How far can you go in this sport? What is your goal as a racer? What is your goal as a parent of a racer? There is no doubt that love and passion (I use this word a lot, I know) for this sport can push on, intrude, take over, and manipulate one’s life is quite extraordinary. I can speak from this at the top level. I made sacrifices like prom, friends from school, normal summers at the lake, or a cottage. My focus, and what has been my focus for some 40 years now, has been moto. My education is this sport, and my thoughts come from a solid footing. So when I share the next part of this FLOOD 2.0, it’s zero bullshit and straight-up fact.
I asked questions to start this off, and I wonder what some answers will be from the masses. I would assume some racers or most racers under 20 years of age would say, “I want to go all the way,” or “My goals are to become a pro and win championships.” I understand this, and I applaud those who aim and work towards these goals. The realistic percentage of those making it is extremely low and extremely unlikely. For the parent question, I would assume the majority of parents with kids under 20 years of age would say, “I want my racer to be the best. I want them to succeed and become a pro.” Again, achievable goals for anyone with a work ethic and drive to push the limits of their abilities. But the actual percentage matches the same as the one I mentioned above. I constantly see racers or parents doing pointless things because that racer doesn’t have what it takes to make it to the top and transition the sport from a hobby to a career. The amount of money I see some parents spend is truly mind-blowing once I see the kid race or even just ride.
I still look at this from an old man-type vision. When I grew up, the bikes I raced with weren’t even on the same spectrum of the cost that I see these days for a kid on an 85/supermini into Junior class. It was the same for the people I raced against, Blair Morgan, JSR, etc. Hell, even Marty Burr ran stock 7/8’s Yamaha bars. Now, people can spend whatever they wish on a bike, and that’s their prerogative. Still, it doesn’t make sense when a promoter like myself or a track owner has to deal with this same parent moaning or bitching about the specific cost of a race class or practice fees. This is all as they pull in with a six-figure priced rig, seven bikes for little Johnny, race gas for days, filet on the grill, and Dom P to wash it down. The head-scratching I do when this altercation occurs makes me laugh a little but also makes me the guy I mentioned last week where I handle the situation differently than just saying, “You are a F^&*% idiot for doing it this way when you could do it this way, and we wouldn’t be arguing over $20 bucks.” I’m no perfect parent or racer in my day, but I’ll be damned if I don’t understand what it takes to become great in this sport. I see it so clearly now that I’m in a position of “I wish I knew then what I know now” when I was in my prime of racing. My career could have been so different as far as racing success goes. It takes a certain kid to even come close to using the full worth of the bike they’re racing these days. It’s a very small group. Shining up a turd racer with gear, fancy parts, fast motors, etc., can get you into some serious debt and create more frustration instead of growth towards s positive end game.
Look, I said it above, spend however you wish to spend on whatever you want to spend it on. Racer or parent, it’s your world in that sense. I’m just an opinion from years of seeing it and going through it. I just know the spending that doesn’t always work out in your pit seems to negatively trickle into the track or event promoter pit. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is because we are small-town living. Everyone knows everyone. Promoters are accessible over, say, the gas company or the food industry or the aftermarket company, and so on and so on. The relationship comfort that our sport creates makes it easy to share negatively. I get it; it’s like family, and who doesn’t mind sharing their thoughts with family? I think I’m making sense of the big picture in relation to what the sport can deliver. Parent or racer: work hard, push the limits, chase the dream, but do it all in the right budget and frame of mind. The chance of becoming a rich person in “cash” from racing is kind of like seeing a unicorn.
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