In 1991, 12 individuals joined together and purchased 100 acres of land in Bedford, Kentucky. Initially used for woods riding, Saddleback East Motorcycle Club quickly grew to host trials events starting in 1992, hare scrambles in 1993, and has built 3 different motocross tracks hosting numerous events throughout the year. Since then, the club has grown to 150 members and almost 700 acres. RV hook-ups, beautiful heated bathroom facilities, and a bike-wash station are just some of the amenities available on-site.
"The Dixie Cup" is the aptly-named annual trials event hosted at the Saddleback East facility and is part of the Trials Incorporated competition series. Started in 1992, the first Dixie Cup was overseen by trials master Jerry Huddleston, one of the first members at Saddleback East. Jerry has been heavily involved in the sport of motorcycle trials since the mid-1970's and was even inducted into the Trials Inc Hall of Fame at the 2017 club banquet.
2018 marked the 26th annual Dixie Cup, and Saddleback shows no signs of slowing down. "The attendance each year can be all over the place," says current trials master Brad Baumert. "It has ranged from 120 riders to 50 riders, depending on weather, economic conditions, and placement in the schedule. Turn-out does not affect the amount of work to get it ready, so we do not pay much attention to it. We just work each year so that the riders that attend ride a quality event and have as much fun as possible." That is exactly what Saddleback East has done.
Saddleback gives riders a varied trials experience. Leading riders through a beautiful forest on a rather low-difficulty trail, riders compete in a section formed from the foundation of an old barn, several off-camber/hill sections, creek sections, and several stadium sections that are a stones-throw away from the pits. Taking first place on Saturday, and seventh place on Sunday, Kentucky-based Sportsman rider Zachary Poulton currently stands in second place for the season championship. Having two event wins over Zachary, Donald Buckley secured the top podium for the Sportsman championship before advancing to the Advanced class for the last event of the season. Securing third place in the Sportsman class is Ohio rider Richard Calendine.
One of the next biggest class for the weekend was the Advanced class, seeing 9 riders on both Saturday and Sunday. Brian Herrel took the lead Saturday, winning the round with 18 clean rides and 24 points; however, scores were lower on Sunday, and Brian was pushed back to fourth place with 21 cleans and 18 points. Mark Spring Jr started out in second place Saturday with 19 cleans and 39 points but was pushed back to third place Sunday with 23 cleans and 16 points. Gil Reed tied Mark for second place on Saturday, losing the position only by having the most number of 1-point sections. Gil turned it around to take first place on Sunday. The most amazing comeback was Mike Cramsey, who finished eighth place Saturday to an outstanding second place on Sunday.
Even the Smage brothers, Pat and Phil, showed up Sunday to enjoy the event. Pat dropped a single point in section #2, but remained clean for the rest of the day. Phil, who suffered a terrible and nearly crippling accident in a side-by-side stunt earlier this year was walking about enjoying the action and meeting with his fans and supporters.
“As enthusiasts, we cannot ask for a better place to put on this event,” says Brad. “The club is passionate about motorcycles and supports all disciplines of off-road riding. Saddleback East is truly a great example of a motorcycle club that will give people a place to ride for decades to come.”
The TI season is almost complete. Check out www.trialsinc.org for remaining events. The 2019 schedule will be available after the club meeting on November 10th. See you on the loop!
- published in the November 2018 issue of On The Pegs