AMA Vintage National At SDR

Posted: June 16, 2015 in motorcycle racing, Photography, Racing
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 June is always an exciting  month in Central NY,  summer is on its way, schools start their summer vacations, and most importantly it’s AMA Vintage National weekend at Square Deal Riders In Port Crane, NY. The second weekend in June SDR host rounds 7-8 of the AMA Vintage Flat track National Series. This fast 1/4 mile track is the perfect place to hold a national event like this. Riders come from all over to compete on their vintage iron against some of the best in the buisness. Past years this event has welcomed former AMA Grandnational champions like Jay Sprinsteen, On any Sunday’s star Mert Lawill, Bubba Shobert, and 9 time GNC1 National champion Scotty Parker.

     Don and Peg Miller from Metro Racing brought these heroes of the sport to central NY every year for fans to enjoy. 

Friday night at SDR is round 7 of the vintage National series. Saturday is round 8 along with the annual Larry Weiss memoial race. The club has one of Larry’s bike In front of the podium, and all the the winners tradionally spray champagne on the bike after their event. The winner of the Weiss race also gets to keep the unique trophy for a year to show off to friends and family. Craig Estelle has been the man to beat for the last four years in this popular race at SDR.
Friday night the pits had well over 100 entires for the vintage national. All of the riders compete on old flat track bikes in a variety of different classes. From brakeless ( yes I said brakeless) to the crowd favorite, all Harley Davidson class. Theses guys are crazy. Some of these bikes are really rough looking, but boy do they put on a good show. Every year this class has grown and grown. Some of these bikes look like they rode them there, remove a few lights and bolted on a number plate. 

Friday night there was weather coming later in the evening, so the SDR crew ran the show as best they could to beat the rain. After all of the heat races and LCQ’s were ran,  it started to get dark to the north. Rain was really close, so they went into the features, planning on going as long as they could. Right after the first main was complete, lighting started to fill the sky, and the wind started to pick up as well. The track decided to call it off for the night and start again  up Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was a perfect day for racing. Temps in the lower 80’s and low humidity.  1:00 pm the first race of the day was on the track for their feature event from the night before. With the sun beating down on the track, it didn’t take long for it to dry out. Mike Williams stayed on top of the track prep all day keeping it nice and racey for the Vintage riders. Not only was Mike busting his back with the track he also was riding a Rotax owned by fellow rider Dennis Goyer. 

Saturday SDR ran 12 main events to finish off the AMA National race from the rain out Friday. Everything went well for most of the riders, there were not any major accidents or too many restarts.  SDR members Handed out very cool plaques, and a bottle of champagne to all (over 21) that finished on  the podium.  Soon after the awards ceremonies, the hard working crew started taking sign ups for the nights Larrry Weiss race. Saturday there seemed to be a few more bikes in the pits then on Friday. 

Like years past the completion was fierce in all of the classes at SDR. The stands started to fill up around 5:00pm for a 6 o’clock start time. The parking area is like its own motorcycle show with beautiful road bikes. If you ride a bike to races you pay only $5 admission, how can you beat that?  You can’t!  With all the cash you save at the gate you can feed the family at SDR’s  brand new “Holeshot”. They offer 1/2 chicken dinners, sausage, hamburgers, hotdogs, and ice cold drinks. If a snack is all you need then you can visit the Club house and grab a bag of popcorn, or some sweet treats to satisfy your cravings. 

While you are in the Club House you can look through some pictures, and check out the history behind the Motorcycle club. SDR was established in 1937, and is still going strong. I highly recommend taking a ride to SDR to watch a race some time this summer. You won’t be disappointed. 

Ok back to the racing action. After the riders meeting all of the riders filled the lanes to get a few laps of practice before the heat races hit the track. Most nights after the sun goes down the track holds the moisture verywell making for a high bite track. Mike socked the water to the 1/4 oval soon after practice and dragged the track a bit. Making it was brand new again. 

I almost forgot. the last few years there hasn’t been a special guest appearance at the National, but still a ton of great racing both nights. This year SDR had a very well known National Champion in the pits by the name of Chris “The Prince Of Peioria” Carr. For the last couple years Chris has been selling “Goldentyre” motorcycle tires at SDR. It’s been pretty cool seeing him at the track, but now everybody gets to see him race.😎. Carr was piloting two Bultaco motorcycles owned by the Hawkins Brothers, in a few different classes. Chris won all four classes he entered both nights. He looked like he was having a blast racing these bikes. In a interview with Joe Brombley from AMA he stated that he had been getting the itch to ride something different at SDR, well I guess he scratched his itch, in these Bultaco’s. 


With all of the qualifying races in the books, it was time for the for the long awaited Larry Weiss Memoriable Race. Eight laps of pure excitement for both riders and fans. Like every big event at SDR the riders and mechanics pushed their bikes out onto the from stretch in front of the fans. This is really cool for the fans to see what their favorite rider looks like without a helmet on. Each rider is introduced, and thanks their sponsors on the mic before they fire their vintage machines. 

Three rows made up the field with most of the fast guys on the front row. Anybody that started on the other two rows had their work cut out for them with only eight laps to get it done. The crowd rises to their feet as the bikes revved up anticipating the green light for the start of the race. I position my self in turn one trying to get a shot of the gaggle of bikes looking for the lead. 


By the time the pack entered turn three long time Flat track rider Shane Livingston was out front, and looking to go hide for eight laps. #495 Nick Weimer, #43 Kyle Zajaceskowski, and #51 Craig Estelle were going to make sure Shane didn’t get out front to far. After Estelle worked his way past Weimer, and # Zajaceskowski he set his sites on the #73 bike of Livigston. With such a stout field every move was huge in this short race. With less than three laps left, Craig pulled within  a bike and1/2 from Livingston. Shane held his line on the bottom,making sure anyone who wanted to get by him, had to do it around the top. The track was good on both the top and bottom, but it was Shane’s night. He rode his #73 Rotax to his second Larry Weiss Memorial victory. 

Estelle, and Weimer joined Shane on the podium for second and third. Both Craig and Nick had a great weekend winning several different mains in different classes. Weimer even crashed on one race, and he got back up and won the race. Very cool 😎

The night went great for most of the riders. Carr won two more mains, and more champagne was sprayed on Larry’s motorcycle. Once again SDR put on an epic show for fans and competitors alike. All the racers  I spoke with agree, they love racing at SDR and plan on visiting again soon. So I say check out the Flat Track schedule on their website, and plan on a night of bar to bar racing. 

The next race is The Lee Thomas Cup on July 11th, this race always brings in some national riders from all over the country. Well that’s a wrap. Check out all of my images from the Vintage weekend at John Zachary Photography

I will see you at the track.

Take care, 



  1. Dirt Track Doug says:

    TOP QUALITY! -the racing,.. and the photography both …thanks a lot

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