News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 178

Third annual Sand Flea Grand Prix races at the BLM's Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

Motorcycle racers and spectators enjoyed glorious weather, got their fill of racing excitement, and raised money for a great cause, when the third annual Sand Flea Grand Prix races were held Sunday, Oct. 10, at the BLM's Samoa Dunes Recreation Area on the shores of Humboldt Bay.

racers start one of several events during the Sand Flea Grand Prix at the BLM's Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
Above, racers start one of several events during the Sand Flea Grand Prix at the BLM's Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

Bruce Cann, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM's Arcata Field Office, said the races, sanctioned for the first time by the American Motorcyclist Association, drew about 150 racers, including motorcycle factory-sponsored professionals. More than 400 people were on hand to watch the riders take on the challenging five-mile sand course. Most races were for motorcycles, though one event was specifically for all-terrain "quads."

Below: sand racing proved to be challenging for all competitors, even the factory-sponsored professional riders
Even professional riders struggle with the sandy course

"Most of these riders, including the professionals, had never raced in sand before," Cann said. "Every racer I talked with was surprised at the difficulty. They were whipped at the end of the day."

The race was hosted by the local Kiwanis Club, which raises money to support youth programs in the greater Humboldt Bay area. Funds from this year's event will be used for the Pediatric Trauma Prevention Program. It is a specialized training program for first responders to give them the skills to deal with children and infants who have special needs during emergency treatment.

The Samoa Dunes is a sandy strip of land extending between Humboldt and Arcata bays and the Pacific Ocean west of Eureka. It features several stages of sand dune development and a variety of wildlife habitats. Wind-exposed, salt-sprayed dry soils support sparse vegetation, while inland, low-lying areas supports lush vegetation and varied wildlife.

Visitors come to surf, fish, beach-comb, watch wildlife, and picnic. The Arcata Field Office manages about 140 acres for off highway vehicle riding and driving.

Below: A narrow part of the course challenges racers.

Below: Because the Sand Flea Grand Prix was an American Motorcyclist Association-sanctioned race, competitors and spectators had the opportunity to learn about products in a vendors area.
displays at the vendors area

News.bytes, issue 178