Saddlemen

Area Riders Shine at Prestigious ISDT Reunion Ride!

| 29 September 2015 4:36 pm

Leroy Winters ISDT Reunion Ride
Athens Motorcycle Club at Chadwell Farm

Story by David L. Patton Jr. and Kyle Wolfe
Photos by David L. Patton Jr.
ATHENS, OH, SEPT. 5-6, 2015

The 19th annual Leroy Winters ISDT Reunion Ride took place at Chadwell Farm, just outside of Athens, Ohio.

The 19th annual Leroy Winters ISDT Reunion Ride took place at Chadwell Farm, just outside of Athens, Ohio.

Some of the most famous motorcycle riders in the world traveled to Athens, Ohio, to take part in the 19th annual Leroy Winters ISDT Reunion Ride, presented by the Athens Motorcycle Club. John Penton, one of the most important American motorcycle pioneers, and his son Jack made the trip from Amherst, Ohio, and were joined by riders from all parts of the country. License plates from Oklahoma, Connecticut, Alaska and Canada, among others, were spotted in the fields at Chadwell Farm, east of Athens.

This license plate says it all.

This license plate says it all.

The event was run in conjunction with an AHRMA Cross Country race that showcased the outstanding off-road legacy of southeastern Ohio and northern West Virginia riders. For many of the competitors, it is a once-a-year chance to ride with their heroes.

Post-Vintage Over 50 Novice rider Mike Husted traveled from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and earned a gold medal.

“I don’t really ride much – haven’t ridden since the Reunion Ride last year in Massachusetts – but it is awesome to be rubbing elbows with the Pros and the legends of the sport,” Husted said.

For others, it is a chance to reconnect with friends and competitors from the past.

“I have seen people I haven’t seen in 20 or 30 years, people who were a big part of my life in the ’70s and ’80s,” said Frank Gallo Jr., who was one of the best in the USA.

Some close racing between an Ossa rider and a Husky pilot.

Some close racing between an Ossa rider and a Husky pilot.

Kevin Brown and his fellow club members laid out a course that was passable for all of the vintage bikes (and Vintage riders), and the scoring for the medals would take place in the Special tests.

Recent dry weather meant the creek was way down, so this creek crossing was easy. Mike Cluse (53M) rode his Bultaco Frontera to second in Post-Vintage Over 60 Intermediate action.

Recent dry weather meant the creek was way down, so this creek crossing was easy. Mike Cluse (53M) rode his Bultaco Frontera to second in Post-Vintage Over 60 Intermediate action.

On Saturday, with perfect weather, the day started with a tricky creek crossing and ended with a grass-track Special test. A sharp turn at the finish saw more than one rider put in a last-ditch effort to pass that ended up in disaster. The staff manning the check had to be quick to avoid tangled riders and motorcycles that crashed their way past the finish line.

The event started in a grassy field; then Kevin Brown ran the riders down into a creek bed…

The event started in a grassy field; then Kevin Brown ran the riders down into a creek bed…

…but the exit from the creek bed soon became a congested mess, with clay, tree roots and big trees making for some interesting obstacles…

…but the exit from the creek bed soon became a congested mess, with clay, tree roots and big trees making for some interesting obstacles…

…which tried to snare everyone, including Jared Scott, on a 125cc Hodaka Wombat…

…which tried to snare everyone, including Jared Scott, on a 125cc Hodaka Wombat…

…but Scott’s bike never, ever fell over; he was strong enough to keep it on two wheels.

…but Scott’s bike never, ever fell over; he was strong enough to keep it on two wheels.

These two friends rode together all weekend, but sometimes the old Honda used the newer Husky for traction.

These two friends rode together all weekend, but sometimes the old Honda used the newer Husky for traction.

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The 80-yearold Helmut Clausen rode well on his Zundapp.

The 80-yearold Helmut Clausen rode well on his Zundapp.

The Reunion Ride also included a banquet on Saturday night, held in the Athens High School cafeteria, with great food from Kiser’s. There was a tremendous display of rare and vintage race bikes and ISDT memorabilia, organized by Kent Knudson.

