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Podcast Letters

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I get a ton of mail about the Racer X Podcast shows telling me how great they are and there are about 20 to 30 thousand of you that listen to every episode which makes the fact we can’t get a sponsor all the more fascinating. Anyways, I thought that without you guys listening and giving me feedback, I wouldn’t be doing the shows. So they are, in essence, your shows.

That was front and center in my mind when, a couple of weeks ago in Racerhead, I asked for listener letters as to why YOU should be on the Podcast show. I wanted to talk to the fans, the bench racers, the guys that are hard-core for these shows. For some reason I threw Weege’s name in there as a judge and mentioned that he would be on the call as well. Which was news to Weege ‘cause I had told him none of this beforehand.

Luckily he was all about it and even mentioned that we should take the best ones and comment on them and then choose the winner on the web. So here are the best submissions that I got and the winner at the bottom. Thanks to all that wrote in and I’m sure we’ll do it again down the road.

Greetings Steve and Jason,

I'm reaching out to share why I could be a solid participant of a future podcast. I believe living through key years in SX/MX history has allowed me to become a knowledgeable, non-star struck enthusiast.

I have listed 3 main points as to why I could be a useful resource.

The 3 key points are:

1. My formative years as an MX enthusiast were during the 80's. Enough said...

2. During my 20's I earned my "masters" in MX/SX by following the sport and racing to achieve "B" level MX and "A" level off-roader (Enduros/Harescrambles) status. Plus, I lived through the Bradshaw vs.Stanton/Larocco vs. Kiedrowski/ MC vs. Fro/Crusty Demons/ Ricky being slightly pudgy KILLING it on a 125... Years!

3. After becoming a husband/father, I'm still "neck deep" in the sport (at the ripe age of 38).  I raced 14 events this year.  My wife and I attended High Point as "stringers" for Bloomberg News. We were sent there to gather data and interview people because of the 1st time Live TV coverage (We even spoke with Weege on press day).

I can speak with industry people without tripping over my tongue, plus my "Kook Meter" reading is very low; you guys wouldn't be embarrassed by putting me on the air.

Point # 1 defined:

It all started back in the Mid-80's (8-10 years old) when I'd go to my cousin's house and watch (magazine ad purchased) old school supercross tapes (for the record, I remember the VCR being the size of a VW Bug). 12 of us would pile into the "play room" wearing Tough Skins and 3/4 length tee shirts hoping one day to become a factory stars. Those videos showcasing Bailey, O’Mara, Ward, Hannah sparked a deep passion within me to love ALL things associated with supercross/motocross. By age 11, I would scour MXA and Dirt Bike every month instead of doing my homework. Halfway through 1984, I purchased a used 1980 Cr-80 (with a DG "Sun Burst" head and pipe) with cash I earned working on a local U-pick farm based in central NJ.

Ah yes, I remember that bike well, twin shocks, no bottom end power; just a red engine that would scream to the moon; while I attempted to hang on looking like a wet dish rag.

Side note: I tore apart the entire bike 2 days after buying it because I wanted to "go through it", because that's what MXA said to do. I think I scared my dad half-to-death when he opened the garage door that day...

Then IT happened, my Dad took me to the 1985 K.R.O.C.! I was in heaven. As both of you know that was a time when all the heavy hitters came to town. Liles, Hannah, O’Mara and of course local hero Mickey Kessler were just a few that I witnessed displaying moto brilliance.

I knew one thing after that day; this was "my" sport...

Point # 2 defined:

Thankfully my parents guided me to attend a local college. It was here I was able to start my apprenticeship as an auto-tech (they didn't have a motorcycle program). I secretly purchased an 87' XR-250 and kept it hidden from my parents at my buddy's house. I didn't race during my college years, no cash. Still, I kept reading up on the sport and would wrench for friends at Raceway Park. Post college I was lured into off-roading because it was cheaper, plus it allowed me to polish my motorcycle tuning skills. Jetting, Chassis/suspension, power delivery; you guys know, that stuff takes years to learn/understand.

I was a total freak; I'd tape Moto-World at 2:30am and watch it the next day.

(Note: I still have the tapes in my basement, god I need help!!)

