The Odessa Record -

Desert 100 race weekend draws crowd of thousands

 

April 12, 2018

--Photo courtesy of Susan Jensen.

The campsite for the motorcycle-racing weekend known as the Desert 100, located at the corner of Irby Road and Highway 28, covers several acres of Wes and Faye King's cattle pasture. The layout for the big race covers property belonging also to additional landowners.

For competitors and spectators at the 48th annual Desert 100 endurance race put on by the Stumpjumpers Motorcycle Club based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., it was an exciting weekend. Race organizers opened the campsite at noon on Thursday, April 5, a day earlier than in previous years. Once again, the line to get in formed prior to the opening time as the early birds vied for the prime camping spots. Recreational vehicles and tents of all types and sizes converged at the corner of State Route 28 and Irby Road to establish a small, temporary city of approximately 5,000 inhabitants.

Thursday and Friday at the site were devoted to signing in the campers, then registering them for the various events of the weekend. Saturday was devoted to poker runs, kids' races, a beginner ladies' race and exploration of the immediate surroundings. Sunday morning was the main event, the Desert 100 motorcycle endurance race, 100 miles of rugged, sometimes rocky, trails through the sage-steppe landscape.

Saturday's early morning rain was heavy, but skies began to clear before noon. The afternoon produced lovely riding weather, as the sun came out and started to dry up some of the rain puddles. The course on Sunday was still quite muddy in places, but a little mud never stops a Stumpjumper club member from enjoying this off-road sport.

Of the 1,400 or so registered entrants for the Desert 100 race, 360 finished the 100-mile race comprising two laps around the well-marked trail that wound through the once and future cow pasture. Another 275 racers finished the 50-mile contest, which comprised one lap over the course. Many registered riders, for one reason or another, failed to finish the course.

The top three finishers in the 100-mile race were John Beal of Snohomish with a time of 3:35:43.307, Zach Martinez of Reno, Nev. with a time of 3:37:09.490 and James Sullivan of Bellevue with a time of 3:39:03.776.

--Photo courtesy of Susan Jensen.

The large white hospitality tent sponsored by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce.

The hospitality tent sponsored by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce provided shelter from the weather, as well as heat, beverages and music to the crowd. Volunteers from Odessa checked ID, served up beer, soft drinks, chocolate milk and water. All ages were allowed in the tent until 8 p.m., when minors were no longer allowed entrance. On Friday and Saturday night, the band Karma's Circle of Spokane entertained the crowd with an eclectic array of musical styles.

According to law enforcement and Odessa Chamber of Commerce officials, the entertainment venue was mostly calm and conflict free, although there were a couple of scuffles Friday evening and a more serious altercation Saturday evening. The situations were handled quickly by the law enforcement and private security teams present, and as always, Stumpjumper club officials were quickly on hand to help diffuse the problem.

 

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