To:All of our friends
From: Larry Hamilton, Gerrit Hamilton ISDE Memorial Fund
I would like to thank you for your interest and support of our memorial fund. Dealing with this is difficult, at best,
for our family but it is a project that we feel compelled to move forward. It is most comforting to know that he is remembered
by our friends. Gerrit was very intense in whatever he attempted. He trained diligently to overcome whatever nature may have
shorted him. During high school soccer, he would ride his bicycle 20 miles to morning practice, ride back home for lunch,
then another 40 mile round trip for the afternoon session. His coach never knew how much harder he worked until a year after
he left high school. He started riding early, so by the time he starting competing off road, he had almost 10 years experience.
He did very well competing although he never spent much time in the lower skill classes. If he felt that he could win, then
he moved up to the next level. Idaho City was always his favorite event. His first year in the B class, on a CRE 125, he dominated
finishing in the top 3 overall in every test for two days despite having a worn out motor which eventually quit shortly before
the finish. He did win his class at the 2-day national qualifier in California. The next year, he moved to the A class and
had more bike problems but was leading his class at Idaho City when the cam chain broke. Despite having a poor year in results,
he was confident of his abilities, so in 1999 he bought a new bike, a Yamaha TTR 250, and committed himself to qualifying
for the US ISDE team. Competing against the top professionals in the US, he won several Gold Medals finishing 6th nationally
but narrowly missing a spot on the team.
Gerrit was also a very good downhill mountain biker, so when his ISDE hopes were put off for another year, he decided
to try for a spot on the US Junior Expert team for the World Championships. His first race as a Junior Expert was at the 1999
Deer Valley National Championships. Despite falling down twice, he missed qualifying by the narrowest of margins.
Gerrit attended two ISDE events, both times to help his older brother William who was a competitor. Those events were
1994 in Tulsa and 1996 in Finland. At these events he developed a true love for the sport and respect for the competitors,
especially the Europeans, who were so dominate. His heros were those who were tough enough to dominate this demanding sport
and his brother, William, who was the only Montanan to ever qualify, or win a medal, in the ISDE. It was their dream to compete
in the ISDE, together, as members of Team USA. We all felt that 2000 was to be Gerrits year. A freshman at U of M, he had
decided to major in physics. He had been chosen to receive one of only 9 Schwinn Team bikes for their national downhill team.
Equipped with a years experience in the ISDE Qualifier class and a better motorcycle, in the spring of 2000 Gerrit decided
to ride a few MX races to improve his special test scores. On April 7th while riding his bicycle to pick up some motorcycle
parts, we lost Gerrit in a truck/bicycle accident. At the 2000 World Enduro Championships [The International Six Days Enduro]
the American Motorcyclist Association remembered Gerrit by sending the three rider “Gerrit Hamilton Memorial Team”
to compete in the club team competition. The team, consisting of Brian Bennet, Brian Sperle, and Jason Dahners, finished as
the top US club team and 3rd overall in the international competition. This guarantees that Gerrit’s name will always
be in the records of the competition that he loved so much.
Our family established the Gerrit Hamilton Memorial Fund to help and encourage young competitors to reach their goals.
We have three primary awards. The Gerrit Hamilton Downhill Race has been held annually at the Big Mountain with a special
award going to the top Junior Expert. In motorcycle racing we have two annual awards concentrating on individuals who are
eligible to be on the ISDE Junior Trophy Team: They must compete in the ISDE Qualifier class and be 23 or younger. The Junior
Trophy Team is composed of the top four riders in the US who are 23 or younger. They compete both individually and as a team
against other countries at the ISDE. The ”Idaho City Award” has been presented to a competitor who shows the same
fierce determination and dedication exhibited by Gerrit when he was trying to qualify. Class position means less than the
effort. In 2001 this award went to John Beal who was disqualified at the previous years ISDE when someone else wiped the mud
off of his bikes seat. 2002 went to Sean Collins. 2003 to Bryce Olson. 2004 to Amanda Mastin. 2005 to Dan Melvin. 2006 to
Steve Kreiss. 2007 to Ian Blythe. Gerrit was always very impressed by the extra sacrifice and effort that women exhibited
to compete at this level, so in 2003 the fund also assisted the women’s club team.
The “ISDE Award” annually goes to a rider who actually earns a spot on the ISDE team. Again it is not based
on position, but more on need and determination. The riders who qualify lower on the list are often lacking in support compared
to the top finishers and need more help. A little known fact, outside of those actually trying to qualify, is that after you
spend all the money and effort to actually make the team your expenses are just beginning. Every year, riders are forced to
give up their opportunity to compete at the ISDE because it is just too expensive. The AMA provides some support logistically,
without which it would be next to impossible, but the team members are burdened with costs that include: entry @$600, shipping
container @$1000, tires @$1000, tour package for 2 @$5000, shipping to/from container @$400, and many others including motorcycle
and parts. Previous recipients are: 2001 Ben Hale, 2002 Jonathan Seehorn, 2003 Paul Neff, 2004 Matthew Bucher, 2005 Dylan
Debel, 2006 David Kamo, and 2007 Cole Kirkpatrick. They may have been members of the Junior Trophy Team but it is not a requirement.
The current awards consist of a plaque and a modest cash payment of at least $250 each. It is our goal to eventually
completely fund at least one deserving riders trip each year from the trust fund. It will take a few years but a portion of
each years Memorial Fund will go into a savings account to be self renewing. To support this effort, we sell MX side stands
with all of the receipts, over material cost, going to the fund. We also rely on donations and are hoping for annual industry
support in the form of parts or accessories to go to the recipients. Also, starting in 2006 we are promoting the OUGHTsixENDURO
the last weekend in April at Cascade, Mt. With all proceeds going to the fund. We are also setting aside, to accumulate, an
additional $500 per year to either a Junior Club eligible rider from Montana or a club team from Montana. Again, thanks for
your support. Your generosity has made the awards much greater than they otherwise could have been.
The Hamilton Family.