Lost in America

June 30, 2006 6:35am

Imagine a scenario where you fly only once a year and you happen to know the captain. Seeing you in the flight he offers you a seat in the cockpit during the entire trans-atlantic journey. Only then you realize
that your legs are jammed in your cramped economy class seat that you can’t get out for a while. By the time you manage to pull out, it’s time to fasten the seat belts. And the landing gear has been activitated. Don’t you feel gutted? Don’t you feel like you have missed a golden opportunity? Don’t you feel like lamenting your luck or worse still feel that there is some sort of sabotage happening in the skies to thwart your plans?

These were the exact same feelings that clouded my brain during the past weekend. It’s been a while since I kept in touch with the motocross world and with Racer X readers in particular. Not that I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t possibly be juggling various hats
after coming over here. Not with covering the Indianapolis 500, interning at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, or while keeping one eye on the managerial economics book to learn about a Nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Too much to take and too little time to do all these.

Anyway, to cut a long story shot, I was offered a role as a marshal at the starting gate at Budds Creek and I had a chance to encapsulate my experiences to Racer X. After all, I have had several privileges in life. Having been able to watch in flesh and blood Ricky, Chad, and Doug Henry at Southwick was truly a MasterCard moment. A moment that gave me my first motocross experience. A moment that I will hold on to until I say sayonara to life. Also, I got my fill of
freestyle motocross when I jumped (pardon the pun) on the opportunity to watch the Crusty show in India and got to talk to them and cover the event.  But to top it off, the Budds Creek role came calling.

One of my friends, Frank Whigham, who used to work the Budds Creek race came to India and we met up at a local motocross meet and became friends. Though he is now posted in Iraq on duty, he still managed to remember that I was in Delaware, of all places, and he
helped me to get a role as a marshal through his Budds Creek contacts that would’ve made me wear a headphone for the first time at the MX track. (Not to mention see and analyze each rider’s
throttle-control mechanics as the gate dropped.) Who has the best reflex? Who doesn’t fear to stick it out to his opponents? Who is sneaky enough to let an elbow out? And it goes on and on.... Of course, you can get the answers for all these questions by watching the race on TV, but nothing beats standing inches from the exhausts and winking your eyes for a moment as they kick the dust up to go racing.

But by now you must have fathomed that I couldn’t make it to Budds Creek. And I felt so bad to miss the show that I felt like an injured rider (read: Bubba) sitting on the couch watching the action on television.
Of course, due to an unavoidable circumstance involving my wife’s health, I had to stay put in Delaware and curse my stars. Instead I ended up watching Phil Mickelson unravel in the final two holes at Winged Foot last Sunday. For a moment, I could empathize with Phil. After all, I was about to have my moment under the sun or at the gate and Phil had it in the bag only to lose because of his stubbornness or
stupidity, depending on which side of the fence you were.

Anyway, if I had been there I would’ve derived more pleasure in watching the 125cc class more than the premier class (Okay, I know it’s called the Lites but I still can’t stomach the term. It sounds like some diet product, or maybe the series has been given the blessings by Budweiser). It would’ve been a fantastic moment to watch Ryan Villopoto get his second 1-1 in the class and also watch Mike Alessi bounce back from a horrendous moto 1. I would’ve been wowed again by the awesome precision of Ricky Carmichael. Though I now feel like Mark Cuban after the game five loss without the invectives and the ubiquitous sarcasm, of passing at a chance to become may be the first Indian to work the start gate at an AMA meet (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). I am optimistic that I will get another opportunity next year when my friend Frank is back in the country. Of course, with my fluctuating fortunes you never know I
might end up working the starting gate or even lining up on the grid. So stay tuned...