On to the voting. Please read each essay all the way through to be fair. Then choose just one as your favorite and place your vote. Voting will stop at noon EST this Friday. The essay with the most votes wins. Winner will be noted in Racerhead later in the day, and TEN elements will be posted for next week’s contest.
Week One’s elements were: DeCoster, bacon, silly string, clutch perch, and Texas.
Roger DeCoster: The First Winner of Freestone
Since it is the first year of the freestone national in Texas, people of the motocross world wanted there to be a special race before the national started. they called it past versuses the future race. the race was a 3 lap race, the contestants were roger decoster, ian trettell, and justin barcia. they all arrived at the starting line decoster on a makita suzuki that he borrowed from rickey, at first rickey did not want him to borrow it but roger being the smart racer bribed him with a bacon sandwich and a monster for breakfast. barcia came to the line on his 150f and trettell on that screamin 85 2-stroke. they take off from the line and decoster gets the hole shot he leads for the first two turns until barcia block passes him before the triple. they run nose to tail for the first two laps, barcia, decoster then trettell. they take the white flag and all off a sudden decoster comes out in front where did the other racers go, they finally noticed that hannah montana was the flag girl and both racers stop trying to spit some game. decoster finishes the last lap victorious with all kinds of one handed fist pumps. they all finally make it to the podium and decoster is awarded his trophy a texas style belt buckle in the shape of a clutch perch. the kids of the race were not old enough for champagne so they all sprayed silly string all over the fans. they enjoyed at great race. thats all from this race report.
It was a cool early morning at the end of Spring, I could see rays of sunlight starting to peek over the mountains through my bug splattered windshield as I rocketed north on Interstate 5 towards Sacramento. I looked into the rearview mirror and saw the yellow front fender of my clapped out Suzuki buffeting in the wind, dried mud clung to the underside of the fender and occasionally broke free and fell into the bed of my truck. I started thinking about the good old days, the privateers in their vans going to the races, guys like Roger DeCoster, those were real men, men that I hoped to be like in some way. I grabbed a piece of bacon from my McBreakfast while I reflected on some of the great stories our sport has created and the even greater personalities. Time stood still for a few moments thinking about these things when a biker on his loud chopper broke my daze, he was about as hardcore looking as they come, but I had to giggle about the foot-long strings of snot attached to his nose and waving over his shoulders, The snot looked like silly string as he looked over at me with that hardcore biker snarl and silly string snot flapping in the wind, I imagined he’d been on the road for some time judging by his Texas plates. I made it to Sacramento, and pulled out my map to get to the Hangtown Motocross track, I weaved through traffic holding the map against the steering wheel trying to find my way through this strange city. Finally, after a few wrong turns, I came to the motocrossers equivalent of the Garden of Eden. I sat in the pits looking at million dollar rigs as the determination boiled within me to show the factory brats I could run their pace.
At that moment I could care less that my bike was ten years old, or that the clutch perch was duct taped to the bars since the bolts had stripped out, I didn’t mind that they had the obvious advantage. I always root for the underdog, and that day, the underdog was me. Practice came, and I pushed my bike through the pits past all the factory brats, I looked down as they whispered and pointed at me, “I’ll show them!” I thought quietly to myself. I went out and rode practice, and felt completely on my game as I completed the last lap. I felt proud as I walked past the brats and back to my pickup. I sat there on the tailgate for a while when a well dressed man came up to me with a smile and a handshake and started talking about the good old days as a young motocrosser. I sat and listened to his story when someone called out his name, he looked at me and as he walked away I saw “The Man” printed on the back of his Fox pants.
I was born on a motorcycle. I mean literally. My mom was riding this sweet yellow Honda Trail 90 when she went into labor. She was so scared and excited at the same time. Pregnency can make women quite emotional. She was riding, so she was out in the middle of the woods. But her water broke and she instantly turned into Moma Decoster! She was ripping through the trees trying to make it to the house to call my Dad to take her to the hospital. My Dad was at work at the Motorcycle Shop, so he dashed home after he got the call. He forgot what he was doing and when he was running out, he stuffed a clutch perch into his back pocket. When he jumped in the truck, he slid quickly and the perch cut into his butt. It hurt him a little bit, but he was excited to see me, so he didn’t pay much attention. When he got to the hospital, my Mom was already there, she rode in with my Aunt. That must have been pretty scary. Being so emotional from the pregnency, and being worried about my crazy aunt. She is a burly looking creature, wrinkley smokers face, yellow “summer” teath, crazy eyebrows shooting out like silly string! What a wild ride.