Also, during these years I was exposed to a smoking fast red headed kid called Timmy Ferry. RRP was based out of PA so they would bring him to local tracks like Raceway and Powerline. He would kill it!!!!! The best part was nobody know who he was...

During the late 90's (M/C-Fro era) I started racing a lot of MX at Raceway and Powerline. It was here I fully immersed myself in the MX culture. Training, riding twice a week, subscribing to the “early” news paper version of Racer X, parking near Barry Carsten just to watch what he does; these were all things I did because I was SICK.

Through out these years, I was fortunate enough to attend the USGP at Budds in 94', 1st ever US open 98', numerous nationals, and 2 Supercrosses in Charlotte. (I witnessed Seventime beat Hannah’s record there)

Still, my family still didn't understand why I was "SO into" this sport...

Point # 3 defined:

I met my wife and quickly realized she was the one because she would go to the races and help me pit. Plus, she wrote Michael Lafferty (he lives close by) and asked if I could ride with him for a day (That was the best B-day present ever). Together we've attended nationals, held supercross parties, taken neighborhood kids to Raceway Park, and most importantly shared the sport with our own kids.

I currently hold the position of President for a local motorcycle club called M.C.I. (Motorcycle Competition Inc. web site: motorcyclecompetioninc.com). Through this position I'm able to create/promote solid off-road and MX opportunities for fellow enthusiasts in the central NJ area. I still race too; in fact I had my best year ever; 2nd O.A. A-Vet in the ECEA. I also have received rider support for six years from the following companies: Twin-Air/Renthal, Scott USA, IMS, FMF, Asterisk, MSR, Amsoil, IMS, Factory Effex, Braking, and Works Connection.

(You could call your industry contacts to verify in not a total nut.)

Lastly, as stated above, we met Jason gathering data for Bloomberg News on press day at High Point.

Weege, you know we'll do the SX/MX world right. We even went to Madeline's (High St.) on Friday night and spoke to Davey and Ken Block about the future of MX!! 

I know the sport to the best of my ability and would make "Master" Matthes proud to be on his panel when he's chatting with the industry's the best.

Here's a couple of questions I'd like to ask Timmy (or any rider/person): How'd you end up at RRP (or Blah-Blah)?? What's the best testing story you ever witnessed??? How long did you and Matthes work on the carb bogging problems with 426/450 Yamaha's??? Who was a surprisingly cool team mate (that you originally thought was a total tool)??? Have you ever seen Matthes really lose it while working on a bike??? Did you ever totally trash a practice bike??? Would you ever consider doing any GNCC’s??? Plus many more!!!

In closing, you guys can see I'm the complete package. I'm a knowledgeable fan, rider, mechanic, press guy, sponsored rider, promoter, and general nice/normal human being that understands the big picture.

Note: If selected, I would be open to flying to Vegas with the Mrs. to make a mini-vacation out the experience. FYI, my wife is a knowledgeable SX/MX person, who just happens to do professional voiceover work.

Please, please, please pick me. It would be a real treat for my kids to hear me help interview some of their hero’s’ while they're eating their Saturday morning breakfast...

Thanks for even considering me,

Dave

Wow this one is so good it makes me start feeling inadequate! I did indeed meet Dave and his lovely wife at High Point this year and they were really fun to talk to, but now that I know his Jersey roots a little deeper, I question my own excuses. Why the hell didn’t I ever race Englishtown? Why didn’t I have the balls to introduce myself to Carsten? Why didn’t I do it like Dave did, just figuring out a way to go for it?

