Perry Mountain 24-hour race set for June 7-8

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It takes 24 hours, one dirt-bike, and a relentless passion for racing to tackle Perry Mountain’s 24-hour Challenge.

Dirt-bike racers, local and out-of-state, are gearing up for the 13th annual race in Maplesville set for June 7-8.

The day-long race is like none other found in this part of the country in that it begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and does not end until 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The goal is simple: to have more laps under your belt by the end of the 24 hours than your opponents.

Winning, however, is not that simple, because the track is loaded with ditches, woods, and hills.

Team racing has been, by far, the most popular category in previous years of the race because it allows the riders to join efforts and take turns tackling the 10-mile course.

However, some brave riders join the “Ironman” and “Ironwoman” categories and embark on the 24-hour journey on their own.

The women’s category is new to the 24-hour race this year.

Julie Ousley, a Stanton native and Maplesville graduate, competed with the women’s team, Girls Gone Racing, in last year’s race. This year, the stakes have been raised as the new women’s division emerges and brings in another all-women’s team.

“We are used to competing against guys,” Ousley said. “But since there is specifically a women’s division this year, we are really pushing to win that.”

Girls Gone Racing’s appearance at last year’s competition influenced the decision to add the new division, and continues to influence young girls to take part in the pre-dominantly male sport.

The riders are faced with a new set of challenges in this type of race, including riding at night, managing time and breaks, and taking turns on the bike.

“Racing at night was a whole new ballgame last year, but I loved it,” Ousley said. “I’m looking forward to starting the race for my team this year. I just love the thrill of the 10 seconds counting down and the flag going up.”

According to event organizer Glenn Hollingshead, they have 300 entries for the race this year, compared to 250 last year.

“Fifteen years ago, we loaded up and went out to California for a 24-hour race,” Hollingshead said. “I thought to myself, ‘It works out good on the West coast, why can’t I make it work on the East Coast?’ I figured that people in Alabama would enjoy something like this, and they really have.”

Two years after Hollingshead’s trip to California, he began the first 24-hour race in the southeastern part of the country.

There are 14 divisions based on age, gender, and size of the bike, including: Elite, Open Expert, Open Sportsman, 250 Sportsman 30+ Sportsman, 40+, Women, Ironman 250, Ironman Open, 40+ Ironman, 50+ Ironman, Ironwoman, Duo, and Duo Family.

Hollingshead said that the “Duo Family” is also a recent division added to the line-up, due to many father-son racing duos that have participated in the past.

There will be trophies and cash prizes for the first, second, and third place winners, although Hollingshead estimates the real treasure is in winning such a unique race.

“They would come even if we didn’t have cash prizes,” said Hollingshead. “It’s all about the bragging rights.”

The gates will open at 7 a.m. the day of the race and the race will begin at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15, with children 12 and under getting in free.

Spectators are allowed to bring their own ATVs to Reynolds Pasture, located at 2464 County Road 26 in Stanton, where they can also watch the riders as they pass by.