September 20-23, 2019, Live Oak Campground, Santa Ynez, CA
Getting out of the Rat Race with your favorite British Iron? Hiding out high in the hills above the sparkling Pacific Ocean north of Santa Barbara is where to go. A private place for communing with great minds in the industry, swooning over rare machines, exploring back roads and historic destinations, friendly competition and relishing tradition, all while being spoiled with food and fun is what the Lake Cachuma Rally accomplishes. Our hosts, Eddie and Jodi Mulder and their team were, once again, committed to bringing a fabulous group of motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages together for the 5th Annual Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series’ Lake Cachuma Vintage British Motorcycle Rally.
Friday afternoon, at Live Oak Campground in the Cachuma Lake Recreation area, we came upon a large, lively group of attendees. Folks in tents, motor homes, travel trailers and backs of trucks were buzzing among the 40 acres of huge oak trees setting up camps, and parked around each campsite were British motorcycles! Lots of them!! There were modern and vintage ones, some restored and shiny, some rusty and old. Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs and Ariels. It was a welcoming site! Looking around, you see headquartered in a corner of the pavilion, Cozmic Joe’s giant display of mapped out routes called Ride Central. Explore every route, by yourself or take a group, keeping lookout for specially hidden flags to capture and trade in for one of Cozmic’s custom made, random, prizes! Cozmic also proudly displays his collection of every Lake Cachuma British Rally T-Shirt, going back to the very first Rally hosted by John and Donna Mulrean in 1989. Geoff Patrick takes over the stage area draping a curtain for screening old motorcycle films and live dirt track racing for evening’s entertainment. The counters lining the front are bulging with Sponsor donations to be chosen by lucky winners at the giveaway Saturday night. Full kitchen and BBQ area and Jodi’s registration table, which is our first stop to check in and get the lowdown on the weekend. It is a fun place to be and look forward to enjoying the weekend.
After settling in and congregating under the pavilion, we shared the first of many satisfying meals by the crew of Wild and Twisted Catering. After dinner, we got all caught up with the bench racing, eventually moving the party to the hay bales around the campfire or wherever. The weather was perfect for unwinding, reconnecting and appreciating these last few days of summer.
Saturday morning brought a little chill to the air as we gathered for breakfast. For the official start of the rally, the sun shone brightly as Eddie slowly raised the American flag while Kimmie Gould sang the National Anthem. Triumph of America provided us a new 1200 Scrambler demo bike to try so soon it and the adventurous riders of the group were seen heading out for a ride.
By the end of the weekend the bike had been enjoyed and ridden over 2200 miles by many different folks. Those that stayed behind were getting their bikes ready for the Classic Motorcycle Show and Competition that would take place after lunch. Around the campground beautiful machines were being wheeled under the roof of the pavilion that would serve as the viewing area for the show. Among the 53 machines on display was an old red and black Steib side hack originally from Germany. The story about the side hack being at the rally began at another show where Cozmic Joe met its current owner, Dan Joseph and invited him to bring it to Lake Cachuma some months ago. Cozmic never heard from Dan again until he showed up at Live Oak Campground! Karl Krohn, the well-known British engine builder/tuner recognized the side hack. Karl had been the monkey racing it with Tony Massala as his pilot all over California! He learned how to ride it in his first race, the Thousand Oaks Grand Prix. The side hack was built in the 50’s by Jerry Pierson and was raced from the 50’s into the 70’s. It was on a 58 or 59 Triumph and then in 1967 on a Triumph 650 TR6C which is how it stands today. It was recently raced in a vintage scrambles at Glen Helen by Dan. The side hack was also in a movie called The SideHackers that is available on U-Tube today. Seeing the red side hack again was the highlight of the weekend for Karl.
The bike show was as fabulous as always filled with some beautifully restored British Motorcycles. Scott and Alexia Dunlavey won both the Triumph class and the Best of Show award with their 1970 TR6R. Geoff Patrick was the winner of the People’s Choice with a beautifully restored Triumph T100. The winning BSA was a BSA Spitfire owned by Dan Gehrs. The Off-road award went to John Sides with a polished Rickman that includes a great father and son story that John tells. Karl Krohn took the desert class showing a 58 Triumph TR6. All were presented with plaques at the celebratory award presentation Saturday night. This ceremony was special in many ways including Jodi being crowned “The Queen of Cachuma” and Grand Marshall, Steve Ortiz, receiving a special custom jacket by Sandra Esposito and brilliant piece of metal art created by Cozmic. Everyone involved were acknowledged for their contributions and support, especially Johnny Brown who is responsible for getting the Mulders to bring the Rally back. The usual “give away” of goodies from sponsors Coventry Spares, JRC Engineering, Triumph of America, Motion Pro, Barnett Clutches and Cables, and Classic British Spares is overwhelming! Other supporters include Specialty Fabrications, Inc., Rod Lake, Maxima Racing Oils, Rabers Parts Mart, the British Iron Association San Diego and Perros Viejos Motorcycle Club.
Sunday morning, Steve O. and his crew were out early, enthusiastically laying out the course for the Field Meet. Traditionally, the field meet is very competitive. It is games of skill riding a motorcycle and whoever has a score with the most points, wins. Toss rings over cones, clip five clothespins on a line, balance a tennis ball on a cone – five times, toss bean bags while circling – into a tire, slalom through cans and the best of all; the slow race! All without putting a foot down. Philip Smith on a Triumph TR6 acquiesced his overall victory cuz he was just in it for fun, making Dominique and Colie Froesch “Team JRC” the winners, John Sides took second place and Dave Miller was third on a Montessa. Monday morning it was time to pack up and head back. Breakfast bids farewell and appreciation to another fulfilling rally. Many good memories made plus Jodi got her first trip out to Knapps Castle and everyone got to watch the AFT Minnesota Mile live Saturday afternoon. All in all the weekend was a wonderful adventure with several new people in attendance and only a few regulars missing.
Notes of significance: Rally originator, John Healy and his wife Susan of Coventry Spares in Massachusets were able to attend, longtime friend, Bob Bellino was there too, as was a huge supporter of the West Coast Dirt Track Series and the Lake Cachuma Rally, Specialty Fabrications Randy Zimmerman and family. Look for the 2020 Lake Cachuma Rally to be held tentatively May 29,30,31 June 1, 2020 on our Facebook page, Lake Cachuma Vintage British Motorcycle Rally, or on the Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt track series website.
Bike show results
1. Alexia Dunlavey (1970 TR6R)
2. Mack Walters (1968 T120)
3. James Kohls (1927 Triumph)
1. Don Gehrs (BSA Spitfire)
2. Craig Behauer (1972 BSA Custom)
3. Steve Ortiz (B50 Custom)
1. Malcolm Ede (1964 RE)
2. Larry Morins (Matchless)
3. Craig Fontaine (Norton M18)
1. John Sides (Rickman)
2. Marc Lyons (Triumph TR6)
3. Mark Wallace (1966 Tracker)
1. Karl Krohn (1958 Triumph TR6) Desert
2. Bob Smith (1962 TR6)
3. Bill Redman (1967 Triumph Cub)
1. Scott Dunlavey (Cheney)
2. Geoff Patrick (1953 T100)
3. Johnny Brown (60 Triumph)
Best of Show
- Scott Dunlavey (Cheney)
- Geoff Patrick (TRI T100)
1. Dominique and Nicole Froesch
2. John Sides
3. Dave Miller
4. Charlie Caspary
5. Mikyle Ede
6. Marc Lyons