Archive for December 2011
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to check out the brand new Ridge Motorsports Park out in Shelton, WA, with 2Fast. It was the first major event at the track, and needless to say, even in its incomplete state, it’s become the most exciting track in the region. Thanks to Warren, I got a chance to do a few laps on a bike the day before the event, and despite the freezing weather, it’s made me eager for the 2012 track/racing season. I spent the event day taking pictures and giving car rides to folks so they could check it out. It was awesome.
I decided that morning that because the event was being held as a charity to local food banks that folks who were invited out that day got their pictures for free. It was for a good cause, and people came out to give canned goods and donate, so I figured it was the least I could do.
So if you were out there, I hope you enjoy your pictures. You can find your photos here.
Video from the car ride at lunch that day. I only wish that I had put a camera inside the car to get the looks on people’s faces as they experienced the track for the first time…
I realize this is a post I should’ve written earlier in the season, but I feel like I wanted to get it out there about how awesome people in the track and motorcycle community can be…
When this last season started, I thought I was done with it all. I wasn’t inspired in any way to fix my bike, and I didn’t seem to miss the track one bit, even as I watched folks circle the track through my lens. I had been thinking for a long time: I got my adrenaline rush. I’m done spending so much on this sport and risking it on the pavement.
Man, was I wrong…
At the last OMRRA weekend of the 2010 season, I wadded my bike in the rain. Twice. After the second crash, which did a number on the bike to the point where it was pointless trying to look for parts in the pits, I submitted to defeat and left my ravaged bike out in the open until pack up and go time the next day. That whole weekend, I kept passing by it, glancing at it, and thinking about how much more money in parts I was going to have to put into it, and how much time I was going to have to spend in the garage trying to figure out if it was even still ride-able.
The weekend came to a close, along with race season, and the bike, once I got it home, sat in the corner of the garage for the whole winter. Some boxes even started to crawl up on top of it and managed to cover it by the time the 2011 season came around.
The first track day lay ahead, and people kept asking me where my bike was. I told folks that I wasn’t feeling the pull of the track any more, and I was just going to focus on taking pictures. I got some weird looks, and I was okay with it.
By the time the second track day came around, Rob emailed me and told me to bring my bike to the track. He wanted to take a look at it, and I didn’t see any harm in it, so I did as asked. He took it home that day and it didn’t really cross my mind to question why. Maybe I was just glad to get it out of sight for a while, or maybe I was thankful for the extra space it opened up in the garage.
I didn’t see it for a few months, much less think about it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Come mid-season, I started to get the itch again. Friends were racing, I was on the outs with a girl, I needed something to get my mind off of things, and it kept gnawing at me that I needed to get out on the asphalt. It hadn’t helped that I had been getting a fix every week or so doing some warehouse mini bike racing with the Skagit guys, either. I blurted about the angst on Facebook, and the next thing I know, I get a message from Tony telling me I should make sure to show up in Portland at the next track day, because the bike was nearly ready. Oh, yeah. My bike’s with the guys. So south I went with a trailer.
I get there the night before in the dark, help 2Fast set up the pits while working under car headlights, and get ready to turn in. The whole time I was thinking about where I could go on the track the next day to mix up my photos, because Portland’s always been a pain to shoot at, with rules pertaining to photographers needing to be behind barriers. It wasn’t at the front of my mind, but I had also been wondering what the guys had been doing to the bike. It wasn’t until I walked past Rob’s trailer one more time that I noticed he had an extra bike lined up with the others. Even in the dark, I could tell that it was a nicely done ride, and my initial thought was Ha! Rob got another bike to ride on the track. Man, that guy really enjoys — … Wait… Why would he get a CBR…?
That’s when I realized what the guys had been up to. Quickly followed by the revelation of how much I had actually been missing my motorcycle. It was beautiful – more beautiful than I’d seen it in years. Rob, Tony, Jay, and Joe had all pitched in to get the bike looking new again. They redid everything: plastics, controls, swingarm, rotors, fairing stay – the works. Of course the first thing I did at sunrise was to take pictures of it.
That was the only time I picked up the camera that day, because I spent the rest of it riding the crap out of my awesome new motorcycle. I was back where I belonged, and so was Madison: zipping down the track and leaning into turns with a knee on the ground.
I will never be able to thank the guys enough. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten back into racing, and my year wouldn’t have been anywhere near as awesome as it has been. Hell, they probably saved my sanity.
From the bottom of my heart, a big thanks goes out to Rob, Tony, Jay and Joe for all their kindness and hard work. You guys are some of the greatest people I know, and you’ve helped me come back to doing what I love. Here’s to riding with you for years to come.