So finally she is in the hospital bed. She was giving birth and stuff, but I couldn’t escape the womb. The doctor started poking and pulling me, it was aggravating. To finally make my break, I had to Walker Texas Ranger round house kick my exit. To top everything off, my dads rear end was scrapped up so bad that it looked like strips of bacon.
Finally. Moto two at my favorite track, Glen Helen. I woke up this morning, ate my bacon, and yelled at my mechanic.
This race isn’t important, I mean, I’ve already got the championship tied up, as long as that stupid young buck on the KTM doesn’t mess with me like he messed with Langston in the parade lap. I hope he doesn’t ride like an idiot again.
There’s the 30 second board. The noise grows, the smoke rises, and the anticipation erupts as the pin pulls and the gate is dropped. I get a decent jump but I can tell as the dirt spits me in the face that it’s not a winner. As we go through the first turn I’m at the front and I can feel the competition. I feel it strong.
Wait, never mind, that’s not competition. That’s an orange fender in my side, and me on the ground. Someone hit me and now I’m crashed. As soon as I’m done rolling I’ll kill him. I spit the dirt from my mouth and look up. I can barely see through my bleary goggles so I rip them off. I’m ten feet from my bike, the competition’s bike is next to it, and the competition is getting on to his feet. I crawl to my bike, still running. The little punk comes over and hits my kill switch.
At this point I’m over it. I throw myself towards him as the kid’s brother comes by, giving him a high five.
I can hear DeCoster from the sidelines.
“Are you gonna put up with that? Punch him out! Beat him all the way to Texas! You scared?”
No. I start yelling at the kid to go home and play with his Tonka trucks. He runs over and stands on my bike, gouging my seat cover with the tips of his boots. I can see his father on the side of the track. He’s got his arms crossed with this look on his face. I swear this guy think he’s Vito Corleone. He takes his glasses off; stares right at me and shoots me a bird.
I’m beyond fed up now. Riders are now starting to come around for the second lap, so I’m dodging bikes as well as trying to rid myself of a juvenile.
My teammate pulls up. He gets of his bike and runs at my quandary. He shoves him off the bike and starts a slur of profanity. The pubescent kid bends over and shakes his butt at us. So I’m climbing onto my bike and my partner kicks him in the rear, causing him to fall forward onto his face.
The spectators went wild when I pulled off the track, spraying silly string all over my bike and body. I ride by my opponent where he is being interviewed.
“It was nothing big, we just got tangled up. My clutch perch was demolished though because my handlebars got lodged in his spokes.”
As I was eating my bacon with a clutch lever somewhere in hurricane ravaged Texas, Roger DeCoster whacked me with a can of Monster flavored silly string.
Magic Carpet Ride
Not that he intended to, but my dad’s two wheel passion got stamped into my gene code somewhere in between the green eyes and dark curly hair. My walls were covered with posters of Hurricane Hannah and various other riders carving, jumping and wheelie-ing their way through what looked like the ultimate magic carpet ride. I always dreamed I could get my leg underneath the handle bar and blast through a berm like that. Hannah seemed to epitomize this wild ride but my dad pointed out one of the European riders on the posters named Roger Decoster who was smoother and more polished. All I knew is that he wasn’t American, he wasn’t Hannah and I wasn’t interested.
That being said, I still didn’t have my own motorcycle which meant I tried to scrounge rides from friends any chance I got. My friend Trace had a KX 80 which, had it not been for the Nitro Circus, would go down in history as the most abused bike to touch terra firma. Like a beat up old jalopy, it’s hard to believe the thing was ever once brand new with the power to inspire a covetous gaze. But then again you didn’t know Trace: a 13 year old master of mischief and minor miscreant. That coupled with the fact that he hadn’t grown into his lips and he wore braces made for a frothy formula of saliva and food crumbs ever present at the corners of his mouth where spittle stretched like silly string across a nervous looking polygraph test. He’s the only guy I knew who could be completely oblivious to bacon bits stuck in the crease of his mouth so you can imagine how good the oil looked inside the KX 80.
