Article And Photos By: Twila Knight
Originally Published In The March 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
The first annual Moto- Beach Classic was the brainchild of Roland Sands. He’d always wanted “To throw a race on the beach with all my friends.” With some help from Alicia Whitney from the Sea Legs venue in Bolsa Chica, and the final Okay from the state he was shocked to finally get his chance to do just that. From the time he sat down with the state, to the day the gates opened it had taken roughly eight months of planning and hard work to make the event to happen. Of course, it took an entire team, Roland and Alicia weren’t the only cooks in the kitchen. He had the help of his sister Summer Hoover and his events manager, Natalie Nunes. He also enlisted Andy Schmidt, his woodworker, and Kelly Yazdi to help with the art and bike show portion. Imagine if you will, Roland’s vision of how this event would play out. You know that “Endless Summer” poster you picture with the SoCal sunset in the background: As peaceful and serene as that seems, let’s remember Roland is a motorcycle man by default… So add in a little Bruce Brown “On Any Sunday” to liven things up a bit: put it together with music, art, food, and beer, and you have a little bit of perfect for most of us SoCal types. Having only dreamed of an event of this proportion, no one was sure what to expect. You put all your time and effort into this baby and can only hope that others will be in love with it as much as you are.
As it turns out, they absolutely were! More people walked through those gates than they had anticipated, numbers were up around 5,000. People came out to enjoy all Bolsa Chica had to offer that day. Needless to say, Roland and his team were stoked. They were even more stoked that everyone they spoke to had a genuinely great time, and said they were looking forward to coming back to the second annual event. They ended up filling up the racers, stuntmen and vendor entries. They had roughly 120 racers alone. The vendor section was at max capacity, which helped them decide to expand next year. Bigger and Better is always the way to go! Along with more room for vendors, next year they hope to add more surfing, maybe a jet ski freestyle and TT event. They are pretty sure not all of this can fit into one day, so they are hoping to fill an entire weekend!
When I asked Roland if there were any surprises, his answer didn’t shock me in the least. “Every single minute there was a surprise. For me, it was f#@kin gnarly, but for everyone else, it seemed to be a well-oiled machine. I feel like our crew really took care of the rough spots so everyone could enjoy the show.” I guess that is what you get when you have a good crew helping. Probably the biggest obstacle to plan was the racing, so Roland handled that. His main focus was to be sure everyone stayed alive! Luckily, he did just that, and there were very minimal injuries. Quite a feat on the dirt track! He hadn’t, however, counted on handling the drag race, stunt show, road race and flat track all simultaneously, but somehow he pulled it off. He says the Super Hooligan race was the most intense. “We were all on the infield biting our nails as the sun was setting on the last race. Four guys could have won that 50K Indian FTR.” A congratulation goes out to Andy Debrino for taking the championship of the day and winning that bike!
Looking back on it all, Roland said, “My friend Alan, who puts on the Hand- Built show in Austin, told me how much it was going to suck to do the event. How much work it was going to be, and how I wouldn’t get to enjoy it, but that after we finished, it would feel great. Reflecting on what he said, he decided his friend was absolutely right! Except, after it was finished I was almost… bored! There’s a special type of positive anxiety that goes along with producing an event, and I kind of enjoy the ADD of it all. You’re working your ass off, doing a million things, and feeling like no one’s gonna show up. But when they do, and they have a great time and let you know they did, it’s a really cool feeling. Putting smiles on kids’ faces, I don’t think there’s anything cooler than that. And there were a lot of happy kids.”
It definitely takes a village to put on an event like this. A special thanks goes out to so many behind the scenes: The racers and the bike builders were the stars of the show; Revival Cycles who brought bikes all the way from Texas. The sponsors: Indian, BMW, and Redbull for getting the gears moving. And of course the vendors, to name a few, and a thank you for what they brought to the event: Von Zipper for bringing out a cool vibe and great toilet trophy, Hurley for bringing out the printing press. Baume Mercier for the fantastic watches as prizes. Pacifico for the Airstream and Beers. Bell Helmets for the killer painted helmet trophies. Law Tigers for the surf ride and the mini moto race track. Scrambler Ducati for the Scrambler test rides. Fast Surfboards’ Brian Bent for the kookbox surf competition and music. SOFKY for the surf competition. Cycle Zombies for the Chopper Flat Track class and great photos. Valero for the live broadcast and coverage of the event online. So, if you’re looking for a truly So- Cal way to spend a weekend, make sure you head out to Bolsa Chica next year and hang out at the Second Annual MotoBeach Classic! Looking forward to it myself!