Nestled a few miles East of a little town called Doyle is the Fort Sage OHV Park. Its about smack in the middle of HWY 395 between Reno, NV. and Susanville, CA. According to Wikipedia it has a population of about 675 people.
Fort Sage OHV is managed by BLM (Not THAT BLM), but the Original BLM. Bureau of Land Management. The special Recreation Management Area consists of approximately 28,598 acres of public land that is managed for off-highway vehicle use such as motorcycles, ATV’s, Side by Sides, and 4WD.
Cross Country Promotions along with District36 and the BLM put on this 2 day event as part of the Fall Cross Country series.
We did not get to attend Day 1 due to other responsibilities, but all we heard when we go to the track on Sunday was how fun the course was. As I was told Saturdays races was a 12 miles-ish course and the conditions and weather were perfect. No dust and a warm 70 degrees. A poker run/family race was run that evening on a 15 mile course. Everyone who did it said they had a great time.
We left Norcalmotocross HQ around 4am Saturday morning to get there in time to get checked for an 830 start. It was an easy trip up and over Donner Summit and down into Reno, and then 45 minutes North from Reno into Doyle, followed by a few miles of dirt road up to Fort Sage OHV.
Sign ups were a breeze. The volunteers at D36 always make it an easy time to get registered and solve any issues you may have.
The morning started chilly, but by race time most people were in sunglasses and t shirts. The course was right around 26 miles long and everyone was ready for the first moto to take off. The AA tore off the line with Anthony Ferrante leading the charge. Norcalmotocross rider Taylor Washburn in his first Hare Scramble and first race back since being injured with broken ribs 6 weeks ago took his time out off the line and hit the course from row 7 in Vet B. Riding a stock 250f we knew he would need to pit each lap with lap times expected to be in the 45 to 50 minute range. At the end of Lap 1 Anson Maloney had taken the lead, but came into pit, while Anthony took the lead again in AA. I was unable to locate the timing and scoring URL on my phone to check times, but it was pretty close to 45 minutes when they came in. Taylor came in about 15 minutes later and looked good, but said he was pretty tired. By the end of the race of the 94 who started, 92 finished 62 riders made it 3 laps, 25 made 2 laps and 5 made 1 lap.
About 30 minutes before the start of Race 2 we see a medical helicopter flying in. Knowing that racers were still finishing up Race 1 everyone was nervous. The promoters quickly let everyone know that it was there for show and tell and to encourage riders to sign up for Air Ambulance insurance. I thought it was perfect timing as the Novice division lined up as the heli was landing.
I lined up in Race 2 in the C Super Senior division. Thats 50 over beginner/novice for those not familiar with Off Road divisions. I was Row 10 with 147 total riders in Race 2. There was a holeshot award of $50 from Monterey Peninsula Power Sports, but ALAS the combination of my technique, my old fashioned kickstart bike and my 125cc of displacement prevented me from winning said holeshot award. In my 6th or 7th place start I tried to be as patient as possible during the first couple miles. There were not many places to pass and I didn’t want to cause a pile up with a stupid pass. I knew there was going to be almost 90 minutes to make some moves. About 2 or 3 miles in the course widened and the Sand Whoops started. I dont know if the trails at Fort Sage are always whooped out like this, or it was because we were the last race of a 2 day event (and we ran right after the fast classes). All I can tell you is the that the whoops had whoops on them. And if you were not in whoops you were in single track wedged between giant boulder, or you were climbing a hill. There was no where to rest. We raced across the desert to the North and then headed East up the mountain and then back South again across the back of the mountain before descending back into the valley towards the starting line, only to be turned around and head BACK up towards the mountains and then down towards the starting line. The first place rider in C200 came in around 47 minutes while the leader in Super Senior C was Jerry Anderson at 55 minutes. I followed in 2nd at 57 minutes. Jerry and I had matching lap-times in Lap 2 of 56 minutes.
I am happy with my 2nd place finish on such a brutal course. The views were amazing, the weather was perfect, the course was top notch. I hope to make this event again. Thanks to D36, BLM, and Cross Country Promotions for putting on such a great event.