Bailey, Ward, Dymond, and Henry Complete The Race Across America 10

Coast-to-Coast as a four-man relay...two conventional bikes, two handcycles, and four Legends.

Bailey, Ward, Dymond, and Henry Complete The Race Across America

Leaving from the start in Oceanside, CA.

Four legendary motocross/Supercross champions; David Bailey, Jeff Ward, Micky Dymond, and Doug Henry; recently competed as “The Legends of the Road” in the 2017 Race Across America (RAAM) bicycle race. Just completing the 3,070-mile journey is a huge accomplishment, and they did that in seven days, 19 hours, and 58 minutes…an average speed was 16.33mph. They finished second in their category (four-person 50-59 team), about four hours behind a team all competing on regular bikes. While Ward and Dymond rode standard upright bikes, Henry and Bailey both rode custom-built handcycles necessitated by their previous racing injuries.

Micky Dymond in the saddle.

Their journey started in 2013 when Dymond (1986 and 1987 125cc AMA Motocross Champion, and 2005 Unlimited SuperMoto Champion) decided that he wanted to attempt to solo the event. RAAM, which has been held annually since 1982, isn’t a stage race like the Tour de France, where each day the racers start in the morning at point “A” and finish that afternoon at point “B”…and then rest, eat, get a massage and head for a hotel bed. In RAAM point “A” is Oceanside, California; and point “B” is Annapolis, Maryland.

Jeff Ward spinning through the heat in Monument Valley.

RAAM’s solo racers routinely ride upwards of 20 hours a day. Food, hydration, and other needs are attended to by the support crews who travel with them throughout the race. For much of the course and especially throughout the nighttime hours, a follow car is positioned directly behind the rider. For the teams (whether they’re competing as two, four, or eight rider classes) RAAM is a relay. Most teams never stop—for 24 hours a day there’s a rider pedaling eastward. The record for a solo run is seven days, 15 hours, and 56 minutes (16.42 mph average). The record for a four-rider team is five days, eight hours, and 17 minutes (23.06 mph average).

This Sprinter and its crew provided around-the-clock support to Legends all the way across the country.

Dymond trained religiously for a 2014 solo RAAM effort, but quickly realized that while he was a very proficient cyclist, he had a long way to go to take on RAAM as a solo effort. So instead, he formed a four-rider team, the “Legends of the Road” consisting of himself, BMX superstar Dave Mirra, Superbike and SuperMoto star Ben Bostrom; and multi-time U.S. road cycling champion and Tour de France veteran, David Zabriskie.

The RAAM and cycling was something new to Doug Henry.

That first edition of the Legends were victorious in the four-rider division of RAAM 2014. Among their biggest fans watching that ‘14 edition at home was David Bailey (1983 AMA 250cc & Supercross Champion, and Ironman champion), who spent well over a year mulling over the idea of mounting a RAAM team effort of his own. His thought was to do a four-rider team made up of two hand-cyclists and two conventional cyclists. That eventually led to calls to Doug Henry, (1993 & 1994 AMA 125cc Motocross Champion, 1993 125cc East Supercross Champion, 1998 AMA 250 Motocross Champion). “And once Henry was in I knew that this was for real,” Bailey said in a chat at the finish line Sunday. Next on board was Dymond, “And then we called Ward (the only rider to win AMA 125cc, 250cc, 500cc & Supercross Championships),” Bailey said, “And like the next day I got a text from Micky saying, ‘Wardy is in!’”

The Legends of the Road with the support crew that sheparded them from California to Maryland.

The Legends of the Road competed in RAAM to raise funds and awareness for the Road2Recovery, (www.road@recovery.com) the foundation that aids motocross racers and action sport athletes who have suffered serious injuries, as Bailey and Henry have.

The machines that Bailey and Henry piloted are one-off carbon fiber creations from Dan Gurney’s All American Racers shop—a company better known for building race cars. For componentry, the machines use a mix of Shimano Dura-Ace road, and XTR mountain bike components, including Di2 electronic shifters.

Doug Henry, David Bailey and Micky Dymond as Wardy gives his account of RAAM to George Thomas.

We spoke with Bailey in Annapolis right after he left the finish-line stage. “It was special,” he said of the experience he shared with the other Legends. “Micky came to Honda in ’86 and that was one of my best years. I remember when I wrapped up the 500 title at Washougal he wrapped up the 125 title that same day, and we were up there spraying champagne. I watched that video lately and Jeff Ward is right there up behind us because he’d won the day. So there the three of us were. And then I looked at another picture of Micky winning the Paris Supercross—I got second, Wardy was third—there we all are on the podium again.”

David Bailey’s loving wife Gina is obviously happy and proud that her man has completed his journey.

“And Doug, he’s incredible at adapting to whatever the situation is. He always smiles at whatever is happening, it’ll all work out. It’s nice to have someone on the team like that who doesn’t have an unrealistic positivity—you just believe him! Because just look at his track record of what he’s accomplished and overcome and now this. He doesn’t even really have a hand-cycling background and before all this people asked me, ‘Does he even ride?’ I said, ‘It doesn’t matter. He’s gonna ride, and wants to, and who knows what he’ll do after this? But I didn’t have any doubts in his ability to adapt. I knew that we’d build him something that he’d like and hoped that he’d trust me. And it worked.”
“I’m so happy that it came together and it was timed right for each of us in our own lives. Jeff said that for him it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Micky got to do it in a different way than last time and not be as stressed out over having to go so fast. This time he was able to enjoy it more and maybe build a bridge toward his goal of a solo RAAM.”

Few in the crowd knew much about the careers, successes and challenges of the Legends of the Road. They did by the time Micky Dymond was finished. Dymond can really tell a story.

Bailey was obviously thrilled at his RAAM outcome and about his Gurney Racing machine. Asked if he sees more ultra-cycling events in his future he said, “I’m going to keep those options open. I’ve got an incredible bike now, and I’m not going to just let it sit and collect dust. I’m going to ride it and stay fit enough because it’s good for my lifestyle. Doug said, “This is a lifestyle change. Thanks for getting me into this.’ That’s one of the things I really wanted to promote. Besides helping injured riders for Road2Recovery, just people in general. If we can get anybody out to ride, that’s a good thing. I don’t think I’ve ever come back from a ride, short or long, and thought, ‘Well that was a waste of time.’ I always feel better.”

Add another chapter to David Bailey's legend status.

At that moment Bailey was called away to join his teammates in spraying some champagne to celebrate. “And by the way,” he said, just before rolling away, “Dan Gurney started that tradition at LeMans back in ’67. They handed the champagne to him and A.J. Foyt, and Gurney decided to spray it and now everybody does. And now I’m going to go and do just that.”

Auto racing legend Dan Gurney started the tradition of spraying champagne in celebration. With David Bailey and Doug Henry’s machines having been built in Gurney’s racing shop, how could the Legends of the Road resist doing the same?

Story: Vic Armijo

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