Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Sturgis 2015 - Racing

Written by  August 29, 2015

Motorcycle racing has been at the heart of the Sturgis Rally since its origin. The man known as the father of the Black Hills Rally was Clarence “Pappy” Hoel who owned an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis and was one of the founders of the Jackpine Gypsies club in 1936. The Gypsies’ first event was known as the Black Hills Classic, a single motorcycle race with nine racers and a few spectators. From that modest beginning, attendance at the rally experienced remarkable growth.

Prior to this year’s event, the rally attendance record was about 633,000 in 2000. Attendance at the 75th annual rally was expected to shatter that record. Motorcycle competition in many forms is still featured at the rally. Motocross, supermoto, short track, half-mile flat track, hill climbs, and drag racing are presented by various sponsors at several venues (see a list at the bottom of this article). Due to schedule conflicts, I didn’t get to see as much racing as usual this year. However, I very much enjoyed watching and photographing the competition at the Jackpine Gypsies amateur hill climb and at the Pappy Hoel Classic Half-Mile Flat Track sponsored by White Plate Flat Trackers Association.

Jackpine Gypsies Amateur Hill Climb
The Gypsies Clubgrounds located at the southwest edge of Sturgis south of I-90 has facilities for motocross, hill climb, and short track racing. After a brief visit to the Sturgis Media Center to pick up my media pass, I headed for the clubgrounds. Having begun at 10:00 a.m., the hill climb was already in progress by the time I arrived. Riders competed in various classes based on size and configuration of the bikes and age of the riders. There were stock bikes and bikes with special modifications such as stretched swing-arms specific to hill climb competition, some powered by two-stroke and some by four-stroke engines. There were youngsters and veteran riders, male and female. Some riders competed in multiple classes and some bikes were ridden by multiple family members. The challenging hill featured rough, steep sections with ledges and nearly vertical areas. The top section was loose and covered with vegetation. Showing courage equal to the riders, the catchers stationed along the course did a great job of minimizing the damage to bikes and riders resulting from spectacular spills that frequently occurred. After all of the classes made their first runs there was a 30-minute intermission before the second session for all classes. My schedule required me to leave before the competition ended, but at that time the hill had not been topped. The longest climb I saw was 245 feet by Troy Finn. I understand that the riders in the side-by-side and professional events later in the week had better luck. Due to my early departure I did not have opportunity to obtain a listing of the results. I appreciate the hospitality shown by the Jackpine Gypsies in facilitating my coverage of this event. Every year, the Gypsies have events throughout rally week, and the admission fees are very reasonable.

“Pappy” Hoel Classic Vintage Races presented by White Plate Flat Trackers
Motorcycles raced again on the half-mile track at the Meade County Fairgrounds in Sturgis thanks to the efforts of the White Plate Flat Trackers Association. Vintage racing was scheduled on Tuesday, August 5, and pro competition the following day. I was excited to attend Tuesday’s vintage races that were sponsored by Indian Motorcycle, Gypsie Vintage Cycles, Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc., Steve Soffa Jewelry, Coca-Cola High Country, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Indian Motorcycle-Sturgis, and Scott Peterson Motors. Having grown up watching half-mile dirt track motorcycle racing during the Rooks County Fair at Stockton, Kansas, I was thrilled to see the vintage bikes take to the track in Sturgis. I appreciated the cooperation of Mr. Cole Meyer and the White Plate Flat Trackers in granting me access to the pit area and track infield. The event featured lots of great vintage racing bikes including Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis, Kawasakis, Indians, Harley-Davidsons, Triumphs, Rotaxs, and KTMs. The board track class had only two bikes in 2014, but the number was up to eight this year. The board track racers have no brakes, no clutch, and no transmission and must be pushed to start. Races in other classes begin with a standing start, but the board trackers require a rolling start.

