Author Archives: Barbara Rainey

Bud Feldkamp

Bud Feldkamp grew up in Central Nevada, where he was driving his dad’s pickup truck across the desert by the age of 12. Bud took up motorcycles, and met Malcolm Smith when he took his bike to Smith’s shop for repairs. Eventually both men joined the Riverside, California based Sandwinder buggy racing team, one of the big teams in off road racing in the early 1970s.

Bud got a taste of buggy racing in 1971 when, with Mel Tryee, he finished fourth in the Baja 500. Bud went on co-driving with others on the Sandwinder team, sometimes in the unlimited class, and often in the growing 1200cc class. Bud co-drove with Don Rountree, mentor of the Sandwinder group, to second overall at the Dam 500 in 1973, and that was that race that saw overall honors go to Malcolm Smith in a similar buggy.

Feldkamp went on racing in 1973 and took home the 1200cc honors at the Firecracker 250 that year. Then, heading for the Baja 1000, Malcolm and Bud joined forces to drive the Sandwinder to second place in Class 1. They found their style of driving quite similar, and decided then to go together as a full-fledged team. In Mexico, Bud drove the second half of the race, and went the final 75 miles on three wheels. That spirit of carrying on regardless of the problems is common to the two men and one factor in their amazing finishing record. Over the coming years the pair celebrated many first overall wins in their Funco chassis car, including the 1975 Baja 1000, two consecutive Mint 400 victories, and back to back High Desert and SCORE titles in 1977 and 1978. The blue Bel Ray Bullet of Bud Feldkamp and Malcolm Smith is one of the most iconic vehicles in off-road racing history, with Off-Road magazine giving the nod to the Bullet as one of the greatest off-road racing machines ever.

The sleek Bel-Ray Bullet represented the progression of technology and construction that began in earnest in the late 1970s, took off in the 80s and hasn’t stopped since. The Bel-Ray Bullet was based a Funco chassis that featured a much longer wheelbase than previous models to help better absorb rough terrain. To aid in shock cooling, aluminum fins were incorporated into the Bilstein shocks. Most significantly, the Bullet was one of the first buggies featuring an independent rear suspension. The move away from the clumsy and constricting swing-axle rear suspension allowed for the use of a Volkswagen Type II transaxle and cv joints which greatly increased wheel travel and improved camber characteristics. Of course, the result was speed; the Bullet quickly racked up victories, proving that buggies were no longer cute but rather serious race weapons.

In the mid-1980s, Bud turned his sites toward building Glen Helen Raceway, which to this day, is one of the premier racing facilities in the West. Glen Helen Raceway is located North of San Bernardino, California. This area is against a great mountain side in which Glen Helen Raceway has created it raceway facility of 256 acres, dominated by giant trackside letters spelling out G L E N    H E L E N in the style of the old Hollywood sign.

Glen Helen Raceway started its fame back in 1985, it had several Sand Drag events, Off Road events and Motocross events. In 1991 Glen Helen Raceway hosted its first major event, the United States World Championship Motocross and again in 1992. With these two events added to the Glen Helen Raceway venue it was the beginning of a growing and nationally known track.

In 1995 and 1996 two more major events came to Glen Helen Raceway, the Off-Road Winter Series and the AMA 125/250 MX Nationals. In the years that followed, Glen Helen added many memorable events to the schedule, including Ultra4 Unlimited Off-Road Racing, and recently announced that the 2017 Motocross of Nations will be held at the facility. Under Feldkamp’s leadership, Glen Helen Raceway has become one of the most seen and raced on tracks in the world.

‘The opportunity to welcome the world of motocross to our back yard in Southern California, for the first time in its 70-year history, is something that we do not take lightly at Glen Helen. I look forward to doing everything in my power to make this a truly historic motocross event for all the teams and fans from around the world,’ said Bud.

Bud Feldkamp’s remarkable achievements spanning five decades of off-road, both as a racer and as an event promoter, make him a welcome addition to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Don Amador

For over 25 years, Don Amador has been a nationally recognized pioneer advocate for off-road motorsports in the fields of on-highway and off-road motorcycling, ATV, side-by-side, 4-wheel drive and snowmobile access to responsible recreation. Currently serving as Western Representative for the Blue Ribbon Coalition, Don is also a noted consultant in off-road issues, to include ‘sound’ initiatives and testing, trail design, managed OHV recreation, Environmental Protection Agency comments and appeals, grant writing and political strategy development. Don has truly become a ‘go to guy’ for off-road motorsports.

Don has worked tirelessly through the grass roots, administrative, legal and political processes to promote and protect our access to responsible OHV recreation on public lands, to make sure the competitive as well as recreational off-road activities will live on forever. His goal is to lead by example and to empower the local off-roader to help shape their own trail destiny. He spends countless hours in meetings, orchestrating conference calls on a national level, and bringing enthusiasts into a new light of understanding how land use advocacy, racing and off-roading in general all come together in the efforts to politically save our access for off-road events and recreation.

Recognized by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) District 36 with their highest honor, the Jim Hutzler Award, Don sets the standard for keeping off-road motorcycle sports alive and well, from the halls of Washington DC to the local dirt tracks around the country.

Founder of the Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC), Don Amador has broken new ground and initiated huge accomplishments in getting off-road motorsports in front of political candidates and national leaders. Don established the TPAC as the first national non-partisan political action committee dedicated solely to championing responsible off-highway recreation on designated roads, trails and areas on public lands through the electoral and legislative process.

