Vaughn says he had asked Johnson to make sure the statement was read during the press conference by him or some other police officer. That did not happen.

Yet the fact remains that for the very first time in Streetfighterz's history, a phrase like "chaos and mayhem" appeared not as an all-caps tag line on a DVD box set but as a plea to — of all things — lower the intensity level.


The Streetfighterz couldn't have anticipated what that first "group ride" would become. Cardwell's message posted on that online forum back in 2002 brought just 60 riders out to the flood wall on the St. Louis riverfront. Participation quadrupled the next year at the first official Ride of the Century, and Hunziker came up with the beguiling name for the annual gathering.

"It was my idea, and everyone was giving me shit because they're like, 'How can it be Ride of the Century if you do it next year?'" The paradox didn't seem to hurt attendance, and the ride grew. After 2005, Vaughn estimates, the gathering grew annually by around 500 riders.

Now after eleven successive years, the Ride of the Century is one of the largest, if not the largest, gathering of stunt bikes in the world. This year an estimated 3,000 bikers attended the event, and their run-ins (figuratively and literally) with the cops began before the ride even got under way.

On Thursday night, three days before the actual Ride of the Century, undercover officers in north St. Louis arrested 23 riders on charges of reckless driving. Authorities also impounded 24 bikes during the same bust near a gas station at Interstate 70 and Salisbury Street. (Riders who witnessed the arrest tell Riverfront Times that they were victims of police profiling and were not doing illicit motorcycle stunts on roadways.)

Then, at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Justin Rohe, a cyclist who, unlike the Streetfighterz, did attend the police press conference earlier in the week to defend Ride of the Century, died when he ran his sports bike through a red light and crashed into a car in St. Charles. Johnson considers Rohe's fatality the first death of Ride of the Century 2013.

The second came hours later. Police say Mike Evans was part of a group of motorcycles speeding the wrong way down a south St. Louis street around 6:05 p.m. Saturday when he attempted to pass a car on the right. The incident report states that the 32-year-old's motorcycle clipped the passenger side of the car, flew off the road and hit a pole, killing the resident of Harrisburg, Illinois. The car Evans clipped turned out to be an unmarked police vehicle.

James Vaughn got a call about Evans' death while cleaning up after the Funfest, which had been relocated to a bar in Columbia, Illinois. It was there that he also got word about the incident going down at the Red Roof Inn.

The Funfest had gone off without a hitch, despite its eleventh-hour venue change and a huge police presence along the roads near the bar. The problem occurred as some of the last bikers to leave the event — a group of around 100 — headed back to Missouri.

Captain Johnson says the group began pulling stunts and speeding down the highway service lane once they crossed the river. Police and troopers followed the riders to the Red Roof Inn, where the cops quickly began impounding motorcycles. Eventually two flatbed tow trucks pulled away with ten sports bikes at about 6:30 p.m.

Police say the motorcycles were specifically identified as those that had been driven recklessly, but their case isn't helped by a YouTube clip in which a trooper can be heard telling the outraged cyclists that he was "under direction" to tow "any bike with a hot motor." It's probably the best evidence to date that supports the Streetfighterz's claim that police indiscriminately targeted motorcyclists regardless of whether they were actually involved in any wrongdoing.

"We know the cops acted irresponsibly from their end," says Hunziker. "You should be protecting the bikers themselves and the public. The way they acted that weekend? None of the above. In my eyes, they acted more irresponsibly than the bikers who were doing wheelies."

Vaughn arrived at the Red Roof Inn just as the bikes were being towed. Johnson was there, too. Vaughn says he approached the captain and told him he had heard about Mike Evans' death. Was there anything he could do?

Vaughn recalls Johnson's response: "He told me, 'This is number two for your ride, you know. I'm talking about deaths.'"

Johnson later left the Red Roof Inn and headed to the site of Evans' crash.

The victim's emotionally shaken brother-in-law was there at the scene. Johnson recalls confirming the victim's identity to his in-law. He also recalls the T-shirt the brother-in-law — a fellow rider — was wearing. It read: "I don't stop for cops."


The actual Ride of the Century on Sunday, September 1, was anticlimactic by comparison. There were no deaths. No accidents. Just mass inconvenience as hundreds of riders inched, sometimes one by one, through police checkpoints near the St. Louis riverfront. YouTube videos uploaded from helmet cams show the area clogged with bikers waiting to be let out by police, though police spokespersons say that, as prescribed by law, the checkpoints did not function exclusively to target motorcycles.

