One Industries Thursday Rev Up

October 23, 2008 1:39pm | by:
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. I got to spend some time with my Pops this weekend when I drove down to Martinsville. After the race, we were driving down the road and started bouncing stories off each other. We always seem to go back to some of the road trips we made over the years. He and I always have friendly contests after we have put in a full day’s work and are facing a long drive. As a motocrosser who traveled the Arenacross tour, I’ve pulled myself into my van after two nights of getting the crap beat out of me and barreled down the icy highway for eight-hour drives. As a tow-truck driver, Pops was no stranger to working 12-hour days in the dead of winter, then loading up the motor home and trailer for a long haul South so we could race. I know there are several hundred different versions of these stories out there in the motocross world. Driving is part of our trade. We are all racers, but deep down there is a little truck driver in all of us. I know there is in me. I’m an animal. I can drive all night long and ask for seconds after a stop at the Waffle house for food and a gallon of coffee. Ah, but such was not always the case. Before you can be hard and strong you must first be weak and stupid. Let me take you back to the night that made that transition for me. Not much racing going on right now, so let’s get Revved Up about life on the road.

It was a cold, crisp Fall evening when we finished loading up the motor home for a trip to 59th and Douglas in Oklahoma City. There was nothing too far from the norm, save for the fact that we had invited a friend from school to come with us. I was a major loaner at school and always liked it when a buddy would come with me to see what real life was like. We left at around 7:30 pm and hit the Kansas Turnpike. Clint, Casey, and our buddy Zach were in the back playing Excitebike on Nintendo while I sat up in the catbird seats with Pops. After about 30 miles or so, Pops reached under his heavy glasses and rubbed his eyes and let out one of his loud, obnoxious yawns. Noticing the traffic was light, he looked over and said, “All right, I’m smoked. Get over here and take the wheel.” I was 15 years old at the time, but I had been driving for over three years so it really wasn’t that big of a deal. So, I moved over to get into position to assume command. We never pulled over, that would waste too much time, so we do the “slide over and under” technique. After a successful transition, I found myself holding the wheel at “ten and two” and checked my mirror to make sure the right-side tires were about six inches off the line. I was too short to reach the accelerator so I had to run the cruise control, which was set at a steady 75 mph.

These were proud moments. I knew how hard my Pops worked so I could have FMF pipes and still bitch about not having gold rims. He gave me a look over his glasses and I just nodded back with one arm on the wheel and leaned to the side. A quick snort from him and I sat up straight and put my hands back at ten and two. Ten minutes later, he was sawing logs and I began thinking about jumping the tunnel double the next day. “I wonder if it will be windy...” “I wonder if Reynard is healed up yet...” “How much faster is little Jake Martin going to be this weekend?”


I woke up with the reflector posts flying over the windshield. I began kicking my feet wildly trying to stretch for the binders. All of the sudden the motor home was bucking and swapping from left to right. I was swatting flies with the steering wheel, then saw Pops, still sleeping with his arms crossed, fly out of the passenger side captain chair and hit the floor with a sickening thud. He sprang to his feet like a cat and yanked the wheel out of my hands. He thought I was on the right side of the road, then realized it was headlights and not a wheat field in front of us. The engine, still locked in cruise control, was screaming wide open and searching for more power. I looked out of the side window and saw the trailer trying to pass us while being sprayed with an intense roost stream from the dual wheels of the motor home.{QUOTE}With one hand on the wheel and one standing on the brakes, Pops yanked the rig back over the right side of the road and brought it to a stop. The inside of the rig looked like a tornado hit it. Mom had cooked a full bowl of Sloppy Joe mix, which had spilled out onto the floor. Upon seeing this, Pops let out a scream I’ll never forget. Then he just calmly asked, “Ok, who is hurt?” Just then, my buddy Zach, Casey, and Clint came crawling out of the pile of clothes, food, and junk in the back with eyes wide as softballs, but unscathed.

You could still hear the Excitebike anthem squeaking in the background. Pops took the rug in the middle of the motor home and rolled everything up in a giant crap roll-up and threw it in the ditch. After a quick assessment, everything was amazingly intact. We still went racing that weekend. Needless to say, it was Zach’s last trip with us. I never fell asleep again. Not even close. I was lucky to make it out of there. Hell, all of us were. Suffice it to say, “The Chase” might look a little different today if Pops didn’t have such lightning reflexes... Or if the Almighty wasn’t with us that night.

I know you guys have been through similar close calls. I have several tricks I perform now. A couple quick slaps to the face will liven you up. If it’s cold, just hang your head outside for a few seconds and that will get you at least a couple more hours. Then, if you are tough enough, you can slowly pull a couple of nose hairs. This should be a last-case scenario, as it feels like they are attached to the back of your skull. Maybe that’s just me... Avoid energy drinks, as you will just crash hard an hour after the high wears off. Good, old-fashioned convenience-store coffee is the way to do it.

So, all of you out there traveling this Fall and Winter season, be careful. If you think you are getting tired, pull the hell over. There will be more races and it isn’t worth it. Just keep those hands at ten and two and keep the tweezers at the ready.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.