A belated 90th-birthday cake was presented to John Penton.

A belated 90th-birthday cake was presented to John Penton.

Reunion Ride chairmen Jack Penton and Jeff DeBell handled the emcee duties and the presentation of awards. Then they turned the mic over to Larry Maiers, one of the sport’s greatest announcers.

A Hercules Rotary was on display at the banquet.

A Hercules Rotary was on display at the banquet.

Many of the ISDT veterans came to the banquet and stopped telling lies just long enough for a group photo.

Many of the ISDT veterans came to the banquet and stopped telling lies just long enough for a group photo.

Maiers, a former ISDT team manager and the creator of the “Motoworld” TV show that spawned most of today’s racing shows, then proceeded to interview each of the ISDT riders in attendance – and the stories quickly got out of control. From 80-year-old Helmut Clausen to the younger racers, they all shared memories of their racing days, many of which were at least partly true. (The adage “The older I get, the faster I used to be” comes to mind.) Maiers then interviewed 90-year-young John Penton, who closed the banquet to a standing ovation.

Larry Maiers of HiPoint and “Motoworld” fame and a former ISDT team manager interviews Jack Penton.

Larry Maiers of HiPoint and “Motoworld” fame and a former ISDT team manager interviews Jack Penton.

On Sunday, the final Special test of the day was a five-lap motocross race in 90-degree heat. The three-quarter-mile course had many tricky turns and elevation changes, but Carl Altier III put together an outstanding ride in the Post-Vintage Over 60 Expert class to win by nearly 20 seconds. Altier suffered two broken ankles in a crash in 2010, and on this day, the whole crowd cheered him on to the win.

Carl Altier III at speed.

Carl Altier III at speed.

“I am surprised I won,” Altier admitted. “It’s been five years since I saw a checkered flag. My bike doesn’t have a lot of power, but I was trying really hard. I had a great time!”

Carl Altier III takes the checkers in the Post-Vintage Over 60 Expert class.

Carl Altier III takes the checkers in the Post-Vintage Over 60 Expert class.

Lancaster Sport Cycles owner Tim Shephard, who is originally from Barboursville, West Virginia, and Glouster, Ohio’s Nick Dickens also put on a great show, riding wheel to wheel for four laps. Dickens led the whole way, but Shephard was stalking him when they took the white flag for one lap to go.

“I saw a fender a couple of times, and that was when I realized it was Tim,” Dickens said.

Tim Shephard (405) stalks Nick Dickens (305) in Post-Vintage Expert action.

Tim Shephard (405) stalks Nick Dickens (305) in Post-Vintage Expert action.

An early mistake on the last lap cost Dickens the lead.

“I almost fell in the creek,” Dickens said. “I could have passed Tim back when he made a mistake [and] went into a corner way too wide, but I made the same mistake because I was watching him instead of the trail. It was still a fun race.”

At the finish, Shephard came through for the win.

“I had a really good race,” Shephard said. “Kevin Brown and the crew laid out a good course.”

Nick Dickens explodes up out of the creek crossing on way to the Post-Vintage Open Expert victory.

Nick Dickens explodes up out of the creek crossing on way to the Post-Vintage Open Expert victory.

Shephard is arguably one of the best Vintage racers in the USA, and after crossing the finish line, he pulled back up to the starting line behind the last class of the day. Fellow ISDT veteran Wally Wilson had claimed, “I am number one, I have Tim Shephard’s number,” at the banquet on Saturday night, so Shephard decided to send Wally a message.

As the Modern-bikes class left the line, Shephard followed the field into the first turn on his 1980s-era Yamaha. Since he had just raced the course, Shephard flew his post-vintage machine over the natural-terrain course and passed all of the field before the end of the first lap. Shephard then ripped off another fast lap and pulled off, leaving Wally to take the class win.

“I will trash-talk Tim Shephard until the day I die – I just have to get better at backing it up,” Wilson said as he shared a laugh with Shephard. “I got to ride with two guys I had never met, and we became friends. It was a good weekend.”

Tim Hamilton threads his Vintage Husky through the woods en route to runner-up in the Vintage Over 60 contest.

