I’d like to say that I don’t get nervous racing 18-22 year olds but I really do. They are trying to make a name for themselves so they will throw caution to the wind while I’m over here trying to stay relevant at 37 years of age. Finding the right races to do as a Vet racer/rider is harder than you think it is, so when Transworld announced that the TransAm event would be 25+ and over riders only I was stoked due to my racing calendar getting smaller then it use to be. The main races I hit are vet and two stroke invitational type races where I’m able to compete with like minded racers.
The TransAm event came up quicker than expected but with the Two Stroke World Championships the following weekend at Glen Helen I thought it would be a great warm up race and time to hang with som guys that don’t race very much. Ryan Villopotto and Jeemey Mcgrath verbally committed to the event and that’s exciting in it’s own right. Some rain came in the late the week of the race but no rain was forecasted for the 3 moto formats for Saturday and Sundays races so I was pretty confident that the Glen Helen crew would have the track dialed in. Practice was canceled Friday due to the rain and I was stoked because the stress of taking off work was now gone and I could load up the trailer after work and tow it out to Glen Helen in style utilizing one of Toyota of Escondido Toyota Tundras. I took my oldest son Mason with me for a little father son camping trip and when I wasn’t racing he could ride the kids track that was supposed to be open all day. I arrived Friday night got the spot dialed with Troy Lee, McGrath, Donny Wilson, Jeff Bell, David O’connor and few others. This is the part of Vet racing that I enjoy. Campfires, bench racing and a few cold ones before taliing about the weekend of banging bars.
I got up in the morning and was pumped to see great weather and the track looking prime for the day. I got to borrow a 2018 KTM Factory Edition from work so I was excited to rip that thing and I headed out for practice and only made it two laps before I caught a softball size rock to the knee cap going up Mt St. Helens. I was lucky to have my Asterisk braces on to protect me but in all the years of racing I’ve never got hit by a rock dead on the knee cap like this. I honestly wanted to puke it hurt so damn bad! I thought the weekend was a total loss for about 30 min. The pain was bad bad! I took a few Advil and got set for my first moto in the vet class against Ryan Villopoto, Dennis Stapleton, Kris Keefer and a bunch of other Vet riders. I got a so so start and made my into 2nd after catching some roost off of the back tire of Jeff Loops YZ450. I was riding really good in my mind and my bike was flawless but RV2 is just on another level. The last lap Kris Keefer made a run on me and almost got by me but I was able to hold onto second.
The 40+ pro class was loaded with talent
There was a few motos until my two stroke open moto where I’d be racing McGrath and a few other guys so I went out to the track to watch the 40+ class where a few of my friends were going to do battle. Kris Keefer and Mcgrath put on a amazing show for all of us in attendance. Keefer is no slouch around Glen Helen but the weight of the King got the best of Kris and after not racing moto for almost 7 years Jeremy won the 1st 40+ pro moto.
My Two stroke race was up now and Jeremy and I both agreed to put on a good show but not to take big risks and enjoy the moto. We came around the first lap 2nd and 3rd trailing Sean Lipanovich who was ripping. I was on my 2nd lap when on the fastest part of the track my right foot slipped of the peg before the lip of a jump and I went flying into the air where I would ultimately got knocked unconscious for 2-3 minutes. McGrath didn’t make it pass me once I hit the ground. He stayed by my side and got them to Red Flag the race so the medics could attend to me. Once I started getting my shit together I was given a ride to my trailer where I would sit there so bummed out that my son who was being watched by some friends and had to see his Dad in rough shape. I was pissed at myself to say the least. This is where the moto family trumps any other sport in my opinion. Anyone that I personally knew or have met made an effort to come check on me and make sure my son Mason and I were going to be ok. I decided to stay the night at the track in case something wasn’t going right with my head I’d have friends with me. My Wife and youngest son were out of town so this was the best option. I hobbled around the rest of the night and enjoyed the free Wienerschnitzel hot dogs then watched the SX on live stream in the Glen Helen Museum then to cap off the night that I got to watch the Troy Lee Designs Dual sport ride/race. The next day I woke up so damn sore and helpless feeling that I had to have my buddy David O’connor start my generator for me so I could get the heater on. I was overwhelmed when I got outside… Two bikes, awning, carpet, and chairs all had to be put away and I could barely move. Parked next to me was a young man named Austin and his girlfriend. Austen works for TLD and I met him that weekend. Before I could muster the courage to ask for help loading up him and his girl jumped in and got me loaded up and on my way home.
Reflecting on the event I’m bummed on myself for crashing but in my eyes this event was bad ass! The vibe was good, the support by the industry seemed strong and the track lay out was good “besides the split lanes”. I wouldn’t offer so many classes and most definitely get rid of the “expert” class. Just have a pro class, B, and C classes. The 3 moto format was cool, but I think the event could be a day and half long Saturday morning practice, two motos on Saturday and one on Sunday. Vet riders will have enough with that much riding and it’s not needed to have Friday practice then we all have to take off work. Will I be back next year? Yes of course, but until then I will be getting my body all healed up for my next race the 125 dream race at Hangtown. Concussions are scary and I’m taking my healing very serious by getting tested by Ichor sports medicine utilizing my baseline concussion test from last year.
Big Thanks to the team at Toyota of Escondido for dialing me in with a truck to town my trailer to the race.