Early Saturday morning 11/29/1969, myself, my wife, Connie, and my fellow Ram MC member George Green are headed east from Mojave, Ca to Yermo, CA for the 3rd annual AMA District 37 Barstow to Vegas Hare and Hound desert race. We had preloaded my 1967 Husky 250 and Georgeís 1966 Husky in his truck. The plan was that, if I broke down or crashed, George would find and tow me back and my day would be over.
I was dropped off at the pits at Yermo and George and Connie left for the first gas stop at Rasor Rd on I-15. I waited in line to register and get my tank card. I was told there would be a riders meeting. Not so. All riders were already on the start line for bikes over 100 ccís. There were over 1000 there already. Trailbikes for 100ccís and under were on their own start line after the dust could settle.
All I could see were wall to wall bikes from south to north, 3 to 4 deep. Front line, no room, no choice. I would be starting behind at least 3 bikes, I would now be in the fourth line. I parked my bike and walked to the riders in front and joined in their conversations. A tall Triumph rider (Desert MC) asked me (a Rams MC member) if I was serious about this race. I replied that I was deadly serious. The Desert MC Triumph guy said that he would agree to swap places with me, as his plan was to get a decent start and keep a steady pace. I was astonished to say the least. We swapped places. I was now on the front line. I gave him my name and asked if he ever had time to come to Mojave, we could ride in my back yard.
The banner dropped and over a thousand racers headed east to Las Vegas. Great start, but I crashed after passing the alternate gas stop, remounted and kept on going. Gas and water at the first gas stop. Kept on going. Second gas stop at Cima Road off ramp. Kept on going. The course crossed north under I-15. I am now flat out on a road over a dry lake. I am slowly catching up with Triumph rider Mike Burke (a Checker MC). At full speed I am now on his left. He rolled more throttle and I had no more speed. I watched his rear knobby tire spit out a rock, and in slow motion, I now saw that rock headed to my left shoulder. Impact. It nearly took me off the bike. Kept on going. I made it to the third gas stop at State Line. Kept on going.
Sometime later the course now was on a power line service road on the right side. Roller after roller. I was out of power and was just hanging on. My Mojave neighbor, Wayne Garrett (Trail Menace MC) waved as he passed me. I caught a second wind. Soon after I could see Las Vegas in the distance only a few miles away. The finish line was at the Stagecoach Inn on the strip.
I finished after 5 and a half hours. Crossed 2 mountain ranges. Could not see with my left eye with all the dust that I had collected. George caught a ride back home to Mojave. I kept his truck with both bikes intact. Connie and I stayed in Vegas and left Sunday for home in Mojave.
The official race results arrived a few weeks later. I was 3rd 250 Novice out of 279 Novices and 21st 250 out of 468 250ís, and 24th 250 out of 658 Lightweights. The Trophy Presentation was held on Saturday, Jan 31, 1970 at the St Sava Hall, 1640 S San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel, CA. There I met my Triumph rider, Desert MC member, Alan E. Johnson, who also finished 129th OA and was 3rd 650 Novice. I couldnít thank him enough for his sportsmanship. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses. He accepted my invitation to come to Mojave and ride with me. We rode Saturday and Sunday, and he headed back home to LA.
Sometime later he called and said that he was taking some time off to go skiing in Utah and he would come back to Mojave to ride again. He came back a second time. Sometime later he called and said that he was going to New Zealand and would be gone for a few months. He came back again and rode with me. Alan also invited myself and Connie to stay with him at his Newport Beach home after dropping off my Husky at the Elsinore GP impound baseball field. Sometime later he called and said that he was going to Colorado to look for property. He bought a ranch outside of Durango. I was invited to visit him but the opportunity never came.
In all the conversations that we shared, we never discussed riding enduros. We both rode and finished the Shamrock Enduro May 4, 1969 and the 1969 Greenhorn Enduro May 31 and June 1, 1969. My Triumph riding friend Alan E. Johnson passed away March 28, 2016 in Durango, CO.