MENTAL MOTOCROSS BOOK by Steve Ciallella (This guy used to host a motocross radio show and write for Racer X as well. Now he’s a teacher. That’s all I know about the guy. Oh and this story is cool!-SM)
I sometimes wonder if I know too much about motocross. When you're just a casual fan, you go to the racetrack, watch the race, and when the event is over, you leave. But when your whole life revolves around racing, as most of ours do, it's hard to just sit and watch a race. You see,each race we watch, be it on television, live, whatever, becomes another chapter in our "mental motocross book".
Some of us just have a knack for remembering things, like what number Damon Bradshaw was on his 80's (68), or some old school names in racing (Kit Vick, Eddie Hicks, Mike Pasquarella), or what kind of gear Jeff Stanton wore while riding for Team Yamaha (Hi-Point), or who was on Team Suzuki in 1991 (Guy Cooper, Larry Ward, Ron Tichenor, Mike Larocco,Denny Stephenson, and Tallon Vohland). Well, you get the picture. I could go on and on, and for that I am grateful. But should I be? Wouldn't it be easier to just sit back, watch the races, and not care about things like who won the lcq, and what they were riding? I know, it sounds impossible, but people do it all the time. They don't care about those things, they just want to watch a bunch of motorcycle riders go around a racetrack. It's like when you're flipping through the channels and you come across a speed boat race. The machines are so amazing, and you admire the driver's skill, but do you care who is leading, or what kind of boat they drive? Probably not.
So is it better to be a casual fan, not caring about statistics, track conditions, bike accessories, brands of gear, or whether a four-stroke has an advantage over a two-stroke? I mean, what would it be like if we didn't know what we know? We just go to the track like an ill-informed generic fan and take in the purity of the event--just a bunch of guys riding motorcycles around a racetrack. I don't know, because it never happened to me. Even my first race was one in which I knew too much. Heck, it was probably the best and worst all rolled into one. The best because I was mesmerized by what was happening in front of me, and the worst because I drove myself crazy trying to see every single rider on every turn,bump and jump on the track!
And so the fact remains that I am not just a casual fan. I know almost everything there is to know about this sport. How? It all started sometime in the early eighties when I was about ten years old. I was having Sunday dinner at Grandma's house, when in walks my motorcycle racing uncle carrying a cardboard box. Immediately my interest was peaked, and although I couldn't quite see the contents of said box, he announced that it was, indeed, for me. Upon dropping the box on the living room floor, some of the mystery contents fell out, and my curiosity soon changed to excitement. In the box were dozens of old motocross magazines he and his buddies had laying around and thought I may like. Titles such as Cycle, Motocross Action and Dirt Bike dominated the assortment (most of the issues were from the 70's, but I didn't care, there were bikes in them!). Anyway, this treasure was worth an immeasurable price to me, because in my family of six subscriptions to motocross magazines weren't as important as food and clothing, which pretty much meant those were the only magazines I would ever get until I saved enough of my own money to buy more! I began to voraciously read each and every wonderful issue, and after memorizing them all, I methodically tore out what few color pages the magazines did have (which in those days consisted mostly of ads), and proceeded to wallpaper my bedroom until every square inch was covered by photos of white KTM's, air-cooled, drum-braked factory bikes, the coveted minicycle tests-it was heaven!
Fast forward to present day. I can't even KNOW there is an event going on, be it supercross, motocross, arenacross, or even some of the local races, without wanting to know everything that happened at each of them. I'm obsessed with motorcycles, I'll admit, but am I the freak for wanting to know these things, or is the person who doesn't care the weird one? Well, I can promise that I'd rather be the freak who knows Jean-Jaques Bruno rode GP's in the '70's for KTM, or Harry Everts firstWorld Championship came in 1975 on a Puch, or that TexanColin Edwards was an aspiring motocrosser for Yamaha'samateur program long before he became a factory road raceace. I mean, could you imagine being the guy who still thinks the all-time winningest supercross rider is named "Jerry McGraff"? Or going to a race and asking who that #7 guy is on that blue bike, "because he seems like he's pretty good". Wow.
So onward we travel, us mx freaks, as there are many races coming up, and many chances to fill our mental motocross books with finishing orders, up-and-comers, trick parts, what gear looks the best, who got hurt last week, and anything else we can wrap our minds around. And whenit's finally all said and done, we can title the last chapter of our books, "A Lifetime of Great Motocross
I have a bunch of Manitoba buddies that had just thawed out from the winter and started riding to get ready for the first round of the Manitoba MX Series last year. I emailed one of them named Mark to ask how it went and whether or not our mutual friend Lawrence Hamm enjoyed his PC pipe that I got him. This is my response back from Mark and I’m sorry if you don’t think this is funny. This man seriously has something wrong with him-Matthes.
A full report you shall receive........"OBSERVATIONS FROM ....HUNTS
HILLS" by Mark PILLbitaille
The testing was hot and heavy these past two weekends as all incredibly
Neat and Fast Manitoba MX pilots ventured out to the legendary Hunts
Hills practice facility. This prime sand testing facility lays claim to
many CLASSIC landmarks such as the "Don Gee and Winistok tracks". But
it is probably most famous for having the Dreaded ROSS touch knob to its
treacherous, torturous and grueling landscape prior to one of the
Austin rounds of the highly organized and professional CMA Expert
National series....brought to you by wait for it.....KBH
RACEMASTER...supplier of top notch suspension and motor components to
such stars as Mark Barnett, TDR and of course the famed Tommy Benolkin!!
