Hangtown 2011- A Vets View

43rd Annual Hangtown Classic

photo by Carlosmacho

If any motocross race ever deserved the term classic, the 2011 Hangtown event is the one. Following what most riders and fans thought was the best Supercross season ever, the outdoor motocross season holds even more promise for great racing with lots of close competition. This years Hangtown delivered a great show, very competitive racing and great crowd.

In the days leading up to Hangtown it is always cool to see the team trucks arrive in the Sierra foothills with their cargo of immaculately prepared motorcycles and pristine work environments. Friday evening, before the race you could feel the excitement and the confidence of all the major teams as Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda all had riders who were healthy and ready. Speaking to Mike Webb, the Suzuki team manager the evening before the event he expressed excitement for the outdoor season to begin and to be shaking of the long winter rain cold we have been experiencing. The fact that he has a very competitive team with Ryan Dungy and Brett Metcalf didn’t hurt.

Saturday morning practice saw the return to form of Mike Alessi (riding a 450 KTM instead of last years 350) as he posted the fastest lap during timed practice. Unfortunately during the second morning practice he got cross rutted going over a large table top jump and hit the ground, knocking himself out. This is his second concussion this month so even though he returned in the afternoon for an interview it appears his chances of winning the title are gone. Hopefully he can return to form later in the season.

The first 450 moto saw Team Honda’s ace substitute rider Kevin Windham out front and laying down some smooth laps. He led for about ten minutes before he began to fade eventually finishing in sixth. Chasing Windham were Suzuki’s Metcalf and Dungy. Metcalf fell on about lap three and Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto slid in behind Dungy and the finishing order was set with Dungy winning followed by Reed and Villopoto. While the finishing order was not to surprising the closeness of the racing was.

The second 450 moto started with Villopoto leading but Reed and Dungy in tow. Dungy and Reed both got past Villopoto who faded to a distant third. Windham was in forth and stayed there for the entire moto. He was never close enough to really challenge for third but well ahead of fifth.  At the half way point it appeared Dungy was going to go 1-1 but Reed kept the pressure on and was able to slip by and they preceded to put on a great show. Dungy shadowed Reed to the end, finishing second. Reed took the win and the overall but they left Hangtown tied on points and setting the stage for a very competitive season.

The 250 class was even more competitive then the 450 class. Pro Circuit has a strong team as does Factory Connection. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was James Stewarts younger brother Malcolm grabbing the holeshot in moto one and running up front. He eventually faded to 20th and the moto moved toward a great battle between Ely Tomac and Dean Wilson. For most of the moto they rode cleanly but aggressively, but late in the moto Blake Bagget who fell early came by Tomac for second.

In the second moto Factory Connection’s Justin Barcia holeshot and lead for several laps. He was actually pulling a little bit of gap when he appeared to hit a hay bale and went over the bars. At this point Pro Circuit’s Tyla Rattray took the lead and appeared to have the race in hand. Wilson who was in second fell in the same area as Barcia and Bagget moved past into second. With Pro Circuit running 1, 2, 3 you might think they would hold position, but Bagget was on a mission and kept the pressure on Rattray eventually making a clean pass in a rough rocker section. Bagget’s 2-1 gave him the overall and Pro Circuit took a well earned 1, 2, and 3 in the final finishing order.

For Geezer cross fanatics this Hangtown had to go down as one of the best. The closest racing at any National I have seen since the 70’s, coupled with a big crowd and great California weather (finally) has me looking forward to next year.


Old Timer MX.... Do We Have The Best Fans Or What?


“The return of the old man and his Rekluse”

In my last article I forgot to mention one other small disadvantage of using a Rekluse Z-Pro Start. Actually I didn’t forget to mention it because at the time it was an unidentified issue, then one day on the side of a steep hill it became an identified issue. I’m talking about one of those situations when you find yourself unable to continue up a hill and want or need to turn around and go back down. Sometimes if the hill is steep enough or the soil is loose enough simply using the front brake to keep you from sliding back down the hill won’t work. Killing the motor won’t give you that extra engine breaking because with the Rekluse the rear wheel simply free wheels. Because of this freewheeling it makes it very difficult (In my case anyway) to turn the bike around especially if it’s a narrow trail and point it down hill, normally killing the motor would allow you to have the rear wheel locked up while you slide, wrestle and maneuver the bike until it’s headed back down hill. This problem may not happen very often especially with the Rekluses ability to continue chugging uphill without using the clutch, but even once can be once to many, especially if the bike ends up on top of you, which happened to me twice. One of the solutions is to have a hand operated rear brake this would allow you to be off the side of the bike and have the ability to lock the front and rear brake at the same time and not have to kill the motor.

