Most may not have heard of it, but Glen Helen is such an iconic raceway, the track first shot to fame in the early nineties when it hosted the United States World Championship Motocross. Since then it has hosted not only famous races but more than its share of famous riders. Which is why Forrest Minchinton, Nick LaPaglia and Reid Harper were super excited to head to this renowned track for this year’s So-Cal Vintage Classic. A celebration of bikes from a different era.
The boys blew into Glen Helen early, riding the 40mph winds that howled along the great mountain side, undeterred, they set up shop right next to the start line, ahead of what was to be an amazing day. With 18 different classes, the So-Cal Vintage Classic has plenty of room for variation within what bikes can be ridden throughout the day.
Forrest had brought along his ‘not-so trustworthy’ 1995 CR500 to race in the 500 Cup and Revolution Class. We say ‘not-so trustworthy’ because he’d raced and not finished on this bike more than most would like. We thought it was a bloody brave move. However, he’d assured us, and to a certain extent, himself, that the past weeks preparation of rebuilding the bike for these races, he’d removed all the wrinkles, here’s hoping. Reid was sporting his 1973 Husqvarna 250 to race in the Vintage 250/500 Class. While Nick, along with his brother Michael and dad Big Mike had brought along more bikes than most. A few 1970s and 1980s Husqvarna 250’s, a couple of CZ’s and a Maico 440, putting everyone else’s set up to shame. Nick had also decided to go above and beyond with the number of races he had entered, the final tally being ten. Splitting himself across different bikes in different classes.
The wind started to ebb as the first race kicked off, setting the tone for the rest of the day. Vintage bikes, loud 2-strokes and a backdrop of smiling faces. The sun was high and shining as Nick and his brother fronted up to those first few races, they tag teamed first and second place in all of them too. Then it was Forrest who rolled up to the starting line for the 500 Cup. A white knuckle race that saw him battling throughout. More than once I found myself holding my breath but I needn’t have worried for he shot across the finish line first. The morning seemed to blur, the races were fast paced, one after another and as with these things, often hard to keep up with. This combo did not go well for Forrest’s Revolution Class race. He rolled up to the start only to be told that he was a race late. He ended up finishing the first round of races that morning with a ‘First’ and a ‘Did not Start’.
Around midday the second round of races got their start, the boys outstanding work during the morning put them in great positions to get some tremendous overall results. Reid snatched a Fourth in the vintage. Nick went back and cemented his mornings work by getting the First in nearly every class he raced.
Forrest managed to get to the starting line in time for the second 500 Cup race, which we thought was a win in itself. Another nail biter of a race with Forrest dancing back and forth across the slippery dirt with his fellow racers but he managed to keep two tires down more than most, ultimately leading him to the win, confirming his First place overall in Class. To put the cherry on the cake he managed to turn up for the second race of the Revolution Cup and took the win there as well, if only he had made that first race he could’ve doubled his trophy count.
Talk about a fun and successful day at the track. Sure, they took home a few First place finishes between them, more importantly they had reignited the love for their vintage bikes, making one thing certain. They’ll be coming back for more next year.