The cast of grippers was bordering on the outrageous, with such long
time Manitoba MX stalwarts such as TUSDT (Paul "the upside down
thermometer" Dyck...get it....turn a thermometer upside down with the
red bulb at the top and voila you get a skinny stick figure with red
hair), The LEGENDARY LHR himself, Steve "the incredible Ghouly white
hulk" Beaudry, Carl Baker (brother of none other than the original and
most prolific GRIPPER to ever clench MX in his grip, Bruce "Bakkes"
Baker), Garry Warkentine, another member of the Mennonite Mafia which includes about everyone in Manitoba...Hamm, Penner, Reimer,Friesen etc etc). Gary
Warkentine was this tall guy from Morden who was another "Man" in a sea
of boys who once tamed the mighty 500's along with HHHaaammmm. Of
course an assortment of Quad Blowers roosting around in the pit area
rounded out the cast. One other classic sighting was Sexy, tight T-shirt
Trevor Greaves who we bumped into at the gas station in Headingley, him the boy who did not have the courage on this day to battle in the sands of
Hunts, he "tested" at some little hick dirt trail in St Francis Xavier.
Haaammmmmm did give a two massive thumbs up on his suspension and
overall power characteristics of his mighty 08, no doubt a big part in
the fact that YOU shipped that unbelievable titanium masterpiece.( yeah
well Mitch gave me the evil eye because I was running one of his protos
on my KX...yeah well...Steve, or never mind). The funny thing is
Haammmm took one lap around the Don Gee track and came back in withering
pain.....a chunk of dirt penetrated his dirty foul smelling 22 year old
Smith goggles and lodged in his eye, another convenient excuse for not
doing laps because he is brutally out of shape but would NEVER admit it.
Sorry for blowing on, but I truly find this therapeutic during a
monotonous day of audit report writing.
Mark Robitaille CIA CFE
There's this Italian guy that is either a lawyer or going to school to be one and he's a pretty big moto fan. Very knowledgable about the sport, over here and abroad. He emailed me a few times and I met him for the first time at a Motobowl event (although I do not remember.) His name is Gio and he's got a pretty good blog over at http://giopinions.blogspot.com/ He also loves Travis Preston like I love Ferry. The thing is, people can understand why I would like Red Dog after wrenching him to glory all those times. I have no idea why Gio loves TP and sends me TP questions all the time. I finally introduced them at A1 and Gio was star struck. It was funny, cool and weird all at the same time. I asked him why he liked TP so much and he wrote me a letter about it...Matthes
This is an invitation to join MFA, which stands for Man Friends Anonymous. I joined them on October 24 after I found myself almost in tears for the happiness of reading that Travis Preston signed up with KTM for 2009.
The combination of TP's 2 unlucky racing seasons, the unfavorable economic environment and the short memory the motocross industry is famous for, I had nightmares TP would be forced into retirement. So, after some soul searching I joined the organization, and realizing that you and I share the trait of being slightly older than Ferry and Preston, that we are both married to women who put up with our weakness and that both our victims are red haired professional motocross riders, I thought you may consider joining Man Friends Anonymus, too. If you know Ryan Villopoto and Broc Hepler's Man Friends, please extend the invitation to them. The four of us could start a chapter dedicated to Man Friends of red haired motocrossers. By the way, isn't Andrew Short slightly red haired, too? I think he is...
As for me, it all began in 2002. I was still living in Italy, dutifully following the supercross championship on TV, when I witnessed a truly outstanding accomplishment: TP winning the West Coast Championship over James Stewart (which clearly explains Bubba's reckless attempt to pass TP in Vancouver in 2006). I met Travis a few times at Glen Helen and at the Motobowl and I can't believe he would even fit on a 125! Yet he won over Bubba Stewart. Has any other motocross rider other that Ricky Carmichael ever won a championship over Bubba? Yes, TP did! From that moment on, the feeling of man-friendship toward TP has steadily grown: first I convinced myself that I wanted to pursue an MBA in the US, then I pretended I couldn't find a job on the East Coast solely to move to LA and be as close as possible to the Inland Empire. The first round of the National I attended was Glen Helen in 2006, and my Man Friendship clearly gave TP extra motivation: how can you otherwise explain his podium that day? You just can't. I was at the Anaheim rounds in 2007 and TP was the fastest rider behind Carmichael, Reed or Stewart. In the meantime, I read the interviews of TP so often that the colors on the pages of the magazine faded and I had to order extra copies. And despite that, I still laugh out loud when I read TPs' jokes and witty remarks. Is this Man Friendship? You bet: with capital "M" and "F". I have even thought about coming up with a bumper sticker reading "my red haired motocross rider is faster than yours", but due to the current economic downturn, I preferred not to undertake such an ambitious project.
Matthes, you are a Man Friend: actually, being the mind behind the stilish Man Friend t-shirt, you are THE man friend. Join us, and help us make the world a better place.