Riders never quit.
We're not talking about on race day, though that's true too. Riders never quit riding. It's a sport that covers all ages. You start when you're old enough to walk (well a lot of people do) and as long as you can still open the throttle you'll ride off into the sunset.
The International Oldtimers Motocross Association is an exclusive club. It's not for the young guns rippin' up the tracks or the tikes just starting out trying to emulate their heroes. No, these members have been there and done that and simply refuse to grow up because really, to tackle the whoops, hit a triple and take the checkered flag doesn't require youth just young at heart.
Initially started to accommodate the 40 and older crowd the Oldtimers Motocross Association started in Los Angeles more than 40 years ago. That chapter has since folded but not before clubs popped up in Oregon, Canada, Washington, and all over the Western half of North America.
Some clubs do host Motocross classes for those in their 30s but a full-fledged membership is usually reserved for those who've hit 40 and beyond. Actual racing is broken up into classes based on age and experience and held at local race tracks. The Oldtimers chapter in Oregon for example holds competitions at none other than the iconic Washougal Motocross Park - home to one of the Motocross Nationals.
The competition is fierce. OK, not really. This club is more about riding, friendly competition and fellowship among others who love dirt bikes.
The starting line for the 70+ class for the 2012 Washington Race at Airway Heights MX Park - Photo By Jeff Kissinger
Club Name: International Oldtimers Motocross Association
Year Founded: 1972
Who Founded: Los Angeles Oldtimers
Number of Oldtimers Chapters: 12
Total Number of Members: Each chapter has various numbers of members. Some have over 100 - others barely have a few.
Chapter cities: By order of seniority: (1) Oregon; (2) Washington; (3) British Columbia; (4) Sierra OT; (5) Edmonton; (6) Nevada; (7) Rocky Mountain; (8) Idaho; (9) Central Valley; (10) SoCal;(11) Arizona; and (12) Carlsbad.
Club Email: Each chapter has their own either email or web site. For general questions - firstname.lastname@example.org
Member dues: Each chapter has their own dues. Each chapter pays into the International fund to cover year end awards.
Oregon Chapter Club Member Dave Scott, 88 years young - Photo: Jeff Kissinger
1. What's the history behind your group and how did it get started?
It started back in 1972 when Los Angeles held their first race at Mammoth Mountain with Dave McCoy supporting it. Then Oregon found out about it, organized their chapter and held their first race in 1973. Several Washington riders first went with Oregon and then in 1974 decided to start the Washington Chapter. Maico Joe Mackenzie was one of the original founders, and he lived in Wenatchee so our first event was at Daroga Park in Wenatchee. Also in 1974 British Columbia started their chapter and had their first race. Edmonton and Nevada were next but I don't have their actual year of joining. in 1986 Rocky Mountain joined and it was way back in Colorado at the time.
My husband Dan was one of the original founders of the Washington Chapter and we have been sharing children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and watch each generation grow within our family. I have been scoring and secretary for 35 years.
2. What was the purpose behind having an Oldtimers Club?
Originally it was to ride with other 40 year olds. It has progressed to the 50, 60 and 70 year-olds in each of the classes - Novice, Intermediate, Expert, and Master. Then we started a Plus 75 class and the Plus 80 class. If the birthday is in the calendar year the 49 year old can ride in the next higher age bracket. The 59 year-old can advance to 60 if his birthday is in the calendar year, same with 69 year-old. There was one year that if a rider was 39 and was going to turn 40 that year he could ride Oldtimers. That lasted about 3 months and the difference in the ages was so great - that allowance went out fast. We have classes for the Over 30 year-olds and give them the five Moto format but they cannot ride with the 40 year-olds.
3. What's the process in founding a new chapter?
If there is a location that wants to become part of the International Association they must submit an official chapter request to the International secretary so that it can be included in the next Congress meeting Agenda and voted on by the current chapters. See our website for additional details.
A 60+ Expert Class Member at the 2012 Race in Washington - Photo: Jeff Kissinger
4. How involved is the association with the individual chapters?
Each chapter follows the international rules and procedures and holds their annual event accordingly. We have a "Congress" meeting once a year which is made up of a representative from each chapter. The Congress meeting is to establish new rules or revise existing ones, as well as establishing the annual schedule and, pay our fees to the International fund to cover next year's awards. We also have a "reps" meeting at each of the annual events.
5. What are the criteria to be a member of a chapter?
This varies by club, but most clubs require their members to be 40 years old.
6. Can Oldtimer riders use a modern bike?
They can ride whatever bike they choose. I think it must be over 100cc's.
7. Do races follow the same format and rules as Pro Motocross?
No, we are old and share camaraderie and our motivation is to ride competitively with others our own age. We are more concerned about the safety of each other than taking trophies.
Washington Chapter Club Member Grant Lewis, 82 years yound - Photo: Jeff Kissinger
8. Are races primarily just between members of a chapter or is there competition with other groups or even other Oldtimers' chapters?
Each chapter has one annual IOTMA race a year but they can hold as many races locally as they want to. In order to compete in a club's International race you must hold a membership in one of the IOTMA clubs. Each International race has attendees from the other clubs, with attendance at Oregon's race at Washougal having over 400 riders.
9. Are you sanctioned or are simply well-organized fun?Well organized fun.
10. Are there other activities members/chapters get involved with?That's determined on a local level.
11. Why join an Oldtimers Motocross club?
We travel, we treat each other as family, and we share racing experiences, unbelievable camaraderie. Our races are two-day races with three Motos on Saturday and two on Sunday. The shortest Moto in the IOTMA is 15 minutes and the longest is 22 minutes for the Master class.
Interview with: Anne McCarthy
Written By: AndrewT