Rekluse offers the option of retaining the clutch lever and having a very sano looking clutch lever and hand brake mounted on the same side for cable operated clutches, but does not offer one for the bikes that have hydraulic clutches, like KTM’s. (You can have a hand operated rear brake or a clutch but not both, I want both) So once again having more time and spare change than sense I decided to see if I could have both for my KTM.

I had the idea but not the skills or the tools to make this happen, so I enlisted the help of my friend Mark Gibson who has both. After some trial and error we came up with a combination using a mountain bike brake that had a small master cylinder, then made hydraulic lines to tie the clutch lever and the rear brake master cylinder together, unfortunately it didn’t work, tying the clutch lever into the rear brake master cylinder by stacking the banjo fittings on top of each other won’t work. Maybe that’s why Rekluse has a separate sleeve that screws into the top of the rear master cylinder, thus creating a master cylinder within a master cylinder.

So instead of reinventing the wheel I decided to use some of Rekluse’s parts. The bicycle hand brake didn’t have a way to bleed it properly so I also ordered a different bicycle hand brake one that had a larger reservoir, adjustable lever position and a way to bleed it. The tricky part again became adapting the hydraulic line to the new bicycle brake.

This is where Mark came in again, he was able to create a way to tie the two together. With that part solved I installed the new set up, the clutch lever was tied into the rear brake master cylinder and became the hand operated rear brake and the bicycle brake was used to operate the clutch.

Because of the size of the bicycle hand brake and stock hydraulic clutch, placement of those took a little time to find that happy medium of convenience for me, I ended up with the hand brake in a position similar to the front brake and the clutch underneath it almost straight down. With the Rekluse you very seldom need the clutch; I use it mainly for fanning it coming out of corners. But in the end they both work well.

Next came testing the new set up, my main concerns besides how well it would work were, I’m a brake dragger so how will this set up handle the heat build-up since I had to take off the aftermarket extra capacity reservoir and install a sleeve where fluid is stored in the master cylinder effectively reducing the storage capacity. My other concern was if I should boil off some of the fluid the only way to fill the system was by way of the hand brake reservoir.

After the project was finished it took forever for the weather to cooperate enough before I could go anywhere to test it. The first test came at a Hare and Hound east of Fernley NV. It worked perfect for the desert race, but the real test would come in the mountains. The next test came at the Sawmill Enduro at Cow Mountain and again it worked perfect.


The advantages of having a hand and foot operated rear brake can be numerous, helping out on the sides of hills as I mentioned above is one, but there also times when I could use my right leg and foot for something other than pressing down on the rear brake lever, like when going down steep hills, or when making a right hand turn by using your right leg for something other than applying the rear brake might be more beneficial.

Anyway so far I’m totally happy with way the system works and it took virtually no time to adapt to it, so never let it be said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.




Real Moto Cross for Real (old) Men!

Sierra Old Timer MX at Famed Honey Lake Track

Who would have thought that a bunch of Geezers would have an International Motocross at a world class facility? Well, it is back! After a few year hiatus the SIERRA OTMX Club is returning to Larry Wosick’s world renowned motocross track located in Northern California.

If you have been around the sport as most Old-timers’ (read GEEZERS) have for some time, you probably remember names like Saddleback Park, Carlsbad raceway and Indian Dunes as tracks that became known worldwide with riders from around the world making the pilgrimage to ride one of these tracks at least once in their lifetime.

Those places no longer exist but there are still a few places to race that should be high on any moto-geezer’s bucket list. Unadilla New York, Red Bud Michigan, Washougal Washington and Honey Lake MX in Northern California.

I have been fortunate enough to ride all of these tracks mentioned  (no age wise cracks!) and can tell you from personal experience that Honey Lake is at the top of the list! When you first pull into the track it is overwhelming. You can’t even see all of the track it is so big. It is a real motocross track with hills and natural terrain instead of an outdoor supercross that the tracks have become in recent years. The uphill is almost overwhelming! As you look up you think to yourself, “Do I really get to ride to the top of that hill?”

Then when you do ride to the top of that hill you are glad to be there because it is so long and so steep you realize you are tired from hanging on!

The whole track is incredible with natural terrain that incorporates uphill, downhill, off camber turns, banked turns, dips and natural terrain obstacles that we rarely have the chance to ride anymore.

