Check To Check In The Endurance National Championship

By Old Jack Piner, Photography by Unknown

Refueled, man and motor, checked out and on the trail again. Winding sand trail and hills into Alger, the next known check. Now some fair country road and then back into the trail again. Sand and more sand! Then a red and white flag around a bend and another one of those so-and-so secret checkers. A lot of good scores took another tumble here and also at the next known check, Hale, which was hard to make on time. Now into the night control and, wait-not so fast-what’s that bunch of machines up ahead? Probably a bad spill! Hell no, just another secret! That’s all they can give us in one day so we turn it on and make it into Van Ettan Lake, the night control, with a few minutes to spare.

What a relief to pile off and park the bike for the night! But it was not quite as easy as that. We must adjust chains, tighten and replace a nut or two and see that the old iron is in the best possible shape for the take-off again next morning. That done let’s look around a bit at this new night control. A swell big lake side lodge and we sleep and eat all under the same roof! It has turned chilly and the heat feels good. There is a nice big lobby with easy chairs and everybody hanging around in groups chewing the fat about what happened to them out on the trail, waiting for the call to eat and here it comes. A dive and rush for the dining room! The food was good but they will have to learn how to feed a bunch of hungry riders that have been out all day fighting sand trails, on and off a bucking gas buggy. A few short talks and the presentation of the “Chambermaid’s Trophy” to “Hap” Jameson and his passenger, Bill Laming. This is given each year to the rider coming the farthest from doing what he was supposed to do and they won without a struggle. “Hap” gave some highlights on his former Jack Pine experience and had them all feeling fine before sending them to bed. And did they hit the hay! The hotel was filled right up even to the floor in the lobby and ten minutes was all that was necessary and it was as quiet as a hospital. What a spectacle-a hundred motorcycle riders in the same hotel and sleeping-believe it or not!

First man out at six a.m., and on the way back. Only dropped nine riders at the end of the first day, so a good gang checks out for the second day. A little cool the first thing out but another swell day! What a thrill to ride these winding trails through this Jack Pine country in the early morning! It is almost worth the aches and pains you will feel for days after the run. We are right up in the woods, so we have no good roads to limber- up on. Soon get the hang of it again and are all set. We come busting out of the woods, and into a check, but it’s only an emergency check so that’s not so bad. South Branch O.K. and right back into the trail again. A lot of bad sand trail and then a marker that says (left), but there’s not even a trail here. It must be right-we see tracks and the brush is beat down. A right marker now and we see what it is all about. A firebreak or lane-just plowed ground up and down hill to keep forest fires from spreading. It was a mess-solos and sidecars all over the place-pushing, shoving, helping each other but getting no place. Right here is where you heard the customary, “What do they expect us to ride?”-”Man killer!” “Never again will they get me on a run like this.” They finally get through and it is soon all forgotten. A secret after this, as we all expected, and a lot of scores are beginning to look really bad, but you got to knock them down somehow. On into West Branch and then the long jump of 51 miles into Harrison.

By Old Jack Piner
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