I've taken what I call a new year sabbatical to San Francisco every January since promotors added The Bay Area's Giants Stadium to the AMA Supercross series in 2003. San Francisco is my favorite big little city in the US, and my friends Holden and Mike live in Berkeley and Carmel, respectively, so it's a great excuse to kill about six birds with one stone (spectating, dining, drinking, reminiscing, shopping and recuperating.)
This year was the first time in half a decade the event wasn't a rain-soaked mess, so my friends Andy Jenkins, Mike D and Big Jon made the trip with me. We checked into the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square just before 9pm Friday, and quickly proceeded to drink the cosy lobby bar dry. When I woke up Saturday morning there were candy bar wrappers and Coke cans strewn about my room, so I assumed we wrapped up early and hit the sack to get some rest for Saturday's race. How wrong I was. At lunch on Saturday Andy regaled me with the details of my previous evening's debaucheries. Apparently we went to two more bars after Holden excused himself for the drive back to Berkeley: an Irish pub and Left O'Doul's piano bar and Jewish cafeteria. At Lefty's I dropped 20's like Kid Sensation in a Sir Mix-A-Lot video and told ribald tales of sexual dalliances on European soil. So much for rest and relaxation. According to Andy no real damage was done, so all was forgiven. Thanks for the good time, fellas.
After a late breakfast Saturday morning at Lefty O'Doul's cafeteria, Andy and I went to the track to check out works moto machinery and say hi to old friends. The first guy we bumped into was Mitch Payton. Mitch is an old buddy and the owner of the most successful 125/250 satellite team in motocross history, the Kawasaki/Pro Curcuit/Monster Energy squad from Corona, CA. During our brief conversation Mitch told Andy and me his wife is expecting twins. Congratulations, brother. Our next stop was the Factory Yamaha rig for coffee and chit chat with Jimmy Perry. Jimmy shared some funny stories about the good old days and let us get a hands-on look at a works Yamaha 450 race bike. This blog is about old iron, so I won't bore you with photos of titanium headers, magnesium triple clamps and aluminum handlebars. What I will bore you with is photos of these…
A Spanish Ossa 250 dirt bike
Triumph dirt trackerTriBeesa dirt bike from the late '60s? I'm terrible at guessing the vintage of old motorcycles (especially British ones), so your guess is as good as mine
A BSA scrambler from days long by
And my favorite, an Ariel trials bike with JC Whitney air cleaner and massive rear sprocket for stump-jumping torque
AHRMA curated the old bike museum in the SF SX pits, and it was great. I didn't get to ask many questions, but they were more than happy to clear a path so I could snap photos with my iPhone.
The race was exciting but predictable, with Yamaha-mounted Bubba Stewart taking his fourth win in a row over second-place finisher and current series points leader Chad Reed. Stewart suffered a DNF at the first round of this year's series, but he's been untouchable ever since, and I suspect he will snatch that points lead from Reed by mid February.
The drive home Sunday went fast, and all my friends made it back in time to see the second half of a great Superbowl. Thanks to all my friends for making the whirlwind trek to the Bay Area with me, and to Andy's friend and MX Pro Ryan Clark for scoring us the free tickets and pit credentials. I love supercross, and Ryan's hook-ups made my favorite race on the circuit the best one ever.