Tim Hamilton threads his Vintage Husky through the woods en route to runner-up in the Vintage Over 60 contest.

Rob Phelan traveled 800 miles from Connecticut to race his Rokon motorcycle to third in the Post-Vintage Over 60 Expert class.

“It is a 1976 Rokon,” Phelan said. “[It] has a snowmobile-style automatic clutch and was assembled in America, and it works pretty darn good. When we pulled in and saw the beautiful trails and countryside, I knew it would be a great time – and it has been.”

An automatic Rokon, a brand that went well all weekend. They were chosen by the U.S. Army when they fielded an ISDT Club Team in the mid-’70s.

An automatic Rokon, a brand that went well all weekend. They were chosen by the U.S. Army when they fielded an ISDT Club Team in the mid-’70s.

Rob Drane, who was first in the Historic Open Intermediate ranks, piloted one of the many automatic Rokons at the Ride. They were fast.

Rob Drane, who was first in the Historic Open Intermediate ranks, piloted one of the many automatic Rokons at the Ride. They were fast.

Charles Williams rode in the Modern class, and he styled up the slippery creek bank on Sunday.

Charles Williams rode in the Modern class, and he styled up the slippery creek bank on Sunday.

Michael Thompson in Sunday’s motocross test. He took first in the Post-Vintage Open Novice class on his KTM.

Michael Thompson in Sunday’s motocross test. He took first in the Post-Vintage Open Novice class on his KTM.

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Paul Busick (left) got off to a rough start…

Paul Busick (left) got off to a rough start…

…as he fell back into the creek bed while his bike waited for him up on the bank…

…as he fell back into the creek bed while his bike waited for him up on the bank…

…but he would nevertheless end up winning the Post-Vintage Over 70 Intermediate class.

…but he would nevertheless end up winning the Post-Vintage Over 70 Intermediate class.

Since the first event in 1913, the International Six Days Trials has been regarded as the Olympics for off-road racers. Each country would send its best riders, on motorcycles built in that country. Each rider’s scores were added up to determine the winning team. Later, riders were allowed to use any motorcycle they wanted, and that opened it for the USA in 1964.

DSC05570 Hey, guys! I found the photographer! He’s over here!

Hey, guys! I found the photographer! He’s over here!

In the beginning, this country’s riders were on converted street bikes – large, heavy four-strokes – but in 1968, John Penton changed all of that when he began to import and sell Penton motorcycles: small, lightweight, reliable two-stroke machines similar to the Husqvarna motocross machines introduced to the USA in 1967. These bikes and the talent of the European riders helped fuel the golden era of motorcycle racing in this country as we learned to compete.

The ultimate driving … er, riding machine. Who knew BMW was working on an adventure bike back in the mid-’70s when they raced boxers at the ISDT?

The ultimate driving … er, riding machine. Who knew BMW was working on an adventure bike back in the mid-’70s when they raced boxers at the ISDT?

With more competitive bikes, early ISDT racers such as John Penton, Dave and Bud Ekins, and a part-time actor and racer by the name of Steve McQueen demonstrated to the rest the country what the ISDT was all about.

The event changed its name to the International Six Days Enduro. Despite all of Penton’s efforts and the great riders here in the USA, the Trophy Team award is the one prestigious title in motorcycle competition that the USA has never won. The USA has captured the Silver Vase Trophy in 1973 and 2006, and after it was renamed the Junior Trophy Team, the USA won it again in 2014.

ISDT Reunion Ride
Athens, Ohio
Results: September 5-6, 2015

PREMIER EX: 1. Corky Root (DNF).

CLASSIC INT: 1. Barry Porter (Gold); 2. Jared Scott (DNF); 3. Thom Kuhns (DNF); 4. Dave Rozier (DNF); 5. Rico Yamane (DNF).

SPORTSMAN 200 INT: 1. John (Adam) Flowers (Gold); 2. William Haschak (DNF).

SPORTSMAN 200 EX: 1. Gary Richards (Gold).

SPORTSMAN OPEN NOV: 1. Dan Pagel (Gold).

SPORTSMAN OPEN INT: 1. Mark Abdella (Gold); 2. Joseph Cole (Gold).

