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“California Dreamin’”

SCTA Trials Series

Round 6

January 17, 2010

Romoland, California

By Ron Pocher

Photos By Michael Salsman & Andrew Caporon


Contrary to wild rumor and speculation during the year 2007, Romoland was not named after Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo; nor is it the name of a theme park being built by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The fact of the matter is, if the two previously-mentioned gents can’t figure out how to win a few more playoff games sometime in the near future, the establishment that finally bears their name might be sporting a different first consonant. (see Japanese term for peach)

The city was actually named by Greek immigrant, Romonio Homonicholai, who emigrated from Naxos in 1889. Nearby town, Homeland, nabbed its moniker from the same cat’s last name. The Homonicholai family planted both a vineyard and orange groves in the sleepy little town, and was the first California winery to manufacture sangria. The first “blood oranges” grown in the United States were cultivated in Romoland in the 1920’s, as well.

85-year-old youngster, Jack Volder, is a bonafide pioneer on the southern California trials scene. The Romoland riding area, which has been hosting SCTA trials events for twenty years now, was first discovered by the persistent Mr. Volder. Jack acquired the use of this, and many other government and privately owned venues, throughout his tenure with the club. The 2010 edition of this glorious event was held in the gracious Volder’s honor and will be forever known, from this day forward, as the “Volder Classic”. Many friends and family members were on hand to help Mr. Volder, who wouldn’t let something as trivial as a few years deter him from pitching in on the course set-up, savor the festivities. Volder, who was recognized for his trials contributions on this occasion, was also a bonafide pioneer in the computer world. While working for Convair’s Aeroelectrics Group in the late 1950’s, Volder developed the CORDIC (COordinate Rotation DIgital Computer).


1st Flier

1st SCTA Flier

You know you must be dreaming when both a three-time national trials champion from Wisconsin and one of the world’s premier trials freestyle riders from France suddenly appear at your mid-series, local event in southern California. Sherco’s Pat Smage and Gas Gas daredevil Julien Dupont were the surprise guests who fit the above descriptions precisely.

Chris Cullins had a fairly busy weekend. His TEC-Cycles is the title sponsor for this year’s SCTA series; the Pro class winner rides out of his shop; and he served as the event organizer/course marshall who had to lay out an extra “Pat Line” for the talented Mr. Smage. Smage, who was out on the left coast testing his new 2010 mount and adding a bit more footage to his video library, put on quite an exhibition for some of his appreciative golden state fans.

Brad Allred, Clyde Butler, Ty Cullins, Bruce Davis, Tim Holm, Mike Jenkins, Paul Oswald and Scott Wenger were also instrumental in the 10-section, 3-loop, course set-up. Section 6 presented more than its share of difficulty for all classes on hand and garnered the “thorn in the side” award for the day.

The Novice division featured five ruffians in a rumble, but John Sessums and Jeff Latimer seemed to be engaged in their own little fracas. Sessums led after loop 1 with his 12-point card just edging Latimer’s 13 while David Allbeck was lurking in third with only 14 marks lost. Latimer jumped in front with loop two’s low score of 8, but Sessums was able to knot things up with his third loop 5-card. Though both riders finished things up with 27 points apiece, Sessums got the nod on cleans – 16 to 15. Allbeck fell a bit off the pace but held on for third with his 42.

The Sportsman class saw no less than nine scowling participants take to the traps, but here again, the top three plonkers were the real renegades in question. Although Michael Salsman found himself sitting in the middle of the pack after the initial circuit, he steadily improved with each lap and ended up posting a class-best, 1-point, third loop card that left him just two dabs shy of the gold, with 9. Bill Bliven proved to be the model of consistency and captured the class win with his impressive 3-2-2 ride. Sam Reed, who was certainly in the hunt throughout the morning, saved his worst for last but still snatched the bronze with an 11-point final tally.

Salsman coupled his Sportsman class silver with an even more precious gold by handily topping the Vintage class with those same 9 points dropped. Dave Cooper’s 19-point card just nipped David McNeil’s 20, to claim the higher spot on that podium.

“Dangerous” David Rector showed some uncommon diplomacy while steering his way to the Open class win over his dashing cohort Dave Bell. The final scoreboard read: 18 to 43.


Rick Daniel

Rick Daniel

The Intermediate division boasted the day’s largest contingent, with 14 roustabouts chomping at the bit. Carlos Johnston was able to match Jim Preston’s second and third loop scores, but that first loop 8-card proved to be Johnston’s undoing. Ron Koch was challenging for at least the silver through the first two circuits, but handed in his highest scoring card on loop 3 and had to settle for the bronze. Preston (13), Johnston (19) and Koch (24) filled out the podium with the always-descriptive journalist/photographer, Don Williams, just off the pace with his 26.

