Skillmaster and the Bakker Dairy
Kevin had been telling me for years about the annual New Year Skillmaster race, so this New Year I took the week off work and we headed down to the Bakker dairy in Visalia so I could copilot the car. We spent a couple of days modifying the vehicle – a 1998 Buick Century – so it would make it through the race. Lilia and Max were in heaven with the Bakker girls to play with and all the new sights the dairy had to offer, she had me out checking on newly arrived calves at 6:00AM each morning and was also quite the helper on Kevin’s morning rounds. Lilia took to horseback riding like a natural, very comfortable up on Dixie for her first ride.
Kevin and I were both excited as the New Year rolled around, a little nervous too, lots of local bragging rights on the line with the annual Skillmaster race. There were close to 30 cars entered this year, five heats with the top two finishers in each heat progressing to the main event. There was also a race called ‘The Hooligan’ held between the heats and the main event: a 10 lap free-for-all, anyone completing the 10 laps received automatic entry into the finals as well. Kevin and I played it safe in our heat, finishing a solid second. We scored pole position for the main event and managed to hold the lead for the first five or six laps. The eventual winner swapped the lead with us for a few laps until we were t-boned and spun out on lap 12 or 13. We were a little dazed by the spin and lost sight of the lead car, not sure if he’d been taken out in the same melee or if he was in front of us. When we eventually realized that we were in second and not first place it was too late to regain the lead and we finished second. A hell of a lot of fun, I’m glad I could make it down to help out Kevin. I think I’ll be back again for this one next year! The video below is a collection of the best bumps and jumps from the racing, there’s also a HD version on Vimeo here.