Well here we are in Riggins. Got a look at the course this morning with Dwain Longfellow. He hauled four of us down and back and through in his Outlaw Tomcat. It's about an 18 foot open bow with a tent kind of thing on the front powered by a 200 hp Optimax?(I think).
It scoots real good through everything he asked it to take us through, big water and no water. We even ran up the Little Salmon as far as Sam Whitten's house, just above the bridge. The bottom is covered with that white stuff and some steel, good thing too, we slid over a selection of rocks up there. Didn't hurt the boat at all, it's kind of a CJ-5 kind of boat, a Jeep if you will...
Time Zone is both more and less than I imagined it to be. It's bigger water, but less rough than I thought. I am wondering how we will do coming back up through it Saturday, our boat will unhook a lot in there. I intend to carry just a little more speed than I need, keep enough energy up to carry me upriver when it unhooks.
There is a bunch of real rough water right at the Little Salmon, wide open above that all the way to Island Bar. Of course, there is a bunch of lumps below town. There is a respectable rock garden right at the RV park on the north end of town, rollers at Race Creek followed by Time Zone and TIght Squeeze. Tight Squeeze is sort of a 1/4 scale Coon Creek for those of you who are familiar with Coon Creek. This would be a race I would really enjoy watching if I wasn't silly enough to be racing in it.
It's musical chairs over here- Dwain is navigating for Brodie Miller in 169 (a first for Dwain) and Derek Ely is navigating for Dave Provost in 282, also a first for Derek.
Derek did me a huge favor and took my boat after Roseburg, pulled the motor and he and Bob White welded up the new crack. I had a prior scheduled trip to Florida to work on a sail boat and would have very little time to get ready fro Riggins, so they basically saved my butt. Thank you very much guys.
Brian DiLinge and Adam Geis are back with the former Evil Clown boat, and haven't decided as of about two hours ago who is the driver and who is the navigator. I just saw Chuck Thompson pull in with 180, Rumpshaker. It is rumored that there will be Canadian hotrods here too. Looking forward to that.
Here's who is here that I know of in no particular order:
282 Risky Business
215 Brian DiLinge and Adam Geis(might have the number wrong)
163 Pac-O-Fier (Duane and Gary Labrum)
180 Rumpshaker (Chuck THompson and I am assuming
169 Rude Awakening (Brodie Miller and Dwain Longfellow)
188 White Lightning (Steve Hanlin and Steve Davis)
69 Sam Heath and his daughter, Jennifer
70 Dean Saxon and John Nickleson
42 Morning Wood (Jeff Bradley and Dustin)
15 Raven (Paul Bagshaw and Dan Mahoney)
16 Thunderbolt (me and Lynn)
13 Yellowhammer (Merv George and Gary Weaver)
The tech and show are at the Salmon Rapids Lodge this year. There is a roast pig cooking out on the lawn, a modest car show and some race boats. It appears that there a lot more spectators around this year than last, I think the venue change is going to be a hit. Hope the racers think so also.
I'll try to write more tommorrow if I am not thrashed after the days runs.
Well hey, it's still Friday, just got back to the room from the tech and boat show and pig feed.
First the pig: It was a really GOOD pig. Tender, just a little smokie and really good. Yum. Good potato salad and cole slaw too.
The tech at Riggins is thorough, they really check everything, they do a good job. There are a total of thirteen boats now, the last boat in was Dale Whiteside from Canada with a red and silver 19 foot Step Tech, #140. Brian Freeland is navigating.
Chuck Thompson's here and ready to rock, his navigator is Randy, but not Randall Frei who is crewing for Chuck.
Met our local sponsor, Glenna from Seven Devils saloon and restaurant, our favorite place to eat since we've been coming over. I now have a Seven Devils sticker on the boat. I've always liked the Seven Devils thing, sounds kind of tough, it's for a group of mountains here local.
Awards for best boat/crew, best paint and best engineered. The trophies were locally made from local minerals by the man who does the tech inspections with Sam Whitten,( sorry I didn't catch your name). Dave Provost and crew ot best boat/best crew. Brodie Miller got best engineered and tthe Labrums got best paint. Neat that this is happening at each race now, a good trend. When we started it would have been something like Best pressure dent or Most innovative use of bondo .
