Chico State Dirt Riders gears up for new year

Chico State dirt biking club vice president Scotty White catches air as he heads up a hill during a ride. The club has 50 active members this year. Photo Courtesy Scotty White

The Chico State Dirt Riders is shifting into gear and twisting the throttle for an exciting year full of racing competitively and tearing up cross-country events.

The Dirt Riders is a club team that formed in 2008 for Chico State student dirt bikers to come together. The Dirt Riders expects to have 50 active members this year, a step up from roughly 12 members a year ago. Anyone can join this club regardless of skill level and experience.

Anyone with a bike, two wheels, a motor and who are willing to twist the throttle is welcome to join, said Scotty White, the club’s vice president.

The Dirt Riders mostly ride 125-450 cubic centimeter bikes on the track or down dirt trails. The cc’s refers to the amount of air displaced by the piston in the engine. The more cc’s the dirt bike has, the more powerful it is.

Even though the team doesn’t compete against other schools, there are a number of skilled riders on the team who compete in intermediate to semi-pro cross-country events and races across the state.

White and Patrick Lundgren, the club’s president, have competed in one of the most highly competitive off-road cross-country dirt biking circuits in California: the District 36 Motorcycle Competition. Both have been bumped from B-class to A-class, or semipro.

White and Lundgren said that members of the team get to see a lot of things when riding that people normally don’t. Plus, they have some fun in the process.

The Dirt Riders competes in races and cross-country events in some of the most beautiful areas in California, including Shasta Lake.

During a race in Shasta Lake, Lundgren was riding along a trail on a mountain ridge where he was able to view the lake in its entirety. A hawk glided next to him as he roared down the trail, leaving the mountains behind.

Lundgren and White described the feeling as freedom that only a dirt bike can bring.

Chris Souder, the club’s advisor, said he has a few big ideas in mind for the club in 2014. He’s hoping the Dirt Riders will be able to enter a few races representing the Wildcats.

“We want to become a full-on race team,” White said.

Lars Gustafson can be reached at [email protected] or @larsonsports on Twitter.