The bike was held together by safety wire much of which I believe was excess metal from Trace’s braces. Levers were a luxury item since most of the time the clutch cable was wrapped around the handle bar to keep it from dangling in thin air as the clutch perch had snapped off long ago. No matter though, when the KX bump started to life, the dream turned into reality as I pretended to be the heroes on my walls.
It’s been about 25 years since Trace moved back to Texas to be under the watchful eye of his father. And while I still can’t carve a berm (rumor has it you’re supposed to slide forward on your seat), I have learned that Roger Decoster may be as responsible for the pride of American motocross as any American born rider. I still dream I can ride like a pro but now I post their pictures on my computer as screen savers. And I can assure you my dad, while lying in his hospital bed last night en route to beating his cancer, envisioned the 14 twisty miles up and down Galena Summit on his own two wheeled magic carpet ride. A gene code somewhere in between the green eyes and dark curly hair. My walls
As soon as I saw the big number 4 on that clapped out Suzuki in the bed of an equally-abused pickup truck, I knew what my day at the track was going to be like. The kid behind the wheel popped out like his hair was on fire, stumble-sprinting in the direction of sign-up… and the porta-potties. His girlfriend just yawned and flopped over in the front seat, pulling her hoody tight over her head in an effort to block out the Texas morning sun. I tried to avert my eyes because I knew nothing good could come from staring, but I just couldn’t help myself: the poor bike was literally crying out for attention. It was a surprisingly new 450, probably the’06 model, but to say it looked trashed is to insult garbage everywhere. Deeply scratched plastic, torn grip ends, frayed wires poking out of the clutch perch, ripped seat cover… and the chain, oh lord. The chain seemed to dribble down off of the countershaft sprocket and drape itself along the swing arm like a length of rust-colored silly string. Just sitting there in the truck this bike had more dirt under its fenders than my bike did, and I had just finished practice!
Honestly, the bike looked like it had barely survived a previous life as the daily practice thrasher for somebody who might call Roger DeCoster “boss”… but the graphics and numbers shouted out “BEGINNER!” I mean, really, who else but a total newbie poser would have the nerve to run Ricky Carmichael’s number at a local race?
Just as that thought crossed my mind, I felt a familiar twinge in my gut that had absolutely nothing to do with the smell of breakfast bacon floating from the motor home two spots over. There was no use fighting it; I filled my mouth with a swallow of lukewarm coffee, stood up and got started.
By the time the kid got back from sign-up, wheezing and slightly panicked about possibly missing practice, I had his bike up on its stand, and was spraying lube on the now cleaned and tightened chain. He froze and stared at me.
“Yer gonna miss late practice if you just stand there!” his girlfriend yelled from the cabin. Her husky just-woke-up voice seemed to kick some life into him, and he started pawing through his gear bag, running his mouth the whole time, throwing boots and goggles on the ground while tossing genuinely grateful “thank yous” and “sirs” in my general direction.
And as I knelt there in the dirt, embraced by the strangely comforting aroma of chainlube, I had to smile because this is what motocross really means: making new friends and sharing great times.
A wise man named Paul Boudreau once told a tale of worrying about not paying his respects to the Almighty while motocrossing on a Sunday, until he discovered an MX event that featured sermonizing while the racin’ was a-goin’ on! He called it the Church of the Holy Holeshot.
Let’s go for a visit now- somewhere in Texas at an old-timey track they cut out of the land with a shovel and marked with a lot of tires and fence stakes.
In the pits, Maw frying the bacon at the camper, Junior flipping through some ratty magazine like Popular Cycling, while getting in the way of big brother Billy Joe.
That young man was trying to figure how to wire his clutch perch back onto his TM125 handlebars, since he twisted the bolt clean from the mount last night. Maybe some duct-tape would do it- why sure, it’d also make it swivel on the bars in a fall. Wow, sano, just like that hippie from California, Brad Slacker or something!
Meanwhile, the races were ON! The race referee, er, Pastor was screeching into the mike, asking the Lord to look over the crazy mini riders and keep them from gaining their reward too early.
