This is going to be a short intro, it's magazine deadline day - here goes.
Folks, one of the entries below will give that author the fourth and final spot in the Grand Prize Essay Write-Off next week. Choose your fav by clicking on the vote button at the bottom of the page. Voting starts now and runs until noon (EST) this Friday. The winner will be posted to Racerhead later Friday - along with names of the Final Four, and the TWENTY-FIVE elements for next week's 1000-word-max, textual pandemonium!
BTW: This week's winner gets $25 of my karaoke moolah from tonight.
This weeks TWENTY elements were: Where's the beef?, donate, squirrely, aggressive, faceplant, skull, Bill Gates, toot, top-end, spoke, uranium, Teddy Pendergrass, apologize, Las Vegas, Halloween, duty-free, Heikki Mikkola, Mad Libs, hooligan, and elephant.
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I think Dave Brozik must have loved Mad Libs as a kid. How else would anyone get the idea to insert Heikki Mikkola and uranium into the same story? Anyway, I just want to apologize to all you hard core racers who have taken an interest in this essay competition probably assuming that the author’s wit, wisdom and personal moto experience would weave various elements into a cohesive story to entertain and perhaps inform you. However, I have a confession to make; I have never even touched a motorcycle (mom says it’s too dangerous) and the only thing I know about motorcycles comes strictly from the glossy pages of Racer X Illustrated. But, at least I know the top-end is where the handlebars are and the bottom-end is where the tires are.
I always wanted to be a motocross racer but my occupational therapist pointed to my Teddy Pendergrass collection and said I was more cut out for working at a vintage record store. “Stick to bench racing,” she told me. The truth is I still live at home with my mom in Las Vegas where she works nights. Get your minds out of the gutter! She’s a bartender at Harrah’s and she serves a mean Skull. However, one time she saw me get a little squirrely on somebody’s Puch moped and faceplant in front of Caesar’s Palace so she laid down the rules: any activity on the internet and magazines was fine but if it involved real dirt that was too dangerous and aggressive and therefore forbidden. Needless to say, I’ve met some neat girls and racing buddies on the internet
And that’s what I love about internet chat rooms nobody knows I’m 5’11” and 135 lbs, not bad if you’re a 14 year old but when you’re twice that age it gets old when people ask you, “Where’s the beef?” I’m skinny as a spoke and it’s been said that I make Bill Gates look like James Dean. This Halloween I was going as a tire iron but my “friends” at the shop told me I’m such a tool all the time anyway that I should try dressing up for a change.
Anyway, the booty of duty-free swag on the line is enough to make any hooligan with a keyboard email his buddies to ask for their votes; kind of like when the Republicans (the party represented by an elephant) were accused of tampering with the votes in Florida to win the 2004 presidential election. My candidate, Ralph Nader didn’t win – what the toot?! I don’t have any friends but if you vote for me, I promise to donate the swag to nice little kids at the track who might someday grace the cover of Racer X!
U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF?
U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF IF SOME ONE SAYS "LOOK AT THAT TOP-END" AND U ONLY ARE LOOKING FOR A DIRT BIKE.
U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF U USE A SPOKE TO CLEAN AN ELEPHANTS TEETH.
U MIGHT BE AN MX FAN IF U SEE BILL GATES, AND TEDDY PENDERGRASS IN LAS VEGAS AND ASK THEM IF THEY WILL SPONSER YOUR FRIEND FOR THE UPCOMING AMATUER SEASON.
U MIIGHT BE A MX FAN IF U GET TO AGRESIVE ON YOUR KIDS PW50 AND GET SQUIRLEY AND DO A FACEPLANT THAT INJURS YOUR SKULL.
U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF INSTEAD OF DRESSING UP LIKE A HOOLIGAN FOR HOLLOWEEN U DRESS UP AS A TUFF BLOCK.
U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF U HAVE POSTERS OF HEIKKI MIKKOLA FOR LIVING ROOM PICTURES AND HAVE MAD LIBS WRITTEN ON IT SO YOUR MOTHER IN LAW THANKS IT IS WORTH SOMETHING.
FINALLY U MIGHT BE A MX FAN IF U HAVE A DUTY FREE JOB AT TIMES AND DECIDED TO WRITE A RETARTED ESSAY FOR SOMETHING TO DO.