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My Voice Nation Help
47 comments
jfeezy4031
jfeezy4031

I think it's hilarious. As a motorcyclist I have to worry about people reading while driving, texting while driving, doing makup while driving, cutting me off, pulling out in front of me, failing to yield to the right of way, coming into my lane without looking, etc etc etc. I think one day a year is not enough. 

Hunzikers-brain
Hunzikers-brain

I have been on highway 270 and highway 55 when these douchebags come by.  they pulled up next to my pick up truck and ripped one of the sideview mirrors off, cracked a window and beat several dents in my truck because I refused to get off their highway.  After that incident and especially after seeing the video of what happened when some other douchebags in New York decided they were going to take over a highway, on labor day weekend when I know these douchebags are out I take my pistol with me. 2000lbs of pick up truck and 3 magazines of .40 should be enough to give these idiots the message.

terrencekeenan1
terrencekeenan1

I like it. Gives a little rawness to St. Louis.  Police need to focus on what is statistically the most dangerous to us, day-in day-out, not just focus on this because it's so odd and fantastic. For example, what is more dangerous, the distracted diver of a 6,000 lb suburban driven 365 days a year, or a weekend of stunt motorcyclists? How many motorists did the cyclists kill that weekend? Dunkin donuts, McDonalds and your stress level kills and harms way more people. Let these guys do their thing, albeit as safely as possible.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me

The picture with the story show how big a group of ass wipes some of the riders are.  

Bart Cohn
Bart Cohn

Although in all fairness, I once golfed with Sitdown Steve, and he was a perfect gentleman during the round, abided by all the protocols of group play.

Bart Cohn
Bart Cohn

I'm sure they are fine, upstanding citizens of the community, contributing to the betterment of us all with their good deeds. Right?

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Jerks. Quit putting my life in danger with your stunts.

twowheels
twowheels


Fucking pussies all of them. So busy trying to look "cool" that these retards don't think about the fact that there's kids in car seats and families on the same roads they're pulling their bitch ass stunts on.

If you think you have skills go to a track and prove it. Otherwise fuck off, you silly weak ass wanna-be-cool-but-not-doing-it-right pieces of shit.

How cool will you feel when you kill a kid because you were trying to show off to an interstate full of people who aren't impressed to begin with?

I ride motorcycles too. The difference is I do my dumb shit where there AREN'T cars full of kids around and the only person in danger is MYSELF.

Fuck you.

Sincerely,
twowheels

kathy519
kathy519

I come from a family of daredevils but we NEVER put anyone else in danger.

Those STUNTRIDERS swarmed my car as I was driving to Barnes for cancer treatment a couple years ago.  My husband and I were also swarmed and surrounded as he was bringing me home from the hospital after chemo.  We were so sick/worried/scared for my prognosis and then we had to deal with crazed motorcyclists who made faces at us and zoomed by our car.


I try not to be vindictive, but I truly hope every one of those jerks has to go through the fear of hitting a lunatic motorcyclist as they drive a sick child to the emergency room, or something similar.

Spectrum1
Spectrum1

JACKASS MEETS HIGH-POWERED SPORTS BIKES." I think that about says it all.....

Spectrum1
Spectrum1

In May this past year I was on the Loop in Atlanta heading south towards Florida and I kept seeing these STUNTERS pulling wheelies going from lane to lane around me and four other semis, we were all loaded with 80,000 lbs of machine parts. The bikes were weaving and stunting and then suddenly the worst thing Ive ever seen occurred right next to me, the Biker hit a pothole and went down, when he went down he came right into my lane, the truck behind me drove OVER him and his bike and the truck behind him hit the body before he could see what had happened....PRETTY COOL HUH.

dvahey61
dvahey61

Bunch of inconsiderate aholes . If you want to do this kind of stuff find a track some where, the streets and highways are not there for your entertainment and riding a motorcycle does not afford you ant special privledges.

dvahey61
dvahey61

Bunch od inconsiderate ahole . ou want to do this kin of stuff find a track someehere the streets and highways are not there for your entertainment and ridding a motorcycle does not afford you ant special privledges

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Buch of lame ass idiots. 2 died this year... what a waste of life.

billj598
billj598 topcommenter

So one of these streetfighterz azz-holes goes down in front of you while "performing" on an Interstate and you either can't stop in time or the 18 wheeler following you can't and you flatten the clown or get pushed into the immature idiot's carcass.....doing him great physical harm.  Are you legally liable for hitting the cretin ?  You have no proof, unless some kind person stops and I.D.'s themselves as a witness, that the moron was "stunting" in traffic.  Ever consider that Mr.& Ms. motorist ? It's gonna' happen, it's only a matter of time.  

