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Goons in the Dunes Weekend

Feb 10, 2010 // Trips on Two Wheels //

Jeremy

Well, Jim Thompson is back at it again…Goons in the Dunes.  I (Jeremy) certainly am lucky to get introduced to great people who share a passion for riding.  This summer, Jim put on an epic 10 day ride in the Cascades called “Ride While You Can: the Dual Sport Adventure.”  This time he put a spin on Eric Cleveland’s legendary contests with the Goons in the Dunes weekend.  It was planned initially to be a bunch of Dakar-style challenges, but it simmered into an enduro style event with special tests that included a “Top Rated Goon’n Contest.”

Arrival at Goons in the Dunes


Lead Product Engineer Jacob Ellul-Blake and I loaded up and headed out at 4 a.m. on Saturday.  We stopped in North Bend, Washington and found a bakery with the lights on called George’s Bakery.  Cool old guy running it and a great place for breakfast.  We continued the rest of the 4 hour ride, and came across fellow competitors stranded on the side of the pass (Bill Woods and Scott Weber).  Somehow, their tailgate on the trailer fell open spraying sparks 4 feet high.  They fixed it and got back on the road.



We finally arrived in the middle of nowhere.  There was quite a presence when we rolled up:  about 4 RVs, 5 trucks and 2 vans.  There were lots of familiar faces, as well as many I hadn’t met before.  We started the process of hellos and getting gear out.  We also had to configure our 8 ft flags; they’re required for dune riding so others can see you coming up steep dunes and avoid crashes.

 

Nice cape.


As usual, the adrenaline got going as all the bikes were fired up. It was about a 5 mile liaison ride to the first competition.  The goon was coming out in all of us as wheelies were being attempted all the way down the dirt road.
Wheels in the air

1st test: “Best 1 Minute Goon Ride.”  All I can say is watch the video, which may not be as funny but it was hilarious in person.

Then we had a liaison through the dunes for a “Time Trial” consisting of 4 laps in varying terrain. The goal was to maintain consistent speed.  I don’t think I did very well, as I began to settle in the sand-riding and got faster.

The next test was a full-on race out in the dunes.   This was awesome. Every lap, the two slowest guys were pulled before the remaining riders went on to the next lap with a full on hot restart.

Next test, Jim came up with a great idea.  We all drew cards with a number on one of the other bikes in the groups.  This meant the next race was going to start on someone else’s bike.  After the 1st lap you had to wait till your bike completed the first lap and then you grabbed it to finish your final lap.  It was hilarious! Some of the bikes were clapped out old shitters while others were world class racing machines.  Some people panicked.  I found myself on an 8 year old YZ 250 with a Recluse clutch… while not ideal, I was all smiles.

The 2 stroke power got me the hole shot, but almost blew through the first corner -- as I headed hot into the first corner I couldn’t find the brakes (the challenge of jumping on someone else’s machine).

Somehow, I led the entire first lap.  I got a quick handoff from Ken but couldn’t get the bike to relight right away, and found myself one wheel length behind Colin the entire final lap.  An awesome race, and Colin won.  Once the points were added up, Ken took home the overall trophy.

We spent the rest of the weekend racing in the dunes, fire jumping, and telling lies.

Fire jumping

Jacob and I had a great time, and everyone else did, too. If you missed out on 2010’s Goons in the Dunes, don’t make that mistake again. Come next year.