SPORTSMAN OPEN EX: 1. Bob Wardlow (Gold).

VINTAGE 50+ NOV: 1. Bob Wentzel (Gold); 2. Richard Hoover (Gold).

VINTAGE 50+ EX: 1. John Fischer (DNF).

VINTAGE 60+ INT: 1. Mark Zachary (Gold); 2. Greg Meeks (Gold); 3. Dwight Gill (Silver); 4. Bruce Hughes (Bronze); 5. Lewis Mayer (DNF).

VINTAGE 60+ EX: 1. Dwight Rudder (Gold); 2. Tim Hamilton (Gold); 3. Ted Atkinson (DNF); 4. Tom Parfitt (DNF).

VINTAGE 70+ EX: 1. Gerald Pacholke (Gold); 2. Helmut Clausen (Silver); 3. Jake Fischer (DNF).

HISTORIC 200 INT: 1. James Lubniewski (Gold).

HISTORIC OPEN INT: 1. Rob Drane (Gold); 2. Tony Read (DNF).

HISTORIC OPEN EX: 1. Clay Hedgepath (Gold); 2. Danny Sullivan (Gold); 3. Mike Scholl (Gold); 4. Jerry Grakauskas (Gold).

POST-VINTAGE WOMEN INT: 1. Polly Grow (Gold); 2. Becky Hayes (Gold).

POST-VINTAGE 200 NOV: 1. Christopher Hensley (Gold); 2. Bruce Bodell (Silver).

POST-VINTAGE 200 INT: 1. Gary Ellis (Gold); 2. Jason Johnson (Silver); 3. Jacob Flowers (Silver); 4. Eric Choffin (DNF); 5. David Kidd (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 200 EX: 1. Mike Parker (Gold); 2. Perry Hodges (Gold).

POST-VINTAGE OPEN NOV: 1. Michael Thompson (Gold).

POST-VINTAGE OPEN INT: 1. Ricky Thomas (Gold); 2. Mike Day (Silver); 3. Chris Rees (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE OPEN EX: 1. Nick Dickens (Gold).

POST-VINTAGE 50+ NOV: 1. Michael Husted (Gold); 2. Terry Becker (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 50+ INT: 1. Gregg Whittenberger (Gold); 2. Greg Johnson (Gold); 3. Shawn Woodward (Silver); 4. Lee Stebleton (DNF); 5. Dave McIntyre (DNF); 6. David Willoughby (DNF); 7. Bill Michels (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 50+ EX: 1. Tim Shephard (Gold); 2. Daniel Gavin (Silver); 3. Scott Klamfoth (Silver); 4. Timothy Grow (Silver); 5. Mike MacEachern (Silver); 6. Steven Szewczyk (Silver); 7. Andy Hardin (Silver); 8. Dale Sonnenschein (Silver); 9. John Heger (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 60+ NOV: 1. Noel German (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 60+ INT: 1. Joe Adomaitis (Gold); 2. Mike Cluse (Gold); 3. Doug Gagnon (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 60+ EX: 1. Carl Altier III (Gold); 2. Bob Bean (Gold); 3. Rob Phelan (Gold); 4. Jerry Harris (Silver); 5. Kelvin Thomas (Silver); 6. Mick Milakovic (Silver); 7. Dennis Brown (Silver); 8. Tom Heger (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 70+ INT: 1. Paul Busick (Gold); 2. Lynn Burton (DNF); 3. Don Kelly (DNF).

POST-VINTAGE 70+ EX: 1. Zahn Lewis (Gold); 2. John Friedli (Silver); 3. Teddy Landers (Silver).

PREMODERN INT: 1. James Kitson (Gold); 2. David Brown (Gold).

MODERN: 1. Wally Wilson (Gold); 2. Ron Palermo (Gold); 3. Mike McCarren (Gold); 4. Frank Gallo Jr. (Gold); 5. Charles Williams (DNF).

[For more photos from this event, please check out 2015 ISDT Reunion Ride – motoriteGP-MXphotos… Editor]

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Category: Enduro, Vintage, Vintage Off-Road

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