I've you've been following me on Instagram
, or Twitter
, then you know I'm REALLY excited for Moto Mania on 8-1-2015. It's only a week away!!!
I'm so excited that I even bought and then modified a 2003 XL883R with the goal of having it ready for the event (I plan to use it long after the event too, of course). This is it, probably 95% done:
I am also very excited to be an official sponsor of the event, alongside some of my favorite local and national brands.
However, after all the posts and buzz on the interwebs, you might still have no idea what Moto Mania actually is. I suspect that the main reason you might be confused is because the monthly bike night at the Uptown VFW that occurs the first Thursday of each month is also called Moto Mania and it is organized by the same person, Dan Raleigh. It turns out that Dan calls everything "Moto Mania". The monthly bike night, the dirt track event, all of his kids, his wife, each of his vehicles, etc. - Dan calls them all Moto Mania. It's weird.
The Moto Mania dirt track event on August 1st will be held at the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna, MN (about an hour south of the Twin Cities, straight down I-35).
How the hell Dan convinced the powers that be to let him organize this event is beyond me but it's happening and it's going to be awesome. This is a photo of a photo of the fairgrounds during the fair. What you're looking at is a large 1/2 mile oval dirt track with a smaller "enduro" dirt track inside it. This is where Moto Mania is taking place. The larger 1/2 mile track will NOT be groomed (it won't exactly be off limits either) but the smaller enduro track will be graded and groomed specifically for the event. There's a wall around the large track with a single entrance from the opposite side of the grandstand.
The dirt track will be the centerpiece of Moto Mania. There will NOT be organized races. There will not be spectators in the grandstand either. Everyone who shows up will simply have free use of the track. While there might not be "racing", there might be "aggressive parading" as Dan calls it. If you went to Mama Tried, I'm guessing it will work like the ice racing where people ride whatever type of bike they like and they can join and leave the track at will. Maybe someone will spontaneously organize something but the beauty of Moto Mania is that it is unplanned. Also, you do not need a dirt bike or flat tracker to participate! Flat trackers, choppers, cafe racers, baggers, scramblers, mini-bikes, dirt bikes, stock bikes, etc. are all welcome. We may even see an ATV or two. If someone shows up with a racing lawnmower or high-powered golf cart, it will probably be allowed on the track.
Speaking of the track, Dan and his buddy Josh invited me down to check it out back on June 30th. Grass had grown over some of the track but, again, the smaller inner track will be groomed for the event. Dan had some paperwork to sign and we got to see the track from the grandstand before we were let loose on the track. It's HUGE! It's like the field of dreams, "Build it and they will braaaaaappp!!!"
My 883 wasn't ready yet so I rode my XL1200C. It is clearly not a dirt bike and the worn tires weren't exactly ideal for the dirt (and a little mud) but it did just fine.
Here are a few photos of me riding around (photo credit to Dan). You can't see the big stupid grin on my face because of the bubble shield.
This is Josh (left) and Dan (right):
They had a lot of fun tearing up the track:
Having the whole entire track (large & small) to just the three of us was awesome. We all felt like little kids riding around. While we did have permission, no one else was around so it was almost like we weren't supposed to be there. It was a lot of fun.
So what else do you need to know?
- The event is FREE! FREE admission! FREE camping (Saturday night)! FREE use of the track! There will be lots of giveaways too from various sponsors (including yours truly) and they will be free (you won't have to buy raffle tickets).
- No refunds... because it's free. Did you read the first bullet point?
- Donations are certainly appreciated but not required.
- The event starts Saturday morning whenever people show up. Don't be a dick and get there at 4:00am and start blasting around the track but late morning/early afternoon is probably when some people will start showing up.
- It ends Sunday morning and the nearby VFW will be hosting breakfast.
- There might be some beer available (free while it lasts, not for sale) but you can bring whatever you want with you and there are stores nearby if you need more.
- I'm not sure whether any food vendors will be on-site but there are lots of places to eat very close to to the track.
- There is not a schedule of events. Show up. Make your own fun. If you have a good idea - share it!
- There will be fire rings at night.
- There will be port-a-potties.
- There isn't a lot of shade - wear a hat, sunscreen, etc.
- There are no tech inspections and no formal restrictions. Make sure your ride is in good condition and I would recommend a helmet. Protective gear is really smart but, again, I don't think anything will be formally required and I'm not your dad so I'm not going to tell you what to do.
- Some non-motorcycles might be allowed on the track (ATVs, Military Humvees, etc.). Where Dan draws the line is TBD. Just don't bring a car or truck and expect to take it on the track. This is intended to be a motorcycle event.
- This is the very first year of the event. There aren't many rules. What happens this year will likely inform what gets banned next year... if the entire event doesn't get banned altogether. You'd better show up and enjoy it this year.
- It's worth repeating something I said above - don't be a dick. This is a free event that takes a lot of time and effort to put together. The will be a very wide range of experience levels on dirt (including a lot of newbies) and a wide variety of vehicles. Have fun but don't be stupid... and don't be a dick.
If you still have questions, reach out to Dan. When he's not
enduring karaoke night at the VFW, you can find him on Instagram (@1stThursday).
You have one week left to prepare. Be sure to check out my Instagram/Facebook/Twitter posts (I post the same stuff across all 3 so just pick your favorite). I've been posting video clips from our day on the track and some ads like these:
See you there!!!