Get Bitten by Black Dog!
'93 Black Dog AMA/Suzuki National Dual Sport
Tom Niemela May 22~23, 1993
The Northwest Off-road Racers
Association, Inc. (NORA) had worked for months to host the Northwest's first
national Dual Sport event: The Black Dog. This
was event number three of the AMA/Suzuki National Dual Sport Series and event number three of the Northwest Suzuki Dual Sport Series.
They had created a course, that ran through the coast range mountains
West of Portland, Oregon, that was about 145 miles on Saturday and 124 miles on
Sunday. The weather so far this
year in Oregon has been rather wet, but on the weekend of this event, the skies
turned from bleak to beautiful, much to the delight of the riders.
Since this was a national 2-day event,
factory Suzuki and factory Honda also showed up.
Its obvious that these companies are interested in the Dual Sport market,
because they both spent a good deal of time and money to appear.
Suzuki showed up all the way from Pataskala, Ohio with a large box van
driven by famous Cross-Country veteran, Mark Hyde and assisted by his father,
Charlie. Honda appeared from
Southern California in a half-sized eighteen wheeler with Gary Martini as
driver, Scott Reif from Honda R&D, and Lee Edmunds, who was the Oregon Honda
For those that may not know how a Dual
Sport event works, it is similar to a poker run, where you ride a prescribed
course and stop at checkpoints along the way.
At these checkpoints are games where the riders (and their passengers)
can play various games of chance to attempt to get maximum points.
At the end of the ride, whoever has the most points wins first place and
so on. A Dual Sport event is a non-competitive type of ride, and the cycle must be street legal, but the idea is
to keep the riders off the road as much as possible and include as much fun as
Saturday- day 1
On the morning of the first day, Suzuki
and Honda both appeared and took their respective positions in the parking area
at the starting location, Hillsboro Honda/Suzuki of Hillsboro, Oregon.
This proved to be an ideal location, since riders could purchase last
minute items like spark plugs or tubes from the shop.
Gary Roe, owner of Hillsboro Honda/Suzuki, opened his doors early, much
to the joy of some of the riders. Mark
Hyde opened up the Suzuki van unloading his bikes and tools offering to help
anyone who needed any with their machine. The
Honda people set up a huge tent to help with the sign up chores and provided
coffee and donuts for everyone. Once
the riders were signed up and had their roll charts in the holders, the
adventure began. The NORA Club
provided roll charts, similar to a timekeeper Enduro Jart Chart, for the riders
that displayed mileage readings and appropriate turns.
The chart had resets every 10 to 20 miles to accommodate differences of
The first part of the ride wound the
riders through the back country roads of Cornelius and Forest Grove and
eventually onto the Wilson River Hwy. to the summit of the Tillamook Forest
where they tried their hand at a game of chance at the first checkpoint.
From there they descended through the beautiful Drift Creek Canyon, which
eventually brought them to University Falls Road.
A few miles later, they had a choice of which way they wanted to go: the
normal easy route or an alternate moderate route.
The easy route wound them through the Ben Smith Road, which was
highlighted with a small creek crossing, where the road had been washed out due
to winter rains. The moderate route
option wound them down a long steep jeep road that has been used many times by
the local clubs as a special test for Enduros.
This route was especially fun for those that liked to jump waterbars.
Both routes eventually came together and progressed towards the next
checkpoint at Lee's Camp Store on the Wilson River Hwy., where they again played
another game of chance to acquire more points.
Onward from Lee's Camp Store up Diamond
Mill Road towards one of the Saturday course highlights called Triangulation
Peak. This was to have been the
highlight of the Saturday course and for some, it was more than just a
highlight. From Triangulation Peak
you can see the Pacific Ocean to the West and the Willamette Valley to the East,
but Ma Nature wasn't cooperating and brought clouds into the surrounding area to
block most of the view. Eric &
Gail Haws, the lone BMW entry, ended up going up the wrong peak, which had a
steep rock face towards the top of it. Unfortunately,
they tipped their Beemer on its side in this spot.
They were in good spirits about it though, and Eric later laughingly
commented, "It was nothing. We
just tipped it over on its side. Heck,
we figure if we don't tip it over once in a while, then we're not having enough
From there the riders descended down
Cedar Butte Road and eventually wound their way to the Trask River Store, which
was the third checkpoint. The Trask
River Store has been a landmark for years to motorcyclists in this part of the
state and is ran by Margaret. Bikes
are always welcome and Margaret always has something friendly to say.
