Scrambling into the New Year

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New Year’s Day has been the beginning of the calendar year dating back to 1751, and before that, to the day when baby Jesus was circumcised. In western culture, it’s a day of hangovers, laying in bed and eating way too much, knowing full well the guilty will compensate with gym time and a new found healthy lifestyle. However, while most are still sleeping happily in their cozy beds, I’m freezing my ass off on my motorcycle up in the mountains, racing in a grueling hour long hell-race of mud, black ice, shit riders, rocks, snow, ponds, puddles and hills. To top it all off, I still get drunk the night before to honor the name of this great race, The Hangover Scramble.

The 41st Annual JCTRA Hangover Scramble is put on by the Jones Creek Riding Association, and the race is around an hour long, covering about 16 to 20 miles of riding in and around the Washugal National MX Park. The first year I did the race I was atop my 2006 KTM 525, a beast of a bike with bald tires. Not the ideal machine for the conditions that year, which had 3 ft of snow and flooding. I actually cried like a little baby mid-race.

This year, my third in a row, I’m racing my favorite, “Happy Love Bike,” the 1975 Husqvarna CR250. Expecting the worst, I’m pleasantly surprised that aside from gale force winds, the conditions where near perfect- sunny, not flooding, and not freezing.

The Happy Love Bike. Sexy hipster not included.

Just like the last 2 years, I’m no slouch on the whiskey and beer the night before, making the 5:30 wake up call seem like more of a dream. But, knowing full well I’m going to forget something, I’ve built myself a trail of all my crap leading out the garage straight to the van. I manage to pull into the paddock early. All gassed up and ready to roll, I’m on my bike blasting 2-stoke smoke and an exhaust tune almost un-muffled to all the people slumbering out of giant RVs.

The race is a dead engine start off the line and into a dog leg, then down a hill and into a wide open field. Some of the people who get good starts find out really quick why taking it easy out of the gate is crucial. I say this because stopping or turning on a dime in the snot-slick clay is not an option. A bit of knowledge I’ve picked up down the trail is that, to win endurance races, racers need to be quick but more importantly they need to be smart. Slowing down eliminates mistakes and wrecks by 95%, speeding you up in the long run.

Keeping my pace the whole race I end up lapping a good portion of the riders, but I’ve forgotten to wire my grips. Half way through the race, my left side grip is as loose as my throttle grip. Then my left hand flies completely off the handlebars with the grip still in my hand. I let go and send it bouncing off the rider behind me (sorry dude).

I pass a guy on the last lap riding a vintage Maico. But, if my mind serves me right, it’s the 2nd time I’m passing him during the race, only to find him directly in front of me again at the finish checkpoint. So either he has a magical bike that can transform time and space, or he’s cheating. Probably still hungover from last night’s whiskey, I go with time travel bike as my guess.

I end up getting 2nd in Vintage/Evo and 3rd overall. When I go to get my trophy I I find out that third place, although slower during the race, is in fact quicker than I am at grabbing trophies, because he makes off with my 2nd place trophy. Now I’ve been swindled by two racers, hmph! I could be pissed, but I’m just happy I managed to finish another year without dying or crying again.

  • evilbahumut

    In regards to the “hipster chick”, I thought hipster chicks were too lazy to get full sleeve tats.

    I don’t know what you call it, but I’m all in. And congrats on the podium, LOL

    • Taco

      Pretty tatted chicks on motorcycles. HFL, more of this in 2012 please.

      • Mr.Paynter


        • mathew


    • CCarey

      Hipsters traditionally go for half sleeves, that way when the trust fund runs out they can blossom into full blown yuppies and seek gainful employment.

  • Alix

    That first picture really looks like it could be from 1975. Congrats on your 2nd place finish!

    • isambard

      yeah, nice van.

  • JRl

    I need a name like Thor Drake…great article warrior!

    • zato1414

      I need a woman like sweet little hipster chick.

  • Jesse

    Let us weigh the facts.

    Down side: Cheated out of your victory and your trophy.

    Up side: Whiskey, a sweet bike, a sweet van, and a photo of a pretty helper with the bike.

    You still win, Thor. Tip of the beanie to you.

  • Kevin

    The tattoo models are back. Hi, tattoo models! It’s been so long, or so it seems.

  • oldblue


    Good to see someone starting the new year with a roar rather than a snore.

