BROOKLYN, NY, OCT 28 – Ben Bostrom isn’t the only motorcycle racer making news with pedal power. A day after Bostrom finished third in the Singlespeed World Championship in Rotorua, New Zealand, Kevin Schwantz, the 1993 500cc World Champion, was part of the four-rider Team Cycle Progression/Brand 34 squad that won both their class and the overall victory in the 24 Hours of Rocky Hill, at Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville, Texas.Schwantz and three friends, with help from a two-man support crew, completed 28 laps of the nearly ten-mile course, each riding seven roughly 45-50 minute stints over the course of the day and night. The team was in the lead early and stretched their advantage as the day wore on and into the morning ending the race as the only team to complete 28 laps. “We beat ‘em by, I think it was about an hour-20,” Schwantz said.After the Texan finished the race fourth in class last year he vowed to return. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young was part of the 2009 team, and was ready to reprise his role until he discovered a date conflict with the his beloved Green Bay Packers game; the Packers beat their archrivals the Minnesota Vikings last week. Young’s fill-in was Josh Henderson, who joined Schwantz, Alex Arumi, the owner of Cycle Progression, a bicycle shop in Austin, Texas, and Justin Calland.The race, which was held at Rocky Hill Ranch about 30 miles outside of Schwantz’s hometown of Austin, Texas, attracted 117 entries in a number of different classes, from solo to two, three, and four person teams of varying abilities. Because his team included a number of Cat 1 mountain bike racers, they had to enter the 3-4 Open Class.The race started with about three-quarter mile run to the bicycle, which no one wanted to do, “So we let Justin (Calland) run because, he said, ‘Yeah, sure I’ll do it.’ The rest of us were all kinda fighting I; really don’t want to run, really don’t want to run. So Justin went first, then Josh, then I rode, and Alex rode last.”Schwantz, Henderson, and Calland lapped consistently in the 46 to 50 minute mark, while Arumi was off their pace, running laps a few minutes longer. Schwantz’s first lap of 47 mins., 24 secs. was his fastest and his final lap was his third fastest.”So it was basically 45 minutes at a time on the bike,” Schwantz said, “and we were just doing single laps. We thought about doing some doubles through the night, but because the lighting is so good, as far as when you wear a light on the helmet and a light on the handlebars, plus it was a full moon…there wasn’t a big enough time difference from daylight to dark that you were having to ride that much easier. You were pretty maxed out the whole 45, or 47 or 50 mins., however long it took. We just continued to rotate lap by lap.”What it didn’t allow us to do was get any sleep. You got a 20-minute nap every now and then, because, really, you had less than three hours by the time you got off the bike. You had to go get showered, get cooled down, worry about getting your riding gear dry. You spend an hour feeding yourself, getting ready to unwind, then sit in the chair; you only really got another half hour before you go on.”The mostly single track course was loose gravel with other surfaces thrown in. “Every now and then you’d jump out on a Jeep road and cut across a field or something to get to the next single track section. But a good climb from the start, the first probably 10 minutes of the lap, nine minutes of lap was almost all just a steady climb with a little bit of steep up, and then you have a quick steep descent, then you have some more climbing, more climbing, more climbing. So the rest of it was fairly flowing stuff. There were some creek crossings, roots, rocks. Because it hasn’t been raining, the creek crossings were all dry.”The team kept a close eye on timing and scoring to monitor their position, Schwantz said, adding that “we were pretty hands on being there, every one of us were there every time we rotated, just to make sure the thing went smoothly.”We knew where we were. At the end of the very first lap of the race we were third overall. One of the guys in front of us was a solo guy, the other guy was a guy who we felt was our main competition; they were actually in our class. We pushed them until it got dark and we just put a lap on them at dark and then all through the night we put a second lap on them and I think in daylight they quit.”The support team made sure they had a problem-free race. Schwantz had a very slight issue with a front tire that almost instantly resolved itself. “Lars (Frazer) was there and he cooked for us the whole time. He kept us fueled, he kept the headlights charged. Jack (Hicks) was cleaning them up, lubing them up, checking the tire pressures, making sure the cables were adjusted. We actually did 24 hours without one small little hiccup.”
Kevin Schwantz Wins Again
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.