Hell On Wheels Stadium Steeplechase
Glen Helen Raceway
Photography and Captions by Tom Corleyfirstname.lastname@example.org
SAN BERNARDINO, CA, MAR. 21, 2015
Hooligans, Vintage racers, minibikers and women, too, experienced the thrill of sweeping turns, tabletops and wide-open stretches. It was a “run what you brung” event, and they brung it… and held it all together.
British Triumphs and Harley Sportsters riding on knobbies with high-rise bars were giving in to a battle among one another, with one blinding opponent being a dusty track. The track was extremely thirsty, and that thirst was finally quenched by a water-truck driver who became everyone’s hero – so he came back again to show more love.
Black-and-white-striped-shirted contestants, as well as some who looked like yellowjackets, jetted off a bomber’s nest of a starting line (actually, there was a Bomber class) and challenged the first turn. That set the scene for the first-ever Hell On Wheels Stadium Steeplechase race.
The start of the first-ever Hell On Wheels Stadium Steeplechase, which brought out the HOW’s faithful following, as well as more and more Vintage Motocross racers.
Hayden Roberts, one of the Hell On Wheels crew, views the Trophy Truck Track. It took a lot to put this event together, and the day finally came. “Let’s do this!” declared Hayden.
Bob Tocco exclaimed that the motto of the day was “White Lightning” – that being emblazoned on the shirt that was given to him by Fasthouse. Tocco had his tunes a-blazing and was listening to “White Light White Heat” by the late, great rock-and-roll master Lou Reed. All fired up and inspired like a Rock ’n’ Roll Animal, Tocco went out and ripped it up in the Minibike class.
This lady can race speedway and minibikes, too. Pam “Pinky” Bennett came out to see what the Hell On Wheels gang was all about, and she sure found out. Keep putting on that SPF 50, Pam, and have fun in the sun… and, on this day, the dust.
There were other new faces coming to join the Hell On Wheels crew for the first time: (from left to right) motocross and speedway great Stu Egli; Dwayne Franks, who came out with the inclusion of 150cc minibikes; and Dwayne’s girlfriend Dawn.
A future Hell On Wheels racer? Perhaps. Chase is this little guy’s name, and as you can see, he sure likes their signature shirt.
Someone else was intrigued by the cool-looking shirts, too: minibike rock star “Flying Mike” Brown. This guy always has a smile on his face – or, in this case, on his funny face.
“Sloppy Seconds” – a bike that was handed down, and it leaks oil and tranny fluid. Gee, most of the bikes out here probably do that. You are not alone, little bike.
Eric Ekstrand is well over 6 feet tall, but he hauls on a minibike. Look at this trick bike, which even has a custom air scoop. Now if only the tranny doesn’t get him… or that scary guy behind him…
Every club has a hot shoe of a rider, and in Hell On Wheels racing, that would have to be Greg Landers. This rider has won the Sportsman of the Year award before, and he usually rocks on a Yamaha 100 and 360. Here, you can see that his nickname is “Zeke” – and you can also see that he needs a new pair of pants.
It turns into a moto party whenever the Bixby Moto boys show up to play. Andrew Hopkins and Brody Cox have a whole new way of riding double on a motorcycle.
The men in white – in this case, Brendan Lutes (left) and Sean Collier (right), who represented Fasthouse White Lightning. What a race these two had on their vintage CZ bikes, as you will see shortly…
Time for sign-up. Guy on left: “What class should I sign up in?” Guy on right: “How should I know? Why don’t you ask that guy behind you?” Guy behind them: “Who am I… How did I get here…?”
Next, it was time for the riders’ meeting. Hell On Wheels promoter Jeff Tulinius (a.k.a. “Meatball”) shouts out, “Okay, you gearheads – lend me your ears!”
Be careful what you ask for, Meatball… How about this pair of ears?!
We agree: Whenever you can, buy American.
Grab a piece of the track and sit down. The thrilling races are about to start!
Time for the Women’s class to kick things off. Coming out to race with the Hell On Wheels for the very first time was the Trojan Queen, Renée Payen (00). She came out of hiding after 40 years and raced a fun minibike event last year at the Industry Hills Expo Center. After that event, she ended up breaking both her ankles at different occasions. Here, she takes the holeshot, on her way to winning the first moto.
“00” rides again! Renée Payen bought this Honda from the collection belonging to Bob Tocco and is racing in flat track and fun events like this one.
Now wearing her Team Swolen jersey, Renée Payen (00) takes the lead in the second stanza of the Women’s class. Her Honda appeared to have some jetting problems and wasn’t performing well on the top end. This helped her competition, Bultaco jockey Brooklyn McClendon (53), sneak up on her and make the pass right at the finish line for a 2-1 tally and the overall victory.
This guy watching the races is wearing his aviator goggles and Jofa mouth guard… but what he really needs is a dust mask.