So this one comes down not to how great a guest Dave would be, but in my typically selfish motives I am almost scared that by the time we are done with the show, I will be huddled in a puddle mess in the corner, slobbering, scared, pale, wondering if I will ever be the same. Remember when James Stewart passed everyone on his 125 at Budds Creek in ’03? After he would pass guys, they would immediately make a huge mistake as if they were actually scared out of their minds watching his mind-boggling speed. That’s what Dave Nash would do to me. - Weege

I feel like I know more about Dave than I do about Weege. That’s how well this email is. I also think Dave’s a better writer than me and I hope he doesn’t submit a resume to DC, I might be out on the streets. A few things that I like are that he seems to like Tim Ferry and that goes a long way with me. He also seems to be a bit of an extreme moto fan and that’s good. I’m the same way. He also speaks highly of me so clearly he’s either a master suck-ass or doesn’t really know me. One point that doesn’t impress me is all the woods talk, I admire the GNCC dudes but I’m not a master woodsman. Weege is though and that helps Dave’s cause. - Matthes

Steve,

In response to your podcast show idea, I always thought it would be cool to have some of the behind the scene guys on the show, not just because I’m one of them, but all you ever here about is the riders and team managers.  I know you know there are many more people involved.   So why do I deserve to be on?  I’ll get through the boring stuff first that qualifies my MX knowledge base.  My dad raced MX in the 70’s as a top amateur but quite a few years after I was born, so I got into MX all on my own.  I got a late start (15 years old) but I have ridden and raced now for the last 20 years and never plan to quit entirely.  I have worked several jobs relating to motocross, currently I design pistons for JE Pistons for a bunch of top teams, well you get the picture and own my own small design company.  I go to one or two nationals a year, and four to five supercross races every year.  So that’s my background, but I have some stuff to say, like what I like and dislike about the sport, riders, bikes, tracks, the AMA, and even Tim Ferry.   What, Tim Ferry you say?  Yes I approached Tim at the Indianapolis Supercross in 1996 or 1997 in the pits after the heat races which he did well and asked him for his jersey.  Now I know this must get old and I had been turned down many times before, but Timmy was rude!  He basically told me NO and get lost, well I’m sure those weren’t the exact words, but that’s how I remember it (it was over 10 years ago).  After that Yogi was my new favorite Suzuki 125 rider.  During the last few years though I have forgiven Ferry and think he’s a pretty good guy and good for the sport.  Got a lot more stories, but will save them for the show!

Thanks,

Daniel

Now that’s what I’m talking about, Matthes will have to defend something Red Dog may or may not have done 15 years ago. Does it get any better? I’m really pumped to read these letters because now I know I wasn’t the only crazy super-fan out there, I remember Red and Yogi being Suzuki 125 teammates and I really didn’t think there was anyone else out there wacky enough to care that much. Apparently there are many. And plus, with this guy we could maybe get some good dirt out of him instead of him dragging it out of us. Let’s get some piston stories from him, my God that’s the heart of an engine, which is the heart of a machine. - Weege

I think Daniel is a liar. That’s plain and simple to see, Mr Ferry would never just tell a fan ‘No.’ Well, maybe he did back then because I hadn’t gotten a chance to mold and shape him into the human he is today. I omitted the teams that Daniel works with but going off the names he provided, he’s definitely an insider and could help Weege and I break into this elite ring of insiders that seem to ignore us. - Matthes

Steve,

1. I've partied with ping, and every other great racer in the 90's (ask ping about the turkey bandit)..

2.I lived with Michael Brandes from 98-00...JLaw has nothing on MB in the late 90's.....

3. I was a one hit wonder (I qualified for one national in 1998)..

4. I'm from nor-cal and grew up racing with Tyler Evans, Jeff Pastana, Jeff Northrop,  Rick Ryan, Dean Matson, Ray Crumb,  Pat Gomm, and many more.....(I have great stories about Ricky Ryan)...

5. I worked for Bell Helmets from 00-02...

6. I worked as Michael Brandes' mechanic in 03 (Star Racing) and in 04 (MDK)

7. I shared a condo in Mammoth with Travis Preston & Michael Brandes for 7 days in 1998....

7. I'm still deeply in love with 1990's motocross...

8. I'm a big fan of Steve Matthes and your podcast's...

9. I just finished paramedic school and I desperately want to talk about anything other then medical terminology.....

I don't want to roll anyone under the bus from back in the day (and I won't), but I feel I could tell classic stories about my experiences from racing and working in the industry. Plus I'd love to give my 2 cents about the current state of racing.

Keep up the good work Steve!

