Riding at Carnegie last weekend, I had a lovely time on my WR-250F even though I fell and sprained my finger. It goes with the territory and I just kept on riding because it was such fun just swooping through the turns. I was still having fun later in the day when everybody else had left.
I like to climb the hills at Carnegie but I am no competitive hill climber although I sometimes ride with a few of those guys. After my ride I stopped by Moto Mart and asked Tony Shipman how his son, Joe Shipman, did in Idaho at the Big Nasty hill climb the other weekend. I know that it was a big deal for some of the guys from Carnegie who had been there.
Turns out that Joe Shipman won the Open Pro class and the King of the Hill event also known as the xclimb (top ten competitors compete for a big cash award). The open pro class is for are the biggest baddest bikes out there. Their pilots sometimes hover over two hundred horsepower engines. The riders seem diminutive perched atop their long wheelbase machines as they rocket straight up through impossible terrain. I was understandably impressed.
Logan Mead won the 450 and the 700 pro classes at The Big Nasty. That is quite an achievement in itself winning two classes. That hill climb is one of the nastiest and it is the scary looking hill from the bottom and it keeps getting scarier the higher you go. The best part is that Joe and Logan are both Carnegie born hill climbers! Here is a picture of two very proud dads. I got the picture of the proud dads and a lot of the information (some of it copied verbatim) from Logan’s mother, Diana Mead – a great woman in her own right.
NAHA stands for the North American Hillclimb Association. NAHA Hillclimb is their FaceBook page. There were four events in the series this season, five were planned, but the first round in Carnegie, California, was rained out. The other events were in Washington, Oregon, Columbus Montana and Idaho.
Mead won the NAHA championship for the x climb, 0-700 and overall championship for the season. Shipman grabbed the NAHA open class championship and was second place overall at the end of the season.
The RockWell Pro Hillclimb Series, (FaceBook page) is a separate series,. This season there were three rounds, two in Billings MT and one in Wyoming.
Team UnLimited (Logan Mead) and MotoMart at Carnegie (Joe Shipman) competed in both series and in the NY invitational in Danville New York.
Logan Mead won the Rockwell Open Class Championship. Logan Mead and Sam Hummel (also Carnegie rider) were the only two California riders who made it to all events in both series. So Logan’s championships in both series are an achievement that requires consistency in both performance and in loyalty to the sport. Sam Hummel is an up and comer whose name you will hear again in the future. Joe Shipman had a great season with Rockwell too, but had to miss the final event in Wyoming which cost him valuable points.
There are 4 championships in NAHA series each year. Open, 700, 450 and X Climb. Shipman is your 2106 Open Class Champion. He rounded out the season with a 2nd in the 700 class and 3rd in the 450 class and 3rd in X climb. Logan locked up the 700 and X Climb championships. He also got 2nd place in the open and 450 classes. In the end Mead was the overall NAHA champion with Shipman in 2nd overall.
A Washington state rider took the 450 class. Joe and Logan were also in the top three of every class they didn’t win. Another outstanding Carnegie rider, Casey Curtin, took three 4th places and he was an NAHA series champion with a 4th place in the 450 and Open classes as well as 4th place in the X climb for the season. His first year out, Sam Hummel had three top ten finishes and Connor Needly also had three top ten finishes. All in all, the California boys did us proud.
Then for the Rockwell Series, Logan Mead is the only Carnegie rider to make it to all the venues. This paid off twice. First he is the Rockwell Series Champion for the second year running (the total of the three points classes) and the Open Class Champion. He was also the 700 and xclimb and overall champion in the NAHA series. He was one of only two people to win both championships in both series. Both series are national series, although the NAHA may have a bit more prestige.
I did a little research and the big Nasty hill in Idaho is really a perpendicular cliff rising abruptly up to a jutting wall and then a big plateau. The very best of the professional hill climbers jump onto the plateau at the top.
It is very imposing unless you are looking at it through a camera tilted up to get a good view of the rider. Then it looks pretty tame. Same with Go Pro. I finally stopped using my Go Pro at Carnegie because the steepest most gnarly hills looked like bunny slopes when I played back the video. Here are some photographs taken in 2015 (it is a little long) but they give the viewer a good idea of what it was like at the Big Nasty.
I am sure that I am missing a few of Carnegie’s greatest, but like I said I am not a hill climber and I get my news second hand. If anybody has anything to add you can put it in the comment section and I will transfer it to this blog. The official results aren’t in yet.
Come to the Carnegie Classic Hill Climb Elevated Action Sports on October 8th and 9th and you can see these amazing racers and their incredible equipment in person.