th e pines, probably Forest Service Trail No. 22WOl. When this course was laid out, that trail was under snow and ice and th e Prospectors twice had to go and dig it out to make it barely ridable. To allow for the inevitable bottlenecks on a trail like that (on ly an eagle co uld pass on it) the schedule was set at a slow 6 MPH. Now, of co urse, there was no snow and it was just a leisurely trail ride in the pines, e n j o y a b le but not very ch alle n ging. There was a predictable check at the end of the trail. From there we made our way back, following roughly, the Quatal Canyon Road. There were some bits of trail, including one section on which it was a Iittle tough to main tain schedule , and, of co u rse , th ere was a check to catc h the laz y riders at the. end. Most of that section was dirt road. After a hasty fifteen-minute lunch stop we started the second, shorter loop . This one was to be only 35 miles. Any thoughts one might have entertained about loafing around this loop quickly vanished. It was all trail, no road, up and down steep hills, with sharp turns, (all off camber of course) and no traction. 1 had ridden part of the loop before, when it was wet, and found it was much harder to ride fast now that it was dry. Traction was often non-existent on a brick-hard sandy surface. If you think this culvert was a tight squeeze . .you should have .seen the tree the Prospectors ran the course under. For variety, we rode a tight twisting san d wash for a while, th en back o n t o the higher trail. If y o u lost a minute , it was lost for good, unless yo u were a super-fast rider. The schedule was right at the edge of a good average rider's ab ili ty . The whole time that we were struggling with the schedule , nature was doing her capricious best to make us forget all about the enduro. We passed ~ one field after another of blooming wild flowers in every possible color. Level fields would be all one color, generally a canary yell or or purple, but on the steep slopes of the side canyons there would be 15 or 20 variers of flowers competing with your watch for attention . There were even some patches of brilliant yellow-orange California poppy left. Possibly the most in teresting spot of this run was a trail that looked like it had been constructed with a berserk entrenching tool. We were in the bottom of a canyon that was very narrow and deep. I t was so narrow that you had to watch your handlebars and occasionally pick your feet up to avoid bruised fingers and toes. There was a tree across the trail at one poin t and that we had to go under. Some rider's bikes wouldn't fit! Somehow or other, th e y made it though. After the canyon, we started climbing again and pretty soon came to a trail that finished off a few more tired riders. It was steep with a number of hairpin turns and, of c o urse , they were off-camber. If you got going too fast and missed the tum you spent a good many minutes getting your bike back up on the trail. As with all mountain-type riding, there was plenty of potential for getting yourself permanently disqualified from life if your skill exceeded your wisdom. t . Fortunately, nobody managed to get quite " that exuberan t but there were a good many mishaps of less serious nature. One fellow in a hurry came whistling up on me, tooting his horn , hollering and blowing his compression release. I pulled over and let him go by and watched, fascinated, as he went by the next turn as well and 50 fl. down a near vertical slope (His bike that is; he went another 15 feet by himself). When he picked himself up, I waved and wen t on. I hope he got back on trail in time to read this. The trail through the canyon was a 6 MPH section which allowed a good many of us slowpokes to get back on sch ed ule so we fin ished looking good, Passing was tough on the narrow, steep trails. but had lost a bunch of po ints in the middle. \Vhen it was over, the Prospectors scored the run immediately. While they were scoring, the Dirt Diggers had their trophy presentation and passed out free beer. Two cold beers after that run and some of the riders passed out co m pe tely . The sc o rin g was c omp le ted by four 0 'clock, but the results are still very much unofficial. It looks like S . (Steve ?) Bell will be Sweepstakes and "A': Heavyweigh t winner with a four point loss. Ken Lewis Jr. should get "A" Lightweight with -7 and B. Johnston is lowest "A" Trail with ยท 1 1. In "B" Heavyweight, B. Wilsey looks best with -8. Paul Flanders, super Red Dot, riding his third enduro should have the "B" Lightweight trophy. Paul attributes it all to his choice of handlebars. "B" Trail goes to Rick Munyun. Rick and his Dad, Marv will have to figh t it out with the Ken Lewises for the Father and Son trophy. Both teams have 14 poin ts. The team trophy will go to Team Honda this time: Jay Tullis, T. Furtado and Marvelous Marv Munyun. With all the snow and mud, rain, cancellat io ns, the Prospectors reall y worked their butt's off to make this run a success . Besides all the normal work of setting up a run in difficult terrain, they all had to give up three weekends. I'm not sure that there are very many clubs that would have been that persistent. Given this, I suppose it's not surprising that they were not inclined to be very tolerant or good natured when someone wants to criticize. Thus when Stan Baldwin, the Enduro Points Steward came up and said he wanted to me a protest, he got 10 minutes of Prospector vocabularly (not much of it prin table in a family type newspaper) before anyone decided that they ought to at least read his protest before filing it (and prossibly him as well) in the nearest Forest Service trash can. Here is Stan Baldwin's "Protest"; "Without a doubt this will be the best run of the year!! (even if I didn't finish all of .It.}" (signed) Stan Baldwin, Dave Evans, Roy Sheridan and several others. I'm not quite willing to go that far, with the year still young and several other good clubs (including the Shamrocks) ISDT Qualifier yet to be heard from, but 1 will say those following are going to have to go like hell to beat this one!

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