Mammoth Kamikaze Bike Games: Legends of the Kamikaze Kickoff Party

DH Race Coverage
Some of the most notable legends in the Kamikaze Downhill kicked off the Kamikaze Bike Games Weekend at Mammoth Mountain.

The man with the most neon at the Underground Lounge was…you guessed it…H-Ball.

The Kamikaze is back. After a long hiatus, the event that started in 1985 and went on to shape modern downhill racing as we know it is happening all weekend long at Mammoth Mountain. The resort has pulled out all stops for its much anticipated return to the mountain bike world, offering three full days of action including the Legends of the Kamikaze Downhill, Kamikaze Downhill, Pro GRT/USGP Downhill, Dual Slalom, Enduro, Coldcock Speed & Style (basically dual slalom with bonus points for huge tricks), Cross Country, MTB Dirt Fondo, and even a Road Fondo and Kids Races.

Bill Cockroft, creator of the original Kamikaze and this year’s event director, welcomes the Legends.

Festivities were kicked off on Thursday night with a party hosted by Troy Lee Designs and Sony at the Underground Lounge. The brainchild behind the original Kamikaze Downhill and current Mammoth Kamikaze Bike Games Director, Bill Cockroft, was in attendance, welcoming athletes, competitors and sponsors.

Left: Mike Klozer, Brian Lopes, Greg Herbold and Jeremy Purdy getting stoked for the Kamikaze. Right: Joe Lawwill of Shimano with Rogers and Cully.

Paying homage to the Legends of the Kamikaze and in honor of “Earthquake” Jake Watson and Steve Ready, the Legends party featured a list of notables including Leigh Donovan, Penny Davidson, Brian Lopes, Dave “Cully” Cullinan “HBall” Greg Herbold, “Insane Wayne” Croasdale, Joe Lawwill, Eric Palmquist, Mike Klozer, Jeremy Purdy, Tom Rogers and many more.

Left: Penny Davidson, Mercedes Natvig and Leigh Donovan representing for the ladies. Right: Former Downhill World Champion and Kamikaze Dual Eliminator Champion Dave Cullinan with Tom Rogers.

On Friday afternoon, these downhill icons will once again be putting rubber to dirt, taming the fast and fierce Kamikaze Downhill course that drops nearly 2,000 vertical feet in a mere 3.2 miles and sees speeds in excess of 60 mph. Will they be piloting their old cantilever brake Iron Horses, Yetis, Miyatas, Mongooses and Specializeds? The Angry Singlespeeder will be out on course snapping pics, so keep checking back all weekend for plenty of Kamikaze Games action.

“Insane Wayne” Croasdale pays homage to the late, great “Earthquake” Jake Watson and Steve Ready.

In the meantime, peep some pictures of the Legends of the Kamikaze!

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • criscobike says:

    When I was a kid, my family did a trip to Mammoth Mountain and the original event was taking place. We rode the lift up to the top and walked down the trail as the races blasted down the Kamikaze (I doubt people can still do this). I remember seeing some HUGE wipe-outs. I also got to see Hans Rey doing a ton of stuff on this huge log/rock set up at the base of the lifts. As we drove away I caught a glimpse of the XC race as they parallel the road for a short stretch.
    This was my first ever exposure to mountain biking and I haven’t let it go since! Racing in the XC there is on my bucket list…

  • Jd Wells says:

    I raced it in 94 95 and 96 I won all three years I was 34 35 and 36 my best time was 5 16
    I raced in the sport class had a s*** load of fun balls to the walls top speed 54 I miss those days but I would love to do it again still ride hard and fast I’m 53.maybe next year live in Colorado now ride on the front range.

  • slocaus says:

    The Kamikazee was started in 1985 by Don Douglass, MTB hall of fame member and IMBA cofounder. I was a sales rep for Don at Kangaroo Baggs / Plumline in Ventura, CA when he started the race.

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