JEFFERSON — Racers took the track on Saturday in Jefferson as part of the “Diamond” Don Rainey’s 19th annual AHRMA International Vintage Motocross event that will wrap up today at the Diamond Don Event Center.
Hundreds of racers are camping out at the Diamond Don Event Center and Campgrounds as the races and activities continued on Saturday and wrap up today. The annual races, which see several world and national champion racers attend each year, including inductees to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
One of those world champion racers is Billy Grossi who is returning to the AHRMA International Vintage Motocross in Jefferson for his second year in a row.
“Don invited me a this year as one of the honorary legends,” Grossi said Thursday during a meet and greet with media. “I was going to come back anyway though because I really like the people here, this Texas hospitality is unbelievable.”
Grossi said he also wanted to come back to see some of his longtime buddies from the profession who he hadn’t seen in a while at a race.
“Some of these guys I’ve known for 30 and 40 years, but I’m also making new friends,” Grossi said. “I’m rekindling old acquaintances.”
Other legendary racers on site this weekend will include: Barry Higgins, Steve Wise, Brad Lackey, Trampas Parker, Trey Jorski, Guy Cooper, as well as Rainey, who is also a noted legend and promoter of the sport.
“The weekend will be full of motocross legends racing on old bikes, including several inductees to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” Rainey said previously. “More than 1,000 people attend this annual event from all over the country. It is the largest vintage motocross race in the country.”
Racers on the track Saturday ranged from 18 years old to their late 70s.
The youngest, Reed Borgfield, 18, of Jackson, Missouri, said this was his third year in a row to the Jefferson vintage motocross race.
"We travel all across the country racing vintage motocross and this is one of the largest events and races," Borgfield said Saturday. "Actually, this is the largest."
Borgfield, whose dad also races, said he got his first motorcycle at two years old and competed in his first race at four years old.
"I love vintage bikes, they're just fun and the people in vintage motocross are like one big family," he said.
Rainey, who owns several businesses and tourist hot-spots in historic Jefferson, hosted the visitors at his RV Park this weekend and festivities also included a charity golf tournament benefit on Thursday and a raffle drawing for a bike, with proceeds from both going to the Historic Jefferson Railway and Wetlands Foundation, as well as the Jefferson Adopt-A-Cop program and the racing event costs.
Also new this year was the Thursday morning Dual Sport Adventure Ride through the back roads of Marion and Harrison Counties. Participants rode 100 miles through the picturesque back roads of Marion and Harrison counties.
Rainey’s wife, Francene Rainey said more than $1,800 was raised on Thursday for the Jefferson Adopt a Cop organization, which will go to provide needed equipment for officers.
Saturday featured vintage racing with post-vintage races set for today.
Saturday’s festivities also included a memorial event with a trumpet quartet in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The races have previously drawn in more than 1,000 competitors and more than 3,000 total attendees, making Rainey’s RV Park population the weekend of the event larger than the town of Jefferson’s normal population. The public is welcome to come out and watch the races.
Vendors and concessions are available at the park, as well as restrooms and showers for RV Park campers.
“This is the Woodstock of vintage motocross,” Rainey said previously.
The thousands of fans and racers travel from across the U.S. and eight other countries to attend Rainey’s event, which is the largest vintage motocross event in the world.
Vintage Motocross, or the “greatest era of motocross,” is considered the period of the sport after the end of World War II to the mid-1970s.
“It’s all about natural terrain,” Rainey said. “We have the vintage motocross and post-vintage motocross. It really makes your adrenaline rush just watching these guys race — they don’t back off.”
Rainey said the event includes four disciplines: trials, cross country, vintage motocross and post-vintage motocross.
Different activities are held on site each day for guests, including a charity golf event, live band and party, tailgate and dinner.
“The reason this is the largest vintage motocross event in the world is because of Jefferson,” Rainey said. “This little town, people from all over just love it. They can come here for the motocross, but also go in town to eat and shop.”
Those interested in checking out the vintage motocross event can visit Rainey’s website www.diamonddonempire.com for more information on schedules, tickets and RV parking.
To follow the event on Facebook, visit the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/365871728494269