THE Cub Report, Version 06.20.2010
The year was 1974 and up rolls my old man in his Ford F-150. Being a curious young chap, and glad to see him, I run over to the truck. In the back of it was a small dirt bike. I had no idea why it was there, but even though I was curious, I was even happier to see dad, so I didn’t ask any questions. Two hours later, the curiosity was overwhelming, so I blurted out “Hey dad, who you fixing the motorcycle for?”. My father turned around and answered, “I’m not fixing it boy, I bought that for you, that’s your motorcycle!”. My old man must have gotten a kick out of seeing how long it was gonna take to figure out it was for me, and my mom was quietly having a heart attack as that was news to her as well.
The following years, I ate, slept and $%^& motocross. The walls in my room were covered with pictures ripped from mx mags of my heroes like Johnny O’, Rocket Rex Stanton, Marty Smith, Roger De Coster, Bob “Hurricane” Hannah, David “Lil Professor” (now known as The Icon) Bailey, Mark “Bomber” Barnett, Marty Moates, Kent Howerton, Bad Brad Lackey, Broc Glover and on and on and on. But I had a big problem, my father wouldn’t let me race. Dad looked upon racing as wasting money and just tearing up a perfectly good motorcycle.
Well, it took me about 2 years of begging every single day before he’d allow me to race, but that privilege came with one caveat- he wouldn’t take me to the track. Dad didn’t want to “support” my racing, nor did he want to watch me get hurt, or yet even more importantly, see me break parts that was going to cost money out of his pocket to fix. Luckily for me, the neighbors right down the road had a son who raced every weekend, and they had agreed to transport me back and forth. So every weekend they’d drop by and pick me up, and as we were backing out of the driveway my old man would give me the lecture “You break that bike you are pay’n for the repairs!”, and off I’d go to my personal nirvana.
In the late 80’s I discovered rc cars. During the summer months I was still racing motocross, then in the winters I’d race rc’s.
While my father hated me racing motocross, he totally despised my racing of toy cars. While he thought I was simply an idiot spending money on motocross, he thought I was an idiotic buffoon for actually paying to race a toy rc car. So needless to say, he wasn’t helping wrench on my rc or giving me any lifts to the local rc track.
In the early 90’s I got bit by the bug to race full scale cars. I began hitting as many SCCA events as I could afford, and while my dad didn’t really support me racing those, he would occasionally lend a hand wrenching, which was a lot more than he’d ever done for my other pastimes.
The year was 97′ and my father had been laying in an ICU for over two weeks. Since he had entered the hospital, every day had been a turn for the worse. After one exceptionally ugly family conference, the vote had come down that we were going to be pulling his plug. The whole time he’d been in the hospital, all I’d ever prayed for was for him to get better, as he was such a good man in so many ways, I couldn’t imagine life without him. To boil it down, a few hours later we pulled the plug, and the world lost a great man.
Years ago I had read a column by Motocross Action Magazines Jody Weisel in which he talked about how his dad never saw him race. Every Fathers Day since my dad has passed I think about that article. If you are a racer, you know that no matter what it is that you race, that it’s your passion, it’s your life, it defines you. You know that things occur on a racetrack that just don’t happen in the real world. You know that you put your life, heart and soul, into each lap.
While I have great love and respect for my father, I am saddened that he never got to see me race. He never saw me explode a berm on an mx track, he never saw the incredible sense of accomplishment I always had after a moto, he never saw the amount of time and effort I put into being the best rc racer I could be, nor did he see the times on a full scale car track where I threw caution to the wind and just floored it through an impossible section in a last ditch effort to make a pass. My best days walking this planet have been at a track, and my dad didn’t get to see one second of it.
Now that all sounds so illogical. Family should always come first, and I realize that. In the grand scheme of things, the good times I spend with my father off the track should be all that matters, and we certainly had plenty of those. But, I wish he would have been there to help me put my bike up on its stand one time. I wish he would have given me pointers on where I was losing time on an rc track, or help me pack all my gear into the pits. I wish he would have watched me race just one time, so just maybe he’d have gotten a tiny amount of joy from seeing his son doing what he loved to do most…………
YOUR Cub Reporter