Cross Country Chase
Daily Update – 9/24/2022
An Epic Day with Jay
Today’s ride from Victorville to Burbank brought us out of the desert and into the mountains. The route
was only 103 miles long—less than half the distance of most other Chase days. But it was truly
memorable in more ways than any of us expected.
Stage 9 took us across Angeles Crest Highway, a 66-mile stretch of twisties through Angeles National
Forest. With all the hairpin turns and blind curves, it was one of the most challenging and exciting roads
on the Chase. The scenic byway, which ascends and descends the San Gabriel Mountains, is considered
the most scenic mountain road in the state, and numerous overlooks along the entire stretch provide
the opportunity to enjoy magnificent vistas on both sides of the road. And along the byway is Dawson
Saddle, which at 7,903 feet is the highest point on this year’s Cross Country Chase.
They say that the only constant in life is change, and that adage certainly applies to the Cross Country
Chase. Several times during this year’s event, riders have been given emergency instructions before
their departure on the day’s route. Change orders can be initiated by road closures, relocated
checkpoints, or, in the case of Stage 9, a very special occasion. Today, after Chasers completed Stage 9
and the daily quiz at the hotel, they were given a new set of directions and told that a mandatory rider-
only meeting would require them to ride bikes to an offsite location. There was some grumbling along
the lines of, “Why can’t the meeting take place here at the hotel?” and “Why do I have to start my bike
again just for a one-hour meeting?” Well, the event is ever-evolving even while it’s in progress, and if an
opportunity arises to further enhance the riders’ experience, Jason and his crew will do their best to
make it happen.
Shortly after leaving the hotel, we pulled up to a set of gated warehouses near the Hollywood Burbank
Airport. It was all very mysterious until we spotted Jay Leno, waiting for us outside his Big Dog Garage.
Jay was extremely generous with his time, posing for endless photos and selfies with Chasers. Once we
made our way into his garage, Jay took us on a tour of his massive vehicle car and motorcycle collection
stored over 122,000 square feet and spread across two buildings.
Jay selected some of the more notable motorcycles and automobiles in his collection and riders listened
with rapt attention and asked questions as he described each vehicle, what made it rare, its provenance,
and more fascinating information. And, to everyone’s delight, he started up a few his rare vehicles just
so everyone could hear the sound of the motors. Jay’s knowledge of all things automotive is truly
astounding, and it would be difficult to find a more entertaining storyteller.
Across the lot is a second building that contains a fully equipped shop, the likes that most of us have
never seen. This building contained some of the more unusual vehicles in his collection, such as a fire
engine from the late 1800s. Jay’s Emmy-winning television show, “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC, features
Jay’s passions and expertise on anything automotive, and it’s well worth watching.
We were reluctant to leave, but our end-of-the-road social was coming up shortly, so we bid him
farewell. Riders made their way to Story Tavern in downtown Burbank where our group availed
ourselves of a delicious buffet and liquid refreshments. Chase bikes lining both sides of the street
provided the perfect ambience while we dined and socialized at the outside café tables, celebrating the
triumphs and commemorating the disappointments over the past nine days.
For Stage 9, Dave Currier (#64) is still first in Class 1 as well as overall points leader. Richard Campbell
(#96) maintains his Class 2 lead, and Roger Green (#37) holds onto the highest point score in Class 3 as
well as attaining second-place overall score, while Todd Cameron (#1) has earned his way up to third
overall. The race for points is getting tighter: only a half point separates first from second place overall,
and there are only 3.5 points between Roger Green and Todd Cameron as they battle for second place in
Tomorrow is Class 10 and the end of the Chase, with riders traveling 74 miles from Burbank to the Santa
Monica Pier where the public is invited to the awards presentation at 1:00 p.m. At this point, it’s
anyone’s guess who will take the number one spot, so join us on the Pier for the fun!