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Snapshots from the Second Annual Indian Dunes “Wrecking Crew” Reunion

| 20 October 2013 5:45 pm

Indian Dunes “Wrecking Crew” Reunion
Walt James Memorial Stadium at Willow Springs International Raceway

Photos and Captions by Tom Corley/tcestudios@netzero.net
ROSAMOND, CA, OCT. 12, 2013

“I was there the day that Indian Dunes opened and there the last week it was open – literally got a tear in my eye,” said Hugh Blacka.

Those words expressed how so many, many people felt when their favorite racing facility closed in 1985. On October 12, there was a gathering to remember it all.

“These are like the die-hard Indian Dunes guys,” said Kenny Zahrt, probably the most well-known professional to race motocross there.

As this event was held at Walt James Memorial Stadium at Willow Springs, it was a treat to see and sit in Walt’s Sprint car. Catering was provided by David Anton and his “Car-B-Que.” There was a moment of silence for those whom we’ve lost. Then there was music from that era, and after plenty of time to socialize, everyone gathered around Walt’s car for a group picture.

Here are some highlights of the event…

The striking event T-shirt featured an image of the announcer’s tower. Speaking of announcers, Hal Sanguenetti was one of the day’s special guests. Hal spent plenty of hours calling the shots from that tower.

The striking event T-shirt featured an image of the announcer’s tower. Speaking of announcers, Hal Sanguenetti was one of the day’s special guests. Hal spent plenty of hours calling the shots from that tower.

Walt James was the manager of Indian Dunes, and in 1990 this memorial stadium was founded.

Walt James was the manager of Indian Dunes, and in 1990 this memorial stadium was founded.

That’s the way that we remember Walt James – always with a smile. This was a nice tribute to Walt. And he sure had a cool Sprint car!

That’s the way that we remember Walt James – always with a smile. This was a nice tribute to Walt. And he sure had a cool Sprint car!

This is Walt James’ car, and that’s Bob Tocco gettin’ crazy in it! Behind him is Stu Egli, who is just waiting for Bobby, as they were also headed out to the Pomona flat-track finals that evening. These two started out as competitors on the Indian Dunes mini track.

This is Walt James’ car, and that’s Bob Tocco gettin’ crazy in it! Behind him is Stu Egli, who is just waiting for Bobby, as they were also headed out to the Pomona flat-track finals that evening. These two started out as competitors on the Indian Dunes mini track.

These two serious guys are Mike Chamberlain and his son Myles. They enjoyed the ride on their Harley, and so did this photographer.

These two serious guys are Mike Chamberlain and his son Myles. They enjoyed the ride on their Harley, and so did this photographer.

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There was plenty to look at, including these vintage bikes...

There was plenty to look at, including these vintage bikes…

...and these Yamahas, which were restored by Ed Tashjian. Many know Ed for his beautiful Suzukis, but on this day he brought out a 1972 JT 2 mini enduro and a 1980 OW 40.

…and these Yamahas, which were restored by Ed Tashjian. Many know Ed for his beautiful Suzukis, but on this day he brought out a 1972 JT 2 mini enduro and a 1980 OW 40.

DJ Zachary played the tunes that were played when one raced at the Dunes.

DJ Zachary played the tunes that were played when one raced at the Dunes.

AME promoter Shirley Shore was there, and so was track announcer Hal Sanguinetti. (Thanks for helping to organize the group shot, Hal.)

AME promoter Shirley Shore was there, and so was track announcer Hal Sanguinetti. (Thanks for helping to organize the group shot, Hal.)

This is David Anton’s “Car-B-Que,” on which the food cooked. Chicken or beef, it was all good!

This is David Anton’s “Car-B-Que,” on which the food cooked. Chicken or beef, it was all good!

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Sydney (left) and Baylee (right) did a great job of serving the corn and beans. Mm, mm, good!

Sydney (left) and Baylee (right) did a great job of serving the corn and beans. Mm, mm, good!

Bill Cook and his mom, Chris, made a 350-mile trip from Nevada to make this reunion. He just had to represent Coast Moto Cycle CZ from Orange County by wearing this shirt.

Bill Cook and his mom, Chris, made a 350-mile trip from Nevada to make this reunion. He just had to represent Coast Moto Cycle CZ from Orange County by wearing this shirt.

Thomas Tate (right) presents event organizer Vicki Welty (left) with this framed picture of Indian Dunes, the way it is now.

Thomas Tate (right) presents event organizer Vicki Welty (left) with this framed picture of Indian Dunes, the way it is now.

A close-up of what used to be the beloved Indian Dunes track.

A close-up of what used to be the beloved Indian Dunes track.

Kind of like Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, Craig Egerman (left) and Mike McAtee (right) were two fast valley boys who grabbed lots of purse money. Mike is now showing “Eggo” all of the eateries that he enjoyed on this stay, including Tito’s Tacos, Bear Pit, Peco Bill’s and In ’n’ Out Burger. Oh ,and then there was the Gene Winfield Car Show with George Barris.

Kind of like Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, Craig Egerman (left) and Mike McAtee (right) were two fast valley boys who grabbed lots of purse money. Mike is now showing “Eggo” all of the eateries that he enjoyed on this stay, including Tito’s Tacos, Bear Pit, Peco Bill’s and In ’n’ Out Burger. Oh ,and then there was the Gene Winfield Car Show with George Barris.

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Hugh Blacka points to the Yamaha that he used to race at Indian Dunes.

Hugh Blacka points to the Yamaha that he used to race at Indian Dunes.

 “Moto Chick” Lori Payne poses with Mike Chrisman and Lori’s brother Marty Payne.

“Moto Chick” Lori Payne poses with Mike Chrisman and Lori’s brother Marty Payne.

Johnny Whelchel (left) is no longer in a neck brace, as he was last year. That’s Chip Johnson on the right.

Johnny Whelchel (left) is no longer in a neck brace, as he was last year. That’s Chip Johnson on the right.

Vicki Welty (on the mic) asks for a moment of silence in honor of those racers and friends who are no longer with us. Then there was a special presentation that Larry Tozzi made for Mike McAtee.

Vicki Welty (on the mic) asks for a moment of silence in honor of those racers and friends who are no longer with us. Then there was a special presentation that Larry Tozzi made for Mike McAtee.

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Larry Tozzi (left) presented Mike McAtee (right) with a replica of the helmet that he lost in the 1970s, with “Big Mac”  painted on the back.

Larry Tozzi (left) presented Mike McAtee (right) with a replica of the helmet that he lost in the 1970s, with “Bad Mac” painted on the back.

Kenny Zahrt and Sherri Smith, having a great time together.

Kenny Zahrt and Sherri Smith, having a great time together.

Before that big red ball in the sky was completely gone, everyone gathered around the car of Walt James for a group picture.

Before that big red ball in the sky was completely gone, everyone gathered around the car of Walt James for a group picture.

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Category: Off-Road, Regional, Vintage, Vintage Off-Road

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