Check To Check In The Endurance National Championship

By Old Jack Piner, Photography by Unknown

Who is this old duffer struggling with a side-hack coming up to the start? Certainly he is not going to ride the run. Well, he has a number anyway and is lining up. Say- let’s do this old buzzard a favor and tell him what it’s all about. But wait, where have I seen that old map before? Why, it’s “Hap” Jameson! Yea, “Hap” himself! He snuck in during the night, wearing a disguise and now after riding a swivel chair for 20 years he goes childish and wants to ride the “Jack Pine” again! Yes, I said “again.” You know “Hap” rode the first run ever held in Michigan that really started these Jack Pines. That was away back in 1914 and he says the trail was twenty times worse then, and on that first run, only one man got back, and it wasn’t “Hap.” He claims some of these early Jack Piners never did get out of the woods and their ghosts still roam the brush and sand plains up there and ride down many a would-be champion to defeat. And will they be laying for “Hap” this trip! I don’t expect to see him again. Anyway he has about the last number so he won’t get in anybody’s way so we will let him have his fun. Who is this tall, good looking passenger trying to fold himself into the sidecar? “Hap” says, “Meet the Brazil Nut, Bill Laming, from Brazil, South America.” I guess this must be some kind of a record for long distance entries. They made a good pair and had the time of their lives.

We slide out of town, with someone to direct us at all the turns so there is no chance to get lost and once out on the highway the markers are picked up and then it is easy to follow the route. We pick up gravel road a few miles out and then, right around a well-hidden corner, just 10 miles out, comes the first secret. We have never had a secret so soon, before. But we all feel better the ice is broken and we get down to business. Down through Ashley and North Bradley and nothing much happens.

We are getting up in the Jack Pine country now and can expect most anything and sure enough here it is-a thickly wooded swamp section, twisting brush-covered trail, full of holes and almost closed in with brush. No chance to make your schedule and more time lost when you’re down. Sidecar ahead and no chance to go around. Another solo pulls up and soon half a dozen are following. A break in the trail and sidehack lets us go by and now there is a scramble to make up time. Fine chance! We are coming into a clearing again and another secret check and not one rider on time. Well, this is no picnic! What do you expect? Now out on a long stretch of deep sand but it is straight and we are all taking chances trying to make up time. There goes Ray Wanless in a loop and doing about fifty. He hit a washout. Front end out of line, but shakes the sand out of his ears and is on his way again. Noon check, Gladwin, next, and we eat and rest for an hour. Some late here but can start out on time again.

By Old Jack Piner
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