As a young boy the biggest race of the year for me was the annual Halloween race at the local fairgrounds. All that you had to do to race was dish out the thirty five dollar entry fee (with the option to donate an extra five dollars to the Bill Gates Foundation) and wear a costume. The promoters were a bit on the dull side so it was easy for me, Teddy Pendergrass, to get by wearing grey sweats and a grey tee and pretending to be dressed up as a tire spoke.
After clearing sign up I preceded on to find a pit spot. The only thing was that there were none left in the parking section designated for the motocross racers, so I had to make my way over to the circus section and pit next to an elephant. Now pitting next to an elephant wasn’t that bad. I mean he wore a pretty nifty cap and could balance a ball on his trunk better than a seal. All was swell and dandy until that elephant, whose name I had learned to be Senjaya, let out the most massive toot I had ever witnessed. It seemed as though that toot had all the power of a nuclear bomb filled with all of the uranium in the known world. The gaseous force of it knocked me straight out of my chair and into a faceplant, not only leaving a throbbing lump on my skull but also angering me enough to yell, “You stupid hooligan of an elephant!”
That one small slip of the tongue was enough to perturb Senjaya’s aggressive trainer, Heikki Mikkola into furious rage.
“Apologize right now,” he screamed with his eyes bulging like a maniacs, “Sanjaya wasn’t bred from the finest elephants and brought here from Las Vegas to be yelled at!”
I apologized profusely and as soon as I had settled down noticed the horrendous stench surrounding us. Sanjaya could really lay down a nasty fart. Luckily I had some Pedo Elefante cologne with me that I had bought from the duty free shop coming back from Mexico and that was enough to take care of the smell.
Finally it was time to race and as I sat on the line watching the race before mine commence I heard a lusty voice behind me shout, “Mad Libs! I love you!” I turned around and saw that it was a very pretty girl (with a very large top end) shouting at local pro Mad Libs McGee. Although he was fast I knew I could beat him. He always got squirrelly in tall supercross whoops and this track had a treacherous set.
The race was grueling and Mad Libs did in fact go down in the whoops, leaving the door open for a Teddy Pendergrass victory. I was so tired after the race that all I could do was wander over to the concession stand and simply ask, “Where’s the beef? I need to eat some beef!”
You’re not going to believe this.
I got this bike last October, just before Halloween.
I met a guy out at Perris who told me about this dude
that lives out near Las Vegas that had a couple
vintage bikes for sale, including this one. Next
thing you know, road trip to Vegas. Susie rode
shotgun and brought her copy of Simpson-edition Mad
Libs… we laughed the whole way! She’s really cool,
except for that soccer hooligan stuff she does; I met
her in the motocross forum over at
teddypendergrass.com. Anyway, I was following the
directions the guy gave me, and when I saw the sign
for Primm, Nevada, I smiled ‘cause hey, maybe one day
my vintage collection will be as big as Greg Primm’s!
And maybe I’ll discover a uranium mine and suddenly be
richer than Bill Gates. Yeah, right.
Anyway, this bike! So I was getting excited ‘cause we
were close, and I always wanted to own a bike older
than me. There’s something about the simplicity of
this thing: the easy access filter, the air-cooled
top-end. And there’s also the character: the
squirrely drum brakes, the aggressive sound of the
open expansion chamber. And this thing pulls like an
elephant! Anyway… so we got to this big ol’ warehouse
out in the middle of nowhere, and I toot the horn and
I’m getting ready to apologize for taking so long and
this little old lady comes out and starts kind of
waddling across the parking lot. You remember that
commercial? “Where’s the beef?” I swear, it was HER.
Susie waved at her to stop waddling, we didn’t want to
see her fall, faceplant and fracture her skull or
something, and we go inside and there it was, this
pristine Heikki Mikkola replica, right inside of this
tiny showroom, kind of looked like one of those
duty-free shops at LAX. Seriously.
First thing out of her mouth, she said “There ain’t no
gas in it.” And Susie and me both jumped ‘cause when
she spoke, she sounded like a weed whacker with a wet
plug. But then said, “If you want it, he said you can
She said he said I could just TAKE IT. Can you
believe that? My jaw hit the floor. Susie had to
nudge me, but before I could say anything, the Wendy’s
lady said, “You boys sure love your dirt bikes, don’t
you! Greg was either gonna donate it to the museum or
just give it away. He’ll be over in a few minutes, if
you want to wait. Can I get you two something cool to
And that’s how I met Greg Primm, true story.