The Clubman class, which sported seven worthy contestants, saw a first time winner in the name and person of Mr. Clyde Butler. Butler’s impressive win came via a steadily improving demonstration that left him holding cards reading 8, 6 and 2. Marcus Miller scooted home just 5 marks back with his 21-card nabbing the silver, while Ian Roberts was just a few beats off the mark, with 44, for third.


Sarah Duke

Sarah Duke

Colorado’s feet-up sweetheart, Sarah Duke, posted a wire-to-wire win in the always- competitive Advanced division. Clive Hannon was able to match Duke’s first loop 11-card, while SCTA president Paul Oswald sat just three dabs back with 14. Hannon and Oswald turned in loop 2 scores reading just a tad higher than those from their initial circuits, while Miss Duke creeped the other way with an 8. Duke continued to show improvement on her final go-around by notching the group’s best loop score of the day with her 6. Sarah came in with a 25-point total, while Hannon’s 30 topped Oswald’s 39, allowing Clive to abscond with the silver.


Sarah Duke

Sarah Duke

The Expert class was, as usual, a capable lot, but Michael Wenger brought just a little something extra to the table on this memorable occasion. Mr. Wenger didn’t even bother to put a pod down on his opening lap, and joined Clive Hannon as the day’s only participants who managed to clean the infamous section 6 on all three attempts. Wenger, who hadn’t competed since riding the Pro class at the 2009 El Trial de Espana, somehow wrestled the use of his dad’s bike out of him, and finished with a stellar 7-card. Brad Hannon put in a ride that was certainly worth mention, with a 21-point final tally, while Alex Neilson rounded out the podium with 46.


Alex Neilson

Alex Neilson

The Pro class, which also witnessed a first time winner, would have been even closer if Reid Davis could have figured out how to omit one of those three 5’s from his opening loop score. Reid’s first lap card, reading 26, proved to be his demise. Although Master Davis posted the classes’ best loop score of 8 on his final circuit, he couldn’t quite recover and bowed to the consistent display turned in by Mr. Ian Delaney. Delaney was as steady as the rocks he was conquering and ended up punching 18, 17 and 13-point cards to finish with a total of 48 marks dropped, to top Davis by 4, for his first ever SCTA Pro class gold.

Kinky Friedman, Texas Monthly columnist/author/musician, tells a story about how he and the legendary Bob Dylan were both forced to take a commercial flight, after bungling their previous accommodations, while touring in 1976 with Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review. After taking their seats in coach, (first class was booked) a young, enthusiastic female fan plopped down next to Dylan and was understandably ecstatic. “I can’t believe I’m sitting on an airplane right next to Bob Dylan” she gasped, right after which the iconic songster rather dryly replied – “You better pinch yourself”.


1st SCTA Article

1st SCTA Article



PRO:1. Ian Delaney (48); 2. Reid Davis (52)

EXP:1. Michael Wenger (7); 2. Brad Hannon (21); 3. Alex Neilson (46); 4. Rick Jenkins (62); 5. Tim Holm (74)

ADV:1. Sarah Duke (25); 2. Clive Hannon (30); 3. Paul Oswald (39); 4. Ken Melody (41); 5. Pete Croft (43); 6. Kristjan Thordarson (63); 7. Tom Miller (dnf)

CLUB:1. Clyde Butler (16); 2. Marcus Miller (21); 3. Ian Roberts (44); 4. Mike Jenkins (47); 5. Randy Lewis (56); 6. Brock Bruggeman (60); 7. Tony Daly (66)

INT:1. Jim Preston (13); 2. Carlos Johnston (19); 3. Ron Koch (24); 4. Don Williams (26); 5. Rick Daniel (30); 6. Brad Truly (33/16); 7. Damon Barda (33/14); 8. Kevin Barda (36); 9. Scott Johnson (46); 10. Cy Crittenden (48/10); 11. Nigel Young (48/8); 12. Dan Varner (52); 13. Jean M. Barbara (68); 14. Gregg Okert (73)

SPORT:1. Bill Bliven (7); 2. Michael Salsman (9); 3. Sam Reeder (11); 4. Tom Stowers (19/22); 5. Dave Cooper (19/19); 6. David McNeil (20); 7. Quinn Lewis (21); 8. Kelly Callan (40); 9. Andrew Caporon (58)

VINTAGE:1. Michael Salsman (9); 2. Dave Cooper (19); 3. David McNeil (20); 4. Wayne Lenkeit (75)

OPEN:1. David Rector (18); 2. Dave Bell (43).

NOV:1. John Sessums (27/16); 2. Jeff Latimer (27/15); 3. David Allbeck (42); 4. Bob Hans (50); 5. Monique Hancox (52)