From there everyone went up the North Fork of the Trask River, to Bobcat
Cut-off, Hembre Ridge and then the trek back to Hillsboro Honda/Suzuki.
Upon arriving at Hillsboro
Honda/Suzuki, the riders were greeted to a hamburger and hot dog barbecue by the
Honda folks and Hillsboro Honda/Suzuki. During
this time, Mark Hyde gave a seminar on Dual Sport bike setup.
This was a great way to end the Saturday ride and of course, after the
seminar, all the riders started telling their personal trials and tribulations
about the day's ride.
Mark Hyde had been out on the course in
various locations all day offering assistance to anyone who needed it.
Throughout the course of the day's ride, he had fixed a few flat tires,
but amazingly enough, also fixed a broken case on Kevin Dugan's Yamaha XT600.
"I don't know how the case got broken," said Kevin. "All of a sudden, spooge started coming out of a hole on
the top side case in front of my countershaft sprocket. All I can figure is that I got a rock in the chain somehow.
Anyway, I saw Mark Hyde's van a few miles later, after I had stocked up
on four quarts of oil at Lee's Camp Store, and he pulled out this stuff that
looked like chewing gum. He cleaned up the surface and wadded this gooey material into
the hole and it has held up great! I'll
tell you, he's a great guy!"
One poor gentleman broke a gear shaft
on his bike and limped it in to the finish, where Mark Hyde immediately jumped
in to fix it. Within five minutes,
the bike was on its side with the case off, clutch basket out, and Mark elbow
deep in transmission oil and gears, while the crowd of riders watched him
perform surgery. After about a half
hour, Mark had replaced the shaft, buttoned it back up and the bike was ready
for the second day. What a guy!
And no labor charge!
Sunday- day 2
Sunday morning arrived with the sun
shining and hardly a cloud in the sky. Coffee
and donuts were provided by Honda during sign up as everyone loaded up with gear
for the day's ride. Today's ride
would take everyone down to the Flying M Ranch, just out of Yamhill, Oregon,
where the annual Trask National 2-day ISDE Qualifier is held.
After riding some scenic backroads over
Bald Peak, the riders eventually made their way to the Flying M Ranch and the
first check. At this check, the
riders enjoyed a brunch at the Flying M Ranch Lodge that was provided by NORA
and then made their way up the Old Toll Road to Murphy's Camp, which was the
second check. From this location,
NORA had some moderate and advanced rider course options available for the
riders that opted for a more challenging ride.
On Sunday the NORA Club had also
decided to offer a little extra feature for the riders who wanted some serious
off-road riding fun. Under the
capable hands and guidance of Team Butthook member, Jerry Morrell and Team
Squirrel member, Dennis Craig they offered at checkpoint one, a personally
guided, knobbies only, trailride through some of the most popular trails of the
Trask ISDE Qualifier area. This
proved to be a huge success for the riders that participated.
Everyone had big grins and stories of Mark Hyde performing daring acts of
riding when they got back to the finish!
At the finish, the NORA Club had more
than enough prizes for all the riders. In
fact, everyone who entered the Black
Dog Dual Sport went home with, not one, but two prizes!
This obviously met with a high amount of approval from the riders.
NORA had again provided special made works of art trophies for the
winners, custom designed by course sweep god and all around nice guy, Ken
Murphy. Ernie Brown was the overall
winner and now has a big trophy and a new Thor Gor-tex Enduro Jacket.
Congrats Ernie! Other winners included Bob Schwarz as oldest rider (No Bob, I
won't say how old!), and John Aulabaugh as the rider who came the farthest from
Centerville, Ohio. With the
combination of two prizes each,
great weather and a great ride, everyone went home a winner!
The NORA M/C would like to thank the
following sponsors who helped make this event such a big success:
Factory Suzuki, Factory Honda, Hillsboro Honda/Suzuki, MC
Events Newspaper, Beaverton Honda/Yamaha, Portland Off-Road Center, Aloha
BMW, D&S Cycle, G&G Cycle, Salem Cycle Country, Mike's Cycle Parts, Big
Boy Toys, Dirt Rider Magazine, Clarke Plastics, Steahly Off-road Products, USA
Racing, DeVol Engineering, Sprocket Specialists, White Brothers, Kal-Gard,
O'Neal USA, Maier Mfg., Moose Racing, Team Dual Dogs & Dual Sporter
Magazine, Race Tech, Lockhart Dualsport, and Bill Bishop Enterprises.
They would also like to thank the
Flying M Ranch, Willamette Industries, and Oregon Department of Forestry.