I always enjoy your off the wall take on things. Now that we are seeing super fast second and even third generation racers, (can't wait for Liam Everts to grow up!), I'm curious how the fast dads teach their young sons. I was a moderately fast Nor Cal expert back in the day, rode some west coast pro races, and am now teaching my 8 year old son to ride and race. While genetics may play a role it seems to me it has to be more training and riding. My kid loves to ride but is still figuring out what riding fast is vs. just riding around. I'm trying to teach him speed and race craft, and it's not so obvious so I am curious how Everts, Hansen, Plessinger, etc. are doing it. Weege's take on it in a recent Racer X was let 'em ride and have fun, and don't worry about racing.
What's your take?
Jim Zack, AIA | principal
I think you have to let them have fun when they are very young and just getting started. If they progress to the point where you are racing competitively you can either push them or let them push themselves, and I think different kids respond in different ways. A kid who are very competitive and aggressive probably doesn't need dad screaming at him from the mechanics area to go faster. Junior is probably wound tight enough and will come in crying if he doesn't win. Other kids don't get that competitive drive until they hit puberty and their balls drop. That's a game changer. Up to that point you might need to push this little wussy a bit, or he would just stay home playing video games and avoiding contact with other humans. If you are set on rolling the dice with your child's future, the path that has been set by the Carmichaels, the Stewarts, and the Villopotos is a regimented program that doesn't waver and doesn't accept anything less than 100 percent effort every day.
Your prior riding experience will help him with the fundamentals, and when they are young that is really all you need to focus on. You teach peewee football players the same thing about the game that you do college players, and the same goes for motocross. Make sure they understand the basics and the rest of the stuff will fit in as they progress. You want my honest opinion? Enjoy the time that you and your son spend at the track and going to the races. He might end up being the next Ryan Dungey, but the odds say he'll be enrolled at a junior college looking for another career path before he's 20. Let your focus be a healthy, exciting sport that you both love and spending time as a family rather than success at a professional level and you can't go wrong, no matter how it works out.
I was watching this years Indiana National Race during our wait for the upcoming season. Typical of mud races, racers had to stop for goggles. Grant Langston made the point that many times this doesn't work because the helmet is so muddy that the goggles get dirty putting the clean ones on. Maybe I am the moron here but why don't they pull the emergency release on the cheek pads of the helmet, take the riders helmet off and give them a new helmet and goggles. If you try it takes almost no more time then trying to put new goggles on over a muddy helmet. Maybe no one ever thought of it?
Ronnie Mac's 2nd cousin.
Were you and Ronnie pounding PBRs when you penned this? I don't how good you are at unstrapping and re-strapping a helmet with muddy gloves on your hands, but my guess is you would be lapped at least once before you got back on the track. Even if your pit crew did it, you would waste a lot of time strapping up. Sorry, man, but that is a terrible idea, and I'm afraid all of us are a little bit dumber for having taken the time to read through it. You are, indeed, a moron. It is true that dirt gets in the goggles when you pull new ones on, but I think Trey Canard started a new trend that same weekend when he took off with two pairs of goggles on. It may sound absolutely ridiculous, but it worked and I wouldn't be surprised if you see more of that at the next muddy national. Just kidding with the moron stuff… thanks for writing in.
In this marvelous green and pleasant land of England, moto-X tracks are subject to limitations. The standard noise problems persist, but more than that, country side agencies limit some tracks to six or twelve events per year. On top of this is a notion of stuffiness from the weekend second home countryside dwellers that the race crowd are hoodlums and may terrorize their peace and tranquility by raping and pillaging through their village.
This sometimes leads the amateur scene away from hilly landscapes and into flat stubble field to make up the calendar.
I wonder why some flattish terrain has made it onto the pro calendar in the USA? Do you American chaps also lose beautiful undulating hills to stuffy toff-nosed agencies? I know you ride what's there and the cream rises to the top no matter the challenge, so a track is a track, but to me it is so much more than a start and finish (much like love).
Which tracks do you miss most in retirement? You know... if your body and mind were ready for one last hoorah; where would it be and on which bike? What about the rest of the racerx scribes? I miss foxhills, yes even in the mud. The blind leap of faith down those chalky Wiltshire hills felt floatingly infinite on my rm125's. It's still there, but the leaps have been softened for the 450's and I've long since gratefully retired.
Regards and good morrow
Just like in Great Britain, open land is disappearing over here. The rolling green hills and countryside that used to be such epic locations for scrambles and dirt bike races are now covered with houses and strip malls. That's great news if you are moving to the burbs and you need your nails done, a box of donuts, and a tanning bed session, but that's about it. This problem has forced us to places like Lake Elsinore, Salt Lake City, and Pala, all of which have very little natural elevation change. I'm not one of the haters who thinks every single national track has to have massive uphills and downhills; I think Salt Lake City’s National could be great because of the venue. But if the course is flat, it better have amazing dirt and a really cool layout that the riders like. That one is a work in progress.
If I could have a go at one more national it would probably be RedBud. It was always my favorite track of the year, but I never had great finishes there. The bike? I know it wouldn't get me over LaRocco's Leap, but I'd probably pick my 2000 RM125. That thing was a missile and so much fun to ride. My second choice would be Glen Helen on a good 250F. I always liked the opening round of a series. The slate is clean and the tension at an opener is palpable. It's a great thought but when I see guys stack up in the first turn or take a beating down a hill, I'm glad I'm in the stands watching.
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