Found a video again on YouTube of the Blackwater 100 Race from Davis, WV. I’ve looked a few times, but only a couple come up. This one is from 1988, I believe. (Love that 1980’s videography and graphics… 🙂 )
As kids we went there as a family, in more of the heydays of the motorcycle racing. I think it was in the late ’70s or early ’80s when we finally made it there. I think after a while it became more of an ATV race, and I think they moved it somewhere else finally, due to environmental concerns.
Our cousins were living there at the time, and we hung out with them, then watched the race. It was a hundred miles long, and they did either 20 or 25 mile laps, depending on the year.
The Davis area is beautiful, and has all sorts terrain to ride the race through. Rocks, mountains, powerline cuts, creeks, streams & rivers, and most infamously, the bogs.
In the video at right, you’ll see two of the river crossings, the one at the beginning of the race, and the Route 93 crossing. Spectators were strung all along the course, but those were the most popular places to hang out because they were relatively easy to get to and close to Davis.
And there were several stretches, I’m sure where it was quite lonely for the rider, places where no spectator could or would get to. One was considered an excellent rider to have even made one full lap, let alone the full race.
Ahh, good times. I love that fact that the “spectators” at the river crossings were widely known and appreciated (mostly) for actually helping the riders make it through. In fact, it’s the only race I know where the spectators are actually expected to lend a hand at one of the most treacherous parts of the course. I think that is wonderful and really brings a feeling of participation to the sport. The riders were professionals and amateurs alike, and so were many of the spectators, so everybody kind of knew where everybody else was coming from.
As a family experience, both in general, and for ours, it was a great time, and still well appreciated by me.