The International Twinshock Associations
North American Championship Series
Rounds One and Two
The State of Off- Road Motorcycling in America
Compiled from reports by Jesco Wallace, Jen Baker, Bob Ginder, and Teresa Conklin
The Crew from Tennessee made their way up to LEOR in Marion, Illinois for Rounds 1 and 2 of the ITSA North American Championship, paying points for the ITSA Southeast, ITSA Midwest and AHRMA Series' as well. Sounds like a big deal, huh? Well, of course it was!
Riders from all over the country competed in the two ITSA Scottish-format events and, if they wanted a challenge, they surely weren’t disappointed. It’s my understanding that George Kirby was responsible for a lot of the section design. Now, George is an excellent rider and he builds them to his taste. As it happens, I share his enthusiasm for a challenging section and feel a few dabs are good for the soul. There were a few sections in each line that pushed the limits of the class and, while there may have been some that prefer a little easier going, these were (after all) championship events. After a few years of riding with him, I recognized some classic Bob Ginder-tight turns in more than a few places. Bob and “Midwest Potentate” Tony Glueck along with Malcolm Mason, Bruce Carman, and Dwayne Johnston joined George a week earlier to lay out the sections in ground that was wet from recent rains. They planned it perfectly as it was certainly dry this weekend, with hot air moving at about 15 mph. It was a little hot and dry, but hey, it is summertime.
Day One saw the first organized trials use of the back half of the 800 + acres that make up the Little Egypt Off-Road Association riding area. It featured some good deep ditches and steep banks, mixed with a lot of rocks and logs, to form sections that we’ll be talking about for some time to come. Did I say tight turns? If I had a horn, I’d of run the battery down on my Yamaha just honking at my own taillight. Lots of hills too. I was lucky and didn’t hit the ground all day, but that would change before the weekend was over; those slippery pine needles got me!
The competition was fierce in all the classes as these two events were the start of the 2008 Int'l Twin Shock Association's North American Championship and the titles in all classes were up for grabs.
The battle in the Pre-Historic Novice
class was between Kenn Bales on his Triumph Tiger Cub and Mike King and
his Greeves Pathfinder, with Kenn coming out on top and taking the
points lead. The Pre-Historic Intermediate class saw
a clash of titans Joe Clegg and Bruce “The Trials Rooster” Carman on
his BSA Bantam with Joe besting The Rooster 16 to 22.
The Pre-Historic Expert class is a hotly-contested group of riders that have competed against each other for years. All of the competitors are past and current AHRMA champions. As one of that crew, Rick Dippold took his Model 10 Bultaco to 6th Place, a mere six points behind Bruce Clegg by virtue of a couple of unfortunate fives on Rick's second loop. Bruce piloted his Greeves Anglian to 5th Place just three points behind James Smith's GRM (which, for the first time in several years had a working first gear). Mike Parsley found himself in 3rd Place, seven points ahead of James. Mike had a rough first loop, leaving Bob Ginder and Graham Foster to fight for the top spot, with Graham and Bob tying at eight points going into the third loop. Bob slipped up and posted a score of three points to Graham's one, giving Graham the win. Tough break, but would Bob persevere?
Moving to our Historic Classes and taking a look at our Novice riders, we saw some close competition. The top five positions turned into a battle between the Midwest and Southeast regulars. The Midwest boys ended up 3rd, 4th, and 5th with the Tennessee boys taking 1st and 2nd. Jerry Hawk and his riding buddy Brad Baker tied at 31 points each with Brad besting Jerry with more clean rides. Narrowly edging out his brother, Brent Baker took 3rd with 28 marks lost. Barry Septer turned in a great ride losing only 13 points for second. No one stood a chance as Trent Park had the ride of his career with only three marks lost to put him soundly in 1st place.
Historic Intermediate, where some of the closest competition takes place, was no exception on Saturday. Day One scores ranged from 21 to 67 as heated contests raged all day. Ed Peacock's day started out a little rocky with a high-point first loop. This put him in catch-up mode for the rest of the day, leaving him in 7th place overall. Malcolm Mason started his day fairly strong but found a couple of unexpected fives on his second loop, placing him in 6th. Curt Froemsdorf seemed to succumb to the same fate as Malcolm, finishing just ahead for 5th place. Pee Wee Adcock's poor first loop had him struggling to maintain 4th. Randy Blackwell, of flat-track fame, worked hard to keep that left foot on the peg (he is so used to placing it on the ground), sliding him into 3rd place. The fight for the top honors was between Doug Froemsdorf and Jessie Wallace. Both lost 16 points on their first loop and then dropped to just four each on their second loop. Jessie dropped only one point on the third and final loop to Doug's five, giving Jessie the hard-fought win, 21 to 25.
The Modern Twin Shock classes are a mixture of interesting machinery. The class description allows for machines 1980 and newer, which includes anything air-cooled, drum-brake with conventional twin shock rear suspension. There are no suspension travel limits and creativity is encouraged! At present, we have a mix of Fantic's, SWM's, and late model Montesa's, as well as highly-modified TLR Honda's, Majesty Yamaha's, and one very unique Kawasaki.
The highly-modified Kawasaki is the creation of Dick Septer. Dick measured the Majesty Yamaha belonging to B&J Racing and modified his KT's rear suspension to match. B&J tweaked the engine and built him some special Falcon shocks. I must say Dick has one nice competitive bike, which took him to the win in the Modern Twin Shock Novice class.
The Twin Shock Intermediate class was owned by the Midwest group. New trials rider Jeff Hagewood of Tennessee on his first ride using his newly-acquired TLR200 Honda finished in the 5th position on 39 marks lost. Charlie Nash, riding his hand-built Honda, which started life as an XR185, finished 4th, just four points behind Ken Eftink (Bultaco) and Tony Glueck (Montesa), who both had 18. Tony nipped Ken on cleans. This left Mike Hyslop with his wild unorthodox riding style and his 11 point loss in first place.