Looking through the lens of his Pentax camera, motocross photographer David Kelly could clearly see the large tear in Broc “Hamburger” Hepler’s Shift tough guy purple jersey and that his “Where’s the beef?” butt patch was almost completely torn off of his riding pants. Zoomed in at 300mm, David was trying to stay as far away as he could in case another fight broke out.
Broc was making a special appearance at a charity race in Canada and David had been asked to cover the event. David didn’t like to toot his own horn, but he knew that he already had pictures that were sure to make it into Racer X.
Hepler and one of the local pros had been battling during the 250 A moto when Hepler got squirrely making an aggressive pass and wrecked the other guy, causing him to faceplant. The crash had left the guy’s bike with a messed up top-end and at least one spoke missing from each of his tires. Believing Hepler had intentionally taken him out, the rider went looking for Hepler as soon as the moto ended.
A fight had erupted in the pits almost immediately and track officials were still trying to get the two to apologize to each other, which was why David kept his camera trained on Hepler.
He started snapping pictures again as the local rider strutted back toward Broc’s pit area. He was covered in a variety of seemingly random tattoos, including an ominous looking skull on his right bicep and the phrase “Mad Libs” permanently inked across his back. He looked like some hooligan that had spent too much time at the duty-free liquor store near the border.
It looked like the two were going to come to blows yet again when Joey Zambotti, Broc’s manfriend, stepped in between them. Once David was sure that they were just going to talk and not try to seriously injure each other, he moved closer to hear what was going on.
It turned out that two young riders from Pennsylvania named Tyrell and Dylan had been videoing the race and had the entire incident on tape.
After watching the video, it was clear to everyone there that the wreck had simply been a racing accident and was not intentional. Much to the disappointment of all of the spectators, who were hoping to see a rematch in the next moto, Broc and the Canadian hooligan settled their differences.
Hepler ultimately decided to donate the gear to the charity auction that was being held later that afternoon. It ended up being the second highest bid item behind an autographed picture of Heikki Mikkola, Teddy Pendergrass and Bill Gates taken at the Uranium Elephant Hotel in Las Vegas back in the 70s when they were all in town for a special Halloween shootout.
David Bailey had been lying on his stomach for 4 weeks, getting squirrely, bored out of his skull and utterly sick of Mad Libs. The operation on his pressure sore had been successful but now he was coming up on the twentieth anniversary of his career ending crash when he got a little too aggressive over a jump that ended in a faceplant. The last 6 months had been exceedingly painful to the point where even a visit from a Halloween hooligan named O’Mara struggled to elevate his spirits. Compounding the weight of this burden were the postings on websites and message boards of even more riders suffering injuries like his and lately it was starting to seem like the odds were more favorable in Las Vegas than at the local track. He could no longer sit by idly watching while nobody addressed the elephant in the room. He looked at a picture of himself winning the Ironman in 2000 and then back to his atrophied arms and asked himself, “Where’s the beef?” But now he had a “new school” idea to export a message around the world in a duty-free transmission that would make even an “old school” rider like Heikki Mikkola proud since he too was always eager to help his fellow riders. How would the industry receive his message? With Ernie being the latest pro to trade two wheels for four, did he really give a toot? And with that the camera began to roll…
Meanwhile, on the other side of Saddleback Mountain, beyond the fabled motocross track an ocean breeze swept across the UC Irvine campus. Somewhere among the cluster of campus housing, administrative buildings and classrooms was a lab with a young scientist on the verge of discovering something more exciting than the fission of uranium. The sterility of the lab with its whitewashed walls and hard linoleum floors would have felt cold and lifeless had it not been for the crooning of Teddy Pendergrass from an ipod docking station. The young scientist hummed along as he hovered over a Petri dish containing damaged nerve and muscle tissue commonly considered paralyzed. His fingers gently squeezed the top-end of an eye dropper till synthesized chemical dropped into the dish and the sleeping tissue suddenly twitched to attention like Lazarus raised from the dead. At that moment he saw the impossible become possible and he saw Doug Henry’s smile get a little big bigger as he spoke to himself, “I fixed it.” This celebratory moment had been years in the making and yet he felt compelled to apologize to Christopher Reeves, David Bailey, Mitch Payton and countless others that it had taken so long. It was hard to believe he was an elusive $1.5 million away from testing this amazing cure on people. And to think of all the money Bill Gates had given away, this would be a drop in the bucket. “Well, we’ll get there,” he thought, “we just need more people to donate.”
