Thursday, August 05, 2010

Short Track: The Digger Helm National

Eddie Mulder and Digger Helm met after competing in a TT race in Ridgecest, CA. The resulting friendship has lasted for more than 50 years. Mulder and Helm were both touring professionals, and they have long and accomplished motorcycle histories.

Mulder was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, and he still races at a few special events each year. He's also hosts "Eddie Mulder’s West Coast Dirt Track Series" which is now in its 15th year.

Helm remains involved in racing by sponsoring up and coming riders, and he sponsors an annual race in his hometown of Bakersfield, Califonia. Helm and Mulder combine forces each September to put on The Digger Helm National. This Flat Track race has both vintage and modern divisions, and it's held on a short-track at the Kern County fairgrounds.

Mulder has described this Flat Track race as a fist fight in the bull ring. There’s lots of physical contact, and lots of sideways racing. If you've never seen one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing in this country, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Don't expect to see a bunch of gray haired old farts puttering around in the dirt. These racers move. And there is plenty of young blood out there too, from the youth division right up to contemporary National-level racers such as Joe Kopp and Jared Mees.