Popularity of ‘Short Track’ race series skyrockets

Short track MTB racing

Short Track series organizer
Kris Schamp.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Race Series, which wrapped up its six-race series at Portland International Raceway (PIR) last night, has tallied a record number of participants.

Event founder and organizer Kris Schamp reports that for the first time ever, there were over 400 entries into last night’s event and that he tallied a 65% increase in the amount of unique racers (some folks race more than once per event) from last year.

This is the fourth year Schamp has put on the race and he says each year it has gotten bigger. This year he saw a huge jump in new riders, kids and junior racers, and women. Last night the crowds were so big he actually ran out of waivers and number plates.

Scenes from Short Track at PIR-95.jpg

Team Beer keeps things from
getting too serious.

Schamp says getting women out on the course (women typically race in much smaller numbers than men) is due to some of the same factors that have made Portland’s cyclocross racing scene a massive hit:

“It looks like we finally enjoy the same effect as in cyclocross, where novice women racers discover how accessible and fun the race format really is (not the suffer-fest they always thought it would be) and then start spreading the word among their friends and get all religious about coming back each week to race and have a good time.”

Scenes from Short Track at PIR-86.jpg

An Xtracycle-equipped tall-bike
showed up for the freak bike
race last night.

Also in the event’s favor, says Schamp, is that the participants are increasingly not the typical, “lycra-clad racer crowd”:

“We really saw all sorts of riders, from 7-year old kids battling it out in the junior category to a 65-year old.”

Schamp also made the event interesting by inviting the Zoobombers and freak-bike crowd to go up against the fun, twisting, off-road course on their tall-bikes, mini-bikes, unicycles, and other crazy contraptions.

Many people who participate in Short Track do it because the courses (which change each week) are just plain fun (not to mention the course is just a few miles north of downtown Portland). Using PIR’s existing motocross track and an adjacent wooded area for singletrack, Schamp and his dedicated crew of volunteers make sure the course has plenty of whoops, jumps, tight turns, challenging obstacles, and fast sections.

Scenes from Short Track at PIR-93.jpg Scenes from Short Track at PIR-77.jpg Scenes from Short Track at PIR-70.jpg Scenes from Short Track at PIR-73.jpg

The course is so fun that Schamp says he gets many emails from people asking if they can ride the course on other days of the week. Schamps thinks that shows there is, “a strong and growing demand for off-road riding opportunities close to Portland.”

As for riding on the course; “Unfortunately,” Schamp says, “that is not an option yet.”

You can see videos and photos from the Short Track series at PortlandRacing.com or browse my photo gallery for scenes and faces from last night’s race.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Kronda
15 years ago

This was my first year (just got a mtb finally) and I pre-registered for the whole series. What a blast! Thanks Kris for putting on such a great series. It\’s awesome to be able to ride the dirt 10 minutes ride from my house. Definitely looking forward to next year!

Sport Class bottom feeder
Sport Class bottom feeder
15 years ago

How about breaking up the Men\’s 19-39 Sport class next year. Some SERIOUS sandbagging going on there. Maybe something like an \”Ego boosting, cyclocross training category\” Since that seems to be what the top 20 are all about. Flame away…

Paolo
Paolo
15 years ago

Good to see you out there Jonathan.
Next time you should bring your bike! Short track as you know is a lot of fun and in a way easier than cross.
You should have mention the races that Kris is promoting on Sauvie Island later in the summer, those are really fun too.
It is just a loop on some dirt roads near Krueger\’s farm.
Maybe for those he should invite the Sprokettes….
Ciao
Paolo

mmann
mmann
15 years ago

I was one of those who came out for the first time this year after hearing friends say what a blast it was. Like cross, my response was \”why did I wait so long?\” Kris does an absolutely fantastic job balancing creating a challenging course and keeping the overall atmo light and fun. can\’t wait until next year.

revphil
15 years ago

we have some pretty serious standards for fun. Kris I hope you come bombing soon.

shrap
shrap
15 years ago

Tight Race
Tight Organization
Tight Fun

I do agree splitting up the sport field might be a good idea. 70+ people on a short course like that can really make it un-fun for some.

But I had a blast, looking forward to Kruger’s!!!!!

Good Job Kris!!!

Angela
15 years ago

I\’ve never raced, never mountain biked and haven\’t competed for anything in over 10 years but I signed up for the entire series, too, and had the thrill of my life. I\’ll do it every year and bring all the women (and kids!) I know, as well. Going from terrified out of my skull the first couple of races to winning a first lap award by race 5 was fantastic. I\’m certainly not a technical rider and have a problem staying on my bike (it\’s hard to do short track on a touring bike that\’s been turned into a pseudo cross bike…) but I can\’t wait for next year. My brother mountain bikes at his home in Denver and just sent me a care package filled with over $500 of components just because he\’s been following this development from afar. Thanks Jonathan for the coverage (that scored me some parts) and thanks so much Kris et all for a wonderful series!

erin g.
erin g.
15 years ago

Great job, Kris!

Angela\’s boots = ultra-sexy. Cool photo of the week!

Lookin\’ good, Team Beer! The capes really work and do not make your butts look big.

BEEEER!

JV
JV
15 years ago

hey sport class bottom feeder,
since I posted my first \’W\’ in two years the other night, I must be the Sandbagger in Chief! As you are well aware, starts are critical at Short Track; however, good results can be had even with a mediocre start; I\’m no expert (nice pun, eh?), but I\’m happy to discuss sandbagging and other highly effective race strategies anytime. Start by believing in yourself and signing your posts with your name, then look for me with a crew cut and Veloshop kit at a race near you.
Cheers,
Jonathan Vinson

ps to all: that series is a blast; thanks to Kris and all the volunteers!

Paolo
Paolo
15 years ago

Funny thing is that you are an Expert, you raced expert last year and the year before, also you race 3 in road and B in cross. And you do well. So tell us why you race sport so we can understand you.
Ciao
Paolo Dabbeni (not Bettini)

ps: I think expert is actually easier than sport, a lot less people to pass.

Darkness Merkin
Darkness Merkin
15 years ago

Although Kris should certainly be applauded for putting on such a great series, I would like to send a huge thank you to the crew that designed and laid out the coarse each week. Their creativity and hard work were a huge ingredient in the success of these races. Thanks for all the sweet jumps!

– Wild Stallions #212

Kris
Kris
15 years ago

#11 Couldn\’t agree more.

John Dorfer and the rest of his crew really outdid themselves with the course design, which was every week fresh, fun and challenging.

Overall, a lot of the credit for the success of the series should go to the amazing crew of more than 30 hard-working volunteers who showed up every week to help pull it all together and make the magic happen. They\’re the # 1 Team on my list!

JV
JV
15 years ago

Paolo,
That\’s a totally fair question. I raced sport two yrs ago, then tried Expert last year. I wanted to race at the same level across disciplines, and OBRA equates sport with Cat 3 (aligned in the BAR). With high level approval, I went back to sport this year. Short track is the only \”MTB\”ing I do since I don\’t own an actual mountain bike. My results this year were much better than I expected, so I will probably race expert or SS next year. All in good fun….
Cheers,
JV

Steve (not steve)
Steve (not steve)
15 years ago

I too was very excited to race, but after the first SS race this year it was abundantly clear that the series may be too successful. I won\’t be back until there is better division of the skill levels. I don\’t mind getting beat, but the attitude of some of the racers is pathetic.

john
john
15 years ago

I can\’t find any reference to the Krugers Farm race anywhere on the web.