San Manuel Copper Classic Hare Scramble Race proves best race in the AMRA series

A record number of riders receive instruction and rules before the Arizona Trail Riders event earlier this month in San Manuel. Submitted

Joe Gonzales, Bruce Robertson, PGK Johnnie Seballos and “Rod” Rodriguez have a great, fraternal time cooking for the Arizona Trail Riders competition in San Manuel. Submitted

Special to the Miner

In preparation for the San Manuel Copper Classic Hare Scramble, round number 5 in the Arizona Motorcycle Riders Association (AMRA) racing series, the Trail Riders of Southern Arizona (TRS), aided by a strong contingent of volunteers, turned out on Friday, Jan. 1 to ready the staging, start, scoring/finish, and pit areas as well as the final course marking work.

Racers began to arrive in the afternoon. Over 120 big bikes and 30 mini racers were already pre-registered. The big bike racer count reached the unexpected number of 195. Also, unexpected was the weather change from clear and sunny to rain, starting at 3 a.m. Saturday morning as a light, intermittent drizzle, but, as racers were processed, the rain began falling harder and steadier, changing the dry earth to a perfect, moist and tacky dirt bike riding surface. Registration and tech were closed on schedule, at 8 p.m. and a club meeting was held, over a pizza dinner, to discuss the final coordination for the race.

On Saturday at 8 a.m., the mini racer rider’s met. The rain had stopped and the kids got the green flag to race. By 11 a.m., three races were completed for the minis. Race they did! The kids in the 85CC Advanced Class are very fast.

Around 11 a.m., it was time for the big bike racer meeting. This was followed by a presentation of the mini racer rider trophies, and finally it was time for the big bike race.

Due to the strong cloud cover and cool 50’ish temperature, the ground was still very moist. The big bikes took off around noon, racing until late afternoon. This race kept our medics and sweep crews very busy.

The race was only 5 minutes old when one racer came back through scoring. What’s this all about? He claims he got lost due to our poor course marking, but we figured 190 other riders got it right, so he must have been watching his front fender and not the race course.

Within 20 minutes of the start we started getting radio reports of mechanical failures and riders down with minor injuries. This kept up for most the race and some of our sweep and medic riders never made a complete lap. Fortunately there were no serious injuries and all racers were accounted for by the end of the day.

After a long day of racing, it was time for more racing. We set up the night race course and scoring area. Just after dark a hardy group of big bike racers took off onto the course armed with all sorts of night riding light setups. After the race, we put away the race scoring tools and finally had time to relax and socialize.

The racing was, as Steve Brown our club treasurer put it, “Epic!”.

On Sunday morning, with still a good number of TRS members on hand, we made rather quick work of cleaning up all the grounds around the staging area and the race courses. Around noon, about 10 of us went over to the Oracle Inn for a satisfying lunch. Satisfying, also, was the thought that we had once again provided the best race in the AMRA series.

The TRS thanks everyone who made this race a success, especially the town and school board of San Manuel for continuing to allow access to the school staging area, the Knights of Columbus for providing food service on Saturday and to the fire department for being on call in case of needed emergency assistance.

President George Wysopal said, “Without your help, our success hosting this race would not be possible. TRS is also proud of being able to donate $1000 to the San Manuel School Board as part of our fundraising tradition.”

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