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My wife Kay and I recently attended an “Intro to Observed Trials” school put on by Chris Johnson and his wife Claire at their Buffalo Dream Ranch in Lawton. The class taught us the basics of trials riding, with an emphasis on how those skills transfer to our normal everyday riding on dirt bikes, dual sport and adventure bikes.

I produced a quick podcast interview with Chris where he talks about the school, what skills you will learn, and what gear to bring.

Chris Johnson rides a wheelie past his class motorcycle. There is plenty of room to practice at their ranch west of Lawton.
Chris Johnson rides a wheelie past his class motorcycle. There is plenty of room to practice at their ranch west of Lawton.
Chris and Claire Johnson are wonderful hosts during their intro to observed trials school west of Lawton.
Chris and Claire Johnson are wonderful hosts during their intro to observed trials school west of Lawton.
May wife Kay and I attended Chris and Claire Johnson's observed trials school west of Lawton.
May wife Kay and I attended Chris and Claire Johnson’s observed trials school west of Lawton.
Chris Johnson jumps his trials motorcycle over a gap in the dirt at his ranch west of Lawton.
Chris Johnson jumps his trials motorcycle over a gap in the dirt at his ranch west of Lawton.
Chris and Claire Johnson both ride observed trials motorcycles.
Chris and Claire Johnson both ride observed trials motorcycles.
Chris and Claire Johnson raise belted Galloway beef cattle on their ranch west of Lawton.
Chris and Claire Johnson raise belted Galloway beef cattle on their ranch west of Lawton.
Chris Johnson is an expert level observed trials rider who teaches an intro to trials riding course at his ranch west of Lawton.
Chris Johnson is an expert level observed trials rider who teaches an intro to trials riding course at his ranch west of Lawton.
Claire Johnson cooks awesome food for the trials riding class attendees.
Claire Johnson cooks awesome food for the trials riding class attendees.

The Oklahoma Cross Country Racing Association – OCCRA – is hosting their annual Make Promises Happen charity dirt bike races on April 25-26 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. OCCRA members and racers have raised over one half million dollars – $500,000 – to help support this worthwhile charity. One hundred percent of the entry fees for this race goes to the Make Promises Happen program. Listen to Ride Oklahoma Radio while I chat with Executive Director James Wheeler and OCCRA racer Mark Walker about this worthwhile and fun family race.

OCCRA race in Guthrie at Make Promises Happen

In the early 1970’s Glen Sinclair was very involved in dirt bike racing. He hung out with the likes of Jack Penton and Dick Burleson. “I would build the course and they would come and ride it” laughs Glen. “I also know Ralph Royce (Ride Oklahoma July 2008). He is something else.” Never a top racer, Glen was content to just ride the occasional enduro, work on trails, and hang out with his buddies. After owning a motorcycle shop in western Oklahoma for several years and riding all across the state, he retired from riding in 1983.

Glen Sinclair grew up racing with the likes of Jack Penton and Dick Burleson.
Glen Sinclair grew up racing with the likes of Jack Penton and Dick Burleson.

Fast forward to 2007. A riding buddy of Glen’s from days past stopped by his farm one day and said “Come out to Woodward, we are riding there and you can ride with us.” Glen took him up on his offer and he caught the dirt bike riding fever all over again.
This time his fever was contagious. He quickly infected his daughter Louis and her husband Brian Gambel, along with their sons Lane and Barron. Brian had been a motocross racer from years past, and promptly went out and bought bikes for the entire family. And a new truck. And a new toy hauler RV. The Gambels got the fever bad. “It’s damned expensive, but we like it” says Brian.
It wasn’t long until the entire family was hitting the OCCRA race circuit. “I took the kids to Gruber and they loved it” smiled Glen. Seems the boys had have riding 4-wheelers and picked up motorcycle riding easily. Lane, 13, rides mini-85 and says “my favorite thing is getting air. My longest jump was 100’, 40’ in the air.” His dad doesn’t think much of his jumping. “Pretty stupid if you ask me,” laughs Brian.

Barron, at age 10 the youngest of the family, rides both mini-65 and mini-quads. He and brother Lane tear it up at the family farm during the week, then head to the track with their parents and grandparents on the weekend.
On summer weekends the Sinclairs and Gambels pull their rigs to an OCCRA race and form a “home away from home”. Glen’s wife Barbara plans the food for the weekend and runs the pits, while the rest of the family heads out onto the trail. “We can pay a $30 entry fee and ride all weekend” explains Brian. In between practice and races they gather at the trailers to snack, socialize and enjoy the weekend. On this particular weekend it was Halloween, so it was time to dress up the camp. At dusk the kids all dressed up in Halloween costumes and toured the busy OCCRA campground, gathering up a supply of candy to last them the weekend.