Drivers meeting is at 8:00 am at Short's bar, first boat is out at 9:30. Good night.
Saturday morning, 6;45am. River is down to 6420 cfs this morning at Whitebird. Best case, rocks are easier to see, rollers are smaller. Worst case, more rocks, eaiser to hit! No rain, predicted mostly cloudy, high of 71 degrees.
Well the days six legs are in the bag. Here is the damage part of the report-
Chuck Thompson only got to run about a mile of the first leg and then his dry sump pump locked up.
Brodie Miller and Dwain Longfellow somehow launched, flew or slid up the top of about a 20 foot gravel bar at Race Creek on about the 4th leg. Nobody hurt as far as I know, don't know a lot, just saw the boat there, then saw them moving it on logs on the last run up.
Brian Dilinge lost his boat in TIme Zone, it's still there. I heard it hooked on him, got stuck nose down between some rocks, then the river grabbed it. Brian and his navigator got out ok.
Sam Heath pulled out on the 4th leg, his motor is losing rpm and it doesn't sound right. They are assessing it right now to see if he can race tommorrow.
Dave Provost didn't start the 5th leg, fuel system not picking up fuel right and he didn't want to take a chance of the motor deciding to shut off at the wrong time. He will be back running tommorrow.
Merv George and Dale Whiteside both joined the "bankers" club as Dwain put it, Merv's motor shut off at time zone and he slid up the bank. Thrilled spectators threw them back in the river and they continued on. I am not sure what happened to Dale, but something to do with getting out of shape, unfortunately no spectators around, Dale and Brian had to shove the boat back in the water themselves. Nasty dent in the right front, but it looks like water, not rocks.
The results part of the report for Saturday is like this: fuzzy, like my memory but here is how I remember it:
Dave Provost A182 is leading a-class, Brian DiLinge's boat is at the bottom ofTime Zone (ouch!)
Dean Saxon is leading BBFX, Sam Heath's motor is making bad noises and is probably toast, so they are out.
Duane Labrum is leading B-class, Steve Hanlin is second and Brodie Miller is out due to an unintended departure from normal flight.
FX class: Paul Bagshaw is ripping a wide swath in FX class with Raven. He has it running comfortably over 80 up and downstream and is as relentless a driver in this class as he was in A-class. A pretty much unstoppable combination. I think by this point it had gelled to where Dale Whiteside had second and Merv George had third.
I was holding onto fourth by the skin of my teeth and Jeff Bradley was stalking me!
At this point I would like to mention that Randall Frei and Gary Longfellow ended up running Steve Hanlin's family boat as the sweep boat. Thanks Gary and Randall, it's a boring job but essential and thanks Steve for the use of your boat.
Also I'd like to mention that there was a lot of spectators, and seemed like more people in town too. I hope so because a bunch of real dedicated folks did a lot of serious thinking and tons of work making this race live again.
The ones I know of are:
Rich Friend, former racer and a very competant race director/promoter. I can tell you he was all over that race, and did one hell of a job. Thanks Rich, well done!
Gary and Duane Labrum, b-class racing brothers, Gary did an awful lot of promotion work towards this event, and the two attended several AWJA meetings from Idaho, helping with the rule set for this year and in general getting racers to come to Idaho.
Several innovative ideas were thought of and tried out, one was the local sponsor program, where a local business would give a team $200 and the team displays the sponsors vinyl on their boat. This was very well recieved by both the sponsors and the teams and a brilliant idea of somones! Whoever you are, give yourself a pat on the back! Another was leg money, paid for completed legs. I personally benefitted from this, it did a lot towards taking the sting out of going all the way to Idaho, running as well as I could and then having nothing to take home but a bent boat. More about that later, but it was just the right thing for it.
It seemed this year like the town was more into the race, some I am sure because they finally got a decent turnout of race boats, but also it felt more like us and the town were putting this thing on together. Riggins always has made us feel welcome, no doubt about that, but this seemed sort of like a group effort. Maybe that was the local sponsor deal. I really like that idea, BRILLIANT! as the beer commercial says.
Sunday we are scheduled to run one down and one up leg and the awards at noon at Short's Bar.
Late saturday night the wind started picking up. Big gusts kept whacking the curtains open in our room at Salmon Rapids. Cold wind too.
