Dana's (Temple) why I do
The following story was just an email exchange between friends. But it
is an inspirational tale of why we are all involved in this hobby of
motorcycle racing. There are many highs and lows that we all endure to
compete against and with some of the closest friends many of us will
ever have for a wooden plaque to hang on our wall.
I also wanted to say that the last race weekend almost perfectly
illustrated the reason I continue to race in this class. I came to the
track with a questionable bike which in fact turned out to be bad. In
spite of riding it Wednesday and Friday, it overheated during Saturday's
GTL race so I pulled off. I rode like a wimp in Sportsman and the bike
So by the end of Saturday I'd turned no good laps and my "good" bike was
junk. Saturday night I decided to yank the motor and replace the head.
The bike is running again by midnight.
I was back up at 6:00 am Sunday. It's race-day and I'm already a little
nervous. I'm starving and have food everywhere but the combination of
the cold weather and the butterflies in my stomach won't let me eat any
I headed out for the first red practice and while I felt OK, I knew I
wasn't going too fast. Yellow practice was even worse. The transmission
of the "good" bike locked up on the first lap. Back in the pits I set
the bike on its side, pull the shift mechanism cover, find the problem
and fix it (luckily) and head out for the last practice of the year.
The bike feels good as do I, and the time sheet verifies it. While at
least one of the butterflies seemed to have calmed down I can't help but
wonder if "someone" is trying to tell me something: Last year I felt the
same way and ignored it. An hour later Mickey's Ducati landed on my
By race time the butterflies are back -- like a swarm of locusts. I
think to myself "I'm racing for a particle board plaque. What am I so
anxious about?" And then I realize its the same particle board plaque
that everyone else wants. Ah yes, it's called competition.
The GT race just before P-twins gets red-flagged. Not knowing that they
would run the entire race, I put my helmet on at about the 15 minute
mark. I end up standing there in my gear for another 15 min. until they
finally call our race.
Out on the grid, my mind is going a million miles an hour. Start with an
inventory of the riders I think could finish ahead of me; B.J. Mark,
Justin, Edgar. Will my bike last the race? Maybe I'll win it! Not!
I try to put it all out of my mind. When the green flag drops my mind is
thankfully focused. I'm in fifth going into turn 3. I see Edgar hounding
B.J. and realize that if Edgar wins I must finish third to take third in
the championship. Now it's all or nothing. Justin has a tire problem and
drops back. Edgar passes B.J., twice. Mark gets balked by a single and I
pass him coming out of 12. Now I'm in third and closing up on B.J. and
Edgar. I watch as B.J. gets by Edgar again. My heart is pounding so hard
its ringing inside my helmet. I have to force myself to calm down and
finish the race. I look back in turn 4 and can see that Mark has lost
some ground but is still there. It's the white flag lap. Just 10 more
The first 4 of us cross start-finish in a freight train. What a race!
Easily the best race I've had in years. On the cool off lap I almost
slam into B.J.and Edgar coming out of turn 2. (They had slowed to shake
hands and I wasn't paying attention.)
Back in the pits with the tension gone, we are gathered in B.J.'s garage
all talking a mile a minute. Everyone is full of energy and we are
congratulating each other on a fun, fast, safe race. I begin to realize
even when we don't have the best races, we are all still nearly as
animated when the races are over. How much better could it be?
And that is why I race in this class. My thanks to everyone who rides
(Dana Temple is the 2004 LRRS Sportsman of the Year, a multi-time
championship trophy winner, Penguin mechanic and instructor, and the
"go-to" guy in the Production Twins class.)
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Other Side of the Fence
They stand there on the other side of the fence, finger
gripping the rough wire. Waiting, wondering and worrying. Who are they
you ask? They are the significant others, girlfriends, boyfriends,
children, mothers, fathers and friends. They are the ones behind the
scene of the Racers. The one's waiting in anticipation during the red
flag holding their breath, listening to their heart beat and beat and
waiting for that announcement. Some sigh with relief and others start
running for the medical center to check on the ones they care about.
It's such a small community in the 'In Field" at Loudon that it is hard
not to know someone during those dreaded moments wishing the best and
Having never been on the track myself I can not even imagine the
thoughts of the Racers, but I see the sparkle in their eyes as they pull
of those sweaty helmets looking like small children at Christmas just
receiving the best gifts of their life. I watch as they get on their pit
bikes and run to the Media center to get their times and talk about
their race with other racers. They are high-fiving each other, slapping
each other on the back, and yet those behind the fence are there
smiling, and yet still behind the fence. They are not really missing out
on the camaraderie, but enjoying the satisfaction that the Racer
arrived, at the finish line, on 2 wheels, in one piece with such pride.
Those of us behind the fence have our own special family. We are the
ones that worry together, laugh together, share food together. Some of
us still can not go to the "Fence" and watch. The other Fencers are
there for them though, taking pictures and worrying all the same, we
might not doing the high-fives but we are still enjoying the glory
moments of a days race well done in our own special way. So here is to
all the Fencers, the ones that give up their vacations, re-arrange
money, plan the meals, run to the store for supplies, watch the kids,
spend endless hours by themselves and with other Fencers, travel hours
to get to the "In Field" to be with other Fencers.
