Bainbridge Grand Prix

Bainbridge, Ohio

This years fall race was once again held in Bainbridge, Oh. The race was held a week before the Fall Festival of Leaves. Bainbridge is a small town about an hour east of Cincinnati and about 1.5 hours south of Columbus. There are two traffic lights in town. In October, the trees are turning a wonderful color. The camera just doesn't do a very good job of capturing the colors. This tree was near our pit area.

Friday, October 12

I arrived in Columbus, early in the morning on a red eye. It was raining. Things didn't look good, as the rain came and went all morning. I found my way to the hotel in Chilicothe, about a half hour from the race site about 2 in the afternoon. The rain had stopped, but it has still fairly cloudy. I took a nap, and then put my board together for the evening tech session. As I left the hotel there wasn't a cloud in the sky!

I got to Jester Hill, shortly before sundown. The pit area is at the bottom of the hill, at the local elementary school.

Bob Swartz pulled up at the same time I did. Tom, Bob, and I went up the course and swept off some of the hay, until it was too dark to see.

Saturday, October 13

The next morning, it was raining. As I drove out to the race site, I was trying to decide if I wanted to race in the rain. It had stopped raining when I got to Jester Hill, but the track was soaked. I thought the track would stay wet all day.

Everyone gathered for the riders meeting. We had about 25 riders. The morning practice was tough, as the road was completely wet. Worse, the pavement was very slick. There were a couple of patches, where the road was repaired, that were less slick. Fortunately one of these was right before one of the turns. While the road was wet, and the second turn is pretty hairy, there were no major accidents!

After lunch we ran qualifying. Amazingly the track had dried out almost completely! I got a couple of shots of some of the riders.

While the rains and subsided, and the sun came out, the humidity was still high, and the ladybugs came out in full force. You didn't really want to breath with your mouth open, as you might inhale one. These guys were everywhere, and some people insist the bugs were biting.

That was not the only trouble we had with animals. The trouble had started earlier with some dogs. One of the course workers kept the dogs busy by tossing rocks into a field. The dogs would look for the rocks for a while. When they lost interest, another rock was tossed in. Then some goats got loose and were out on the course. The most amusing (and scary) moments happened as one of the riders approached the finish line. Seconds before he came into view, ducks started to cross the road! The rider missed the ducks by only a few feet! I wish I could get a copy of the video.

After qualifying, we headed back to Chilicothe to clean up. Then a bunch of us headed over to this pizza joint. I can't remember the name of the place, but it had the cheapest food, and a ton of it.

Sunday, October 14

I spend half the night watching the weather channels. Basically all of the reports said that the storm(s) were going to cross the upper part of the state. Problem is that Bainbridge is right in the center, some reports seems to indicate it was going to get poured on, others indicated it wouldn't. Well it was raining, and raining even harder than the day before. In fact a HUGE storm blew through during the night. One of the riders was actually camping at the pit area, and decided he wasn't going to sleep through the storm. When I got to the pit areas, everyone was hanging out under the tents.

We decided to to take a couple of practice runs, and then race buttboards. Hopefully the rain would clear up. Tom used the shelter of the chase truck to make some repairs.

Tom and Mark came prepared

We broke for lunch. Rusty, David, and I headed for the local pub, in our leathers. As we were eyeing the menu, to see if we would eat there, Mason and Fryer sauntered in. They were disappointed, they claimed they were going to grab a brew and slink back to the race, and no one would know, yet the organizer was already here!

The weather was improving, the sun wasn't coming out, but the wind was blowing. The track was drying off! The road was practically dry when the race started.

I never got to see Neil or Eli race, as they were the last ones down, and I was generally on the truck by then.

It was podium time, Ninja Bearings was out giving away some prizes. Rusty stepped up this year, and with a little help from his team mates in F-6 put this race on, on very short notice.

We were able to talk his dad into driving the UHaul for us, and he did a fantastic job.

Stand up:

Eli Smouse

Gravity Bikes:

Neil Orta


Andy Lally, Brian Kiggins, Chris McBride (My first professional podium!)


Tom Mason, Rusty Riley, Jon Fryer

After the awards ceremony, it was time to tear down the hill.

I lost two races because I broke entering this chicane.

Most of the East Coasters left early, as most of them drove. Those of us flying out, took Tom Mason up on his offer of Pizza and Beer back at the hotel. A pleasant way to finish a fun filled weekend.

The race was a blast, we got some rain riding in, and we were able to practice and race on a dry road. One person scrapped their knuckles when they high sided coming into the gnarly chicane, but there were no other injuries.