Better Late Than Never
Growing up I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a police officer. Don’t ask me why because honestly I can’t tell you. It has been a drive of mine from a young age. Not only did I want to be a cop but I wanted to be a great one. I kept my nose clean and tried to stick to jobs as a teenager in fields with transferable skills. I went to college and earned my Bachelors in Integrated Science with my emphasis being Psychology and Criminal Justice. I worked at a residential treatment center after college for youth as a Development Counselor. Here I developed patience and saw first hand behavioral issues, mental disorders and how important effective communication and de-escalation is. After two years I finally hired on to one of the largest police departments in the United States and it has been great ever since. I have applied myself to reach my goals but there was always one temptation in my life that had me at times questioning buying a box van and heading to California; motocross.
My earliest memories of motocross began around 2006 when I was in middle school. Ricky Carmichael was on a Suzuki, James Stewart on a Kawasaki and Chad Reed on a Yamaha and life was good. I remember going grocery shopping with my mom and running to the magazine section and picking up the latest issue of Motocross Action Magazine. I would read that magazine front to back and absorb the knowledge like I was going to be tested on it. I learned about the mechanics of two and four stroke motorcycles, the affects pipe diameter and muffler length can have on a motorcycle engine, gear ratios, how the AMA killed the two stroke and hundreds of different things I could talk about forever. In my opinion I learned a lot about the past and how we got to the present. I learned of legends such as Tom White, Roger DeCoster, Doug Dubach, Damon Bradshaw, JoJo Keller, Kyle Lewis, Mitch Payton, Malcom Smith, Bob Hannah, Danny “Magoo” Chandler, Jeff Ward, Brad Lackey, Ricky Johnson, Marty Tripes and many more.
In the mid 2000s I was riding around on a 1982 Honda Mini Trail 50. Sheep horn bars, no air filter and the grumpiest bike to start when hot. A few weeks later I had a 1980 XR 80 and you might as well have put a factory Honda CR 250 in front of my face because I was in love. I was tired of being the casual weekend trail rider and wanted to race! At that time Nico Izzi, Eli Tomac and Ian Trettel were absolute phenoms and they were all on Suzuki’s amateur program. Therefore after much pleading, begging and compromises my mom bought me a new 2006 RM 85. My dad called the dealership and wanted to return it. No racing, no two strokes and I needed to get dirt bikes out of my head.
Needless to say when I did ride again it would be on borrowed bikes of friends. I didn’t buy another dirt bike till 2012. I bought a used 2004 KX250F from a guy named Sterling and it blew up after 10 minutes. The piston was inside cylinder sideways and I was lucky to scrap it out for almost what I paid. Especially considering I was in college at the time so money wasn’t exactly a commodity that I had. I graduated college and told myself once I started my career field I would get a dirt bike. I got into my career field, graduated the academy, graduated field training, completed probation and ultimately it was the birth of my daughter that was the final push to buy a dirt bike!
In the fall of 2018 I picked up a new KTM 250 SX and decided that was going to be my weapon of choice. I did not know where to start but I had just made friends with people who ride and do it very well so I was motivated! Needless to say that dirt bike for a beginner absolutely kicked my ass. It wasn’t till December of 2019 that I finally felt ready to compete in my first race. Fire vs Police held a GP at Glen Helen and I thought it was the perfect spot to make an intro. It is a nice family oriented race series that would make a good transition before going to bigger and more publicized events. Not only was it a good atmosphere for first race but it was being held at Glen Helen. If you don’t know Glen Helen is basically the Mecca of Southern California motocross. Some of the greatest rivalries and races in history were raced on those hills and the entire facility is littered in nostalgic views and backdrops. I was lucky enough to start my dream of racing motocross at Glen Helen and needless to say it was an amazing experience.
Through this platform I plan to share my experience as I chase a long term goal. I know there are many such as myself who wanted to do it as a kid but did not have the means in whatever form they were. In my opinion it is never too late to start racing and there are plenty of classes and organizations accommodating of us who are getting a late start. Unfortunately 2020 threw a curve ball at my plans of attending a good portion of Swap Moto races, REM, Two Stroke National and anything else I could develop my skills on. Unfortunately that is life so we are going to roll with it; all we can do.