Sunday morning the river gauge at Whitebird is reading only 20 cfs less than saturday. Several people told me that by their secret cypher sticks, the river has gone up a couple of inches, which is understandable because it's raining and miserable this morning.
At the drivers meeting it was discussed back and forth whether we race or not, we decided to race. This set of two legs was not all that memorable, (other than some more last minute missing and musical navigator changes) everyone trying to notch it down a bit because of the rain and because of not wanting to throw away their placement through error.
So of course the only on who did screw up was me, ran right the hell over a rock I had been using all the other six legs as a guide into a chute at shorts bar. It wasn't a little hidden one either, it stuck out of the water about 8 inchs. The rock was wet from the rain and it was in a still pool so I couldn't pick it up by it's riffle, I had to actually see it, no problem on sunny saturday, but impossible on rainy sunday. note to self: pick landmarks that aren't affected by weather. Well I couldn't find it with my eyes but I did locate it with the hull. We got seriously launched, came down straight and kept going.
We ran the rest of the way down, I kept turning around to see if water was spraying off the flex plate, never saw any but when I parked I could see a sprung weld letting in alot of water, a weld I have had to redo about 5 times. It was a seam right under the motor, about a foot long. I decided taking home the trailer with a boat on it was a better idea than attempting to solidify my less than wonderful fourth place and quite possibly opening the seam all the way up at Tight Squeeze and letting in the Salmon. Race over for me. I did get to watch everyone come back up through Time Zone and that was definitely a memorable sight.
The order as described above does not change other than I move from fourth to fifth in FX class. Foo.
The last thing I wanted to cover was the awards ceremony, I saw several of things that makes me think that these are some of the best folks I have ever been around.
When Dale Whiteside was given his trophy for second in FX, he gave a brief speech about what a great race it was and then said as far as the prize money, just keep it and use it to help get next years race going.
Steve Hanlin won second in B-class and I don't know how much the check would have been, but he donated the whole thing to the local football team (which I forgot the name of already). (It's the SAVAGES, dumby.)
Merv George was presented his trophy that he earned the hard way, and looking as tired as I have ever seen him, pulled out $20 and threw it on the trophy table and said this was to help Brian DiLinge and crew recover their boat from Time Zone. He said he wanted everyone to kick in on this. A hat was passed around and it went back up front overflowing with money.
Some good folks I hang out with, wouldn't you say?
I had all day to think about the new (old) Riggins race as I was driving from Burns to Klamath.
This new venue is the absolute BEST whitewater I have ever run, I am totally hooked on it. It should be a real hit for spectators (and from what I have been hearing it is) and it looks like Riggins is ready to make sure it has legs.
My personal feeling about Rggins is that I am already wound up plotting about coming back next year with either the boat I have adapted to running the choppy stuff or another boat that'll do it. The little wing boat handled it all fine, no new cracks only the damage I inflicted was when I hit the rock. It also stayed preditable and ran straight in all that whitewater, but I just could not get it to stay hooked up and in the water long enough to get any speed going where it's bumpy. I think I know what it's about and will have a fix by Hoopa, which by the way ought to be a lot like the Salmon (except no monsters like Time Zone and Tight Squeeze).
I have to apologize to Rich for maybe giving him a heart attack by running up the inside of the rollers at Time Zone, but It looked good when I came around the corner and I wanted to try it. It sucks, of course, and I don't recommend it now, but I just had to try it. Dwain DID show me the best way through all of it, and I did that from then on.
Damn, I can't wait to get back there.
Oh and one more thing.
I cannot tell you how amazed and impressed I am with what team Unpredictable has done with the Kwik kraft. I knew it had more in it, but I would not have believed that it was possible to do what they have done with it. If they ever decide to give up FX class and give my boat back, I am going to horn-swoggle them into helping me with my little red boat. Those guys are good....
From Gary Labrum:
The local football team is the Salmon River High Savages. They play EIGHT man football. They are sometimes good enough to qualify for the state playoffs but don't get to go because the district does not have the $$$ to send them. All the entry fees from the racers also went to the team and the cheerleading squad. The footballers and the cheerleaders pitched in and sold T-shirts and collected garbage and generally worked hard behind the scenes to help make this event happen and run smoothly.