Rider Profile: Eddie Mulder
West Coast Dirt Track Series
Story and Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
ROSAMOND, CA, AUG. 9, 2014
Motorcycle Hall of Famer Eddie Mulder has had a passion for speed since the young age of 7, when he rode his first motorcycle, a Triumph Cub. Growing up in and around his father’s British Motorcycle shop in Lancaster, California, sparked a passion that has driven him all of his life to be involved with motorcycles – riding them, racing them from the time he was 8, building them, and supporting others that ride and race them, too!
Eddie raced desert races, hare scrambles and the AMA Grand National circuit, winning five Grand National TT races and making history as the only rider to win Ascot, Peoria and Santa Fe Speedway TT races all in the same year, and then winning Peoria again the following year! Proud to be sponsored by Johnson Motors of Pasadena, California, Eddie rode factory Triumphs.
From his Grand National racing, Eddie moved on in the early 1970s to stunt-riding in Hollywood movies, earning a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most talented stuntmen and appearing in many movies and TV shows, including the well-known films On Any Sunday, Magnum Force, Earthquake and Viva Knievel.
Following his stunt-riding career, Eddie missed the thrill and excitement of racing. It was during that time that his wife, Jodi, suggested that Eddie start his own flat-track series. Eddie was apprehensive, because although he knew racing, paperwork just wasn’t his thing, so Eddie and Jodi teamed up and the West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series was born. Eddie handles operations and Jodi takes care of the rest.
However, Mulder continued to compete in select events such as the Cal Expo Vintage Mile and Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, riding the latter the first time in 2000 and winning it nine times, with his final victory coming in 2009.
Eddie’s passion now included creating a series that gave the older riders, vintage bikes, kids and Pros great places to compete. The West Coast Dirt Track Series has promoted events in such California locations as Del Mar, Tulare, Bakersfield, Sonoma, Sacramento and Willow Springs. Mulder has also held two-day schools throughout the years.
The Mulders not only have a passion for motorcycles and racing, but Eddie also has a passion for safety. He built a team to help him promote the safest, “raciest,” fun events, and he found the Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California, to hold the West Coast Dirt Track Series events. First, Eddie contacted his many associates in the racing industry, including Triumph of North America, Motion Pro, Barnett, Maxima Oils, Coventry Spares, JRC, and many more, looking for sponsorship for the series to provide product and prizes to his series’ riders during the awards ceremony at the end of each race. Those companies continue to be a part of the series to this day.
Additionally, Digger Helm, a family friend of the Mulders since, well, forever, as well as Rod Lake, Joe Brown of Brown’s Cycles in Paso Robles, and, more recently, brothers Mark and Randy Zimmerman of Specialty Fabrications and Terry Otton of Ramspur Winery, all step up to offer monetary support for the series, as well as the funds for the now-16-years-running Digger Helm Open Pro class, the Ramspur Winery Series $7,500 Pro Points Fund, and the Specialty Fabrications Inc. Dash For Cash. Rod Lake also provides the series’ award medals, plaques and other special awards.
But none of this would be possible without the staff, which consists of starter “Big Fred” and Penny Allen, Digger’s children Mike and Donna Helm and his grandchildren, Eddie’s son Rick, Gary Richie (who gets on the grader before and after each race day to “groom the best possible track”), water-truck drivers Scott, Rich and Norman, and everyone else who makes the events happen.
Eddie’s passion continues to shine at home; in his shop, building his signature custom Triumph street trackers and flat trackers; and in promoting each West Coast Dirt Track Series event. Eddie says that, at over 70 years of age, the drive to keep doing it comes from the excitement he sees when riders such as Mickey Alzola, another retired Hollywood stuntman and a dear friend, riding the Over 60 Super Senior class, take a win, or when cancer survivor Ted Hubbard rides his EM Replica in his race and is so excited to tell Eddie all about it. (Ted has never won a race, but he wins personally every time he is on the track.)
And the kids. Eddie loves the kids. He is proud to have them speak when they accept their awards, thanking their sponsors (and their moms and dads), and Mulder keeps the awards-ceremony crowd in order so everyone can hear the young racers.
Last but not least, Eddie feels very fortunate to be able to give the Pro riders a substantial amount of money for winning the Dash or the Pro main events to help their race programs. It is the professional career they’ve chosen (thank goodness!).
The West Coast Dirt Track Series events have become a reunion of sorts. Many of the riders have ridden the series since its inception. Others have come and gone throughout the years. The pits fill with toy haulers, campers, RVs, trucks, old buses converted to race haulers and vans, and there was even one rider, Bob Gerberich, who pulled his race bike on a little trailer behind his Honda Goldwing, riding from the Midwest to the WCDTS events.
At the end of the day on Saturday, there is a “West Coast Dirt Track family team dinner” to celebrate another day of great races. Race-day mornings, eager for the day’s events to start, folks greet their friends and share their stories, their food, their coffee, their parts, their tools, their pits, and sometimes even their bikes.
“It gives me a great feeling to know people enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to come together as one big family to share fun times together, on and off the track,” Eddie commented.
The final event of the 2014 West Coast Dirt Track Series will take place October 4 and 5 at the Willow Springs Raceway’s Walt James Stadium. More exciting than ever before, this weekend will have the biggest purses ever paid by the series. The end-of-season Ramspur Winery $7,500 Pro Points Fund will be decided on Sunday, too, following a double-points-paying race day.
This will be a weekend of racing that you won’t want to miss! Come out and watch the Pros flash around the three-eighths-mile DG track in the hopes of taking home a fat envelope of money, enjoy the Vintage riders competing wheel to wheel, and see the kids racing at speeds higher than they may have ever ridden before for a trophy. Please join us for a full weekend of excitement in Rosamond, California, at the Willow Springs International Raceway.
More information can be found at www.EddieMuldersWCVDTS.com and on Facebook at Eddie Mulder’s WCDTS.