Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Sturgis 2017 - Racing

Written by  September 29, 2017

Motorcycle competition is at the heart of the annual Sturgis Rally.  The rally traces its origin to races put on by Clarence “Pappy Hoel” and the Jackpine Gypsies.  Motorcycle competition is still featured at Sturgis with many events sponsored by the Gypsies and others.  The Jackpine Gypsies’ events include motocross, hill climb, verticross, short track, dirt drags, and a bagger race and rodeo.  The City of Sturgis sponsors Pappy Hoel Speed Classic Races on the historic ½-mile track at the fairgrounds with assistance from the White Plate Flat Trackers Association.  The Spirit of Sturgis features antique and vintage bikes also on the Sturgis 1/2-mile.  The Black Hills Drag Racing Association keeps action going at the Sturgis Dragway.  The Sturgis Buffalo Chip Moto Stampede series features multiple kinds of motorcycle racing.  Rapid City gets in on the action hosting an evening of AMA flat track racing on their ½-mile dirt track.  As usual, I dedicated my Monday in Sturgis to covering racing events.

Jackpine Gypsies Pro-am Hill Climb
The Gypsies Clubgrounds located at the southwest edge of Sturgis south of I-90, has facilities for motocross, hill climb, and short track racing.  Monday’s hill climb featured amateur riders competing in various classes based on size and configuration of the bikes and the age of the riders.  Bikes modified specifically for hill climb have stretched swing-arms.  Engines can be 2- or 4-stroke.  Riders of all ages and both genders entered the competition.  Some bikes were shared by multiple family members, and many riders competed in more than one class.  As always, the hill was a monster with steep, rough sections, some having nearly vertical walls.  Those who made it to the very top section of the hill were confronted with deep, loose dirt that caused bikes to bog down as their speed decreased.  Catchers were in place all the way to assist the competitors when they parted company with their motorcycles, often in spectacular fashion.

One rider who was loudly cheered on by all of the spectators was 28-year-old Danny Baird from Lowell, Michigan.  In June, 2012, Danny suffered a broken c7 vertebrae in a quad crash and was left without the use of his legs and with limited use of his arms.  After a four-year absence from riding, Danny became determined to resume his participation in the sport he loved since his childhood.   His friend and fabricator Matt Luna built the cage around his legs and made a hand starter for his 2003 CRF 450 free of charge.  Danny received support from many and has competed in hill climb or motocross in 11 different states.  He told me in a subsequent e-mail, “I have never looked at it as an excuse not to ride I just needed to adapt the situation and make it possible! After climbing at Sturgis, I got to climb at Poags Hole in New York and most recently won the 450 class Tennessee state championship! None of this would be possible without a tremendous amount of help, my dad being #1 and all the hard work that's so much appreciated from friends and family at the track. My sponsors keep my bike going and me styling and safe! All the help with gas and lodging from people all across the country makes what I love doing possible. I'm so humbled by it all, you know.”  Watching Danny courageously take on the challenging hill in spite of his physical limitations and magnified risk was an inspiration to all who were there.  I was also particularly interested in watching Krista Milek compete having met her sister Sarah earlier at the Sturgis Media Center where she was working during the rally.

The hill climb was conducted in two parts with a half-hour intermission between.  Rider placement was determined by the best of the two runs with the other run serving as a tie-breaker.  My agenda for the day included watching flat track racing on Sturgis’ historic half-mile oval, so I skipped the second half and headed for the Sturgis Fairgrounds.

Spirit of Sturgis Half-mile Flat Track

The Spirit of Sturgis is sponsored by Indian Motorcycle Sturgis, 20th Century Racing, Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, The City of Sturgis, Carl’s Cycle Supply, The Moto Film Fest, The Oil & Ink Expo, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Talking Motorcycles with Barry Boone, and The Black Hills Chapter Of The Antique Motorcycle Club Of America.  There has been a threat over the past several years to replace the historic track with a housing development.  Brittney and Matt Olsen of 20th Century Racing work tirelessly to preserve racing on antique and vintage motorcycles.  Their website defines their mission as follows:  “At 20th Century Racing, we set our sights high and aim to preserve the magnificent history of early American motorcycle racing by generating excitement, gaining interest, and educating current and future motorcycle enthusiasts from around the World  by sharing our antique motorcycle racing adventures.”  Brittney, a 27-year-old from Aberdeen, South Dakota, races on a 1938 Indian Scout and a 1923 board track Harley-Davidson.  Other board trackers, as well as Class C hand-shift racers from the 30’s and vintage flat track machines from the 70’s and 80’s were also on hand.  I was disappointed by a misunderstanding concerning the timing of the races.  The flyer I saw on line indicated that the event was to begin at 4 p.m.  Unfortunately, that was the starting time for the feature races.  By the time I arrived at the track, the qualifying heat races had already been completed.  I had also hoped for a larger field of competitors, but I did enjoy watching the racers that were present.  At the conclusion of the racing, spectators were welcome to meet the riders and visit the pit area.

