Up north, dirt bike racing all but comes to a screeching halt in winter months, but 2Moto
has changed that with its snow bike creation and a new racing concept called Ground Zero. Using dirt bikes with snow track and ski conversions, these machines are only just beginning to show their potential, and the world’s first ever snow bike race in McCall, Idaho, was a teaser and testament to how far this new motorsport can go.
John Dowd was unstoppable all weekend. He was one of the Legends racers who were invited by 2Moto to showcase the event.
Race promoter, Ron Dillon, who is usually known for his Big Nasty Hillclimb
event, got behind the idea and it was featured as part of the McCall Winter Carnival schedule. 2Moto product owners were allowed to sign up in the Trophy class which divided the race entrants into a pair of heats, semis and LCQ races. The winner of each qualifier would transfer directly to the A main and second place went to the B main. Each of these regular Joes were pushed by the extra incentive of joining the Legends race and lining up against motorcycle heroes John Dowd, Mike Metzger, Alex Smith, Robie Peterson, Derek Mahoney, Bret Peterson, Steve Hatch and David Olcott. The winner of each main event would join the big dogs, but as it turned out, the locals would be more than a mere novelty.
Boise’s Richie Reynolds won the opening heat with a holeshot and wire-to-wire performance, and he would repeat in the A main. It was clear to everyone in attendance that the RM-Z450 rider would be competitive with the snow bike rookies in the Legends division. Brian “Fuzz” Allen looked to be a serious thereat for the A main win after showing up only minutes before decimating Heat 2 without any practice. He would eventually be beaten by Reynolds. Shane Donaca got stronger as the day progressed and his victory in the B main proved that he too deserved a shot at additional glory.
Dave Olcott and Steve Hatch share a few words before the start.
Legends Moto 1 kicked off before the bracket racing was complete and it was Dowd who took the opening victory. Hatch pulled an early lead after having to swap bikes on the starting gate when his RM-Z’s rear brake was rendered useless by excess air. Mounted on a loaner Kawasaki, Hatch put down some serious times, much faster than the previous day’s practice sessions revealed. Hatch would fall back, but good pals Metzger and Mahoney picked up the slack and started picking on Junkyard Dowd. Metz was the first to strike and diced for a couple laps. Mahoney was next and looked to be the most serious concern as the eight laps wound down, but JD was able to hold on using a terrific outside line through the back straight and through the checkers.
Attendance estimates ranged as high as 1200 spectators. We thought it was closer to 500, though keeping track of the milling crowd wasn’t nearly as interesting or important to us as following the on-track action. Following the autograph sessions and final Trophy qualifying, fans had a chance to grab a brew from the beer tent and find their favorite spot for Legend’s Moto 2. The music DJ and host emcee shared time on the PA system as the pros lined up again for a 10-lap finale.
Shane Donaca and Richie Reynolds were popular with the fans. The local underdogs both ran great races against the Legends competition.
Dowd had borrowed Reynold’s bike for the first race, but since the Boise rider qualified to try his throttle hand against the Legends, Dowdy was forced to mount a stock RM-Z450. Judging solely on his textbook holeshot and runaway sprint, the bike swap didn’t seem to faze him. Reynolds and Donaca both had excellent performances and were cheered loudly by the partisan fans. After running 2-3 for the opening laps, Donaca began to tire but gave Mahoney and Metzger about as much as they could handle. Though he put up a spirited fight, the Honda rider eventually gave in to exertion and dropped grudgingly back to fifth. Mahoney was able to track down Reynolds, but a serious knee injury in the final moments saw his chances slip away. Despite the injury, Mahoney landed on the podium in third alongside Reynolds and Dowd. The Godfather of FMX, Metzger, scored fourth. Only the second moto scores counted for points, so overall finishes were the same.
Overall it was impossible to find anyone who didn’t enjoy themselves. We didn’t hear one negative comment from the crowd, the weather was perfect, the race program ran smoothly and even the 2Moto staff was amazed at how impressive the machines performed in competition. From the non-qualifier to John Dowd and even Maimed Mahoney, the riders were definitely all pumped on this new sport. It won’t be tough for 2Moto to find a full list of willing Legends as this event becomes an annual event. Don’t be surprised to see some kind of series take shape as the snow bike movement builds momentum.
The Legends and 2Moto crew were all smiles for Ground Zero.
1. John Dowd, 1-1
2. Richie Reynolds, 0-2
3. Derek Mahoney, 5-3
4. Mike Metzger, 3-4
5. Shane Donaca, 0-5
6. Steve Hatch, 4-6
7. Robie Peterson, 8-7
8. Bret Peterson, 2-8
9. Alexander Smith, 7-9
10. David Olcott, 6-10
A Main Results:
1. Richie Reynolds, Suz
2. Brian Allen, Hon
3. Russell Warren, Hon
4. Michael Fowler, KTM
5. Darryl Vamieuwenhuise, KTM
B Main Results;
1. Shane Donaca, Hon
2. Joe Sheridan, Husa
3. Lynn Hodges, Hon
4. Nick Schacht, Kaw
5. Ben Grant, Yam
6. Cailen McCurdy, Kaw