Things we think of while riding down the road

Archive for May, 2010

Where to find inspiration

I have spent the past years going to races, interviewing racers and loving every minute of it…even when my recorder fails me, like it did today. I have interviewed roadracers and flat trackers and they all have one thing in common, a true passion for racing. Passion and the love of the sport is what drives them each and every day. They eat, sleep and breathe motorcycle racing.

On the way up here last week, Heather and I were talking about others that we have met and talked with that aren’t racers but are doing what they have a passion for in motorcycling. We realized that we produce The MotoWorld out love for motorcycling and motorcycle people, my friend Mitch Boehm of Moto Retro Illustrated magazine started the magazine out of his passion for Vintage motorcycles, and another started photographing motorcycle races following his passion for racing.

Normally when The MotoWorld goes to races we focus our interviews on the racers. Once in a while we’ll talk to a mechanic or technician, but ninety nine percent of the time it’s the racers. This time we decided that we would still talk to as many racers as we could, but also talk with journalists, photographers, anyone that is doing what they do in motorcycling for the love of it. It was amazing the stories that were told to me of following dreams, having something just fall into your lap and never let go of it, to see something start from nothing and watch it grow. The look on a person’s face while they’re telling their story is priceless.

I couldn’t have wished for a greater collection of interviews. In the coming weeks on The MotoWorld podcast you’ll be able to listen to life stories from World Champion racer and Speed TV broadcaster Scott Russell; Superbike Planet.com king Dean Adams; world traveler, journalist and photographer Neale Bayle; author, racer, journalist, and philosopher Peter Jones; SpeedTV broadcaster Ralph Shaheen; Spanish TV announcer and former racer himself Dennis Noyes. All of these men have inspiring stories about following a dream to work and the life they love.

As I said in the beginning here, we do The MotoWorld because we love what we do, and after spending time with these men I love The MotoWorld even more. It’s a good thing it is a labor of love cuz there ain’t no money in it.

And yes, there are going to be good fun racer interviews in there too.


The Church of Speed

Welcome to Sunday morning at the Church of Speed. Everyone is dressed in their Sunday best; racers in their finest leathers, photographers with their cameras hanging around their neck like jewelry, journalists writing sermons, and spectators holding their beers like Holy Water. It’s a perfect Sunday for church in Utah; sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and no wind. All in all a perfect day if you have to spend all of it in church.

The riders are running their practice session right now, the pits are in a flurry and the sound of engines warming up is like the cacophony of a thousand church bells ringing at once. The riders go out for a few laps then dive back into the pits, talk with the mechanics, a few quick adjustments are made and the rider heads back out. Four or five laps later this communal ritual will be repeated. The mechanics are like the brothers in a monastery of exotic high speed machinery, the crew chief is the priest who controls all that happens in his church, and the rider is a mere minion. The congregation is starting to file into the church now.

The congregation, the faithful, will receive their reward in the form of ‘Superpole’. This a sacred ritual that determines which riders sit in the front pews and which listen to the sermon from the back of the church. The faithful watch this ritual with great anticipation knowing that the rider who can read the passages the fastest will gain favor with the monsignor and recieve his blessing, pole position for the race.

Today is the Sunday school before the Mass. This weekend Mass is actually going to be held tomorrow, Monday, because of Memorial Day. Often times though, Sunday school is more exciting.


The trials and tribulations of a cub photojournalist

The MotoWorld’s staff photographer, Heather, got a new toy a couple of weeks ago, a new camera. This is no ordinary camera, it’s basically a computer that happens to take pictures. I’m still using an Instamatic. A few pictures at home for some practice and they all turned out great. Bedtime reading for two weeks was the two thousand page manual, well, at least it looked that thick. But the true test is coming all too soon.

Photographing dogs and roses isn’t quite the same as a motorcycle going by at well over 100 miles per hour. Don’t worry honey there is no stress. During our eleven hour sojourn up here to the racetrack more manual reading was in order. New discoveries of what this marvel will do, and new panics. Really, no stress, our friend Dan from Cornerspeed Photo will be there to help.