Take Care,

Ben


Let’s take the piston stories from Daniel and turn it up another notch—mid-90’s party stories! Are you kidding me? Now I’m beginning to wonder why these fans would seriously want to come on this show, they have more inside dirt than even we do. I say we forget Ben’s “I don’t want to roll anyone under the bus” promise and just do a podcast with him. Then accidentally forget to hit the record and tell him forget it, anything goes. This would rule. - Weege

I like Ben and I guarantee that his stories about Brandes positively, absolutely rule. I’m sure they sound made-up but I’m sure they’re not. I do like that fact that Ben seems to be fine with laying it all out there for everyone to hear. This way people can get all mad at him instead of me! Also any story involving Ping and a ‘Turkey Bandit’ seems like it would be a riot. - Matthes

My name is Shawn, I love the pod casts, they are always great !!!!!!!   Enough ASS KISSING !!!!!!!  I got to race all over the world, back in the day, got to test pre-production bikes from Honda, do magazine test, got a Hi-Flyer card, two of those babies, raced the big old ROLLERBALL, trail rode with HANNAH, rode a hand built TM bike in Italy, did that whole Micky Thompson ultra-cross thing, I can remember beating this squid kid named Jeremy McGrath, and all those either squid kids from SoCal in the late 80s  to 90s.  Lot’s of memories, when a privateer could live his dream, and I did. Oh yeah, did I say my dad is from CANADA?

You know Matthes, this guy mentioned the Roller and he even has Canadian blood, you should just do an exclusive for the boys at DirectMotocross. But I would like to hear some Mickey Thompson Ultra Cross stories. Man I have boxes and boxes of video tapes of those things, the Vohland brothers taking on Holley! Oh that’s awesome. But I seriously doubt anyone can top Hollywood’s stories on that series, or really, top his stories on anything. I like this guy, I was way far away from the SoCal scene in its hey day and it would be neat to learn. Clearly I’ve given up on playing the insider role in this show. - Weege

Shawn has written me before with some epic Rollerball stories from back in the day. Some of them even involve on-track racing! He was a privateer slugging away in the trenches for a few years and I can relate to this. I was a box-van driving monkey for many years hanging out with Jason Frenette. I have stories that are unbelievable because when you’re a privateer and you’re driving across the country, you began to go bat-poop crazy. The only thing is, while I would be paying rabid attention to his Ross stories, I’m afraid that ¾ of the listeners won’t be. It’s not easy being a fan of a dominant mid-80’s Canadian motocrosser and I understand if you don’t care. - Matthes

My dearest Steve and Your less famous side kick

(What's his name Justin or Jason something like that, I think he is on TV or something, like he is all that).

Anyway I am writing concerning your request for a guest on the pod cast. You know a regular guy who happens to live dirtcycling. So I guess some back ground is in order to justify my RIGHT to be that guy.

First off I am the founder and sole member of the OFASD Race team. (Old Fat and Slow Dork) racing. My less than famous racing career has humble beginnings, (screen fades to late 60's back yard of my friends home) the year is, I guess maybe ‘69 or ‘70

(yes I was a teen in the 70's and some of my memories have faded if you know what I mean). The bike, a little Honda 50.

My instructors were my brother and friend. Lesson one. Here is the gas, I shake my head o.k. and off I go, they forgot to tell me about the breaks or how to stop, so the end result is little Bryan laying on the ground crying and the bike stuck in a fence.

Fast forward to 1976, me on my new Honda 125, place Haspin Acres Indiana. The big day: my first race! (did I mention I am really not that good of a racer?) Motors rev gate drops and yes as you guessed (no I did not pull the hole shot and win my first race) bike loops out and I enter the first turn in last place and it only got better from there. I have 8mm film of it by the way.

So now lets take a break from oh I don't know maybe 1980 to 1987 (Army, stint with a love affair (Read: Bud Light and that ever evil green leafy substance). Then adult hood kicks in and I come to my senses and buy another bike.

I know lets try off road racing, I mean after such a successful moto career I should to be able to kick ass in the woods. What should I try?

I know, how about an enduro, which sounds easy. (Note: never finish an enduro, sit down, eat and change clothes without loading the bike first. I had to beg the people next to me to help me push it on the trailer. Yes I said trailer not in the back of the truck, I was that sore and stiff) but I had fun and knew I had found my calling. I thought 157 points was a good thing!

