Dirt Quake USA is one of those events where safety is an afterthought, or at least it would seem that way. It’s a hard event to capture with words, or even the imagination. Many interesting things have been seen over the last four years of the event—we've witnessed everything from large naked men on motorcycles to 10 people in a landlocked boat being towed behind a 4×4 truck.
There's actually a reason behind all of this chaos, though. The event was invented by a few Brits trying to demystify the act of flat-track racing and to bring newcomers to the track. After attending the third annual event in Britain, I approached Dirt Quake's founder, Gary Inman, to see if he wanted to try co-hosting an American event, and he decided to give it a shot.
Fifty miles north of Portland, Oregon, along the I-5 corridor is a clay-based oval track named Castle Rock Raceway. The legendary track was the perfect location for such an event. In fact, motorcycle racer Kenny Roberts once stated that Castle Rock is one of those raceways where the fence around the track is protecting the racers from the race fans. Add in a little American spirit—and lots of beer—and you have yourself the motorcycle circus known as Dirt Quake USA.
Friday night kicked off with a club-level flat-track race. Top pros including Tanner Dean, Scooter Vernon, and Scott Baker duked it out, giving the newcomers and race fans a taste of what it looks like at a professional level. Normal classes covered all ages from 50cc minis to 1200cc big twins.
Saturday morning, the opening ceremonies began for Dirt Quake USA. Coffee-fueled hungover people roamed the swap meet and checked out various vendors. Throughout the day, a custom bike show, motorcycle style contest off the TT jump, and some mini moto fun in the awards barn were just some of the activities people could get in on.
As the day wound down, the main event was set to take place. The Inappropriate Road Bike class was up first, with the win going to a mid-80s BMW in a heated battle with a Goldwing and an SV650. Next up was the Pull-Start Mini Bike class and the Street Tracker class, which was invented for street legal flat-track bikes. The Women's class hit the track next and the top girls were all on 750-1200cc Harleys and Indians—it was cool! The Tripod World Championship was next out of the gate, featuring ATC250Rs and homemade three-wheelers. They put on a display that would defy physics and make the United States Government cringe.
Dirt Quake USA serves as the fifth stop for the Super Hooligan Racing series, and the last two classes were the Super Hooligan class and the Chopper class. It was a nail-biter down to the end, as See See Pro rider Andy Dibrino outrode Grand National Champ Joe Kopp.
Signaled by fireworks and a free chicken dinner, the infamous afterparty and awards ceremony quickly followed. With the help of several beers, there was no hurry to put an end to the fun. Dirt Quake is the kind of event that has everyone smiling. Thanks to this strange subculture, good times are had in a place where everyone is accepted. Big or small, short or tall, young or old, everyone dances to the beat of their own drum, and it's all in the name of fun!
For more excitement, check out #dqusa on Instagram.