I have a friend here in Peru that continues to gather my respect each time I spend another moment with him. His name is Nico. He stands about 5ft 2 inches and is every bit a moto fanatic. What makes Nico so special is his deep rooted passion of motorcycles. Let me explain.
I am privileged. I have never, in my life, gone without. Yeah, I don't have a yacht on the Italian coast, but I have everything I need. I even have a nice motorcycle to ride. If it breaks down, I have the resources to get it fixed.
In comes Nico. I have grown to respect this man's passion. It runs deep. Just yesterday, I was dropping off a trailer at Nico's shop. He is a welder by trade. He offered to get it painted and do a couple of things to improve its utility.
Nico the welder, proud moto dad, and a man that can make anything work...Hardly in any pictures because he is the one taking all the pics
While talking to Nico, he told me that his dad used to race motocross some 20 to 30 years ago. It was in the old Honda XL 185 days. His eyes lit up as he told me about watching his father bounce around the tracks when he was a little boy. Somewhere in the scope of his life, a fire began to burn deep. He is now passing on a legacy and passion to his kids.
Nico, materially, has hardly anything. Every bike this guy has is a hodge podge of parts and pieces. He recently bought an old beat up Rm85 for his daughter, Sami. It worked when he bought it, but now its sitting in his shop without a soul. He has ordered a fresh motor from Ebay, but the taxing authorities in Peru will not allow the motor to be brought into the country. He is in the process of having the tax authorities return it back to the seller to be dismantled, so that the parts themselves can be reshipped in different packages, to skirt the system.
RM 85 waiting for a new soul...Hard to get parts in Peru!
A few weeks ago, he borrowed a motorcycle for his daughter to use so she could race in the local MX series to continue accumulating points. Little did Nico know, the bike he borrowed was on its last leg. During the race, the crank went out causing a bunch of damage. He was held responsible for getting it back to running condition. I happened to have an old box of parts for that same type of bike. He was able to get it all fixed up fairly cheap.
Nico and Sami doing what they love!
I am still getting to know Nico and his family. He is at every race I have ever been to. With his smiling face, he watches his young daughter rip around the track. He also puts his time and effort into his boy that is so small he has to start the races with his dad holding the back fender to keep the bike upright. His wife is there at every moment. It's a beautiful thing to see a moto family like that. In fact, Nico brought his family over to our house one afternoon to ask me to be the Padrino for his daughter. He didn't pick a longtime family friend. He didn't pick a neighbor, or a member of his church. He picked me. I asked him why he chose me. Nico told me that he wanted to have a Padrino for his daughter that loved motorcycles as much as he did. Being a Padrino(a godfather) here in Peru is a major responsibility and a privilege. I was quite surprised that he wanted me to take the position. My flattered face must have shown.
The gang and I...A little celebration after a good day of racing
I had seen Nico at a race a couple of weeks ago. He had purchased, yet another bike. This time, I thought he may have rounded up a good deal. The bike worked for his daughter to race. Then, I also saw Nico trudging through the mud on the same bike. It was a Honda CRF 150. He made it to the finish line. Good for him.
While I was at his shop dropping off the trailer, we ended up talking bikes. I asked about the CRF 150 and how he liked it. He told me he bought it for a good price. I quickly found out that it came with no wheels, and much of the important stuff was not included. Not sure if it was a good deal, but it got him another day of racing. He managed to take the triple clamps, forks, front brakes, and wheel off the RM and place it on the chassis of the CRF. He did the same with the rear wheel. I got a chance to take a close look at the artwork of Nico(in Peru, mechanic=artist=creative genius). This guy did whatever it took to get to the track with a functional bike. I dig that kind of passion. Mad respect for Nico!
A bike put together with passion and genius...It's a miracle that it works
If each of us had a "Nico" passion in our lives, the sun would shine a bit brighter. I am glad to have a common passion with my friend. We can talk motos until we are out of breath. Don't let a few mishaps and misfortunes take you out of the race. Sometimes a bit of creativity and drive will get you to the finish line. Your gear may not match and your tires may be wired to the rims. The cracks in your plastics may have been stitched together with zipties. The point I am trying to make is that passion wins a lot more races than pretty.
These are Nico's kids...Sami and Carlo...Champions!