Motorcycling Trips to be Remembered: Sonomafest 1995

We attended the AMA Superbike races at Sears Point 13 years ago when we made a week long trip down to Sonoma to catch Sonomafest. If I recall correctly, we decided on this trip after reading the recent Cycle World magazine, which features our favorite automotive and motorcycle journalist, Peter Egan and his account of the trip the previous year. Sitting on the porch (the tiny concrete pad in front of door) of my duplex, we once again let beer decide, and we were going. Unfortunately we didn’t meet Peter that year, but did pull a great motorcycling and camping trip that we haven’t really duplicated since. Recently our motorcycling trip to the Olympic Peninsula was our chance to relive that trip.

Suddenly it seems like an eternity ago (see, there it is again), but years ago our trip began by suiting up for our 2 day trip to the bay area from Corvallis, Oregon. Looking back, I was hardly prepared for such a trip, but that naive and youthful nature is what makes the trip even more special to remember.

{Note: time stamp on photos is incorrect.}

dan and bikes and 145 wagon before roadtrip

posing with the bikes before the trip

When we arrived for Thursday evening practice, tent camping inside the racetrack hadn’t opened yet. We were pointed to another track campground called ’40 acres’. Turns out this was only a mowed field that served as overflow parking for the NASCAR event to accommodate the 100k+ fans that turn out for their biggest weekend of the year at Sears Point. Or in other words, no services, including honey buckets. We were the only fans to show up that early and had the entire field to ourselves in fact. All the other early fans stayed in Sonoma a few minutes away. Needless to say, our budget working pizza jobs didn’t accommodate such luxury. It was actually just us and our tiny tent, and a half rack of Coors Light, whom we later decided had sponsored our camping weekend. Amazing the creativity of 21 year olds with a marker and a stack of beer cans!

sonoma road trip camping 40 acres

katana sonoma loaded up with coors

bikes and tent at sunrise

Best I can recollect, we made the trip in 1995 when Sears Point legend Miguel Duhamel was still the man to beat at that track. Upcoming stars that year included Ben Bostrom, Nicky Haden, and my favorite, Australian Anthony Gobert. Here’s a pic with Doug Polen, Miguel Duhamel, and a very young Nicky Haden. In the very back it might be Eric Bostrom. Either the Superbike or SuperSport class. Hard to know without notes and help from the internet. I tried though. If you can help, please comment below!

sears point camping view

That shot was taken from the campground when campsites were still located in the middle of the track in the carousel complex. You would literally wake to the sound of the street sweeper and then the first run group at 8:00AM every morning. Ready or not, here come 30-50 high strung motorcycles, all screaming around the back of your head. Talk about a wake up call! I distinctly remember wishing I hadn’t smoked so many cigarettes the night before!

Here are some more shots of us that weekend:

setting up the new campsite at the track

fzr and katana at sears point

There are many more memories from that trip, like the massive Cycle World group ride that rode more like a GP race and resulted in Editor Edwards getting a fat ticket! But really it serves as a reminder that sweet road trips have been few and far between since graduating college. I’m going to have to make some changes to tour more often, on two wheels or four. A great memory awaits that won’t be experienced from the couch.

dc