HUMANS - Our Competative Nature


What makes us competative?

What makes us risk life and limb (motorcycle racing) so we can beat the other guy? It is certainly not for the money for most of us. Many of us hold dteady jobs, have a wife and family. People that depend on us to be there at the end of every weekend. People that count on us to live themselves. So, why then?

I would like to appologise in advance for my thoughts, but I cannot speak to my friends aboutr this face to face as they would not understand. Many are not as interested as we are about the sport.

This weekend, I have come to the realisation that my riding and progression into racing again has a dramatic effect on my wife. She had to fly to California to collect my shattered body and nurse back into health. The impact on her was incredible. So much so that she aged a number of years yourself. Put yourself in her shoes. I am due to fly home on a Sunday. I delay the flight to thursday for one last blast on the Sunday morning ride. My last blast. She does not get a call all weekend and then the call on Tuesday night, 12th of October, 1999, 7:30pm. Monday, early afternoon in Australia. The Nurse patches me through to my wife. I have to tell her the news. The recollection I have of the conversation is rather vague.. All that morphine.. :)... but, i do remember the silence and the sobbing that followed. I have a tear in mt eye now just thinking about it. I dont remember much of the accident except the fear of dying, permanently. I can recall telling my friend Eli to tell my wife I love her and that I am sorry. I thought that was it guys. I thought the meat wagon was coming to get me. (Can someone please pass me a tissue.. :D)

Anyways, getting to my point. I promised my wife I would never ride on the roads again and that I would never put her in this position again. I lied. Unintentionally, I lied. I am riding again and I am going to be racing again. So, tell me, why, why do we put ourselves throught this?

I am both terrified and excited about riding again. The excilleration of riding, fast, makes me feel alive, ontop of the world. But, the contemplation make me dread the thought of competing again....

WE all ride and we are all competative. If you werent, you would certainly be living a lie. How many of you have gone out riding with your friends and refused to get passed by somebody faster and as a result have had a come off of some sorts. I would not be suprised if the answer was all of you/us. And I would not be suprised if this occured MANY times.....

So tell me, what is it that makes us competative. What part of us makes us want to succeed, to be better, to triumph over that which seems incermountable?

These are just some of my thoughts at the moment that I needed to share with somebody.


The nurse handed me the phone to tell my wife also. It wasn't easy and I don't want to have to do it again. We have a common thread that riding is part of living, and without it there would be a tremendous void.

Balance everything to the best of your ability and then hang on to the roller coaster of life!

Hey James,

Seems that we truly do have much in common. WE both share the same responsibilities and life search. We both seem to be in a situation, as all other riders out there, that we have very little control of.

Our love for our partners and our love for riding.

Send me your number to

Maybe we could chat and get together some time in the near future. i will be back in the US at the end of this week. Where in the US do you reside?