If anyone had told me I would have been a "Fencer", I would have said
absolutely not! I doubted that my Racer was ever going to make it big,
all I could think about was "what is this going to cost!". I can no
longer deny my excitement. Maybe this is why I accepted being a
"Fencer", maybe I can live a little bit through my racers glowing eyes,
and truly child-like smiles. So, here I am, hooked since the first time
I saw my Racer take off that helmet during a Track Day. I believe
another author stated that, "a racer would never forget their first
race, the thrill, the excitement, the beating heart, like they will
never forget their first kiss". The Fencers will never forget that first
track day. As their Racer pulled off that helmet, out of breath with
excitement, babbling wildly about every corner, checking out knee pucks
to see if they had scuffed the racetrack and last but not least their
faces glowing like that over-lit jack-o-lantern at Halloween. They had
turned into small children again.
You know the ones, those who got the new sneakers and could run faster,
jump higher and were going to be track stars. That new Racer was hooked
and because you Love them.... You are hooked also.
High-five to all you Fencers! My hat is off to you!
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|Working with Eric and Jeff Wood at Homestead
I just got back from working with Eric and Jeff Wood at Homestead, FL.
We had a nice turnout for the Penguin Roadracing School on Friday. It
was a good group that really appreciated us being there to help them go
fast at Homestead. The track is nice with some very technical sections
and 4 fast straights. We have all been there before and have a good feel
for the track and the people that race there. Eric had his last year
Hooters GSXR-1000 to race and Jeff's crew didn't have a bike for him
ready to race yet. I spent lots of time on the track on Friday and asked
Jeff if he wanted to race my bike again. He seems to like the GSXR-750 I
got from Eric last year and it is setup real well already. The only slow
part of it now is me. Jeff took me up on the offer and was fast in
practice right away on Saturday. At Homestead, all day Saturday is
practice and all racing is on Sunday. We only had to make small changes
in the suspension to make him happy with the bike. Eric on the other
hand had crashed his AMA bike on the last weekend of the series and it
needed some help before it would be ready to race. We worked hard all
day Saturday to get up to speed. We were getting lap times slower than
Jeff until Eric made some changes he liked and then we were at race
pace. It was a real busy garage with Jeff and Eric racing in the same
events. Lots to do with fuel, (must be done outside at Homestead), tire
warmers, etc. I was giving pit signals to both Jeff and Eric and taking
lap times for both. I was very busy right from the start with Jeff in
the lead and Eric right behind him. Wasn't real sure if I should be
giving them times between each other or third place, which was way back
very soon. It took Eric a few laps to get past Jeff and it was very
close right to the finish. Jeff on my bike with 25% less motor did real
well to keep Eric so close for all three races. All the races that they
did together were the same with Eric taking first place and Jeff taking
At the trophy presentation I was very impressed with something Eric did.
He took his first place trophy and said to me watch this little girls
face. We went over to a little girl about 4 years old and Eric asked her
parents if it was OK to give her the trophy. They said yes and Eric said
to her the little angel on top of the trophy was her. Her eyes opened
wide and a very large grin and took the trophy that was her height. He
did the same with the other two first place trophies when he got them.
It is easy to see why his kids are so nice to be around at the track.
I really enjoy working with Eric and Jeff and I learn lots just helping
them at the track. I have had some people ask how I can be at the track
and not race, but I get lots of enjoyment helping someone else do well.
Just wish I could ride like that myself.
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A Motorcycle Racer defines FUN....
You pull off a really wild aggressive pass on your racing competitors. At
the exit of a fast corner, perhaps getting hard on the gas a nanosecond too
early, which puts your bike (Racebike) into a beautiful lurid high speed
drift exiting onto the straight-away in a god awful hairy (dangerous) place
and your trajectory is flat locked man. I mean there are volumes of physics
manuals written on this that would seize most small personal computers. Your
talking mass, and energy and vectors and stuff.
There is a cement wall on the exit with scary marks that were put there by
something, and that something was not killer whales gnawing on that cement.
You know what put those marks there, motorcycles, bodies, and hurtling out
of control shit. You see this wall clearly and can feel its hard unforgiving
presence encroach on your space. You are heading for that wall turning
right. There is no pulling that energy you unleashed out of this equation
baby and as your slide ends your left handlebar button scrapes into the wall
making a soft muted plastic whrrrrrrr noise, then popping out. It is a
really scary noise, but that's it. You make it, you do not hit that wall and
Your race buddies stop by your pits soon after the end of that race.
Comments are uttered, short descriptive bits, between the long deep gulps of
water everyone takes from their water bottles.
Words, descriptive, well chosen and vivid do for a moment place all of you
back in time on the Racetrack. Time now seems to slow and all in attendance
smile broadly, sweat streaming down the intensely reflective faces. Quietly
someone is speaking, mentioning that pass you made and extolling its wild
beauty. But none of your buddies, the audience to that pass, ever saw you
scrape that wall. So they go on recalling in well chosen words what they
observed oblivious to the fact that you've drifted off.
Your lost in your own thought. Standing there staring intently at your
Racebike, smiling, wondering how you can get another one of those small
plastic buttons that hang out of the bar end? Looking to you now like some
wonderful cosmic curb feeler that ejected on you, sacrificed itself, so that
you might live in this place. A place that holds you irretrievably, with a
contradictory power. This place that while inherently so risky you could
die, also holds your soul, your whatever you are. Holds it and energizes it
to an extent you will never know anywhere else and the fear of letting that
go has you climb back on and go out and do it again.
"A Motorcycle Racer defines FUN...."
Cameron Park, California U.S.A.
Winter 1998-1999/Off Season[?]/Revised 8-20-1999 ver1
Cyborg Racing Group,
PO Box 608,
Cameron Park, California, 95682
AFM # 347
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