Jackpine Gypsies’ Pappy Hoel Memorial Outlaw Short Track

Not yet having my fill of racing, my next stop was back at the Jackpine Gypsies Clubgrounds.  There were enough racing bikes present there to provide a great evening’s entertainment.  The small confines of the short track provide an excellent viewing perspective from every seat.  In addition to racing on the track, there was also hare scramble (or TT) action incorporating a winding course through the infield.  The unusual start for the main event in that class involved the bikes being lined up leaning against the wall.  The riders were seated on the ground at the starting line.  When the green flag was waved, they had to run to their bikes, get them started, and take off.  What fun!


I enjoyed a full day of exciting motorcycle competition.  The promoters/sponsors were very cordial and helpful. 


Hill Climb results (Thanks to Layla and Jesse Varns)

Distance in feet

Pee Wee:

Kason Berry - 65 KAW – 12. 31

Korbin Milner – 50 KTM - 164 

Grayson Finn – 50 YAM - 78

Zade Seaman – 50 LIM – 75

Tyrel Seaman – 50 YAM – 73

Logan Royer – 110 YAM – 69

Alexis Cermak – 50 KTM – 69

Cooper Cermak – 50 YAM – 64

Taten Adams – 50 KTM – 55

Brody Royer – 65 KAW – 44

80 cc:

Mitchell Coleman – 80 SUZ – 263

Alden McBride – 65 KTM – 237

Ethan Finn – 85 KAW – 234

Taber Cammack – 85 YAM – 231

Tyrel Seaman – 80 YAM – 219

Kaden Knapp – 85 HON – 201

Currin Finn – 50 HON – 177

Korbin Miner – 65 KTM – 165

Aaron Matt – 125 YAM – 75

Kason Berry – 65 KAW – 75

Zade Seaman – 50 LEM – 72/72

Hayden Helms – 80 YAM – 72/54

Logan Royer – 110 YAM – 71/70

Brody Royer – 65 KAW – 71/68

Taten Adams – 50 KTM – 68

86-200 cc:

Jack Zorn – 125 KTM – 225

Mitchell Coleman – 125 YAM – 213

Trevor Kroom – 125 KTM – 153/105

Travis Kroom – 125 KTM – 153/88

Aaron Matt – 125 YAM – 83/73

Taber Cammack – 85 YAM – 83/73

201-250 cc:

Mitchell Coleman – 125 YAM – 239

Clint Finn – 250 SUZ – 223

Jack Zorn – 250 KTM – 220

Shane Harkin – 250 KAW – 216

Marshall Coleman – 125 YAM – 205

251-400 cc:

Clint Finn – 250 SUZ – 237

Marshall Coleman – 250 YAM – 217

Lyle Bremmer – 250 HON – 164

Jack Zorn – 125 KTM – 160

401-500 cc:

Clint Finn – 450 HON – 240

Shane Finn – 450 YAM – 239/231

Kyle Snobeck – 450 HON – 239/162

Mitchell Coleman – 450 KTM -213

Marshall Coleman – 250 YAM -195

501-750 cc:

Shane Finn – 450 YAM – 251/216

Mitchell Coleman – 500 KTM – 251/161

Kyle Snobeck – 500 HON – 228

Clint Finn – 450 HON – 227

Mike Foley – 650 YAM – 85

Age 40+:

Marshall Coleman – 250 YAM – 233

Lyle Bremmer – 250 HON – 165

Mike Miner – 250 YAM – 164

Rodd Zorn – 125 KTM – 164

Lester Roder – 750 TRI – 157

4 Stroke:

Jack Zorn – 450 HON – 239

Danny Baird – 450 HON – 163

Mitchell Coleman – 450 KTM – 162

Krista Milek – 250 SUZ – 153

James Carter – 500 YAM – 140


Jeremy McBride – 450 KAW – 215

Mike Miner – 250 YAM – 195

Krista Milek – 250 SUZ – 163

Shane Harkin – 250 KAW – 162

Kyle Snobeck – 150 HON – 158


Clint Finn – 450 HON – 246

Shane Harkin – 450 KTM – 218

Jack Zorn – 250 KTM – 210

Mitchell Coleman – 500 KTM – 199

Trevor Kroom – 125 KTM – 159

Spirit of Sturgis results (Thanks to Nace Racing Promotions):

Board Track:

James A. Wall – Englewood, Colorado – Indian

Vintage Big Twin:

William P. Smith – Norton, Kansas – Yamaha

Eric J. Dietz – Madelia, Minnesota – Yamaha

Charles W. Posson – Norton, Kansas – Yamaha

Hand Shift:

Roy Taboada – Millbrae, California – Harley-Davidson

Eric J. Dietz – Madelia, Minnesota – Harley-Davidson

Randy R. Barvlick – New Ulm, Minnesota – Harley-Davidson

Brent D. Johnson – Malibu, California – Indian

Brittney Olsen – Aberdeen, South Dakota – Indian

Pre-1980’s Run What You Brung

William P. Smith – Norton, Kansas – Yamaha

Rick Reed – Savanna, Illinois – Triumph




Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com 


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