In 1978 I was playriding in an area near my home on my '77 Yamaha DT 250 Dual purpose 2 stroke. I was riding in an area where condos/apartments were going up. I remember a man walking with his little boy in the area I was riding. I wanted to make a good impression and was just cruising around doing wheelies. Although I had ridden this area before, construction sites change everyday. As I was going along, a trench appeared right in front of me. I nailed the throttle hoping to get the front end up to clear this 5 foot wide (just short of 2 meters) hole. My front end hit the other wall and I fell landing on my left wrist, breaking the navicular bone. After being casted up that day, I jumped on my little Honda QA 50. The QA was like the Honda mini-trail, but had a hard tail frame. It was also a 2 speed vice 3 speed. The next day I was blasting over some whoops on my brother's '74 KX250 Kaw. I had to hang on the left grip w/ my hand upside down, otherwise I COULDN'T RIDE!! In April 1980, I was going through a large whooped section while racing in the Open C class on my 1980 Yamaha YZ465. I came off one whoop with the bike listing to port quite severely. I put my leg out to keep the bike straight upon impact. My leg was the first to hit and took all the weight of me and my bike. I compressed the left knee joint which tore my ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. I was not in college at the time and had no insurance. There was also no corrective surgery available at this time for this type of injury. In two months I was back on the track. In the fall of this same year, I was leading the Open Experts through a turn (different track). I put my right leg out through the turn. My foot hit something and and my left knee took the weight of me and my bike. So I tore my right ACL this time. Actually, the impact tore the ACL right off the bone. I had insurance this time. The Doc, having no options, screwed the ligament back into the bone. I was in a cast for 3 months. In 1981, I was back on the track again. From then until 1983 when I finally quit (temporarily) I don't recall anymore catastrophic injuries. I joined the US navy in 1984 to protect the US from communist infiltration or what ever it was at the time, that and the fact I did not see my future as fantastic as could be and I ran my Camaro into a Corvette while uninsured. I had to pay for all the damage to the 'Vette, which wiped out my bank account. I raced once in Ocala, Florida in 1989 on a borrowed '86 KX250. The announcer nicknamed me Captain America when I crashed through a brutally rock hard whoop section and split my visor directly down the center. The two halves pivoted back, still screwed in. I guess my helmet looked like Captain America's with the little wings on the side. I wan't humiliated until after the race when I heard the story from my Ex-wife (that psychopathic, lying, cheating...).

I got out of the navy in 1990 and celebrated my divorce by buying a brand new '91 Honda CR250 while at my new job in Pennsylvania. I raced a few times that fall and twisted my left knee up badly. I went to the Doc who did me a big favor and cut half the cartilage out of my left knee. What a nice guy. I continued to race and in 1992 I was in my first and only hare scrambles. I went through a corner and flipped the bike. I landed on my right wrist fracturing this navicular bone. I was in a cast for 3 months. I started racing again in 1993, and quit after the last race of that season when my job ended. I moved to Connecticut in '94 and never raced competatively again. I was a member of a local, sanctioned race track and rode whenever my wife, Alisa, let me, which wasn't often. In 1996, my left knee started aching. I saw the Doc who informed me arthritus set in and I would eventually need knee replacement. I had them rebuild the ACL, but the arthritus will not go away, and the knee replacement thing is still in my future. The cartilage is the problem. I very sadly sold my beloved Honda. I thought I would never again fly off the jumps, crash berms, feel the pride of going head to head with 20 other guys and winning. My life essentially ended. I had nothing to look forward to. I thought if I get another MXer, I would accelerate my getting my knee replacement which would probably end any thought of ever riding again. Kind of a Catch 22 thing...Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The YZF came out and I was stoked, although I knew I would never ride one. Then the WR was released. My wife and I discussed it. I new I could register it, and that I could always trail ride. I bought my bike and have never looked back. I am taking a supplement to hopefully ward off my deteriating knee. It does seem to be working. And I am back at hitting berms and whoops, albeit smaller ones... I have not found the big ones yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I look back and wonder if I made a tragic mistake when I threw my leg over my first bike in 1972. Was it worth all this? My left wrist is now deteriorating, my right wrist is stable for the moment. My left knee aches as does my right knee. I have a herniated disk in my lower spine from bad posture and hammering whoops.

You knw what, I do think it was worth it. How does that saying go,

"It is better to be a racer for a minute, than a spectator all your life".

[This message has been edited by Kevin in New Hampshire (edited 06-05-2000).]

Hey Kevvie,

I like the quote at the end... I will use that and have it painted on the side of my truck when I finally get it approved. That will be on the drivers side of the rear tray... On the left side I will have "He Who Rides Fast, Rides Alone"....

Very facinating life my friend, very facinating. Arthritus, damn that must suck. But, I am sure I will suffer the same soon enough. I twisted both knees as a young MXer. They sometimes trouble me, but not much.

Hey, we wikll compare scars around the campfire in october. looking forward to it. :)


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