Loren and the Virgin (Run)
Date is May 2, 1971 and the Master Links MC are having their Virgin Voyage H&H near Cuddeback Dry Lake which is north of the Hwy 395 and Hwy 58 intersection. They are also making a big deal about having virgin territory for the course.
Back in those days there were two start lines, the Expert/Amateur line and the Novice line where I found myself that day.
About fifteen minutes after the first line is off the banner raises, silence abounds, and at its drop I kick my 250 Bultaco Pursang to life and off I go. At the bomb I find myself in the top group of riders and little dust. Things are looking good.
Several miles past the bomb I start battling it out with two Husky riders in Shamrock jerseys. One is on a 360 and the other on a 250. Now the fun began. We’d jump into the lead and then lose the trail. Find ourselves off course and looking for lime. Then one of us would see the line of dust for the main pack of riders and off we’d go. Work ourselves back up and into the lead only to lose the lime and lead the other two astray and off on some tangent. Repeat this several times.
Finally I find myself back in front and this 250 Husky rider right on my tail. By now we’re catching and passing several riders who started on the Expert/Amateur line. We swapped positions several times and I lead him into the pits. Got a super pit and I was out on the second loop with this guy hot on my tail.
Many miles in, up and over one hill and I see a checkpoint up ahead. As I am coming in I notice this gal standing by the trail in a full-length white fur coat. Whoa…. It’s the start of summer so what the hell is she doing in that coat? As I come barreling in she opens up the coat to reveal herself in all her birthday suit splendor. Being a young buck of nineteen I turn my head to take a good look as I bowl over one of the checkers. Race??? What Race??? There’s naked women about. This turned out to be the “virgin” in “virgin territory”. Get my tank card marked and off I go. The Husky rider still on my tail.
Many miles later and on the home stretch the course takes us across a dry lake. I tuck in and open it up. Look behind me and there’s the Husky rider about fifty feet back tucked in as well. I turn back and flip him off. (All in fun mind you.) He looks shocked and shakes his fist at me.
Couple miles to go and he tries to pass but doesn’t make it and falls back. I come into the finish first 250 novice. Some guy on a big bore Maico ahead of me. I never saw his dust otherwise I would have opened it up more.
I get pulled aside for a picture and missed talking to this Husky rider I had
OK, flash forward several months. Don’t remember the sponsoring club but it’s a H&H. I’m now sporting a yellow strip and doing pretty good at this new level of competition. I’m in the top ten past the bomb and even there it’s pretty dusty. Maybe two miles past the bomb and going through some rolling hills I get up close and personal with a rather large cactus. The left side of my body looks like a pincushion. Through my leathers, my side, my arms, and through my gloves. I can barely move.
Pull off, get the pliers out, strip down and slowly start pulling cactus needles out of my body. Watch all the Expert/Amateurs and the later Novice line go by and I’m sitting there thinking I’m the only one around. Start up my bike and go up and over the next hill and there in front of me is that Husky rider from months before. Ride up, say hi and introduce myself. Find out his name is Darell Brassfield and he was in the top five and trying to pass Tom Muto when a Joshua tree reached out and touched him. Bike came out the worse of this encounter.
To make a longer story short Darell and I became best friends and still are almost 35 years later even though we now live about 500 miles apart. We were roommates, dated some of the same women and always bitched at each other about whose club we’d camp with when we’d go out to races. The deal was whoever drove, that’s whose club we’d stay at. But it didn’t stop the good natured beratement of the character of the others club mates.
When I go over to his house I always ask his daughter to show me her dad’s second place trophy. Gets him all pissy like.
After almost thirty years away from desert racing I find that the most memorable races were the ones with some sort of lasting human element in them. The fun and camaraderie is, I think, why most of us raced desert rather than motocross.
And as a side note let’s also flash back to 1976 or ‘77. Can’t remember for sure. I had moved out of Southern California and up to Santa Rosa north of San Francisco. I came down in the summer for a European Scrambles put on by the Master Links. Just spectating this time. Once again the Master Links had a “virgin” out on the course and Brian Klock is taking pictures as riders go by her. Well, turns out she’s the same virgin from 1971. And she’s almost a neighbor! She was then living in Sebastopol, which is just west of Santa Rosa. Small world. No, I never did call her up as at the time I was dating someone who many friends said was one of the most beautiful women in Sonoma County. In hindsight I probably should have. Oh well.
Loren Davis, RAMS MC Ye Old Rams