I originally wrote this story for Ride Oklahoma in February 2009.
In the early 1970’s Glen Sinclair was very involved in dirt bike racing. He hung out with the likes of Jack Penton and Dick Burleson. “I would build the course and they would come and ride it” laughs Glen. “I also know Ralph Royce (Ride Oklahoma July 2008). He is something else.” Never a top racer, Glen was content to just ride the occasional enduro, work on trails, and hang out with his buddies. After owning a motorcycle shop in western Oklahoma for several years and riding all across the state, he retired from riding in 1983.
Fast forward to 2007. A riding buddy of Glen’s from days past stopped by his farm one day and said “Come out to Woodward, we are riding there and you can ride with us.” Glen took him up on his offer and he caught the dirt bike riding fever all over again.
This time his fever was contagious. He quickly infected his daughter Louis and her husband Brian Gambel, along with their sons Lane and Barron. Brian had been a motocross racer from years past, and promptly went out and bought bikes for the entire family. And a new truck. And a new toy hauler RV. The Gambels got the fever bad. “It’s damned expensive, but we like it” says Brian.
It wasn’t long until the entire family was hitting the OCCRA race circuit. “I took the kids to Gruber and they loved it” smiled Glen. Seems the boys have been riding 4-wheelers and picked up motorcycle riding easily. Lane, 13, rides mini-85 and says “my favorite thing is getting air. My longest jump was 100’, 40’ in the air.” His dad doesn’t think much of his jumping. “Pretty stupid if you ask me,” laughs Brian.
Barron, at age 10 the youngest of the family, rides both mini-65 and mini-quads. He and brother Lane tear it up at the family farm during the week, then head to the track with their parents and grandparents on the weekend.
On summer weekends the Sinclairs and Gambels pull their rigs to an OCCRA race and form a “home away from home”. Glen’s wife Barbara plans the food for the weekend and runs the pits, while the rest of the family heads out onto the trail. “We can pay a $30 entry fee and ride all weekend” explains Brian. In between practice and races they gather at the trailers to snack, socialize and enjoy the weekend. On this particular weekend it was Halloween, so it was time to dress up the camp. At dusk the kids all dressed up in Halloween costumes and toured the busy OCCRA campground, gathering up a supply of candy to last them the weekend.
“OCCRA has become more of a family event that just happens to coincide with a race weekend” says Jerry Welch, Race Director. “Many families like the Sinclairs and Gambels come more for the social aspects of riding together than they do the race. We average nearly 500 riders per weekend on most races. We are looking forward to even more in 2009.”
Looks like the fever is spreading.