Don embodies the spirit of off-road motorsports with his unending energy and dedication in keeping off-road enthusiasts engaged in the political, administrative and legislative processes to keep motorsports going for all. He maintains websites for his primary consulting company, Quiet Warrior Racing, and the TPAC, as well as blogs on a regular basis, informing off-road enthusiasts on key issues that affect them.

He attends countless meetings, writes official comment letters on hundreds of issues every year, blogs nearly daily on off-road issues and updates, and sets a standard for other land use activists to follow. Don took his dedication further a few years back and ran for Congress (unsuccessfully, but he learned a lot). He also served as Chairman for the State of California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission. Don leads; Don does; Don doesn’t just talk about it.

Don has designed strategies on a national level to combat unnecessary restrictions on off-road sports. He has ridden thousands of miles of roads and trails to better understand the needs of enthusiasts who love motorsports. Over the past 25 years, Don has written and prepared comments and letters for groups like Share Trails/Blue Ribbon Coalition, the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, and the American Motorcyclist Association. His mastery of the administrative, legislative, and political processes that make this country run is unmatched in the off-road world. Don truly belongs in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.

By Del Albright

Jerry Penhall

Jerry Penhall is a man of few words, not seeking attention for his endeavors or achievements. He has been in the industry, both fabricating and racing, for 39 years. During this time, he has accumulated many recognized accomplishments. He built three cars for the COPS racing team, personally driving one to a first place finish at the Baja 1000. Jerry has a special ability to keep his business of off-road racing current, competitive and ever-evolving, all the while continuing to win races for four decades. He used he talent to give back, by helping students of local schools in Orange County, California. For nine years, he worked with Coastline Community College, Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor High Schools, placing students in his shop to mentor and introduce them to fabricating.

 


Curt LeDuc

Curt LeDuc brings many great effects to the off-road world, such as ingenuity, integrity and innovation. LeDuc is a self-made, grass roots champion, who has encompassed his love for the sport in to a way of life. He has raced nationally and internationally in several venues including Dakar Rally, King of the hammers, Short Course, Best in the Desert, SCORE and many other competitions. One of Curt’s favorite achievements is the Curt LeDuc Swap Meet. After sixteen years, Curt is still astounded at how popular this event is. People come from all over the US and Mexico, with numbers increasing every year. At 60, Curt is still a fierce competitor, and is not ready to stop any time soon.

 

 

 


Michael Gaughan

Michael Gaughan began his off-road life in a Class 2 buggy,  racing from 1969 until he stopped competing in 1991.

Michael’s greatest contribution to the industry is his patronage and advocacy. He sponsored many race teams, including Walker Evans Racing, Butch and Pat Dean Racing, Brian Collins Racing, John Gaughan Racing, and Evan Evans Racing.  Michael’s son Brendan is a successful NASCAR driver, with more than 140 top ten finishes and ten wins, in the Xfinity and Truck Series.

Over many years, Gaughan has supported numerous award banquets, and held tech inspections and contingency sponsor displays at his hotel properties, among many other supportive ventures. It has always been important to Michael to raise the level of respect for the off-road community.  Michael hosts the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at his South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas.

Chris Collard

Chris Collard’s achievements are not only based on awards, trophies or certificates, but in his words and photos that have been published around the world. He brings enthusiasm to the world of off-road journalism, and a high level of integrity and credibility. His coverage of events and four wheel drive adventures is authentic and inspiring. Chris has focused on telling stories, bringing off-road competition and 4WD expedition travel to the public’s front door. Print media coverage includes competitions such as the Australian Safari and Outback Challenge, Outback Challenge Morocco, and the SCORE Baja series. He was also a member of the Expeditions 7 team, which is believed to be the first American expedition to cross Antarctica by four-wheel drive vehicles.

 

 

 


Shannon Campbell

Shannon Campbell unknowingly started his career by winning the 1996 Four Wheeler Magazine Top Truck Challenge. He then went on to dominate various rock crawling/rock racing events, such we WERock, Dirt Riot, Best in the Desert, Ultra4 and many more. However, before these wins, Shannon realized his love for off-road motorsports and built his Jeep to conquer challenging terrain and to go places others could not. In 2002, he debuted his IFS buggy, and later by going full “Ironman” when he introduced a single seat rig. Shannon has been on the cutting edge of rock sports for nearly 20 years, and now is teaching is son, Wayland, and daughter, Bailey, the ropes of being a well-rounded person in the sport–as a driver, builder/fabricator, and big-picture thinker.

 

 

 


Del Albright

Del Albright has shared 35 years of wisdom, experience in leadership, and supervision to help keep public lands open to the public.  He has spent time working on trails, attending meetings, writing letters, joining and starting organizations, and meeting with elected officials to effectively save access to public lands.  While he is known for doing all of these things, in addition to being a Life Member of the California 4Wheel Drive Association, his most significant contribution to off-road motorsports sets him apart from others in land-use: educating and mentoring the OHV community.   His extensive background in leadership, supervision, and management has allowed him to mentor many other land-use advocates through his volunteer and leadership training courses and books, as well as his Volunteer Leader and Land Stewardship (VLLS) workshops.  Del has also guided smaller groups, such as 4×4 clubs, as well as  “Friends of” organizations that have modeled themselves after the Friends of the Rubicon, which Del was a principal founder of many years ago.