May 25, 2009

Every year on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend there is a mile flat track race in Springfield, Illinois. On the Saturday before, there is a TT race during the spring races and a Short Track race during the fall races. 

TT stands for Tourist Trophy, although those words are rarely used. It actually means that the oval flat track has a right hand turn as well as a jump or two. The TT takes place on a much smaller track than the mile race.


Pettis County, Missouri. I knew that I'd be riding with threatening skies the entire day, but except for a few drops, it stayed dry even though I was often riding on wet roads.

I-70 across Missouri is a stretch to be avoided, if possible.

Pike County, Missouri. I turned north at Kingdom City. 

You can see a pretty healthy thunderstorm building and I thought the races would certainly be rained out, but the storm moved north.


It works out well that the TT races are in the evening, giving me plenty of time to get there if I leave by 10:30 AM.










This is the view down the front straight after all the races were over.

I prefer staying downtown, but those hotels were booked.

The state police had roadblocks on the major streets to the fairgrounds for a "safety check." Of course, it had nothing at all to do with safety. Only motorcycles were stopped, and they were checking for proper papers for the motorcycle and the rider (with fines if things were not in order). This isn't the sort of welcome that the city should be making. My papers were in order.

I always show up early at the Mile so I can watch the practice sessions.




Lloyd Brothers Motorsports has one of the more professional appearing teams you'll see. Fielding an Aprilia and a Ducati clearly sets these guys apart from the norm. Larry Pegram (above with the red leathers) rides the Ducati, and Kevin Atherton (several photos below with the yellow shirt and the big grin) rides the Aprilia.







Springfield is very good at allowing spectators to walk around the pits before the races start. Other tracks only allow spectators after all the racing is done (if at all), by which time things are generally packed up.









I've been in the grandstands when every seat was sold. That didn't happen this year, but the crowd was still large. The Springfield Mile is the most popular with fans, and probably the most meaningful to win. The view from the grandstands is outstanding--the best of all the grandstands I've been to.



Above two photographs provided by Lloyd Brothers Motorsports.

After a red flag (stopping the race--generally due to a downed rider), the riders line up for a standing restart. In previous years, they would line up in a single file, but this wave method seems much safer.

Above photograph by Jim Grant.
Most everybody has left, and it's time to clean up.

In the afternoon, this lot was full of motorcycles. I'm in no hurry to go anywhere, and I prefer not riding with a crowd of unskilled riders.


Morgan County, Illinois. I'm riding west on the old Jackson Highway.



Benton City, Missouri. The next morning I turned off the main highway to explore some smaller roads.



It may just be a chain, but Steak'n Shake makes remarkably good hamburgers.  And of course, you can order two flavors of shakes in the same glass.


Cass County, Missouri. I rode I-70 until I was about 40 miles outside of Kansas City. I wasn't looking forward to that, so I turned south on the first road that looked interesting. At that point, I just kept picking up new roads, generally heading in the direction I needed to go.  Maps aren't really needed.

Drexel, Missouri is right on the Kansas border.


This brick road outside of Osawatomie is unusual. Plenty of small Kansas towns have brick roads, but you don't much see the country roads done this way.

Osawatomie, Kansas.

Miami County, Kansas. A nice triple rainbow bridge.

Garnett, Kansas.

Anderson County, Kansas. This road didn't have a name, and I wasn't sure that it would even be paved. But, it took me in the right direction (and it never turned to gravel).

Coffey County, Kansas. This isn't a crop; it's natural grassland.

Hartford, Kansas.

I asked if the road south out of town was paved, and he said it was (and it was). This is a really pretty area.




Greenwood County, Kansas.

Very good races (as always). I rode in quite a bit or rain coming back, but after hitting the Kansas border the weather was perfect.


last edit: 5/27/2009