Disclaimer: I only attended on Saturday. Anything here about events on Friday or Sunday was collected from various sources – from other attendees who posted on the Cousin Weedy Yahoo! group or people I spoke to at the event. Please post corrections and additions in the comments. Thanks – twf :end:
Weather: The weather was excellent on Friday and most of Saturday. It was partly cloudy and breezy – got hot for about an hour on Friday, and about an hour Saturday morning, but otherwise it was great. Saturday afternoon the rain began to come in. Slight drizzle started about 3:30 or so Sat. The drizzle didn’t go well with the black-clay track surface and made for some slick racing for the last two motos of the day.
Attendance: I don’t have official attendance stats, but the camping areas were pretty full — as full as I’ve seen them in the 4 times I’ve been there. It was good to see so many folks camping and having a good time. The infield and entry-road camping was completely packed. There were still some open areas way in the back, across the train track, but it was really full.
Rider Participation: Rider count was high. 380 pre-entries for Vintage, 238 for Post-Vintage, 9 for Trials, and 102 for Cross-Country. That’s 729 rider entries for the weekend. With many (but far from all) riders running two classes and a few running three or four classes you can figure there were probably close to 200 or better actual individual riders on Saturday.
I do know there were 15 VMX motos on Saturday and, as best I can remember, they all had double gates and all the gates were close to, or in, the double-digits. There was lots of racing going on and it was terrific to see such a turnout for the vintage side of things.
Food: I missed this year’s BBQ, Mudbug, and Band shindig on Friday nite, but heard the food there was higher in both quality and variety than in years past. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought the free feed put on by DD and friends was excellent, but word is that this year the brisket was especially good, and the menu included both chicken and catfish to boot.
Also, my man Ronnie Welch kept his smoker going all day long cranking out bratwurst and Cajun Boudin sausage for anyone who happened by. The boudin he cooks up is absolutely killer but I warn you, if you eat too much you’ll remember it on Sunday… and Monday.
Bikes: There were, as usual, some stellar bikes floating around. If you click on the DiamondDons2010 tag you’ll see articles on a couple that were of particular interest to me. Bob McNamara won the Cool Bike award with his super-sano Cheney-framed Norton 750 twin. What a great bike. There were lots of Maicos in the pits, but the majority were PV bikes – ’78 anad later. Lots of early ’80s models, and some very clean ones. But I think the biggest brand contingent in the pits was Bultaco.
There was a giant bus, and equally giant trailer, with about a dozen really clean Bultacos of various sizes and years, all painted in a nice black-and-white theme. They seemed to have a cadre of riders, with some in almost every moto. Chuck Sun rode one of the bikes in his +40 and +50 motos. I wish I had taken a picture of their pit area. It was impressive. Even more impressive was they ran all those Buls all day long without any mechanicals (as far as I could tell.)
Track: The GP-style track looked excellent to me, as a spectator. It got beat up pretty bad over the course of the day and I think they had a few track safety issues in the afternoon. In particular, there were some really deep ruts in a couple of places that caught people off guard and led to some carnage. The second +50 expert moto had a good portion of the field go down on the first lap in the back woods section when riders got caught in a particularly nasty trench that had developed during the day. It would have been smart to have someone back there waving a yellow flag on the first lap to warn riders who hadn’t seen the area since morning.
Racing: Lots and lots of racing. The +40 and +50 Expert class had some great champions and local Texas legends. 2x World Champ Trampass Parker was there, as was 2X National Champ Chuck Sun. Parker was the featured Legend of the weekend. Also on hand was ’70s Texas hotshoe Kirk Spencer and Okalahoma City’s Trey Jorski.
In the first +40 Expert moto Spencer smoked the field despite breaking his tranny on the last lap, which prevented him from riding the second moto. In the second moto Sun chased Parker for the length of the event. In the second moto Parket came off the gate about 5th or 6th but took the lead on the first lap and never looked back.
The Classic 125 Expert had some good racing, with a fast Bultaco and an Elsinore rider swapping positions for 3 laps, until the Bul rider took a fall and let the Elsie get away.
Once the rain started it got sketchy. For the final +50 Exp moto we were standing by the fence in the infield area where riders came around a high-speed sweeper with a big tree at the outside apex, leading to the “hump-jump” over the tunnel. More than one rider looked to be heading for disaster as they lost traction on the slick clay, but everyone managed to keep it together.
There’s a lot going on a DD’s and sometimes the racing takes a back seat, but every moto I watched was a good one.
Word is that Sunday’s rain put a damper on things, with many racers opting out of the second moto. Some of the Expert class second motos reportedly had only one rider on the gate. I’ve been at DD’s in the mud. I rode a mud race there in 2008 and today, two years later, I’m still cleaning that nasty, black mud out of the bike.
Richie V Memorial: Last year Richie Vallandingham — AHRMA #49J — passed away of a heart attack while out riding with his son. Richie had a history of heart trouble and knew the risks that riding entailed, but he wanted to live his life to the fullest. I met Richie on a number of occassions and he was, without question, one of the most genuine and friendly people on the planet. There are very few people that make me think the world is truly poorer for their passing, but Richie was definitely one.
A special Sunday morning Parade Lap was planned as a memorial for Richie at this year’s National, but reports are that there was some miscommunication and disorganization with the memorial, and it didn’t go off quite as planned. Nevertheless, Brad Lackey rode Richie’s #49J CZ around the track in tribute, and Richie’s wife Teresa was there so that all of Richie’s friends could personally offer their memories and stories about RV49J. Godspeed Richie. We still miss you. (photo: 2008 Diamond Don’s. L to R — John Putkey, me, Richie V.)
Injury report: There were the usual bumps and bruises. To my knowledge the only serious injury was to TVRC racer Jeff Hards who suffered a badly-broken leg in his second moto. Jeff got his right foot caught in one of the deep ruts and twisted it off the peg, snapping the bone in his lower leg. He managed to ride back to the pits, but was carted off in the ambulance and was reported to have had surgery on Monday to put some titanium in.
There were quite a few falls, especially once the track got slick, and I saw a few slings and bandages in the pits. Women’s rider Tami Rice suffered a bruised hip when she low-sided in the sweeper. And several riders were slow to get up, needing some attention from the EMTs. But with that many racers on the track it really wasn’t a bad day for injuries.
Summary: As always, DD’s was a blast. The rain dampened things on Sunday, and the disorganization for the RV49J Memorial upset a couple of folks, but otherwise I heard nothing but positive comments. I thought it was the best Riverport National yet. I’ll definitely be back next year.