Second Annual Hell on Wheels Halloween Hillclimb

Vintage motocross event returns to Glen Helen

By Thomas Kinzer, Photography by Thomas Kinzer

Adding costumes to nearly any event is usually a winning ticket, but when it’s a bunch of friends getting together to goof around on vintage dirt bikes for a hillclimb, you’ve got a sure bet.

The 2nd Annual Hell on Wheels Halloween Hillclimb is part of a series of very informal events thrown by Jeff Tilinius, more commonly known as simply “Meatball.” Meatball has owned the Hell on Wheels vintage motorcycle shop in Anaheim, California, for the past 20 years. He has put together a scramble-style race called the Whiskey Challenge that runs in the spring and then a flat track event called Hot Summer Nights that goes down in August for past 5 years or so. Last year, the Halloween Hillclimb was added and based on this year’s turnout and the big grins, it’s quickly turning into a big hit.

Although, it’s 2013 and the crowd was decidedly eclectic, it was no surprise that there was a strong attendance from fans of all things vintage. Most of the local motorcycle clubs were present to compete as well as plenty of families. From the pickups hauling in the bikes to personal style, there was a strong retro vibe to the event. At times, if you squinted a bit, you could almost think you’d been transported back to 1971.

And just like 1971, safety was thankfully relegated to its proper position, third. Riders were hucking full-size street bikes through a dirt course with open face helmets and t-shirts. One rider was hanging out of his banana chonies only. And just like riding in the back of the pickup truck back in the day, no one was injured. To be fair, boots and helmets were required, and lights had been removed, but the usual modern, overbearing, “safety before fun” rules were obviously suspended and that was refreshing to see.

The event is absolutely just a bunch of friends getting together to have some fun on motorcycles. Speaking with Meatball about the impetus of the event, this is exactly his plan. He doesn’t want the event to be too serious and his only real concern is that highly skilled competitive riders might start attending that don’t understand that the whole thing is just about “goofing around.” His idea is to emulate the concept of the old motocross club field meets from back in the day.

The cost of admission for spectators is only $10 with the option of camping for an additional $10. To run the course, there is a $40 entry fee, $30 with a costume. Awards are handed out for a variety of classes and for best costumes.

Next up for Hell on Wheels is a Whiskey Challenge scramble in Japan, the first ever international event for Hell on Wheels. Sponsors have taken care of the shipping container for folks who want to attend from the states and all they need to do is get their butts to Japan. The vintage motocross rally takes place next May and more details can be found on the Hell on Wheels Facebook page:

Also in the works and coming up much sooner is Red Bull’s Day in the Dirt Motocross Grand Prix at Glen Helen. Dana Brown will be filming an On Any Sunday sequel that weekend and Hell on Wheels will be doing a vintage MX rally on Saturday, Nov. 30th as part of the larger three-day GP event. It’s expected that Dana will be shooting the vintage rally.

At the risk of being overly formal, here are the 2013 Hell on Wheels Halloween Hillclimb results by class:

1st Chris Gaumer
2nd Derek Kelly
3rd Pat Lopez

1st Mitchell
2nd Eric Ekstrand
3rd Chris Gaumer

1st Greg Landers
2nd Rudy Gil
3rd Aaron Fitzimmons

1st Greg Landers
2nd Derek Kelly
3rd Harry Lykes

Open Twin
1st Jason Klements
2nd Issac Heinrich
3rd Hayden Roberts

By Thomas Kinzer
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