Monday, August 15, 2016

Peoria TT

I finally made it to the Peoria TT. It was looking a bit dicey on Friday with all the rain they were having but they posted an update on Saturday that was promising so Surly and I headed west - about a three hour trip across corn country. 

We wandered around a bit to check the place out and see what the vendors were selling and came across this Triumph. Surly noticed his generator had a sticker on it from a once local bike shop, so we walked around to see what the guy was selling. Turns out it was Dan Schmitt from Team Chicago. He used to do a motorcycle show on the local PBS station that I watched every week. As soon as the guy found out I was a fan he autographed  a flyer and gave Surly and I each a dvd of his past shows. When I was looking for the link, I found a schedule and apparently, he's still going strong and his show is available on Saturday mornings. I'll have to look for that this weekend. Don't know what the show is like now but it used to be a real low buck production of motorcycle racing coverage as well as things of general interest to bikers. The best thing about it was it was coming from a guy who was a racer himself so he had some decent insights and he knew what he was talking about.

The show opened up with a couple of laps by the Motor Maids of Illinois. I didn't realize the Motor Maids were still around. Good for them.

And, of course, the thing that makes it a Tourist Trophy instead of just a flat track race, the jump. The Peoria TT is the longest consecutively running motorcycle dirt race, or some such nonsense. This was the 68th running, so they've been doing it a long time. And they do it well. The grounds were well cared for, plenty of porta-pots and reasonable prices on concessions. The races all went off close to the scheduled times and the racing was good. 

The bikes are all motocross based machines of about 450cc displacement. Not my favorites, but nobody's fault but my own that I missed the days of the Triumph, BSA, Matchless and Norton twins or the 600cc Rotax powered machines. However, I heard over the loudspeaker that the AMA will be adding a twin class next year as well as another TT to the schedule. That sounds pretty exciting. 

The races were all good. In addition to the GNC1 and GNC2 classes, they had a couple of pee-wee events. The little guys are always fun to watch. The winner of the GNC2 class is from Philpot, Ky which is not too far from where my grandmother was born and raised. She had an older sister that married a Philpot so Hayden Gillam and I have a connection in an eight degrees of Kevin Bacon separation kind of way. GNC1 was won by Henry Wiles for the 12th consecutive year! And he made it look easy. I watched Jared Mees chasing him down the straightaway on one of the restarts and Wiles bike didn't seem any faster but he sure went around the corners faster. He was gaining a second or two on the field with every lap. If it wasn't for a couple of stoppages due to crashes, he probably would have lapped the entire field.

So there's another one off the bucket list. They have a trials event there in October that I wouldn't mind seeing and if there is going to be a twins class next year, I definitely want to go back for that.  

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