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Cross Country Chase Daily Update – 9/25/2022

As riders completed their final quiz and left Burbank for Stage 10 of the Cross Country Chase, there were mixed emotions about the last day. Chasers and staff were mentally, physically exhausted and looking forward to getting back home, but at the same time, experiencing the emotional letdown of having to leave the rarified world of extreme motorcycle competition, and the adrenaline that goes along with it.

Although today’s route was only 74 miles, it was still a stellar ride along the famous twists and turns of Mulholland Drive and Topanga Canyon Road. Chasers also got to experience a bit of the Pacific Coast Highway as it brought them south to Santa Monica. After checking in at the final checkpoint, riders proceeded to the Santa Monica Pier where arrangements had been made for them to actually ride onto the pier, something that really doesn’t happen much anymore except for very special occasions. It’s not easy going through the onerous process of obtaining permission from the various governmental entities involved, but what better place to celebrate the Grand Finale than the official end of Route 66?

With the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Beach forming the perfect backdrop for the bikes on display, Chase director Jason Sims began the awards presentations, starting with the 45 riders who completed every mile. Then Roger Green (#37) was named most knowledgeable rider for earning the highest combined score on the daily quizzes. Roger also won Class 3 despite some drama during today’s ride. His 1937 Harley-Davidson ULH got a flat tire, and he almost didn’t make it to the finish line! And it wasn’t just the Chase that Roger completed; he’d ridden his ULH from his home in Michigan to the event’s start in Springfield, and he’ll ride it back to Michigan again this week.

Next up was the announcement of the Class 2 winner, Richard Campbell (#96) on his 1940 Zundapp KS600. Then came the introduction of Dave Currier (#64) as the Class 1 winner, riding his nearly century-old 1930 Velocette KSS.

A special award was given to Don Gilmore (#22) for acing a test for the first time in the history of the Chase. In fact, we’d gotten almost all the way through the Chase without anyone answering all the questions correctly until today, Stage 10, when Don finally came through.

The final award was top overall score of the entire Chase, and Roger Green was called back to the podium for the honors. Nobody thought a Class 3 bike would ever win because of the low handicaps, but his knowledge of motorcycle history, along with paying attention and remembering information about the routes every day, put him over the top.

This year’s Chase saw points so close together nearly every day that it was difficult to predict with any certainty who would win. In fact, Jason didn’t even know who any of the winners were until 10 minutes before the awards presentation!

Special acknowledgement is also due to the four young riders who won the “Love of Old Motorcycles” awards. The program goal is to promote the sport of antique motorcycling among youth by providing an opportunity to participate and experience the sport, at no or minimal cost to them, and to provide current enthusiasts a chance to donate and fund various activities to financially support this program. Mentorship is also provided to youth interested to gain exposure and experience in the sport of antique motorcycling. These sponsorships provided a donated motorcycle for each rider, as well as covering the registration fees. This year’s riders were Luke Van Veghel (#15), Anthony Pozza (#82), Rachel Hooper (#87), and Megan Margeson (#88). One of last year’s winners, Connor Levenson, joined the Chase this year as support staff whose assistance proved invaluable to keeping other riders on the road, and it is the hope of the Chase participants and donors that this year’s winners will continue to stay involved with antique motorcycling and hopefully pay it forward.

When asked if this year’s riders would participate in another Chase, the answer was almost unanimous—a resounding “Yes!” Of course, everyone is wondering where the 2024 Chase will take us. For now, let’s just say that Jason has some tricks up his sleeve, and will do his best to outdo this year.