The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

AMA: Extreme Motorcycle Rider from Finland Ready to Scale Walls at Sonomafest

21 April 2000

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel

SONOMA, Calif. - There is certainly nothing strange about riding a motorcycle, but the same can't be said for someone who actually scales 30-foot cliff walls and climbs rock walls up to 7-feet high with one.

But that's exactly what Tommi Ahvala does, and he'll be demonstrating his rather unique talents at Sonomafest 2000, a 10-day soiree of activities for motorcycle enthusiasts at Sears Point Raceway, April 28-May 7. Sonomafest, which is presented by Cruise America, enters its fifth year and was co-founded by Sears Point and Cycle World Magazine. It is one of the largest motorcycle-themed events in the country.

Ahvala, a native of Helsinki, Finland, will bring his unique brand of motorcycle riding to the Wine Country during the first weekend of Sonomafest at AMA Vintage Motorcycles Days West, April 28-30.

The objective of Ahvala's tricky brand of motorcycling is to ride through a specified course without setting his foot down, crashing, riding out of bounds or stopping. He will navigate up to six massive obstacles that vary in size and length. Some are as high as 30-feet. Ahvala also finds himself in tight corners that require 180-degree flip turns in order to get the motorcycle in position to scale a 7-foot high vertical wall.

Ahvala, a two-time world champion in the sport, is the world's top Freestyle Trials rider. Moreover, he is so prominent in his native Finland that they created a postage stamp bearing his likeness.

Ahvala, who competes for Team Extreme, will put on several demonstrations during AMA Vintage Motorcycles Days West weekend. The Team Extreme Trials Showcase will be on the schedule as follows:

1. Friday, April 28, at 8:30 p.m. at Vallejo Speedway. The demonstration will take place during the Motorcycle Dirt Track racing event at the speedway.
2. Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, at Sears Point at the following times: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The sport originated in Europe just after the turn of the 20th century and has finally reached the United States. The only American champion in the sport has been Bernie Schreiber.

Text provided by John Cardinale

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery