Perry Mountain 24-hour race set for June 6-7

Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club is gearing up for its 14th annual 24-Hour Challenge, set for June 6-7 at Reynolds Pasture near Maplesville.

The unique race begins at 10 a.m. on June 6 and ends at 10 a.m. June 7, giving the riders 24 hours to complete more laps than their opponents.

Although the goal is simply to complete the most laps, racing consecutively for 24 hours straight is no easy task.

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

The track is loaded with ditches, woods and hills, forcing the riders to constantly adjust to new terrain.

Team racing has been the most popular category in recent years, mainly 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.

Mitch Moore, Clanton native and manager of Lake Mitchell Construction, is no stranger to riding at Reynolds Pasture, as he has been participating in the race for as long as he can remember.

Moore will be racing in the 40+ Ironman division this year on a KTM 450 XCW bike, and he hopes to beat his fifth place finish from two years ago.

“I feel like I’m in better shape to race this year,” Moore said. “There are good things and bad things about riding by yourself instead of a team. You get to decide when to take breaks and how to manage your time, but it’s definitely a challenge doing it alone.”

According to Moore, one of the biggest challenges is riding at night, but he is mostly concerned about getting rested and physically prepared for the race.

“If I finish in the front, I’ll be happy. But if I just finish, I’ll still be happy,” Moore said.

The 60+ Ironman category is new to the 24-hour race this year.

According to event organizer Glenn Hollingshead, the overwhelming amount of entries in the 50+ Ironman category caused the organization to add yet another Ironman division.

“We’ve had a lot more participation from older riders in recent years,” Hollingshead said.

While some categories grow, others minimize, as the women’s team racing has been cut from the line-up due to little interest.

There are 14 divisions based on age, gender and size of the bike, including: Elite, Open Expert, Open Sportsman, 250 Sportsman, 30+ Sportsman, 40+, Ironman 250, Ironman Open, 40+ Ironman, 50+ Ironman, 60+ Ironman, Ironwoman, Duo and Duo Family.

Big O’s Cycles Owner Otis Harris is looking forward to overseeing his first team compete in the 24-hour race.

“Right now, we’re just trying to get the bikes ready,” Harris said. “We’ve got the LED lights on our BETA 300 RR motorcycles.”

Grant Henderson, 15-year-old student at Chilton County High School, is the youngest of the six riders for Big O’s Cycles.

“I’m just trying to get mentally prepared for the race,” Henderson said. “We’ve been getting in shape and putting in a lot of time on the bikes.

Although the team will be racing close to home, they have few advantages because it is their first year, according to Harris.

Also joining in the team racing division are two teams from Max Motorsports of Pelham, one of which placed third overall in the competition last year.

Max Motorsports owner Tommy Barton said they are taking extra care in assembling the bike this year because they dropped from their first place position in the last hour of the 2014 race due to bike troubles.

“We’re going for it all this year. To win this event would be pretty special,” Barton said. “The thing about team racing is that every rider has other people depending on them to go hard and take care of the bike.”

The Max Motorsports’ team includes local riders such as Tyler Carter of Stanton, but also includes riders from Australia and Pennsylvania.

“We’re all kind of family. That’s what’s neat about this race—it’s got a family atmosphere,” Barton said.

Each team or independent rider is allowed to have two bikes, although the goal is to use only one.

If a team or rider is forced to use the impound, or spare bike, they will no longer be in the running for the cash prizes.

Along with trophies and bragging rights, the overall winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500; second place wins $1,500; and third place wins $1,000.

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.

“We went to California 15 years ago for the only 24-hour race in the country at that time,” Hollingshead said. “14 years after we started our own, there are still only two 24-hour races. We have the only one in the southeastern part of the country.”

 

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