One of our annual trips, we weren’t missing the AHDRA All Harley Drag Race at Summit Motorsports Park, marking the end of Ohio Bike Week in Sandusky, Ohio. We got a late start on Sunday, heading south on 75 and then west on 20, in Perrysburg. As we crossed the Maumee River, the smell of fishing worms hung in the humid air and memories of fishing with my Dad on Lake Eerie came rushing back. It was warming up, and a hot day was in the forecast.
Taking the Perrysburg exit, we headed west on route 20, rather than taking the turnpike. Route 20 goes through small towns, farms, old drive in theatres. Nuff said. I saw several photo opps on the way, and plan to return this summer. It was a beautiful clear day, hot, and our legs cooked when stopped at a red light.
This year we rode down just for the day, we missed staying the weekend camping, due to problems with Bills bike. We love to rustic camp next to the track, and wake to the roar of bikes early in the morning, getting ready to qualify. We made our way into the park, bought our wristbands and headed for the stands.
I felt a wave of sadness as we walked through the pits, looking over at the nearly empty campground next to the track. Years back, we camped there for the weekend with our riding group, and since then, two of our friends have passed on, Darlene and Mother Dave. One year, we rode two up on Bill’s 1977 Ironhead Sportster, got a late start, not knowing that that armband sales end at 9pm. We were greeted at 9:15pm by a security guard basically telling us were were out of luck until morning. So, grumbling, we pitched our tent in the then gravel parking lot. Shortly after, here comes Mother Dave in his golf cart with flames painted on the side, handing us beers through the chainlink fence.
Those were the days.. We woke to the roar of the bikes getting ready to qualify, rode into town for breakfast at a tiny little diner serving up fantastic omelets and homemade toast, crammed in sitting shoulder to shoulder with other race fans and some locals. There is also some great riding around the track itself, one year we went out after the race and got lost in the rural awesomeness of cornfields and winding smooth asphalt.
It was a very hot day in the stands, and we knew the drill on what to bring: sunblock, hats, light clothing, and many bottle of water would be purchased. There were a few brave souls wearing black shirts. Our favorite racer, Tak Shigamatsu, did not attend this year, but according to his Facebook page he’s alive and well, thank God. Tak and his family reside in Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan.
We brought our track radio and after a few minutes of scanning, found the track channel. It was quiet for the most part, though. There were fewer racers and vendors this year, also. Hopefully it will be busier in 2012. I saved some room (and calories) for an ice cream from Wild Bill’s, a huge one pound cup of ice cream for a buck! Bill and I split a Moosetracks.
Our return trip west, into the sunset, sunburned from another great day of racing. As the temperatures dropped slightly, the heat radiating off the pavement reminded us of the day after baking all day in the sun, and it felt like riding through a wave of heat.
Race results can be found here..