Monday, March 7, 2011

Sidewinders Memories

It is nice to see there are some Sidewinders Fans who remember and relish what we had and how good we had it back then. I have heard from a number of guys who have fond recollections of the time and place. This Triumph was built by Doug from Central Oregon. I am sure ,just like me and a lot of other guys, he was bitten hard by the Triumph Bug after seeing and hearing what had to be the most impressive sales pitch imaginable. The N.W. is and was Brit Bike Territory and predominately Triumphs. Doug's bike is very representative of the great number of them that raced there, hotted-up T-120R.

Just wanted to tell you I enjoy your site & usually check it out about once a week. This morning I saw the Sidewinders story and thought I'd tell you one I have that I thought was interesting.
I'm 55 years old & was raised in SE Portland, we could hear the bikes running at Winders on Friday night, & it didn't take us kids long to figure out how to get in for free. As I got older I spend a lot of time watching the races & always had a good time. I'm sure you've heard about the uphill flagman, he put on a show all by himself.
My story is from about 1990. I was looking for a utility trailer and answered an ad in the nickel ads. I bought the trailer & got to talking with the seller. He claimed he was an owner of the old Sidewinders track , he had a nice home and an older Rolls Royce in the driveway so I figured he had money.
Turns out he was a big DMSO fan. I don't know if you remember DMSO, I believe it's a solvent made from tree products & back in the day was supposed to be good for you. Don't hear anything about it now.
Anyway, he told me he was getting 55 gallon drums of the stuff from the paper mill in Oregon City & they put it on the track to keep the dust down. He said riders would crash & cut themselves up a little. Next week the cuts would be healed, he attributed it to the DMSO on the track. He liked the stuff so much he said he drank a tablespoon a day.
I have a lot of good memories from Sidewinders, & have a few Triumphs to relive my youth.

Ride safe,
Doug in Central Oregon

Jim also wrote with some great memories:
Loved your post on Sidewinders, thanks!
I was a spectator there in the early 80’s. After the races, 300 or more amped-up motorcyclists would leave the parking lot and simultaneously hit the roads back toward Portland, which made for some fun times on the ride home! Once in the post-race enthusiasm, I blasted back to town with and got suckered into following Tom Young (owner of Portland Touring Center/ Montesa West) up a narrow dirt trail in a sidehill park over downtown (can’t remember the name). Tom was on an XT600 – and a trials expert! I was on a Ducati 900 SSD (electric start) with clip-ons and very little steering lock. Kept stalling it trying to negotiate the trail in the dark, and the battery got weaker and weaker. No chance of bump starting it out there – thought I would have to come back next day and dismantle it, carry it out in pieces! But lucked out and eventually drove the big Duck out of the woods.
Anyway, thanks for the blast from the past. Oh, remember the paper buckets of beer at Sidewinders? How you’d pull the top off to dip your cups? And after a heat or two, look in the bucket and there would be a layer of silt at the bottom, pitched into the stands from the racers.

I also heard from Mike from Seattle who used to be the Starter for the Amateur races in the 60's and 70's ( and his son raced 'Winders). He reminded me that although the track did not have a jump the bikes would float up over the hill which made up 2 and 3. This was my favorite place to watch. Full throttle,crossed up slides up and over and down the back straight hill. There was a Wild Flagman,Warren Wamoth at the top of the hill to warn riders if there was trouble. He was a character and added a lot to the whole deal.

All great stuff, thanks for the memories guys.
Oh Yeah,Doug,DMSO hell yeah I remember it,I used to use it. We would spend weekends dirt bike riding in the Tillamook Burn and come Monday morning we were so sore and stiff (4" of suspension travel will do that to you). DMSO the wonder treatment, was readily available and after rubbing it on what ailed you,you were soon flitting about like Fred Astair. Wonderful stuff except for the taste which you got in your mouth after about fifteen minutes of rubbing it on. Taste kinda like medicinal WD-40.