In addition to the antique motorcycles on the track, a number of spectators arrived on classic motorcycles such as Harley knuckleheads as well as Indian and Harley flatheads. Due to heavy rain the previous night, significant track maintenance was required, and the event got a late start. However, by the time practice laps began the track was in great shape. Opening ceremonies included a parade of Indian motorcycles around the track prior to the National Anthem. During one of the board tracker heats, spectators were treated to a spectacular view of a B-1 bomber as it made a low pass over downtown Sturgis a few blocks away. The officials from Steve Nace Racing ran a smooth event and were very cooperative in providing a list of the event results. The first place finisher in the board track class was James Wall of Englewood, Colorado, riding a 1928 Indian. In second place was last year’s winner Brittney Olsen of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on a 1924 Harley-Davidson. When the races concluded, gates were opened so that spectators could have the opportunity to visit with the racers and get a closer view of their vintage racing motorcycles.

Results for Pappy Hoel Clasic ½-Mile Vintage (Combined results of two motos for each “Race”):

Race 1
450 Amateur
1st-Cole Zabala, Collinsville, IL-Kaw
2nd-Clayton Von Moos, Arkdale, WI-Hon
3rd-J D Mosley, Greenville, MS-Suz

Race 2
750 Vintage
1st-John P. McClelland, Gillette, WY-Yam
2nd-Paul Germain, Winnipeg Manitoba, CA-Yam
3rd-Mark Erickson, Beulah, WY-Yam

Open Multis Vintage
1st-William T. Applegate, Readinton, ND-HD
2nd-Kenny Brougiorno-Lake Honatcai, NJ-HD

Race 3
250 Vintage
1st-Peter Thomson-Edmonton Alberta, CA-Kaw

360 Vintage
1st-Chuck Beving-Garden City, SD-Hon

Open Singles Vintage
1st-Bob Anderson, Harrisburg, SD-Hon

Race 4
1st-James Wall, Englewood, CO-Ind
2nd-Brittney Olsen, Aberdeen, SD-Ind
3rd-Gary Landeen, Sioux Falls, SD-Ind

Race 5
60+ Vintage
1st-John P. McClelland, Gillette, WY-Yam
2nd-Joe Baggott, Peoria, IL-Hon
3rd-Mark Erickson, Beulah, WY-Yam

Race 6
Open Singles Amateur
1st-Cole Zabala, Collinsville, IL-Kaw
2nd-Sean Nesshoefer, Arvada, CO-Rtx
3rd-Dallas Daniels, Mattoon, IL-Yam

Race 7
500 Vintage
1st-John P. CmClelland, Gillette, WY-Yam
2nd-Mark Erickson, Beulah, WY-Yam
3rd-Don Galloway, Edmonton Alberta, CA-Yam

Race 8
250 Amateur
1st-Dallas Daniels, Mattoon, IL-Yam
2nd-Clayton Von Moos, Arkdale, WI-KTM
3rd-Cody R. Funk, Owen WI-Yam

40+ Senior
Bob Anderson, Harrisburg, SD-Rtx

Race 9
50+ Vintage
1st-Joe Baggott, Peoria, IL-Hon
2nd-Don Galloway, Edmonton Alberta, CA-Yam
3rd-Shawn Pettis, Puyallyup, WA-Yam

Race 10
Board Track
1st-James Wall, Englewood, CO-Ind
2nd-Brittney Olsen, Aberdeen, SD-HD
3rd-Kurt Mertens-Colby, WI-HD


Sturgis 2015 Racing

Sturgis City Park
August 1 and 2: Supermoto Racing

Sturgis Drag Strip
August 1: Boz Bros “Run what ya Brung”
August 2: Gamlers Races
August 3: King of the Sturgis Drags

Sturgis Fair Grounds
August 4: Pappy Hoel Vintage Flat Track Half-Mile
August 5:   AMA Pro Half-Mile
August 6: Harley-Davidson Hooligan Dirt Dash

Jackpine Gypsies Clubgrounds
August 1: Moto-X Practice
August 2: Moto-X
August 3: Amateur Hill Climb
August 3: Pearl Hoel Memorial Outlaw Short Track
August 4: Baggers Short Track
August 5: Verta-X Hill Climb
August 6: Baggers Race and Rodeo at Short Track
August 7: Pro Hill Climb

Black Hills Speedway-Rapid City
August 4: Black Hills Half-Mile AMA Pro flat track


Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com