Shelley Dotson
Shelley Dotson

If i skydive, it is only my life in jeopardy, I don't force others who don't want to be involved to jump out of a plane if they don't want to. If they want to do motorcycle stunts, thats fine with me - find a closed course and keep me out of it.

John Lupia
John Lupia

Heres the thing. Most people don't mind the speeding. Its the fact that all the other shit is such a pain in the ass. Doing tricks in traffic that make people take their eyes off of the road. Two years ago my wife and I were getting on 70 east coming from Ameristar. We get to the to of the ramp and 4 of these buttholes had the entrance blocked so the huge pack could pass. It is a corkscrew ramp and I almost owed into them. Then they wouldnt move for 5 minutes until the pack passed by. If they weren't a pain in the ass nobody would care at all. Like the other guy said if they would be cool and run some sort of charity everyone would be fine .

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Yes. They should use the proper channels for their stunts instead of putting my life in danger!

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

wait till they have an oopsy in traffic and kill someone.... just a matter of time. Not a fan.

Twmoui Guess
Twmoui Guess

I was discussing the Ride of the Century the other day with a few friends who participated and I informed them that my opinion is that if the Riders got behind a not for profit organization the same way that Bikers for Babies does that they would probably get hassled a lot less by the cops. In other words if they get behind something that contributes back to society they would more than likely be able to have a lot less problems. I mean I heard there was close to 4000 people in attendance for the ride this year if every one of those riders were to contribute even ten bucks into a fund for a charity then thats 40,000 dollars going into a NFP that would help out immensely. I understand the thrillseeking and the stunting but I also know that as a rider its not just my life out on the road, if one of the stunters wound up falling at the head of the pack how many people would be injured behind them that are riding with the crew. Im a rider as well and not one of the weekend warriors. I will ride in all weather conditions except in ice. But I also know that its not the smartest thing to do either.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

yaaa! we're totally badass when we aren't playing xbox in our parents' basement.

Becky Lane-Wegman
Becky Lane-Wegman

I think it is cool with a twist of "can you take that to the country,"

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

they don`t even deserve the media space they are given

Eznie
Eznie

I don't mind them on the highway as long as they're obeying traffic laws.  But when they're putting my children in danger with their antics that disrupt traffic, then we're going to have a problem. 

co-tea179
co-tea179

if yu don't like the fact that they ride down the highway keep your car off it then there is 100s of ways around stl so learn the

lucripet-2007
lucripet-2007

I miss spelled their. Should not have written there. So you anal retentive vocabulary checkers foad.

lucripet-2007
lucripet-2007

If I had the same mentality(sic) these swamp-rats have then I should have the right to, if they come near my car, "bounce them" into another dimension. Using my car as a bumper-car to there life's end. They have only one right. That is to pay the price for their ignorance..no matter the cost!

jfeezy4031
jfeezy4031

@Hunzikers-brain  You sir, are a moron. It is a police escorted ride. I'm sure you take the same attitude when a funeral percession comes through right? Fuck you I'm not pulling over for 30 seconds, pistol and a pickup yeehawwww. 

babyjane420
babyjane420

Same for your kid then If the little mother fucker comes out in the street on their bike by my car game over...Lol....dick head! That's for you iucripet-2007

weatherford1989
weatherford1989

Fuck this cock sucker!! R.O.C was awesome andbill be back evrryyear if it stays alive!! Keep stuntin!!

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@weatherford1989 do any of you assclowns know how to actually spell real words? or should I say wurdz so you dumbfucks understandz?

red.kryptonite
red.kryptonite

@jaco1175 You talk trash and put z's on the end of words and then use the word "fucktarded". Nice. Typical holier-than-thou crap. Just like all the "don't put my kid in danger... only I can do that by going 20 mph over the speed limit, texting and eating a bagel! " 
This entire comment thread is full of hypocrites. I've driven in StL for 30 years and folks drive like shit. Most of the comments I've read here are in typical hypocrite fashion.
I'm not defending these retarded squids and their behavior but holy Mary, Mother of God ... the whole article and comments section is a frigging joke.

 
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