It's just getting light out. I'm alone, eastbound, headed over White Pass. It is 6:30am, the day after Christmas, 2006.
The Starbuck's cup is almost empty, and long since cold. There is no one on the road, and I'm headed to the other side of the mountains to pick up a bike. I do my best thinking when I'm driving. I've taken in recent years to leaving the radio off. As I drive I have a notion to write down a few thoughts about Vintage Motocross, specifically AHRMA.
We have an opportunity for Ahrma to race at Washougal. This has been in the works for two years and finally has come to fruition. In this, the 11th hour, Ahrma management has insisted that it CANNOT be an Ahrma Race. Why not? you ask. Several reasons have been given, each sounding perfectly fine until you begin to ask some questions. It's unnecessary politics. Online discussions of these issues are almost always diluted with sort of 6th grade bickering and a great deal of misinformation. Normally I'd stay off it but I've had enough, and after some meetings with the Ahrma NW Leadership Team (aka the A-Team) we decided it was time to set the record straight.
AHRMA needs some new leadership. However this story is so long and such a spectacular mess that in order to address the State of Vintage in the PNW there will need to be subcategory at every stage to explain how it came to be.
I AM AHRMA
Critics are often accused of savaging AHRMA. This is a spin of course. The critics aren't outsiders. It's Us. The members. WE are Ahrma. We are critical, because we want things to improve. We are Americans. We can say whatever we want to say. The voices of ALL members should be heard, not squashed.
When I see management doing ANYTHING counterproductive - ranging from subtle to running the region into the ground, it is my obligation to say something.
At the regional level Vintage Racing is a fragile house of cards. The trick is to keep it standing. In order to have and continue to have successful races, the track owner or promoter has to make some money (or at least not lose money). If the race loses money, the owner and/or the promoter suddenly "realizes" that they don't have any room on the calendar for a Vintage Race. It all falls apart and that race disappears. When I first started racing the Pacific Northwest had three Ahrma Races: Madras, Eugene, and The Farm. The Farm is a National and a great success. The regionals at Madras & Eugene are now gone. And now the regional at the Spokane Track.
Why Eugene is gone - Eugene also died when only the Vintage Bikes showed up in 2004. The Post Vintage Classes were no longer offered and the race had been scheduled the same weekend as Hodaka Days. Those riders with only PV bikes stayed home. Some riders with both Vintage and PV stayed home. The showing was dismal. Now the track owners have said they "want absolutely nothing to do with Ahrma." That's a Quote. A sad state of affairs that could have been avoided, and it was all related to the politics of Ahrma itself.
did this all happen??