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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As some of you may know, the Elsinore GP is an iconic American on/off road race held in the town of Lake Elsinore, Ca. The course started and ended on Main Street, and it ran through the hills surrounding the lake. The lure of racing through streets on dirt bikes was irresistible. The dirt sections were mainly fire roads, so the entire 7 mile course was very fast, especially for dirt bikes. It was made famous in the film "On Any Sunday" in 1971. That turned out to be the last race as the following year 4000 riders and 25000 spectators overwhelmed the 4400 residents and their police force.

Many years later, an ex-racer and entrepreneur got the city council to agree to bringing back the race under much tighter controls and with a real benefit ($) for the town.

1997 was the renewal. It drew a lot of interest trough the media and among the So. Ca. racing community. Entries were limited to 1500, and it sold out immediately.

I had raced the last one in '72. Well, not exactly raced as I got collected in one of the many massive first lap pile ups. My '71 CZ was too bent up to go on; probably a blessing in disguise. A LOT of racers went to the ER that weekend. So I went into this with a sense of unfinished business as well as a heightened sense of excitement. I had spent the summer working with one of my son's friends, teaching him how to race. We had raced several GP's together, and I was lucky enough to have won my class in the races leading up to Elsinore. My confidence was high, and I was riding one of Chris' Kawasaki KX500's. It was "dialed-in" (Brits would say "well sorted"). Ported, polished, blueprinted motor, Hinson clutch, modified suspension, etc. Moreover, I had drawn a front row starting position. Rows were 10 across. I believe there were approx. 75 in my class (50+ yr? old Amateur).

There had been a preliminary "Legends" race in the morning for those who had ridden this race before. It was a huge advantage for me in my regular race as most of the guys in my class didn't race it. Since I had done this race, I knew where the course went, they didn't.

As luck would have it, I pulled the hole shot and quickly got out to a big lead. As the course wound it's way back into town, the last dirt road emptied onto Main Street by way of a left turn. Here the street ran alongside a park on the right fenced off by a 4ft. chain link fence. This was about one block long, then the street turned left again and ran past city hall (finish line) for about 1/4 mile before rejoining the dirt.

The first time I came out onto the street, there were a lot of people leaning over the fence and cheering. They had heard me coming. As I powered out of the turn, I brought up the front wheel in a power wheelie, short shifted into third, and kept it up until fourth. By then I had ridden out of sight from those in the park. Let me insert here that I wasn't that good, but wheelies on a KX 500 are soooo easy.

As I came through that section every lap, I noticed the dirt coming off the bikes was getting thrown further and further down the asphalt road. This made my wheelies a little "sketchy", but by now I felt obligated to please my adoring fans (insert sarcasm here).

According to Chris and his friends, I had a 4+ minute lead on the last lap. As I approached that left turn for the last time, I was thrilled to think that I was going to win the Elsinore GP!!!

When I thought I had cleared the dirt, I pulled the trigger on the big Kawi. No, it didn't wheelie over, step out, slide out, or high side. Instead it just jumped up, turned on it's side, then body slammed me onto the street. It would have made the WWFproud. We crossed the street together in a big shower of sparks, then hit the curb on the other side, wheels first. The rebound from hitting the curb pitched us both up and over the fence backwards. Yup, into the park and my now-scattering fans. Think of crowd surfing upside down and backwards with a hot 240 lb. bike just above you.

It was at this precise moment that I remembered one of my favorite bits of advice given to me by my Bultaco friends. When crashing out, go out spectacularly, and "Remember to arch your back and point your toes!".

That was the last thing I remembered until I woke up in the medical tent about 15 minutes later. Out cold. No shiny plastic trophy, no contingency prizes, no hi-lite in Cycle News, just another DNF at the Elsinore GP to go along with my previous accomplishment there 25 years before. I was 100 yards from glory.

Once the doc cleared me to go home, Chris offered his support. "You should have entered the 50+ Expert Class like I said". Tough crowd.

BTW, no one was hurt other than me, and though I was beat up pretty good, nothing broken. Must have been the pointed toes! AIR, Chris finished sixth in the pro race the next day on the same bike.
 
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