  • Core

    How the heck does someone run off with your trophy? ..

    Anyways, sexy chick is sexy. Or maybe a “cute spunky” would be the better word?

    • ozgeek

      Agree – stealing a fellow racers trophy how fucked is that

  • Steve

    Really respect that- dragging out of the sack early in the AM on a hangover to go race in the great outdoors. Good stuff, sounds a bit like Jack Lewis’ style. Hope you took that sweet little tart out to a nice breakfast to celebrate your win.

  • george_fla

    Rock on,Thor!!!! Kick ass follow up to yer Virginia City write up.
    I am always so fuckin stoked to see other dudes around my age pounding on bikes that were made before we were born. Doin just as their designer/engineers had intended them to do. Wish we had more guys like you in the vintage/post vintage/EVO off road ranks to carry the torch after all the old timers pass on. I dont know how it is out there on the left coast but, here on the right there aint many of us under the age of 40+ keeping old dirt bike racing alive. Hopefully through HFL hucking you a platform a few more people might catch the bug.
    Keep up the good fight,Thor! And thanks too ya’ll at HFL for posting it.

    • JVictor75

      I think I can safely say that he’s at least sent the bug my direction.

      I’m 36 and have never ridden a dirtbike before in my entire life but want to because of these stories by Thor and things like the Christmas camping story. It just looks like too much fun that I’ve been missing out on for too long.

  • Taco

    This ’75 CR250 reminds me a lot of that Husqvarna MOAB prototype. How close is that bike to being a done deal?

  • Squid_Squidly

    The main picture looks like it was taken in 1977. So hip.

  • 2ndderivative

    Forget global warming, Hipstamatic is truly the curse of our age.

    • Grant Ray

      These weren’t taken with a phone. Some of us folks actually use the kinds of equipment those stupid programs emulate. There’s a difference.

      • Jesse

        Reminder to self: I owe Grant beer.

    • Campisi

      It’s a well-known phenomenon that old vans and denim jackets cause that effect when photographed within a few feet of each other.

      • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]


  • filly-fuzz

    love me some Husky,
    that bike rocks

    • Kurt

      There’s a bike? Where?

  • Campisi

    Time to put some fresh gas in the Elsinore.

  • JVictor75

    I don’t know if it was moving to Arizona a couple of years ago, starting a webscription to HFL a while back, Thor’s awesome vintage dirtbike scene coverage, the HFL Christmas post, or a combination of all of the above but I want to get into dirtbikes in some way starting this year.

    I’ve never ridden a dirtbike before in my entire life. Not even mini bikes when I was a kid.

    I don’t need anything stupid fast (or stupid expensive) but have been casually perusing Craigslist, Bike Trader, and Ebay for about two weeks now looking for something to tinker with and have fun.

    The girlfriend and I have agreed that camping out with some like minded individuals for a holiday in the coming year is on our to do list, and we both have way too many friends with dirtbikes, quads, and dual sports to not take part.

    • Grant Ray

      Reading this probably won’t help, either.

      • JVictor75

        Haha, I’ll say. To top it all off, when you guys were providing coverage of the Tiger 800XC I actually went as far as getting a loan started and going to look at one. That can partly be the fault of a few of my friends with dual sports (an F800GS and a Cagiva Elefant to name a few)

        I decided that having to LOWER a bike like the 800XC so I wouldn’t look like an Ewok on a speeder bike was probably not the thing to do. Would have been like lowering a Jeep Wrangler and putting ginormous chrome wheels on it. Just, no. Couple that with having zero dirt experience and I decided to get the bike I’ve wanted for a long time instead. So 4 months ago I bought an RC51 and have been riding the wheels off of it.

        Now I want a simple dirtbike (or two, the girlfriend rides too – and she started out on a DR200) and would like to plan on leaving the Phoenix metro area for weekends in the mountains around Flagstaff, Sedona, and Payson this coming summer. Tucson has some nice dirtbike areas nearby as well.

        I will never be the next Travis Pastrana, but mild trail riding with the occasional blast across the desert looks like entirely too much fun to continue passing up.

        And I blame you guys. Entirely.

        Thank you.

  • jeff neal

    JVictor 75:

    At 46, I’ve been doing this for 36 years. If you count time on the back of my dad’s Suzuki 90, it’s 41 years. Don’t worry about being the next Supercross star, just get out there and have FUN!

    • george_fla