The first test session was actually at the local Friday night motocross and the results were quite impressive. This morning is the real test flight. CSpeed Dan took Heather on her maiden voyage to the track, an hour so later she’s downloading over a thousand pictures, don’t you just love four frames per second speed. Then came the daunting task,editing. Every few minutes I hear a heavy sigh.

So after some serious eliminations she has come up with some pretty terrific pictures for a cub photojournalist don’t you think.


Superbike Schmuperbike

I’m supposed to be writing this morning what a great day today is going be here at World Superbike, but last night I found the best entertainment value here by the track. No, they don't have those kind of clubs around here, this is Utah you know.

Yeah, World Superbike is exciting and being here at the race is always special. The racing is the best in the motosports world and the facility here at Miller Motorsports Park is the best we attend all year. Yesterday was a somewhat quiet day, some interviews with racers and other journalists, some photos and in general just settling in. Our day ended around 6:30 in the evening looking forward to a nice cold Martini and hoping our tent hadn't blown away.

When we got back to the Deseret Complex the first sound we heard was the sigh of relief that our deluxe accommodations were still standing, the second sound was the local motocross track. We sat in our chairs, chatted with new arrivals and neighbors, planned supper and watched the sun on the snow in the mountains…an excellent evening. After supper it was still too early to go to bed, off to the Friday night motocross we went, it’s only 100 yards away, why not?

As we went in it was obvious that this is truly a family event: moms, dads and kids all dressed in their MX gear, pushing their bikes around and watching friends race. For the next two hours we watched dads helping out the little pee wee racers, giving them a push when they got stuck in a corner, even off the starting line. It didn’t matter whose kid it was, there was a mom or a dad cheering them on. The bigger kids meant faster racing, bigger jumps, boys and girls. And of course there were the old guys, and now it was the pee wee’s cheering on dad, or mom in some cases. We were parked next to a family with four trophies on the tailgate of their truck, a fast family.

Yep, the local Friday night motocross is by far the best entertainment this weekend, and if you ever have a chance to go to your local motocross track to watch the pee wees race, take your camera and be prepared to smile, grimace, laugh, and cheer on the little tikes on their little bikes. I wish we could do it again tonight.


They’re baaaack..The World Superbike Circus is in town

The annual pilgrimage to Utah, an eleven hour drone up Interstate 15 has landed us back in the media center at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah and we couldn’t be happier. It’s always a great time here, we catch up with a few old friends, make few new ones and work our butts off. We love it, unless like today when one of the computers decided it doesn’t like Utah weather, we’re back to one internet capable machine. Does not make for a happy photographer.

Speaking of weather, when we arrived at the campground, a couple of guys came over and informed us that earlier in the day the wind was howling, well at that moment with Martini in hand it didn’t seem so bad and I think these guys just wanted to be nice and warn us. This morning dawned bright, sunny and calm. One hour later Hurricane Zelda started blowing…our little tent was flapping around so much it would have woken the dead. All I could picture was Dorothy holding Toto stomping on the storm cellar door yelling “Auntie Em, Uncle Henry let me in!!” Here at the track, canopys were tossed, large lens cameras became weapons, little Japanese mechanics were being blown down to the Italian garages and we’re just loving being here.

Today is a work day though, wind be damned!! Got some interviews in, made plans for more tomorrow morning and got some pictures in, all in all a good day.Tomorrow is when the real work starts as everybody will be here, the media center will be packed with journalists from all over the world writing their little moto-journalist brains out and photographers will be out on the track and flying back into the room rapidly uploading and sending pictures all over the world, then running to the next shuttle to get best vantage point for the photo that will make them famous. And me, what will I be doing? I carry a little voice recorder and a microphone and talk to people…it’s a hard job but someone has to do it. I think right now though, I’m going to trade my microphone for a Martini, I’ll give you an update tomorrow sometime.