“OCCRA has become more of a family event that just happens to coincide with a race weekend” says Jerry Welch, Race Director. “Many families like the Sinclairs and Gambels come more for the social aspects of riding together than they do the race. We average nearly 500 riders per weekend on most races. We are looking forward to even more in 2009.”
Looks like the fever is spreading.

Glen Sinclair and his daughter converse in between practice laps at an OCCRA race in Wellston, OK.
Glen Sinclair and his daughter converse in between practice laps at an OCCRA race in Wellston, OK.
Glen Sinclair and his family sit around at their motor home in between practice at an OCCRA dirt bike race.
Glen Sinclair and his family sit around at their motor home in between practice at an OCCRA dirt bike race.
OCCRA racers stop during practice to discuss the track conditions.
OCCRA racers stop during practice to discuss the track conditions.
Glen Sinclair and his family camp overnight at an OCCRA race.
Glen Sinclair and his family camp overnight at an OCCRA race.

Okie Dirt Riders will be holding their annual Off-Road Poker Run on April 14 at the Crosstimbers Riding Area near Lake Stanley Draper. Proceeds from this fun ride go to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness. There will also be a skills contest for best wheelie, slow ride, board ride and a barrel race, plus a separate pit bike race. A ton of sponsors are providing a multitude of door prizes, and Twin Peaks will be there to provide visual entertainment.

Registration starts at 9:30 am and the poker run begins at 10 am. Pit bike race at 1 pm and drawings are at 1:30.

LOCATION: CrossTimbers Riding Area
TIME: 10:00 AM April 14, 2013

Okie Dirt Riders Poker Run Flyer

Crosstimbers Riding Area

Oklahoma Cross Country Racing Association, the premier off-road racing series in Oklahoma, will be hosting Round 3 of the series in Konawa, OK. OCCRA races dirt bikes all over the state of Oklahoma in places that are often not open to riding except for the race each year. This is a family-friendly event with young kids, parents and even grand parents racing motorcycles and 4-wheelers across the fields and trails of Oklahoma. The terrain varies from the rocks of the east to the sand of the northwest to the clay in central Oklahoma. Practice is on Saturday while the racing is on Sunday. Bring your tent or motor home, camp out, have fun with friends and enjoy the awesome off-road riding in Oklahoma. Classes are available for all ages and skill sets.

Konawa has a mix of terrain ranging from loamy dirt to embedded rocks and even some deep sand. Expect hill climbs and descents, wide open stretches and tight single-track cutoffs for the bikes. Heck, Konawa has a little bit of just about everything!

www.occra.com

OCCRA Hare and Hound in Erick,Oklahoma

OCCRA race in Guthrie at Make Promises Happen

OCCRA race in Guthrie at Make Promises Happen

2008-1025-0070


Bill Dragoo will be hosting a motorcycle camping seminar at Backwoods outdoor store in Norman (I-35 & Robinson) on Tuesday, June 7 at 7 pm. He will be showing how to pack everything you need, yet still pack light and tight. He will show his kit for traveling the Trans America Trail on his dirt bike, and his kit for traveling to Mexico on his BMW GS-1200. Bill is the master at packing light with just the gear you need. He traveled across the USA – unsupported – on a bicycle, so he knows a thing or two about packing and camping light. Join us for a great time.


Oklahoma Cross County Racing Association (OCCRA) just announced their 2011 off-road race schedule. Twelve rounds of racing will be held across Oklahoma, starting March 5-6.

2011 Race Schedule/Results

Rd 1 Crosstimbers 3/5-3/6
Rd 2 Sallisaw 3/19-3/20
Rd 3 Thackerville 4/2-4/3
Rd 4 Woodward 4/16-4/17
Rd 5 MPH 4/30-5/1
Rd 6 Skiatook 5/14-5/15
Rd 7 Fry Lake 6/4-6/5
Rd 8 Reynard Raceway 9/3-9/4
Rd 9 Cross Bar Ranch 9/17-9/18
Rd 10 Angel Ridge 10/1-10/2
Rd 11 Ada 10/15-10/16
Rd 12 N. Wellston 10/29-10/30