A major Dirt Quake struck the Pacific Northwest last weekend and the small town of Castle Rock, Washington, is still reeling from the after effects. The rumblings started early Saturday evening with Mt. St Helens Motorcycle Club’s season opening flat track races and didn’t stop until the checkered flag waved on the Harley-Davidson Invitational Race Sunday evening. While Dirt Quake USA 2015 might not have registered on the Richter Scale, it broke the fun meter with its weekend of dirt-flinging insanity.
Dirt Quake is the brainchild of Sideburn Magazine and See See Motorcycles. It encourages those with a need for speed to hit the dirt track and rip off a few laps, regardless of what type of motorcycle you ride. It provides an opportunity to engage in friendly competition with peers on a legitimate dirt track, Castle Rock being one of the stops of the AMA Pro Flat Track racing circuit. Riders are divided into four classes – Inappropriate Road Bike, Street Tracker, Chopper and Lady. Competitors had to submit a picture of their bikes to Sideburn prior to the race who ultimately decided what category they would compete in. This year saw the addition of the Harley-Davidson Invitational Race, a group consisting of proven shops with dirt track racing in their blood, the list including Rusty Butcher, Roland Sands Design, The Speed Merchant, Suicide Machine Co. and British Customs.
But it was the eclectic menagerie of oddballs that gives Dirt Quake its authenticity. There was the ground-skirting nine-foot-long Honda with skateboard decks for floorboards, an old ammo box for a battery housing, its fuel tank held on by a belt, its tractor seat suspended on leaf springs with four-foot long pullback handlebars stretching back to it. Its burly bearded rider topped it all off by stripping down to a loin cloth for a nigh-naked late-night romp around the campground. There was the Inline-Four powered chopper of the North West Crew equipped with a sidecar that raced, complete with passenger in sidecar. Few will forget the cat in the assless chaps wearing Star Spangled undies bombing down the straights on his wicked sounding Suzuki with the Evel Knievel tribute paint job. Then there was chicken man on his KTM Adventure flying off the TT jump during intermission entertainment before the main. Mini-bikes were mainstream and even a couple of snowmobiles spun laps on the track.
Word is spreading fast about the Saturday night party before the Dirt Quake races. The after-party band stirred the pot with renditions of punk favorites from the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols.
“When’s the last rock & roll show you went with a mini-bike in the pit? F*ck the rest of them!” declared the singer.
Yes, there was a mini-bike in the mosh pit. And beer flying. And people grabbing the mic to sing along. After the band’s speaker stand almost got toppled for the umpteenth time, the band pulled the plug on the set early for the sake of their equipment. The party simply shifted a few hundred feet away as an impromptu dirt track race broke out in the campground. It started with a handful of riders, but as soon as people saw how much fun they were having, many ran back to their camps to grab their bikes. Then the jumping started. Someone had brought a small wooden ramp and soon bikes of all sorts were launching into the air. Not long after there was a boat wreck. On dry land. A blue flat bottom boat got hitched to the back of a truck, was filled with partygoers, then drug in a circle around the campground. Until it flipped and spilled everybody out. An overzealous jumper crashed into a trailer. Then they finally pulled the plug on the floodlights, so everybody took the party back to their camps.
The next morning, the driver of the track’s water truck thought it was cute to blast his air horn at 6 a.m. while watering down the dusty roads of the campground. He also got his kicks spraying people who had passed out on the ground. Free bottles of Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee helped the hungover shake cobwebs from their heads. After a brief rider’s meeting in the early afternoon it was time to fire up the Dirt Quake races.
It started with Beetlejuice leading parade laps on a Honda ATC disguised as a giant slice of cheese pizza and ended with the Harley Invitational Race, with plenty of hooliganism in between. The ladies kicked up plenty of dirt when it was their turn. This wasn’t no powder puff racing. It got real when Rusty Butcher, Suicide Machine Co, RSD and The Speed Merchant crew hit the track. Riding stripped-down, hopped-up Harley Sportsters, these guys could really ride. Suicide Machine’s Shaun Guardado took a hard spill while putting it all on the line. Rusty Butcher took it one further during the intermission when riders launched themselves off Castle Rock’s TT berm to the delight of the crowd. Butcher hit the jump with so much speed he overshot the backside of the berm, bounced a couple times, then launched again off the lip of the TT turn. Still not sure how he rode that one out, but his mad skills carried him over both jumps and through the infield to the other side of the track. He did tweak his knee in the process though, writing on the Iconosquare page with dqusa pictures that “…I’m singing the blues about my knee right now from this haha. Thank you @edsubias for the video! #TrackerTuesday at the end you can see my footpeg snapping off on the left!”
When the dust had settled from the Harley-Davidson Invitational Main, it was Helder Alvernaz representing Roland Sands Design on the RSD AmeriTracker who rode away with first place. Alvernaz was a beast all afternoon on the RSD sporty, coming out of every corner slung sideways.
There’s few vestiges left where you can still have unbridled biker fun. The spirit of Sturgis’ City Park in the ‘70s lives on. It’s channeled in the little soiree called Dirt Quake. Thanks See See Motorcycles and Sideburn Magazine for keeping the spirit alive.
- It's easy to see how this guy became a Dirt Quake crowd favorite.
- You couldn't wipe the smile off this guys face as he romped around Castle Rock at Dirt Quake 2015.
- Pitching a tent and hangin' out with bros was a big part of Dirt Quake 2015.
- Riders come out of Castle Rock's Turn Two 3-wide at Dirt Quake 2015.