1992 Was a Banner Season for ASRA

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The '92 season was the sixth year of scooter racing in America, including three years under the ASRA banner, and by now we were really hitting our stride. The inaugural race in '85 at Adams Kart Track in Riverside had gotten the ball rolling. It was organized by Blake Montero of South Bay Scooters in Norwalk. There were no races in '86, but thanks to the efforts of Vespa Supershop's Fabio Ballarin, there were two races per year in '87 and '88. When Fabio announced that he could no longer organize any races at the end of '88, I took over the reins and announced the formation of the American Scooter Racing Association for the '89 season. By 1992 we had held a number of exclusive ASRA events at Willow Springs, as well as many more events at Adams.

The Lucky 7 Pits with WCLW in the Background (click for full image)

Most of the Willow events were at the 1.2 mile "Streets" track. We also did one demonstration race at the big track with Steve Cocking, Matt Dawson, and yours truly on our Group E unlimited bikes, and we did laps in the 2:00 range. Later on we also did a handful of races at the smaller kart track at Willow.

The one lone event in Reno, Nevada was quite memorable, though I seem to recall that there was a major medical issue that needed to be dealt with. The track was really fun - a miniature replica of Laguna Seca, and everyone clamored for a second event there, though it never happened. We also did one race at historic Carlsbad Raceway in north San Diego county, but I don't think it counted in points standings.

In our first three seasons we had crowned three different overall champions:

1989 - Nyle Schafhauser of GoFast Racing out of Orange County

1990 - San Diego's Matt Dawson of West Coast Lambretta Works

1991 - Scott Cocking, riding for San Diego's Vespa Supershop

ASRA also had more than a few instances of riders switching teams, and one such notable instance was Matt Dawson's abrupt departure from the WCLW team early in the '91 season after a disagreement between yours truly and the reigning overall champ during a Willow event. This shakeup brought some extra drama to the season, to say the least. I haven't seen him in quite some time, but I'm sure Matt and I could share a good laugh about it now.

Unfortunately for WCLW, this shakeup destroyed any chance we had at a repeat overall title in '91 after Matt had won the 1990 crown.

By the start of '92 Matt had settled in quite nicely with the Lucky 7 Race Team out of the SF Bay area, and their impressive fleet of Ferrari red Lambrettas and Vespas were a truly astounding sight. Even after sustaining a weekend's worth of battle scars, their machines remained a force to be reckoned with - if for no other reason than they looked fucking brilliant.

It was pretty obvious that Mr. Dawson's insanely creative talents had spread to the whole team. The attention to detail was truly stunning to see, and their laser cut graphics were way ahead of their time. It was all so European - like a marriage of Porsche and Ferrari. Picking up where he left off after his successes in Group A on the WCLW J Range, Matt built another J Range machine, consistently getting into the middle of the pack in a very hotly contested division dominated by a fleet of screaming fast small frame Vespas.

But the real thrill for me was seeing the mid-season debut of Matt's pet project that exemplified his absolute lunacy - a 50hp+ 277cc beast powered by his own handmade top end, carved from a single billet block of aluminum and patterned after a Yamaha YZ250 cylinder. He had started this project with my "blessing" while still at WCLW. We discussed the ASRA regulations as they currently read, and we decided that it was all within the rules, which stated something like "the cylinder must have been manufactured for the engine case on which it is being used".

That bike was the fastest thing I ever saw going up the front straight at Streets of Willow. If he had ever raced it at Adams, one wrong decision might have put him up in the bleachers!

I'll also never forget seeing it go up in a giant cloud of smoke and steam when the cases blew apart while screaming up the front straight at Willow. But hey, Matt always went balls out - and if you're going to eject yourself off the track, why not do it at terminal velocity in a spectacular cloud?!?

Anyhow, that's enough for one blog post. There's lots more where this came from... for now I'll leave you with this great photo. Oh, and if you look under the blue tent in the background you can even see some "seaweed" lurking back there... ;-)


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