Halloween is creeping up slowly and US Open just wrapped up down in Las Vegas. While Chad Reed got a little squirrelly winding through the gears chasing the worlds most lucrative holeshot, Timmy Ferry got the short end of the stick and wound up with a duty free faceplant courtesy of the Aussie. While Reed may have been quick to apologize, Ferry wanted to know “Where’s the beef?”
Despite his dented wheel, bent spokes and rattled skull, Red Dog could be the Cinderella story this season were it not for the phoenix like ascension of Grant Langston to the top of the standings. Mike Fisher at Kawasaki appeared to have lost his marbles with his Mad Libs style contract for Ferry during the silly season, trading down from top-end screamer Michael Byrne for the veteran workhorse. Why write in incentives Timmy could never cash in on? Never one to toot his own horn, Fisher looks like Bill Gates with the wisdom of an elephant.
Back to Langston, this uranium (ahem platinum) blonde turned up the heat like a pimp making moves. Much like Teddy Pendergrass, Grant merged well with the Blue Notes at Team Yamaha and kept pounding away laps with speed, consistency and courtesy. This last distinction is critical as Kevin Windham was able to donate a much needed position late in the season, helping Langston win the Championship. Despite the fact that the duo later jumped together during a moto, Grant made it clear he was no hooligan.
Langston was signed by Team Yamaha and promptly rewarded them with the Motocross Championship. His performance echoes that of Heikki Mikkola who delivered the blue squadron a 500cc World Championship thirty years ago. Mikkola was able to repeat in 1978. Hopefully the similarities between the Finn and S.A. will continue.
Wikipedia describes an essay as,
“…a piece of writing, usually from an author's personal point of view. Essays are non-fictional but often subjective; while expository, they can also include narrative. Essays can be literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.”
Racer X has taken it upon themselves to give would be authors and humorists the opportunity to toot their own horns with a reverse ‘Mad Libs’ essay contest. I view this contest as a challenge to work phrases like ‘Where’s the beef?’ into an essay with some meat in it. It is a challenge I relish. (Pun(s) intended).
Before the echoes fade from Las Vegas, ending one of the finest years in American motocross history, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed. They say an elephant never forgets. In this case it’s the elephant that won’t let us forget.
Motocross racing is an aggressive sport with a risk that has to be among the highest of any activity with similar levels of access. Wrecks, collisions, wipe outs, whatever you want to call them, are not the exception, but the rule. Speed, momentum, mass and trajectory combined with immovable obstacles on rutted, uneven and inconsistent surfaces leave control on a razors edge. Control is then a relative term as a full bore top-end blast through the whoops transitions from squirrely to a spoke twisting, skull warping, faceplant in a matter of milliseconds. Depending on innumerable factors the rider may jump up and get on the bike before it quits running or, tragically, the rider might never stand on his/her own again.
Do we apologize? To who? For what? Do we make excuses? ‘If I had as much money as Bill Gates I’d underwrite research through organizations like the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance’. What can we do? What should we say? We can do something…we must. We can say something…we are. Are you listening? You’re not Bill Gates and never will be…donate anyway. Whether you ride like a hooligan or Heikki Mikkola, get the proper equipment. It’s not a controlled substance (e.g. uranium). Your local bike shop will gladly set you up with the latest and greatest from top notch companies. This is great stuff that not only fits properly but is designed to perform to the best of today’s technological and medical know how. Shoppers Tip: It’s doubtful that you’ll find these items at a duty-free store, so don’t waste your time. Expensive? Yes, but there is an added bonus. Motocross gear makes for great costumes come Halloween.
We cannot make motocross a carefree sport, but by no means is that a license to make it careless.
Ride hard…ride safe.
Michael D. Close
When the throttle stuck wide open on Dave’s CRF450, it brought about what Jules in Pulp Fiction called a moment of clarity. Weight back and full-bore in fourth heading towards Midwest Scramble Bank’s fearsome uphill 120’ triple, the front end went squirrelly over the braking bumps before the take off, but somewhat by accident, he was in the perfect shape to straighten that out. Silhouetted against the evening sky, Dave’s flight was not easily forgotten, the sound of the bike rattling against the rev limiter as the top-end struggled to contain itself bringing gasps of awe from the crowd, and toots of appreciation from the horns of the pick-ups parked in the outfield.