As the 125 Beginners began lining up, Billy Joe realized his fix probably wouldn’t last the race. Hearing the Pastor calling on the spectators (the congregation?) to pray for the very lives of the 100cc Juniors as they careened around the rutted course, Billy Joe was inspired to look to his Lord and Savior for advice.
It dawned on him like rays from a cloudy sky. Who needs a clutch anyhow! Didn’t he read in a rag like Modern Cycle that some crazy Euro feller named Joe Bob, or maybe Joel Robert, didn’t even use his clutch at the start of the race?
Soon, Billy Joe was at the start line. When the rubber band was released, Billy stabbed the bike into gear without touching the clutch lever, while holding on for dear life. He squirted out of the hole like silly string out of a can! Out in front, he hit that first jump and flopped his TM over, pulling the finest “DeCoster” anyone had seen.
Just as predicted, the duct tape failed and the entire lever flew off the bars and smacked Billy Joe in the Jofa. The clutch cable wrapped up in the throttle cable and the yellow flyer was out of control! Billy Joe held on as best he could but the bike sailed out from under him and straight into the announcing stand, spilling the Pastor and microphone onto the ground.
Well, once the dust settled, Billy Joe had lost a tooth he was gonna lose anyway, and the Pastor had to revert back to his bullhorn. The promoter decided that while he could trust the Lord, from now on he’d start doing tech inspections before the races.
Never let it be said that God isn’t amused by his Children!
Back in 1978 at the TransAm Race down at Whitney, DeCoster was fishing for some Texas Clutch Perch with bacon on some silly string in yonder river.
The pits were filled with all the commotion common to a race day morning. Team members made sure everything was organized at each of the factory rigs, mechanics made last minute adjustments to bikes, and riders made last minute dashes to get to the riders meeting on time.
Greg and Dave longingly watched all of the activity from outside of the fence. Track security had just thwarted their fifteenth attempt to sneak into the pits.
Spending several seconds deep in thought, Dave exclaimed, “What if you dress up as Roger DeCoster and I tell everyone I’m your assistant because you don’t speak English?”
Greg stopped eating his Bacon-on-a-Stick, the newest rage in track cuisine, and simply gave Dave ‘the look’ indicating that this, like the countless other schemes Dave had devised, had no chance of being successful. Dave sighed and considered admitting defeat. Suddenly, he got another idea. “I’ll be right back,” he shouted as he dashed off toward vendor’s row.
Five minutes later he returned with several cans of silly string.
Looking extremely skeptical, Greg sarcastically inquired, “What do you plan to do with those? I suppose you’re going to tell security that someone is having a birthday and you were asked to deliver party favors.”
“That would never be believable,” responded Dave. “I’m going to tell security that I’m supposed to deliver them to the AMA tent for this afternoon’s victory celebration.”
Looking from the silly string in Dave’s arms to the track security personnel policing the pit entrance, Greg finally declared, “You’re on your own with this one. I’m tired of getting in trouble.”
“Suit yourself,” replied Dave as he sauntered toward the pit entrance.
Noting that Dave’s wristband was nowhere near the correct color, security members moved to block his attempt to enter the pits.
“I’m on official AMA business,” Dave hurriedly exclaimed. “I’ve got to get these inside ASAP!”
Caught off guard, the security workers stepped back, allowing Dave enough room to rush by. Successfully inside the pro pits, Dave’s world began to move in slow motion.
He stood in wonderment for an entire five seconds before he realized the security guards behind him were yelling “Get back here!” and “Stop him!”
Dave took off at a run with three surprisingly fast security guards right on his tail. Being unfamiliar with the pit layout, he unknowingly headed down a dead end.
With nowhere to go and security rapidly closing in on him, Dave raced into the Kawasaki pits, knocking James Stewart’s bike off of its stand in the process. The bike hit the ground with a sickening thud, and just by looking at it Dave could see that the clutch perch was broken.
As security escorted Dave both out of the pits and off of track property, James Stewart surveyed his damaged motorcycle.
Picking up a can of Dave’s silly string, James thought to himself, “Silly string would be more practical than champagne. Maybe I’ll have to suggest that for next weekend’s race in Texas.”