We’d been talking about racing in the Hell On Wheels Steeple Chase for awhile when our resident hero Sterling took charge and put a plan together to make it happen. We knew our friends at Bolts in Utah would love a shot at racing bar to bar on vintage dirt bikes, so we gave them a call and set up getting a few of them out here. Next, we needed to sort bikes for 5 guys, leaving room for tech difficulties at the track. As the days wound down, we realized we’d need to put some heavy time in on these MX dinosaurs. From breaking loose drain plugs on decades old machines, to swapping dry rotted paddle tires off of rusted wheels, to rebuilding carbs, we had to do it all…and obviously it was all done the day before. Matt, Sean, and Sterling spun wrenches and busted knuckles through the night making what seemed to be impossible happen.
At the same time we were swearing at vintage metal, Jake was riding a FXDXT that he’d just bought out from Utah, and Alex and Garrett were driving in Alex’s AWD Astro Van to Southern California from Salt Lake. They all showed up at the track bright and early, smiles ear to ear, with the smell of 2strokes already thick in the air. The day started off without a hitch with the Pabst beers flowing freely. A few light showers throughout the AM made each race a little more interesting than the last. Everyone in attendance was full of encouragement. People helping each other with busted bikes, sharing tips, tricks, and superstitions on how to get flooded bikes to kick over, etc, etc.
As the day wound down and we got into the final races, everyone’s enthusiasm continued at the highest level. Suddenly, it felt as if the world stopped. The sound of bikes ripping around turns went silent, the site of smoked lessened…it could only mean one thing. A crash. At the finish line. Between a rider, and spectator; Gus “Goose” Duarte.
Our hearts, sympathy’s, and respects go out to Gus’ family and close friends. We are truly sorry for your loss. Everyone at ourCaste feels lucky to have shared the time we did with him. A huge thank you to Sterling for helping out in every way that he could during the moments surrounding the accident. You are beautiful human.
There’s been a gofundme set up for Gus’ family if you feel compelled to do so here. A celebration of life is scheduled for June 11th long with a benefit concert on June 12th. Please buy tickets here. More more updates, follow the Hell On Wheels MC Facebook account.