“Dude, that guy’s looking to donate organs”, yelled one. “Yah,” his
buddy said. “Any higher and he’ll be able to get duty-free on re-entry.
What‘s that thing powered on, uranium?”
Still running flat-out, but finally clutched-in, Dave headed
towards the landing zone tail heavy, braced for a world-class
faceplant. But his re-entry speed was so high, the CRF just slammed down flat, bouncing his face off the bar pad, suspension fully bottomed and spokes wailing like Teddy Pendergrass at a one-off men-only Las Vegas gig. Shaking like a leaf, and finally able to hit the kill-switch, Dave coasted the CRF to a stop and leaned her up against the fence, barely able to comprehend his own survival. The spectators cheered and patted him on the arm.
“Man, that was awesome!” exclaimed one. “You must be out of your skull to jump that! I haven’t seen anything so aggressive since Bill Gates got his last tax bill!”
“Son, I’ve been coming here since Heikki Mikkola was knee-high to Pierres Karsmakers, and I ain’t never seen nothing like that before,” an older man said slowly. “You planning on making a pensionable age?”
“M-man,” Dave stammered. “I d-didn’t think I-I’d… I-I mean, I th-
thought I’I’d… But i-it… “ He paused. “Sorry, I-I c-can’t sp-speak!”
“No need to apologize, son,” said the old guy. “After a jump like
that, I’d speaking like a Mad Libs transcript, too. Kinda look like you just saw that Michael Myers feller too, off of the Halloween films - you ‘re mighty pale… “Dave nodded. “I think I-I better go s-sit down… ” Head down, dog- tired and still shaking, Dave pushed the CRF back to the Silverado. Eddie was back there waiting, a big grin on his face and a beer in his hand. “Dude, that was awesome!” he exclaimed. “No-one’s ever jumped that thing before, you hooligan - that beat the Great Escape jump by a
mile!” He jumped back as Dave slammed the bike to the floor, his face dropping. “Where‘s the beef with the bike, man? That piece of art just saved your ass!”
“SAVED me?” Dave shouted. “The dang thing just tried to KILL me! Just picked up out of the corner and went like a runaway elephant!” He shook his head wearily. “Didn’t think I was coming back from that one…”
Ever since I started racing I had always dreamed of making it to the big show, Loretta Lynn's. I started racing when I was 4, because I wanted to be just like my big brother. I was so squirrely, and did my share of faceplants, but now, I blast around the track.
My whole family was trekking to the closest area qualifier in our Toy Hauler. My little brother was being a hooligan, and my older brother and I were playing Mad Libs. Our dogs, Heikki and Mikkola were fast asleep, thank goodness! My dad was playing some old-school Teddy Pendergrass CD, which was annoying me. But hey, we were going to this race for me, so I dealt with it.
When we got to the track, I couldn't believe it. There were people everywhere. We opened up the trailer, and discovered that somehow, one of my spokes had broken. We replaced it, and then went to register.
Fast forward to the next morning. I was so excited to race. I hit the track for practice, and it was in incredible condition. I rocked that track, not to toot my own horn or anything.
In the first moto, I was lined up between some punk that looked like he was wearing a Halloween costume. His gear was covered in freaky-looking skulls. Then, on the other side of me, was some kid who looked more like Bill Gates than a motocrosser. I rode really aggressively, and finished top 5. While I was riding off the track, something went wrong with my bike, it died, and it wouldn't restart. Turns out I blew my top end, and we had to replace it before the second moto. That was fun.
While my dad and my brothers were working on the bike, my mom handed me some concoction that tasted like it had uranium or something in it. It was awful. But it gave me quite the shot of energy, and when my second moto rolled around, I was pumped!
Second moto I killed the competition and finished first. That night, before dinner, I listened to my little brother yelling "where's the beef?" at my mom. My dad made him apologize, and he was pretty quiet the rest of the night.
My dad promised me if I qualified, we could take a family vacation to Las Vegas. Since he was duty-free at work the next week, we drove home, unloaded, and then drove to the airport. I hated flying, so the whole flight I was clutching my stuffed elephant, Dungey.
My vacation was amazing, and I couldn't wait to make my dad, and my entire family, proud at Loretta Lynn's.
Kalie Van Vickle
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