It is such a great facility that motorcycle manufacturers have used the place for testing new models of bikes over the years. Several magazines and Cycle News have used it for testing and evaluations for their publications.  Now it is our turn to race on it as part of the International Oldtimer MX series.

Do yourself a favor and ride this track while you still can. The owner, Larry Wosick has spend years perfecting his track and does an incredible job on an almost unbelievable track that we once again have the opportunity to experience.

Mark May 7 & 8 on your calendar,

See you there!



New Experience...a Fast New Experience!

Many of us have beeen around dirt bikes for many years and have tried many different types of riding. MX, Enduro, Desert all bring a different experience. I've always thought it tough to beat the rush I get from trying to get through the first turn in the lead at a big MX. However, I've always been curious about what it is like to get around a real road course on a race bke. I recently got a note from my good friend Scott Link of Alpinestars. Scott had the pleasure of riding at the famed Barber Motosports Park. Here is what he had to say and yes this looks like lots of FUN!

Hello Art,

Recently, a friend of mine invited me to do a two day track-day at beautiful Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. Brian Van provided me with a “full race” Yamaha R-6. All I needed to do was show up and ride. It was first class treatment!  My level of racing experience is fairly broad:  Flat track, TT, Speedway, MX, and various kinds of off-road racing. However, I had never been on a road race bike. Something wasn’t right with this. I needed to close the loop and experience road racing.

The track-day was operated by The event was really well organized. The staff was extremely kind and helpful. Their style of communication is straight forward.  Each day starts with a relevant riders’ meeting.  After the riders’ meeting, the novice riders are called into the classroom and provided more instruction. This additional information later proved to be extremely valuable because the “safety riders” focus on protocol and touch on riding fundamentals. On the track the riders are separated into three skill levels. Each group of has around four “safety riders” mixed into the group. The “safety riders” control the action on the track. We rode a total of eight, twenty-minute sessions each day. The first session the novice riders follow each other. There is no passing unless instructed by the “safety rider”. During the second novice session the pace is stepped up. By the third novice session, riders were allowed go as fast as they wanted (or could). The rule is no passing other riders on the inside entering a turn. This is a good rule to avoid the obvious, and requires much more thought. Attached there is a photo of me riding. The photo looks like an instructional photo on the CHP training manual:  rider should be straight up and down to avoid the possible loss of traction. Trust me, I was trying to lean the bike over. They say that it takes time. My knee sliders were safe!

I felt safe and comfortable in my Alpinestars gear and I looked like I knew what I was doing (until I rode)! I plan on doing another track day ASAP. I want to continue to improve. Now, when I watch Moto GP I’ll have an even greater appreciation for the world’s best road racers.

Best, Scott


The New Works Connection


Diamond Springs, CA, - Customers visiting Works Connection’s newly redesigned website, , will enjoy a variety of new features designed to improve their online shopping experience according to Eric Phipps, owner.

The easy-to-navigate website showcases new products, 2011 model applications, videos, race results, retail and dealer online ordering, a dealer locator and installation instructions available in either a video or downloadable PDF format.

About the company-Established in 1989 Works Connection continues to manufacture and distribute high-quality, long lasting dirt bike and ATV products that fit without modification. They can be reached at 800 349-1475 or contact Works Connection, 6451 Capitol Avenue, Diamond Springs, CA 95619 or visit them on the web at


Works Connection 2011 Supercross / Motocross / Arenacross team riders.

2011 Works Connection team riders from Eric Phipps on Vimeo.

Check out all of our factory supported riders for the 2011 season. Music by "The Main Event"...

Works Connection


A Good Friend Passes


Succumbs to injuries suffered at Marysville last weekend

Those who have raced with the International Old Timers Association all remember the speed and style of Richard Schilling (the older members of the MXA test crew raced with Richard many times). Richard died recently from injuries suffered at a practice crash at Marysville.

According to the Yuba City Appeal-Democrat: Rich Schilling, 69, ran a motocross supply shop for 30 years in Yuba City and rode every chance he got, said his wife, Bonnie Schilling. “That was just his passion,” said Schilling, 40. “It’s just an adrenaline-type thing that lets you forget what was going on during the week.”

Bonnie Schilling said Rich was participating in a seniors riding event at the track next to the E Street bridge in west Marysville on Saturday morning, May 22, when he crashed coming off a jump. He was taken by Medi Flight to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, where he died Monday of complications from his injuries, which included a broken neck.

His wife said Schilling, who was conscious after the crash, knew the risks in his hobby and knew he’d been badly hurt. “I’d picked him up from the hospital before with broken bones,” she said. “This could have happened to anybody.”

