2006 NW Motorcycle Review

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Yesterday and Today

Tom Samuelson from the Pacific Northwest Museum of Motorcycling dropped in the other day to scan some photographs and text from 53 years ago - the year was 1953.  My, how motorcycling has changed here in the Northwest over the years.  I was busy working on a review of 2006 at the same time.  It occurred to me what fun it might be to run the column from 1953 side by side with the 2006 review.  Compare, contrast and enjoy. 

1953 NW MC Review


On February 22, 1953, the committee of the Northwest Motorcycle Association met at the Puyallup club house of the Tacoma Motorcycle club. This meeting was also attended by delegates from the thirteen motorcycle clubs that are currently affiliated with the organization.

The president of the group is Rod Hepburn, vice-president is Andy Skeel, Elaine Huffman was elected secretary-treasurer of the association. Don Huffman was returned to the office of State Referee, Lila Bulen (below) was elected publicity member of the committee.

During this February 22 session the dates for the season's events were planned.

Jolly Rogers Motorcycle club asked for the first date, March 8 for a reliability run open to all riders.

The next event was March 15 - the annual Shamrock run which Paul Allen of the Allen Cycle shop in Tacoma always sponsors. The interest of the riders on that date was divided because the Daytona Beach 200-mile National Championship race was also being run in Florida on that date and the foremost motorcycle champion of the Northwest was entered in the competition.

The men returning at the close of the event were shocked by the news that C.A. "Red" Farwell had been killed during the race because a spectator crossed the track in the path of Red's speeding cycle causing his own death as well as that of the beloved "Red."

The annual mud run was held at the Old Queen City track on March 29. This annual laff-provoker was won by Floyd Payne of Buckley.

April 5, Easter Sunday, the membership met at Woodinville for the yearly Easter egg hunt.

The first hill climb in the Northwest was run as usual by the Jolly Rogers club on their own grounds at 216th South. With the crowds wildly cheering for him, Bart Baker topped the 420 foot hill in 12.45 seconds to better the record and become the new champion of the spectacular hill.

On May 10 the Renton Ravens and the Cossacks of Seattle sponsored the hill climb at McDonald's Grove.

May 10 the annual Bob Knox Memorial race was held at Tacoma on the Motorcycle club grounds. The proceeds of this event were turned over to the family of Red Farwell who had been a member of the club for several years.

Jolly Rogers, on June 14, sponsored the first Tourist Trophy race to be held in the Seattle area for the past few years. This two-star event was well attended and Ellen Wright of Portland, took home top honors in the trophy dash.

Frankie Williams of Eugene, Oregon, was the first in the Expert l2 lap event. The amateur 10 lap went to Bud, Budschott of 'Seattle. The 8 lap novice event was taken by Bob Armstrong of Seattle.

The Gypsy Tour at Long Beach Washington, which appeals to all motorcycle riders, including members of all N.M.A. clubs was held June 19, 20, and 21st.

On Sunday morning the Little Daytona was run and after this the thousand riders began the long trek home. This year the Gypsy tour was sponsored by the Oregon Motorcycle Dealers’ Association.

The Third Annual Little Brown Jug run sponsored by the Renton Ravens was run on July 5.

On August 2 the Annual Death Head Derby T.T. was run on the Olympia Club grounds at Olympia. Eugene Theissen, a champion out of Oregon, took away top honors at this event.

In co-operation with the Seattle Seafair, Jolly Rogers garbed in their amusing pirate gear, rode in the regular parade which opens the celebration. They were also entered in the evening parade featured during this occasion.

A spectacular and novel race was sponsored by Arlene Barfuss, state director of the Motor Maids. This all-girl competition received a great deal of interest, especially at the takeoff from the Lake Washington floating bridge.

At a banquet held at the conclusion of the Enduro a trophy was awarded Evelyn Pugh of Tacoma for first place.

On a date during the latter part of August the Renton Ravens and the Jolly Rogers both were entered in the Renton Days Parade. The Cossacks presented several of their fine acts at the show held in cooperation with this civic event.

A three-star hillclimb, Pacific Coast championship gukkckumb, sponsored by the Cossacks and the Renton Ravens, was held at the McDonald's Grove site. In the amateur class Bob Goddard of Tacoma took the 45 cubic inch, and Jack Bloomquist of Tacoma ,took the 80 cubic inch event.

September 13 closed the hillclimb season in the Northwest Motorcycle Association’s calendar. In a hilllclimb held that day at the Jolly Rogers Hill, Victor Ascenzi rode the famous bike called "the hores," went over the top of the hill in 12.44 seconds.

As the busy season began to taper off to a finish the Bremerton club presented to the public a race at the Silverdale Speedway. The following Sunday the Blue Barons sponsored a road drivers' field meet at the location of their clubhouse in South Tacoma.

