Sportbike Northwest, Sport Touring Northwest, Dualsport Northwest, Maxi Scoot Northwest 2006

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Sound RIDER! Rally Week in the Gorge 2006

The Annual Recap

The most successful Sound RIDER! Rally Week in the Gorge ever concluded Wednesday August 30th with a record turn out of over 400 attendees.

This year's rally was split into two segments – Sportbike Northwest and Sport Touring Northwest which ran from Thursday to Sunday; and Dualsport Northwest and Maxi Scoot Northwest which ran Sunday through Wednesday.

This year’s rally featured a number of vendors participating including ROK Straps, Cox Racing, Ride West Insurance, Avon Tyres and Happy Trails. Dealers onsite included Ride West BMW, Moto International/Cycle Mart, Portland Motorcycle Company and South Sound BMW. Triumph Motorcycles US division provided more than 300 test rides to rally attendees during its four day stay from Thursday through Sunday.

Unbeknownst to rally goers, Dave Hembroff (at left), AMA's Road Riding Manager made a special unexpected appearance after being goaded out from Ohio by Sound RIDER! publisher and event coordinator, Tom Mehren.  Hembroff worked the AMA table Friday afternoon and put 250 miles on a Rocket 3 provided to him by Triumph motorcycles on Saturday.  

Evening entertainment included the debut of Lines: The Movie episode four presented by Portland area film makers Brad Allan and Matt Sanders. The pair also shared bits of an upcoming Lines episode with footage from Portland area track days. Other entertainment included the Two Wheel Traveler, a slide show by veteran rider and educator Ramey "Coach" Stroud and two door prize nights that raised more than $500 towards the Skamania County Kids Explorer Fund, a fund setup between Sound RIDER! and Skamania County Parks & Recreation to get local kids out and exploring in the Gorge.

Instead of cotton t-shirts, registered attendees were treated to high quality polyester wicking T’s which reduce heat during hot days and provide warmth as the air cools down. A second run of shirts is in the works to fill the gaps in sizes where shirts sold out.

Photo:  Bailing wire on the fly.  Attendee Mark Wallace experienced a broken shift linkage on his Triumph Sprint which was repaired with bailing wire and a weld job at the local used car shop in Stevenson.

Attendees were also provided with the brand new second edition printing of the Sound RIDER! Guide to Motorcycling in the Columbia River Gorge. For many the book was a launch pad to exploring the many twisty and scenic roads in the Gorge area.

Photo:  Triumph logged over 300 demo rides during their four day participation at the event.

We’ll all agree that this year’s poker run was something of a disappointment when the route had to be changed at the last minute due to road construction in the Klickitat Canyon which diluted the original savory 223 mile route. Just another reason to return next year and ride the new pavement. The furthest check point out, The Blue Bird Inn in Bickleton seemed to handle the crowd of 300 which streamed in and out over the course of several hours. For many it was their first time to this historic site and then down the twisty Roosevelt Grade back into the Gorge. For those of you wondering where did those scooter people come from at the checkpoints, several attendees registered for the second segment of the rally arrived early to assist with the SBNW/STNW checkpoints so others could ride.

The Maryhill Loops Road section of the run opened an hour early to accommodate riders arriving who were not on the poker run route. One minor non-injury mishap closed the road for several minutes in the early afternoon with no further incidents following that.

There were over a dozen presenters at this year's event. Highlights included the very well attended hands on suspension clinic with Bret Tkacs of Puget Sound Safety, Andrew Cox’s throttle control clinic and Ramey Stroud’s dualsport riding skills series. GPS, maintenance and motorcycle packing clinics were also well attended.

Photo:  Bret Tkacs of Puget Sound Safety presented his hands-on suspension tuning clinic to more than 30 riders on Sunday morning.

For dualsporters, Puget Sound Safety provided a dualsport version of the MSF Dirt Bike School which included exercises onsite as well as 20 miles up into the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest.

Photo:  Bruce Scott oversees training exercises during the hybrid ERC/MSF Dirt Bike School class provided on Monday.

On Tuesday during the Dualsport/Maxi Scooter segment of the rally event organizers pulled off what is probably the first ever dualsport/maxi scoot poker run. The run featured two different routes – one paved, one gravel – but shared all the same checkpoints along the way.

Photo:  First ever in the history of the world?  Tuesday's Dualsport/Maxi Scoot poker run could be the first of it's kind ever.

The rally was well documented this year with one professional photographer on hand throughout and several others contributing a total of over 1,000 photographs to the rally archive.

Camping was at an all time high with both the north and south area campgrounds running at about 60 to 70% capacity showing there’s room for the rally to grow in the coming years.

Photo:  Frank Billera cleaned up with first place on Saturdays' poker run during the Sportbike and Sport Touring segment of the rally.

Crash statistics were the lowest in the rally history. With 400 plus in attendance, only two injury accidents were reported over the entire week, down from eight in 2005.

For 2007 Sound RIDER! is working together with AMA to create a special hands on cornering clinic which will be held at the Maryhill Loops Road prior to opening it for overall attendee use. Details will be posted on the rally website when they become final.

The road will likely be opened Saturday for SBNW/STNW and become separate from the poker run which is slated for Friday of next year for that segment. The 2007 route has been determined and is designed to keep riders primarily on tertiary roads in Oregon and minimize the use of major roadways in the state. As always the route will not be revealed until the day of the run, although a photo gallery to be posted in Spring of 2007 will give some obvious clues about the routing.

Photo: The euro-style Highway 30 in Oregon was put to good use by attendees who made the trek to ride the Mosier Loop.

The event organizers wish to thank the presenters, vendors, dealers, AMA, Triumph Motorcycles, the town of Stevenson, the local city and county government offices and most of all the attendees who made this years rally the biggest yet. We look forward to seeing you next year.

Photos by RJ and TM 
SR!/Summer 06


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