Since my first race with The Over The Hill Gang, I have been hooked on motocross! I've met some great people, ridden awesome tracks and become a member of one of the oldest and largest motocross clubs in the country. If you've never heard of The Over The Hill Gang, Let me fill you in.
WHAT IS THE OVER THE HILL GANG?
Simply put, The Over The Hill Gang (OTHG) is one of the nations largest Vet Motocross clubs. Vet Motocross typically refers to the age group of 30+ year old riders. These are people who still have a love for motocross racing, but are obviously not going pro anytime soon. At least not in this lifetime.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO RIDE WITH THE CLUB?
Yes. Unless you are participating in one of the "Support Classes". Support classes are open to any riders under the age of 30 and are separate from the Vet classes.
Membership for the OTHG is open to anyone 30 and over and the cost is typically $40 per year. Each chapter operates independently and prices may vary.
WHAT IF I'M A BEGINNER RIDER?
Don't worry. The club consists of all levels of riders, from beginner to masters. The thing with the OTHG is the Beginner classes are not just Beginner "Racers", they are beginner "Riders" as well. There is no need to be intimidated just because you lack experience in riding. Remember, it's just for fun and people are just happy you're there.
HOW ARE THE CLASSES MADE UP?
The club has several different classes of riders, all split up using a two-part measurement. Age and Skill level. The size of the dirt bike has no role in the class you race in. So for once, size DOESN'T matter. ;) The OTHG feature classes for 30+, 38+, 45+, 52+ and 58+ age groups, ranging from Beginner all the way to Masters.
ARE THE CLASSES FAIR?
ABSOLUTELY! This is one area that the OTHG stands out. Classes are very fair and there is no "sandbagging" in the club. One thing that keeps a lot of Vet riders sidelined from racing is the fact that normal motocross events are riddled with sandbaggers. A typical event allows the rider to determine which class they will ride in. So this allows for an advanced rider to put themselves in a beginner or novice class just so they can smoke everybody in the class. That is beyond frustrating and I’m sure it takes a toll on rider turnout for races.
The OTHG has race directors and a board of supervisors that watches the races. If a person is caught sandbagging or their skill has exceeded their current class, they are bumped up to the next class. This makes for evenly matched classes and fun racing.
As mentioned earlier, each club chapter also has what is called “Support Classes”. These classes are open to people under the age of 30 who just want to race. This allows for friends and family to come out and race, even if they are not members of the OTHG.
HOW OFTEN ARE RACES AND WHERE ARE THEY?
Races are generally held twice a month with practices being on Saturdays and Racing on Sunday. The exceptions to this are the “Nationals”. Each chapter will hold 1 National event in their area during the season. Members from all 5 chapters will show up to race these 3 day events. For Nationals, practice is held on Fridays and then Saturday and Sunday are race days with Olympic style scoring.
Races are held at some of the most prestigious tracks in the State of California. Tracks include Hangtown, Glen Helen, Riverfront MX, Milestone MX, DT1, MMX Racing, LACR MX, and many more.
WHY DO I LIKE THE OTHG?
1.) People are friendly in these clubs.
I have yet to meet someone who was a total jerk. I’ve made a lot of friends as a result of racing with the OTHG and I continue to meet new people every event I go to.
2.) The racing is fair.
As I said before, typical motocross races are polluted with sandbagging. It takes a lot of the fun out of racing if you can’t be competitive. The OTHG does a great job of keeping people in the appropriate class.
Most people have to work on Monday. When the gate drops, things can get competitive, but people rarely ever go overboard with how hard they race. Most everyone racing has to be to work on Monday, so nobody is out there trying to kill each other for a $15 trophy.
3.) It pushes you to become a better rider.
The competitive atmosphere naturally pushes you to want to do just a little bit better next time. As a result, I have found myself concentrating on technique, changing my fitness goals, and being more aware of the things I need to work on in order to become a better rider.
4.) It's a great outlet.
If you have a passion for riding dirt bikes, racing with the OTHG is a great outlet. After a week at work, it's so nice to get out on the track and go at it! There are many people who make a camping trip out of the weekend. Every track has somewhere to camp and many people use it as a family event to get away and spend time together.
5.) Someone is always there if you happen to get hurt.
When I got back into riding dirt bikes, I found myself out on a trail in the middle of nowhere one time, thinking to myself, “If I get hurt out here, nobody is going to find me for a LONG time”. That thought pushed me to try riding tracks. I was terrible at it when I started, but it’s always nice to know that if I do end up getting hurt, help is right there in a matter of seconds.
If you’re a Vet rider and you’ve ever thought about racing, I’d encourage you to check out your local OTHG chapter. Even if you have never thought about racing, go out on a limb and give it a shot. You may just fall in love with it.
I have talked to several riders who have been reluctant to try racing. They're usually afraid to do it because they feel like they're too old to get out there. NOT TRUE! The OTHG has classes from beginners to masters and in between. People will cheer you on whether you’re running up front or in the back of the pack. When you’re out there, it seriously feels like a big family.
So give it a try, and if you have any questions, please ask and I’ll be happy to answer them!
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