In an effort to further promote the sport of motocross within the action sports world, the inaugural National Promoters Group “Where the Snow Meets the Dirt” promotion took place on Wednesday, July 24th, at Washougal MX Park. Athletes from several disciplines of the high-speed mountain variety showed up, bikes and camping gear in tow, and have made a week of it on the Washougal track – free riding on Wednesday, racing amateur classes on Friday and getting to hang out Sunday and meet some of the top pros on the AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship tour.
Those mountain athletes in attendance included: U.S. Ski Team member and two-time Olympian Daron Rahlves, pro snowboarders Noah Salasnek, Tex Devenport, Matt Goodwill, Aaron Vincent and Chad Shetler, along with nationally-ranked skiercross racer Berry Selley.
The purpose of the NPG’s event was two-fold, according to event coordinator Pat Schutte of OMS Sports. “Given Washougal’s proximity to Mt. Hood, I had the opportunity to invite some snowboarders and skiers to come ride the Washougal track during their time off from competition. The Huffman’s (promoters of Washougal) gave me the green light, I put the word out on the street, and a number of guys were stoked to jump at the opportunity to participate. In turn, these guys will head back to their various camps and will undoubtedly talk about what I’m pretty sure will be the highlight of their summer – riding the legendary Washougal motocross track.”
Joining the snowboarders/skiers were several local pros, including Ryan Huffman and Jason McCormick. Said Huffman of the afternoon riding with these high-caliber athletes: “Most of these guys ride real well, I was impressed.
You can tell they really love the sport of motocross.” Huffman looked out over the track, pointing to the gnarly pro whoop section. “Right there I was able to blow past these guys pretty easily. But now I’m wondering ‘How bad would I get worked if I went snowboarding with them? Wouldn’t even compare!
So to see them here, letting it hang out my home track was cool. I’ll look forward to doing this again next year.” Like one of the greatest downhill racers of all time, Austria’s Franz Klammer, Rahlves is hip on using motocross as a dry land cross training tool for World Cup ski competition. And, obviously, he’s an adrenaline junkie like motocross racers all over the planet.
“I do this for the rush,” said Rahlves, who won the Super G at the 2001 World Championships in Austria. “It’s also a great way for me to train. Line selection, cornering speed, balance and the intensity are all very similar to ski racing.”
Extreme snowboarder Matt Goodwill, who, along with Salasnek and Vincent, got hooked with some Thor gear – courtesy of Series sponsor and Thor boss Bob Maynard – agreed: “About the only thing that compares to motocross is waist-deep powder on a sunny Alaskan morning. And even then, getting the Washougal track to ourselves was something I’ll be able to replay all winter long. This was amazing.”