Now for the big guns, Modern Twin Shock Expert. Travis Hyslop, riding his modified TY175 Yamaha set up by his dad Mike who won the Intermediate class, recently moved to the Expert ranks. Using some of the moves he learned from his dad's radical riding style, he placed a respectable 3rd.
Tim Cash, on his TLR200 Honda sporting new Falcon shocks delivered to him that morning, did battle with Dustin Ginder who was piloting the B&J TLR200 Honda. After the first loop, Tim was behind 12 to 5. The second loop he fought back a little, posting four points to Dustin's five. On the third and final loop, Dustin focused hard and posted the only clean loop of the day in any class, giving him the overall win of ten points to Tim's fifteen.
After such an exciting day of riding, Saturday evening was spent cooking and eating, catching up with friends and meeting new people. There's always a laid-back feeling at these ITSA events that lends itself to a community-like atmosphere. Plus, the good folks at LEOR do their best to make your stay with them a positive experience. In addition to their work in the woods, they also have a nice pavilion that they equipped with a big screen TV for the occasion. It was too cool sitting around the picnic tables and watching recent world trials rounds. I sat awhile with The Guru and marveled at the incredible efforts of the featured world-class riders and their machines. I could never come close to doing the things they do, but the footage did get us to thinking about coming back to LEOR for the next modern event. It's high time I blew the dust off the old Sherco.
If you weren't into the big TV thing, there was the music show that has come to be a regular tradition at our ITSA events. There was lots of guitar playing and singing from Mennonite Mike and Pee Wee. They had quite a crowd gathered around and most were singing along before the night was over. A good time for sure.
Day Two had us back in familiar territory, in an area that we'd ridden before. Here, there are some really timeless obstacles to take on. These include a big log section and a couple with huge rocks barring your way. There were also plenty of those evil camber turns on ground covered in pine needles that felt like roller bearings under our tires. It was great and yes, I found myself on the ground more than once during the day. That's okay; I was riding with a great group of guys and they deserved a good laugh.
Sunday morning greeted us with sunshine and a slight breeze. All competitors seemed in good spirits and eager to attack the day's challenges.
Some classes were a repeat of Round 1, with Pre-Historic Novice ending
again with Kenn Bales ahead of Mike King at the end of the day.
Pre-Historic Intermediate had a change at the top as Bruce Carman edged
ahead of Joe Clegg for the win, tying them in points going into Round
3. Scott Kirn on the Honda Honda finished 3rd. Pre-Historic Expert had
it's usual look, as on any given day any one of these fierce
competitors could come out on top. Bruce Clegg slipped a bit on his
first and last loops while Rick Dippold stayed steady to forge ahead,
finishing 5th. James Smith had a consistent ride finishing 4th again on
Sunday. Graham Foster, Saturday's winner, had a tough first loop and an
unfortunate five on Loop 3 to drop him to 3rd. Mike Parsley took
advantage of the opportunity and took the 2nd Place spot. That left Bob
Ginder, who seemed to favor Sunday's sections over Saturday's, dropping
only eight points and clinching the win.
Competition in the Historic Novice class was tight. Brent Baker,
after his 3rd Place finish on Saturday, had a trying first loop,
dropping to 5th on Sunday. The rest of the field stayed the same,
but the outcomes were not decided until the final loop. After tying on
both loops one and two, loop three found Brad Baker with his best loop score
of 11 while Jerry Hawk dropped 18, giving 3rd Place to Brad. Trent Park
and Barry Septer valiantly fought for the top two places. Barry had the
only single digit first loop with nine points lost to Trent's 12. On
loop two, Trent lowered his score to four while Barry dropped six
points. Going into the final loop with only one point separating the
two competitors, Barry had his worst loop of the day, dropping 12
points to Trent's five, putting him squarely in 2nd place and giving
Trent the win. What a show!
The changing finishing order in the Historic Intermediate class was probably the most dramatic of the day. This type of competition is what makes a series great and exciting. Ed Peacock and Malcolm Mason swapped positions from the day before with Malcolm finishing 7th and Ed 6th. Randy Blackwell slipped from his 3rd Place on Saturday to 5th on Sunday. Pee Wee Adcock stayed the same with a another 4th Place finish on Sunday. Doug Froemsdorf stayed fairly consistent as did Jessie Wallace, with Doug finishing 3rd and Jessie 2nd. The sensation of the day was Curt Froemsdorf (Doug's dad). Curt, who had finished 5th on Saturday, rode steady and consistently and took first place honors!!
Dick Septer again rode his highly-modified Kawasaki to 1st Place in the Twin Shock Novice class.
Close competition in the Twin Shock Intermediate class would be an understatement. Only six points separated the top five positions with scores ranging from 30 to 36. No one finished in the same position as they did on Saturday and this could be the class to watch as anyone could be champion when the dust settles. Sunday's finishes went like this: 5th Place, Ken Eftink (3rd/Sat); 4th Mike Hyslop (1st/Sat); 3rd Tony Glueck (2nd/Sat); 2nd Jeff Hagewood (5th/Sat); 1st Charlie Nash (4th/Sat). I can't wait to see how this class turns out after Rounds 3&4 in Dickson, TN this September.
The Twin Shock Expert Class stayed the same with Travis Hyslop finishing 3rd with 51 points. Tim Cash was second with 44. Dustin Ginder was on his game, finishing first, and dropping only 16 points.
The ITSA organization is growing and the overall experience in Marion is a good example of why. It offered a healthy level of competition and sections that pushed just hard enough to be fun. I can't wait for the next one. Thanks to Tony, George, Bob and all the others who made this one happen.