You may remember that a few weeks ago, I attended this year’s Hell on Wheels MC Halloween-ish Hillclimb at Glen Helen. Sorry it took so long, but here’s a little recap on it so that hopefully, you’ll be there next year!
As to be expected with goofy events like this, it started a little bit late. But that’s alright, because you come to something like this for the the atmosphere and people, not necessarily to get a bunch of ‘track time’. We were there from about 9:30am to 4pm and I spent all of 4 minutes on a motorcycle. But what a great 4 minutes!
Nathan and I brought my ’83 Honda XR350 but due to a recent injury, he was unable to ride. The course was simple – half a lap of a MX track ending with a sharp right that feeds right into the hillclimb. Photo from Beale Dabbs.
Apparently the Honda has been suffering from a slow rear tube leak, because we rolled the Honda off the trailer just to find the tire was flat. Apparently riding around on the flat caused a pinch flat, which meant I had to replace the tube. Thankfully there was a guy at another Glen Helen track who was selling tires and tubes…(photo from Beale Dabbs)
…so all I had to do was pull the rear wheel off and walk it over to him. This was a bit of a pain in the ass when I was dressed up as Aladdin, but it happened…sort of. More on that later.
While all this was happening, racing had started. The first class was the Born Loser, which forewent the MX portion of the track and just did the hillclimb. Then the small bikes got a shot, but most of them didn’t have enough oomph:
And while the small bikes struggled to get up, one of the Harleys struggled in another way. Reader Beale caught this fantastic slow-mo video of the end of the run:
Back to the Honda – in my rush to get the wheel back on, I forgot a step and the rear brake wasn’t working any more. Now would be a good time to mention that this Honda has never really had front brakes in the time that we’ve owned it, but that was never a problem in the dirt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to fix the rear brake before I was called for the first race, so…I got to take a pass with no brakes. I do not recommend this, especially on a course you’re trying for the first time. Somehow I was still able to win:
After the first run, Beale (who used to have one of these) helped me fix my mistake with the rear wheel. Hello, rear brakes! Despite that, I still lost handily to none other than Beale himself in the second run. I’d like to pretend that his lack of a costume the second time around made him quicker, but even despite my faster start he was easily able to pass me. Note that the announcer did not think my costume was Prince Aladdin…and instead called me Captain Condom. Great.
The rest of the event went pretty much as you’d expect – weird motorcyclists goofing around with each other, having a couple of beers, and lying about their previous accomplishments. A small award ceremony wrapped things up.
Extra footage of quirky bikes that were there:
Street Chopper also has a nice slideshow of some cool bikes, assuming you like the kinds of bikes that Street Chopper typically covers.