Adult Minibike racing is on the move, and at this event there were 20 participants. The 150cc bikes are now invited to race, and that made for two starting lines. Jason Klements (911) is a longtime racer with this club. Bob Seki (56, wearing a Team Swolen jersey) came out to race with the Hell On Wheels for the first time, and he fit right in.
Bob Tocco (47) is like a runaway train: As soon as he gets out ahead, there is no stopping him. Going through this turn on the first lap, Tocco is followed by Bob Seki (56) and Christopher Corum (3), on a hot XR.
“Jump… might as well jump,” according to Van Halen. There goes Bob Tocco (47), taking the checkered flag while looking at the camera.
Mike Bierman (111) is all for a good Adult Minibike race. Getting his bike race ready just in time, he successfully entered his first Hell On Wheels race.
Wearing his Jackrabbits MC jersey, Dwayne Franks (86) was elated at being able to race his Honda 150 at this event. Speaking from the heart, Dwayne reflected days later about this race: “The Hell On Wheels event at Glen Helen on the Trophy Truck Track was the most fun I’ve had in years! That track was so fun and fast. I can’t wait to do it again – great atmosphere, also a bunch of cool people and cool old bikes.” Very well said, Dwayne, and we agree.
Ready to steal the show, flashy Bob Tocco (47) now wears his Fasthouse White Lightning jersey. Sliding around this first turn with a big smile, he topped this final moto and scored the overall in the minibike race.
Finding a portal for his artistic perspective is young filmmaker and photographer Kevin Kreger.
Hooligans? Nope, just good ol’ boys going out there on their Triumphs and Harley Sportsters and having an incredible time.
Flying Triumphs tread where Trophy Trucks usually go. There’s plenty of room to pass others, yet still racers ends up in a tight formation such as this. On the far side is Bixby Moto ace Andrew Hopkins, who apparently left his scooter at home this time.
This blacked-out Sportster was so bad and too fast to catch by those who dared to go against him. High risers and a trick two-into-one pipe are just two of the features that kept him ahead of the pack.
Jason Klements is reaching down, so what’s up with his bike? This is the bike that has won in Harley Night events at Costa Mesa Speedway.
Now this is a cool-looking, orange 883r Sportster with raised bars and knobbies for better traction. This photographer has a street version of this bike, but no way am I taking it out on this track.
Modern-bike racing with, once again, Bob Tocco (47) taking the lead. To the outside is Scott Mays (59), on a 1977 Husky 390 that isn’t really modern, but it’s newer than those in the Vintage class.
T.J. Shank (F1) takes the inside on his dual-sport Honda right before the dust cloud heads his way. “I had a really good time with the Hell On Wheels crew,” Shank said. “Can’t wait until the next one.”
Two Bultacos on the loose. Okay, they are both on Bultacos, and both have the number 53. How would you score them? Let’s see, one guy has a red tank and the other guy has a blue one… no problem.
There they go, over the finish line – and a dust-diffused yonder.
Jason Klements (911) uses the dust to his advantage as he power-slides and creates a dust screen in front of his competitor.
Greg “Zeke” Landers (27G) charged faster than most into this first-turn sweeper and banked off the outside line. We don’t know what happened to his Yamaha 100, but this Yamaha 360 sure ran good!
Two slick guys from Fasthouse are seen here on vintage CZ bikes, and did they fly! Brendan Lutes got the jump on Sean Collier, and they stood out as they led their race. A pro on modern bikes, Collier said about his Vintage bike, “These things are the best to ride!”
Next, it was time for the trophy presentation. Jeff Tulinius (right) told everyone: “I want to thank you for coming on out. I know it was a little dusty and hot.” That’s our promoter of the club, a humble guy who always means well. Here, Jeff awards a trophy to Eric Ekstrand (center).
All Hell On Wheels events bring out some brilliant filmmakers and photographers. One of those photographers who races was Heath Cofran. Jack is his pup, who accepted this trophy (and rides with Heath, too). “It was an amazing, dust-filled funfest,” said Cofran. “I loved the track. It was perfect for Evil June: big, sweeping turns and giant tabletops. Can’t wait to practice and improve for next time.”
Brooklyn McClendon can swing her leg over a bike as well as any guy can. She won the Women’s class and accepted this trophy with one hand and held a Modelo in the other. Note her fingernails, which matched the color of the Bultaco she rode.
Scott Mays (left) accepts a trophy that he won on his vintage Husky. Of all the colorful shirts that people were wearing, Scott had perhaps the coolest, as it was a tribute to the legendary Jim Hunter. Oh, yes, there’s one other shirt that caught our eye….
… “We are all outlaws in the eyes of Amerika.” Sir, we’re only going to tell you one time: Don’t drink and drive… or ride.
This was a family show, to which one could bring their kids and dogs, too.
Hey, race fans! Join us once again as the Hell On Wheels crew invades Milestone MX Park on Sunday, June 14, for their yearly Moto-Scramble. There’s going to be bands and a beauty pageant – and, of course, the funnest racing on the planet.