Numerous small events, in addition to this recounting, have taken place during the active season of motorcycling but some of them were unreported. Many were impromptu, such as the Snow Run to Snoqualmie, which was as exciting as any of the summer events.

2006 NW MC Review


2006 was one of the most eventful years we’ve been through here at Sound RIDER! When we submitted our schedule back in October of 2005 to the American Motorcyclist Association we knew we had a full plate. Poker runs, vendor events, rallies and more kept us busy throughout the year. And beyond our own events there were well over 1,000 motorcycle events total in the Northwest this year. What a great place to be a motorcycle enthusiast!

While the weather started out cold, there was plenty to do indoors. Ride West BMW and South Sound BMW presented numerous slide shows throughout the first three months of the year with guests like moto journalists Clement Salvadori and Helge Pedersen.

SR! Publisher Tom Mehren began the year presenting several Packing Light/Packing Right seminars to Sound RIDER! readers. The positive response inspired the outline and eventual release of the PLPR book which came out November 21st.

In February we saw the 4th annual Inland Motorcycle Show in Spokane. The show continues to grow each year in popularity and will be held in the new convention facility in Spokane in 2007.

The sun came out by March and many riders made their way to Adventure Motorsports in Monroe for the Sound RIDER! Daytona party. Those who were hearty enough used the maps provided to explore the suggested rides nearby following the race.

By April many club rides were underway. A record 47 dualsport riders came out to Fall City for a day ride up to Spada Lake. In late April the old bike enthusiasts once again convened for another successful Bonehead Enduro along the North Fork Snoqualmie River. For those who wanted to sit and watch others ride in the dirt a wet night ensued at Qwest Field for the second year of championship supercross races in Seattle.

April also brought the final results of the Sound RIDER! Dealer Survey.  Skagit Powersports (below) along with Harley-Davidson of Seattle, Moto International, Vince's Motorcycle Store in Olympia, South Sound BMW and Gervasi's of Everett scored multiple plaques.

In addition to rides of all kinds May saw many bike swaps, shows and spring openers across the Northwest. Cycle Barn held their Sportbike Dyno day in their new building and rally season was underway with the Hell’s Canyon Motorcycle Rally held in Oregon.

In June the first annual two day Trollhaugen dualsport event through the Cascades was a sell out with proceeds benefiting the Puget Sound Dualsport Enthusiasts and Pacific Northwest Museum of Motorcycling. The local Triumph RAT Pack headed for Winthrop and racing of all types includes sportbikes, nitros and sidecars was underway at Pacific Raceways.

Idaho played host to the BMW RA rally during July with just under 1,000 in attendance, and later the Kawasaki Concours Owners group held their rally in the gem state. Meanwhile Washougal ORV park once again hosted local AMA championship motocross.

August saw the annual exodus to Sturgis, but back home the Starlight Children’s ride covered roads in both Washington and Oregon beginning at South Sound BMW in Fife and Ending at Portland Motorcycle Company.

Sound RIDER! Rally Week in the Gorge followed later in the month with a record turnout of 400 people for the week long event which encompassed sportbike, sport touring, dual sport and maxi scooter riders.  Triumph America brought their demo truck and kept busy with non-stop rides each day for four days straight. The weather held and a good time was had by all.

That same weekend the Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts held their Isle of Vashon event.  With the good weather the event was well attended once again.

They say they come in threes and September saw the first loss of a Northwest motorcycle icon when motocross legend Jim Pomeroy lost his life to a Jeep accident. We also saw the passing of former Downtown Harley-Davidson owner and custom bike builder, Russ Tom, who died in a helicopter crash. In late October we lost one of the most persistent lobbyist Northwest motorcycling has even known when Karen Bolin was taken by cancer.

Cooler weather and rain didn’t stop many from riding in September. The Triumph RAT Pack enjoyed a ride out to Lolo Pass, the Ride West Insurance 3 Pass BLA$T took riders through the Cascades for the annual time/speed/distance event, and Goldendale held its first Festival of Wheels. The month ended with another record turnout for the Anacortes Oyster Run.

October saw the end of racing season, club events moved indoors and the cool weather set in as it always does.

In November the first ever Skin N Steel expo was held in Everett featuring bad bikes and lots of tattoos.

December closed the year with another great Cycle World International Motorcycle Show event held at the Qwest Field Center.


Numerous small events, in addition to this recounting, have taken place during the active season of motorcycling but some of them were unreported. Many were impromptu, such as the Solstice ride around Hood Canal, which was as exciting as any of the summer events.

Highlights in this story were culled from the Sound RIDER! Calendar. List your event today at www.soundrider.com/calendar.


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