As the light fades, and the sky turns blood red, the ghouls come out to waken the dead. And even though this looks like a peaceful hood, when the bikes come out, they are up to no good. Generators hum and cry into the night, while the light they shine will be a most welcome sight. Making the dirt scream and the rocks bleed, the racers' only concern is the top speed. Riding down the trail into the dead black, don't stop or even think to look back.
For the ghost of 1000 riders before, have left their mark on the Fontana floor. As the werewolf cries into the full moon, bones crunching will seal some's doom. For when the rubber slips from the dirt, there is no escaping evil's deadly hurt. And if you happen to finish in one piece, consider yourself lucky to be spared from the beasts. When awards are finally collected by the dead, at last they will serve as a tombstone for your head.
Okay, now that you've made it through my attempt at what may be the world's first DH bike Halloween poem, we can talk about the race. The nightmare just described is known as the Emerald Predator DH Night Race, presented by Suspension maestro's, DVO. This year marked the 4th annual of the night race held out in Fontana, California.
|We used to race night time moto x out in Corona raceway back in the early seventies and eighties, so it was in the thought process of, how can we do this for Downhill, without having to put lights on guy's bikes? So, I kind of played with it for a couple years before we pulled the trigger on it, but once I figured out that we could lay out a course and put it under the lights, we said, let's try it and see what happens. - Race promoter Donny Jackson gives a brief history of how the event got started|
Although the original intent of the race was for riders to solely use the stadium lighting, as the event progressed, rider safety became more apparent, and instead of being penalized for using lights, by the third year, individual lights were allowed. In addition to this, riders are given an hour and a half to practice the course, and shuttles are available as well. Format for the race is single run, so you better make it count.
As usual for this location, course conditions were super dry and dusty. The Summer heat shows no mercy on the dirt here for a solid 3 months, and most racers have become quite familiar with the loose, blown out turns and hard packed ground.
|It's a fun event. Everyone has a great time. - Donny Jackson|
This year's track could be considered a bit more tame than the one laid out last year. The upper section consisted of smooth back to back switchbacks and a few rock slabs in the mix as well. As riders approached the middle section, they had to navigate a chunky rock garden, that was probably the most challenging section of the course.
One of the more interesting parts of this course was the dimly lit water tank area. At this elevation you have a great view of the city lights below.
As the times began to roll in, Trek / Southridge Racing rider, Waylon Smith would take the top time of the night with a 1:43:14 on the short course. Following close behind was fellow pro rider, Michael Kollbek, with a 1:49:29. Joe Picchiottino and Joe Simpson held down the fort in the Vet Pro division, while Jr. X racers battled it out to the death. Incycle rider, Bruce Klein ended up taking the top step, while Andras Simon and Jason Schroeder were left nipping at his heels. Wether you are a beginner or a seasoned Vet, this is a great race to come out and ride and hang with your buddies.
If you want to ride like Cedric, this bike would be a great place to start. The Santa Cruz Carbon V-10 show bike was kitted out with the a beautiful looking Emerald fork, and all the premium components one could ever dream of.
|We had a great turnout, you know there are a lot of other activities going on this weekend, but we had a solid couple hundred racers come out. We are going to be working with a lot of the teams that come out here in the future, so we're pretty happy. This local event is good. It's all hard-core So. Cal DH riders. I've known Donny for a while, and he puts on a really good event, and we're going to support all the local riders and give them factory support and get em' racing! - Bryson Martin of DVO Suspension|