I attended a Mountain State Hare Scramble Series race at CJ’s Raceway September 28, 2014 – and this will without a doubt be the last race of theirs that I will ever attend.
The day started off nice enough – it was a beautiful sunny day at this picturesque farm in West Virginia. My man was looking forward to this race to keep him tuned into his bike – because the following weekend he was planning to race Round 12 of the GNCC Series (Powerline Park). I decided to gear up and race as well – this would be our first time since racing the Perry Mountain 24 hour Challenge Race in Alabama, that we would be racing at the same time. After this we have decided that this will be the last time that he and I will race on the same track at the same time – except maybe for that 24 Hour Challenge Race.
I was riding my race just trying to get through the course – the woods were slick – some uphills were like ice and some ruts that I unfortunately chose to ride through seemed bottomless and caused me trouble. I also had been having some false neutral problems – which is never good…None the less I was happy to be on my bike and enjoying the ride – even when it is a struggle for me, I learn and feel that I become a better rider from these experiences and for me, I race because racing forces me to push myself – I can’t chicken out of a section – I need to buck up and tackle it!
While I was still getting through my first lap – there was drama unfolding that I was totally oblivious to. I was approaching the pit area headed to the race trailer to get scored and a man jumped out of the track in-front of me waving me down. I pulled over and he told me that my husband wanted me to park my bike and stay at the trailer and wait for him. He told me the race was going to be re-started because there was a problem on the course and people were running into each-other.
I waited for a while and then finally my man met me at the trailer explaining to me what was going on. He said while he was racing working on catching the pro class guys he came around a corner and seen there had been a head on collision. As the guys were getting up and he slowly passes them and is wondering what is going on – he then himself almost has a head on as another racer comes up on him completely unaware of the situation. He then tries to wave the oncoming racers to slow down because there is trouble ahead and then he turns around trying to figure out what is going on and which direction they are supposed to be going. As he follows the others he sees that there have been old trail markers left up from the previous promoters race – he heads up a hill and looks down and witnesses a large group of racers riding around not knowing where to go. His camera captures this footage and it makes me boil inside when I see these guys wandering around – this is incredibly scary – and my man seen horrible injuries occur from this sort of issue. Inside he is worried because he knows that I am on the track and he has no idea where I am and if I have been involved in any type of accident. He rides on backtracking following a couple others and they come across a split on the trail that they had already been through – he can see that there are trail markers in both directions and no ribbon or brush blocking the trail – he can tell that the trail that had been taken by the pros was to the right and as it turns out that was the trail that had been marked by the previous race promoter and a line followed that direction. Again there was no ribbon knocked down. He then takes the left trail option and makes his way to the scoring trailer and tells the people there that they need to re-start the race because people are having head on collisions – yet while he is over and over explaining this they continue to score racers and send them on their way – never telling them to stay there because of the situation. Finally the race is stopped (after 2 laps!) and the trail is fixed – and I have been told that a guy broke his arm and another suffered major damage to his bike.
I make the decision that I will pack up and let my man race – no need to have this sort of added stress to this ridiculous situation. So while at the restart I noticed there seemed to be a few less racers lined up… and then the Promoter has some thing to say before we hear 10 seconds for the second time on this day… “Someone ripped through the ribbon and that is why we had this situation”…or something to that effect… “really?” The race starts and my man wins – I think he may have even won the overall yet after being told to wait while scoring gets sorted collectively for probably about an hour he approaches the promoter after being told he would need to speak with him once the scoring comes back and his name is not on there.
“What’s going on – why am I not scored?” – Your disqualified – because you ran through the ribbon at the scoring trailer.
What a joke and a serious circus! So the guy that demands a re-start and is worried about rider safety and speaks up about it – gets disqualified – you don’t tell him this prior to the re-start – you take his money let him race and then you still don’t go up to him and explain what is going on – he needs to seek you out to find out!
Hands down the worst race I have ever attended – and another kicker is nobody, as usual… stands up and says anything about this…people continue to promote and attend and hand over money. People continue to put trust in a promoter that cuts corners by not being sure past event trail markers are down and ribbon is clearly up or brush piles are up in areas that may be unclear as to which direction the course runs. Its unacceptable.
I have no interest in being a part of this type of circus event nor do I take it lightly that others will continue to support it.
Maybe if people talk about it – promoters will realize that they need to pay closer attention when it comes to safety and the procedures that need to happen when such an instance occurs. People pay for an organized event – they should not have to worry if they are going to turn the corner and run into another racer. I’m just happy nobody was seriously hurt – we all know that racing has its own dangers yet this sort of issue should not be one of them.
Watch the racer footage here.
This race inspired me to write this.