A native of Southern California, Rich Schilling moved to the Yuba-Sutter area in his 20s and opened Schilling Onoffroad Products on Industrial Drive in Yuba City in 1981, Bonnie Schilling said.When he wasn’t running the store or raising his five children, two with Bonnie, Schilling could be found on a motocross track, whether locally or as far as Washington or Arizona, Bonnie said.

Schilling was cremated, and his friends in the motocross community will have a memorial ride in his honor. No date has been set, his wife said. A fund has been set up for Schilling's children Cody, aged 7 and Carl, 12. Donations can be made to R. Schillings Children fund at any Umpqua bank branch.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

* From MXA 2/1/2011

Personal Note - I have raced and practiced with Rich for many years. He was always there, willing to help anyone in need. Rich was passionate about riding and so proud of his family. The Marysville tracks will seem strange without Rich being there. R.I.P. my friend.


That Magic Button

A bunch of us guys were sitting around the other day getting ready to go out and ride when I noticed all but one bike had an electric start button.

This started me to thinking about my own stable of bikes and after a quick mental note, I know mental and quick don’t belong in the same sentence when I talk about myself, I realized that all but one of my bikes now have a battery with electric start.

That list of bikes includes a CRF-X 450 Honda, KTM 505 XC, XR 650L Honda, Kawasaki Concours and a Honda CRF 450R.

What the hell happened! Did we all get old last week or what?

Now all of these bikes have a purpose but I find myself choosing the kick start bike last on almost every occasion. But as I look around at my riding buddies and see the average age has crept north of 40 years old with some of those guys in the 60 and 70 year old bracket I realize how efficient, dependable and just plain convenient the magic button has become. Some of these guys amaze me at how well they ride into their 60’s and 70’s even with a bad back, leg or even arthritis that makes starting a motorcycle difficult for them. They push the starter button instead of working to kick start their bike and away they go. They have the biggest smiles after a day full of riding I see anywhere on any riders of any age.

Simply amazing what a device like electric start can do for a whole generation of riders that may have quit riding without this convenience. I hate to see people quit riding at any age.

The 100% performance guys will say they would never have electric start because it is too heavy, has to have a battery, etc. But if I remember correctly KTM makes their MX bike with button start only and is one of the lighter bikes on the market. So I am predicting that in the next few years all of our off road bikes, mx or otherwise are going to be electric start or are going to suffer in the sales dept. Who will be first? Honda, Kawasaki?

 After having the magic button creep up on me without realizing it, I will now really consider that feature in my next motorcycle purchase. So far I find the couple of pounds that the battery and starter add to be more than worth their weight when out riding, especially when I get a little tired!

Besides, I see a lot of extra stuff bolted onto bikes in the form of protective plates, fins, bark busters, bigger fuel tanks, fender bags and a host of things people come up with on their own.

You know what? I have this itch to go push a button somewhere,

You should too! Now get out push a button and ride!



Learn from the Doctor!


Doug “Doctor D” Dubach Riding School

Norco, CA. (December 22, 2010) – It is with great pride Doug Dubach and DR.D announce an extension to the Next Step Seminars (NSS) with the initial dates for the Doug “Doctor D” Dubach Riding Schools.

A former Yamaha Factory racer, SX winner, and for the last two decades a test rider for KYB, Enzo, Dunlop, and Yamaha, Doug Dubach’s boot-prints are embedded in motocross; working with top riders, track-testing, racing and running DR.D, his exhaust and accessory company. 

With a proven track record, a wealth of experience, requests from riders during Next Step Seminars, and the ability to explain and demonstrate racing techniques, Doug Dubach has formed the Doug “Doctor D” Dubach Riding Schools.  The one-day schools are limited to ten (10) riders to ensure that every participant receives ample group and individual attention.  

The following one-day schools will be offered on January 27, 28, February 24, 25, and March 24, 25 at the DR.D Test Facility near Temecula, California. To learn more about the schools and/or sign up on-line click here . The Dubach Riding School is $250 and includes private track fee, group and individual Riding instructions, lunch and sponsor gift bag.

The Wednesday prior to each Doug “Doctor D” Dubach Riding Schools, Doug Dubach will host a separate event, the Next Step Seminars from 6:00-9pm, see website for class specifics. 

DR.D encourages riders outside of California, dealership promotional days, Racing Clubs, Racing Organizations, etc., to request, on line, specific dates and/or locations. 

Improve your technique, lower your lap times, and receive individual instructions from one of the most well-rounded, respected riders; sign up now for the Doug “Doctor D” Dubach Riding School.