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Legends come out for the vintage races at Owyhee Motorcycle Club

Posted at 3:47 PM, Apr 24, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — History is a big deal at the Owyhee Motorcycle Club which started in 1940 and this year marked the 50th anniversary that helped jump-start motocross in the United States.

This sport originated in Europe and after introducing motocross to the United States it took a while for Americans to be able to compete with the Europeans, but that all changed 50 years ago when Gary Jones became the first national champion claiming the crown at the OMC.

"We are at the same track that hosted it way back when which is amazing, there are not too many tracks still running races that they hosted back in 71 & 72," said Scott Wallenberg a local racer who loves the vintage races. "It’s such a thrill it is like I’m back in high school and I think of my father cheering me on and it just really brings you back and you can’t do that in a lot of sports."

People ride bikes from 50 years ago at the vintage races which are the biggest event of the year at the Owyhee Motorcycle Club, it also draws riders from around the country as we spoke with three AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers.

"By the time I was 17-years-old I won my first AMA National Championship at that time I was the youngest national champion," said Broc Glover who flew from an event in Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts on Saturday to be at the OMC for the races. "I went on to win six more AMA Championships and many other major titles."

Ryan Villapoto is another Hall of Famer who drove from San Diego for the races and he finished first in one of the heats we saw while we were at the OMC.

Ryan Villapoto gets the checkered flag

Rodney Smith also got inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame after a career racing in Brazil, Europe and around the world, Smith now lives in Nampa.

"I say it is our turn to give back to the sport so even though we are racing today we are out mingling with people and getting to spend time with people that rooted for us so it’s really cool," said Smith. "It hits me pretty hard I think it is awesome."

But more than anything the OMC promotes a family atmosphere as I learned most people learn to ride from their parents and then pass down this passion to the next generation like the Lothrop family, even though sometimes it can be hard on dad to watch his son ride these motorcycles.

"It makes me nervous because it’s an extreme sport these bikes are really fast it stresses me out when he’s riding them, but it makes me happy at the same time," said Rob Lothrop. "Yesterday he won the race and it made me very proud of him."

To ensure the future of the Owyhee Motorcycle Club for generations to come this non-profit has to do some fundraising, but they have something special on the horizon.

The club will acquire a 2022 Husqvarna FFE 501 from Austria and it will be customized here in Idaho by local businesses, people have until November to get in on this sweepstakes to win a really sweet ride.

'It’s more for riding in the hills, trails and mountains that you have here in Idaho," said Glover. "I would like to win that bike and have it in my garage because I would be able to spend a lot of time with my friends riding up here in Idaho."

For more information on the sweepstakes click here, the OMC's next event is the Ryan Young Trials School on May 7 and 8.