Off-road motorsports is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest

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Off-road motorsports is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest

The baby boomers remember the last century, when a dirt bike rider could basically park at the side of the road, unload a bike and ride just about anywhere in the woods or deserts of the Pacific Northwest.

Over the decades regulations have come into play introduced by the US Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land management and so on that limit public lands riding area. These agencies are pushed hard annually by environmentalists have worked hard to put an end to motorized recreation. The end result? The Dirt riders have won.

‘Really?’ you say.

As public lands have gotten more restricted, many events have for the most part moved away from public lands to private lands where landowners are willing to make their real estate available for a large format event like the annual Desert 100 held each year on private land in Odessa, Washington. Smaller events like trials competitions, hare scrambles and track racing are also more prominent on private land, rather than public land.

There’s a large chunk of not just the motorsports industry behind these events, but also the recreational vehicle and cargo trailer industry. Take for instance the recent Dirty Poker Run, put on by the Fringe Motorcycle Club each March near Vantage Washington. Taking a walk around the camping area you saw hundreds of RV’s hundreds of Toy Haulers, hundreds of trailers for hauling bikes, ATV’s and side by sides. Total number of camping tents – about 3.

A little different from a road bike rally huh?

If you went to a large event like the Desert 100 and tallied the investment in all the vehicles present, that number would no doubt be in the millions, not to mention all the annual licensing and tab fees the State of Washington accumulates for every RV, Toy Hauler motorcycle, ATV and Side by side on the grounds. Another way to look at it is a typical family of four has an RV/Trailer combo or a heavy-duty truck/toy hauler combo and four off-road vehicles in tow. At today’s prices, a purchase like that would run around $100,000. Can you say ‘second mortgage?’

Thinking about jumping into the off-road world, but not sure where to start? Here’s a list of events that will keep you busy from late winter all the way into fall. For more events and details visit our calendar at


  • March: Dirty Poker Run – Vantage, WA, Fringe Motorcycle Club
  • April: Desert 100 – Odessa, WA, Stumpjumpers Motorcycle Club
  • May: Northwest Nitro Nationals Hillclimb – Sunnyside, WA
  • July: Smuggler Poker Run, Tacoma Trail Cruisers
  • October: 24 Hours of Starvation Ridge, Over the Bars Gang
  • SR!/2017

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