O.K. maybe that was a little to long of a race, lets try the Hare Scrambles thing, Yea that's it. After many years of riding and racing hare scrambles, this year I actually raced every one of the District 15 series and finished 3rd in class for the year. (Not that I beat anyone I was just at every race and scored points)

Oh yea I almost forgot, I had a great idea back in 1999, I had read about this race in Illinois, it was called The Moose Run. Well I always wanted to race the Blackwater 100 but never got the chance and this race was billed as the TOUGHEST RACE IN AMERICA.

Did I mention I am not a very good dirtcycle racer? Anyway the race was every thing it was billed to be (well the 18 miles of 100 that I got to see) lets just say I got to the first check and was sure it was the end of the race, I ask the check guy "how far in am I" he said 6 miles. Yep bit off more than I could chew again. So after 18 miles and about 3.5 hours I was done and stopped at the check, had a beer and rode the street back to the truck. (I did Trophy).

This is just one of many stories like that, (riding an enduro in the snow and coming in to the pits just at dark time, I houred out at the first check after the gas stop the guys point me to the road back to the club grounds and I say I paid my money I am riding the whole course. (Note: when 4 old grey haired scraggly guys laugh and say ok go ahead have fun, you may want to listen to them and take the road back. I'm just saying.)

Ok I hope this gives you a little insight into the kind of guy I am (no I do not mean one who is not very smart) I mean one who loves our sport, thinks today's riders are a little spoiled. Loves the history of our sport, guys who don't quit and ride for the love of it not the fame. (did I mention I am not a very good rider, the only thing that kept me from a paying carrier in dirtcycle racing was talent).

Now for my shameless ass kissing!!!! TIM FERRY IS A GOD, AND SHOULD BE IN THE MOTOR SPORTS HALL OF FAME, NOT JUST THE AMA HALL OF FAME. No really he is not an example of the spoiled riders I mentioned above, I like the riders who get faster later in the race like him and The Rock it shows they put in the time during the week when no one is watching.

Thanks So Much

Bryan

(OFASD-RACING)

P.S. I always say if it weren't for guys like me (the also ran's) the people who win races would only be beating their self's. I think anyway? Or it is just my way of justifying spending way to much money over the past 30 years on a sport I suck at?

Couldn’t agree with him more. I didn’t race my first race until I was 24, and holy crap did I suck. When you break your wrist preparing to race for your first race, you know you’re in trouble. I have many stories like this and talking with Bryan would make me feel better (this show has essentially turned into therapy for me). Not sure of his moto-knowledge but I supposed you can take that for granted if you love the sport this much. And as an added bonus for you, Steve, you would clearly be the best rider out of this trio. - Weege

That last paragraph seemed to really grab my attention. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the all-caps that he used. Bryan seems to be a motorcycle lifer and that’s always a good thing. Guys like this always have a ton of stories and can recite them like they happened yesterday. Sometimes it’s a little ‘Bob Hannah is my God-ish’ but you can understand why these guys think like this. After all they had metal tanks and no safety seats back then so the constant pounding of your gonads on the steel makes anyone a little stir crazy. - Matthes

p.s.- I do like the fact that he called Weege less famous than me even though Weege is a million times more famous than me. He’s seen by so many more eyeballs than me, it’s ridiculous. Also when people do see me, they often try to wash their eye-balls with bleach immediately afterward. It seems like Bryan wouldn’t be one of those guys. And that’s a good thing.

Thanks to everyone that entered, thanks to these semi-finalists and we’re not going to do anything like The Bachelor does and extend this rose ceremony anymore than it probably already has been. We’ve picked the first letter, written by Dave Nash, as the winner. We were probably on the fence between a couple of these guys but Dave’s wife wrote a very nice email in to back up her husband on why he’s a good dude and why he should be on the show. She said something like every Saturday morning, Dave puts on the Racer X Podcast and laughs away at it. It really touched my heart that she mentioned that I feel like part of the family or something like that. Maybe I made up that last part. Anyways, all that combined with the NJ, Barry Carsten and GNCC talk which all excited Weege like no other and he’s our winner!
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