The History of SAER: The 1990s

The 1990s saw an increase in the number of MXs put on by the club, with 6 to 8 per year. Between 1991 and 1998, in addition to racing at Grantsburg, one or two were held each year at Elko Speedway south of the Twin Cities. A total of 47 MX events were held over the decade, including the first ATV races.

This was a busy period for the Straight Arrows, with lots of improvements made to the Grantsburg track and club operations. 1991 saw the first use of computerized scoring of motocross, using software written by club member Jim Anderson for the IBM PC-XT, assisted by new member John Otto. In 1994 the club went online with a Bulliten Board Service (BBS) that you dialed in to with your phone modem! This became the beginning of the club’s web site in 1998, by Craig Bardahl and Mark Erickson.

The “Sleeping Trailer” was added to the track in 1994. The gate shack was built by Tim Kight in 1995, and the fence along Hwy 70 was installed. A new starting gate, originally bought for Elko, was moved to Grantsburg in 1998. The first tunnel under the moto track was also installed in 1998.

In addition to motocross, the Straight Arrow Enduro Riders continued with their founding purpose of putting on off-road races through the woods! 1990 again saw a hare scrambles and an enduro at Brainerd, although after the 1991 hare event, the woods around the airport were closed to motorcycles, canceling the enduro. Hare scrambles were then run on Soderbeck’s Farm near the GB track (‘91 and ‘92), again at Backus (1993), and at Elko.

Without an enduro of their own, SAER helped the Norsemen put on the Nickerson Enduro in the Nemadji in 1992. The Norsemen were indicating that they had too many events, and wanted the Straight Arrows to take it back again in 1993.

So in 1993 the enduro start was moved to Holyoke, with Mike Nothom as Trail Boss. At this time the course was over 90 miles on the ground; going from Holyoke over to Patzau, WI, east of the Gandy Dancer rail trail, back to MN, south of the Yellow Birch (the Iron Pipe), through the Corduroy, Hinkle Creek, and Continental Divide trails (all single track, no ATVs), across Hwy 23 to Potlach Paper Company pine plantations, and following the nasty Anderson-Silver Creek snowmobile trail back to Holyoke. It alternated direction every year.

In 1996 Don Youngdahl suggests that the enduro trails be made Grant-in-Aid trails, giving them official recognition by the state, and providing funding for their maintenance. This is implemented in 1997 when Ken Fastner takes over as Trail Boss. Under Ken’s leadership the club coordinates with the MN DNR and starts investing time and money in trail maintenance. Permanent bridges over the major creek crossings begin to be put in, and the Nemadji State forest becomes a major state off-road recreation area.

1997 was a particularly good year. In March, club members begin a tradition of taking an early spring trip to Chadwick, MO, for early riding. Then the club puts on 7 MXs, 5 at GB and 2 at Elko. In addition to the Holyoke Enduro, the Straight Arrrows help out the Norsemen by taking charge of a section of the 1997 Akeley National Enduro. Many improvements are made at Grantsburg, Elko, and the Nemadji.

As a result of all this hard work and the profitable MXs, we pay off Charlie Forrest and own the Grantsburg property! A Year End Party was held to celebrate “The Best Year Ever” according to Treasurer George Sartain and President John Otto.

Notable members during this period were Ken King, Mike Carlson, George Sartain, Tim Kight, Jim Anderson, Mike Nothom, Roy Fleming, Tom Mason, Mark Griffith, Jim Gibbons, Al Roscoe, Charlie Forrest Jr., Greg Nelson, Steve Long, Ross Thompson, John Otto, and Ken Fastner.

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