It amazes me, how there are certain times in your life, that you can remember almost photographically. I’m not talking about short moments in time, but full days of events.
One of those days for me, was sometime in December of 1989. I believe I remember this day, for a series of events that would transpire that would ultimately stick in my mind.
I don’t remember the exact date, but I do know it was December. My father and I jumped in the pickup truck that morning, snow still on the ground, and drove into the Tri-Cities.
I remember this day, as we were going Christmas Shopping. Being 9 years old, and for the last summer, having saved up my money that I earned from working around the farm, it would be the first year I actually bought Christmas Presents, this would be the first reason I that the day sticks in my head.
The second reason, was one of the stops. Yamaha Country in Kennewick. This stop, I remember fondly, for many reasons. The first being, we were going to go get parts. At 9 years old, I had already become the mechanic for our farms fleet of 14 motorcycles. I know it seems a bit far fetched, but I had been immersed in engines my whole life. I rebuilt my first engine at the age of 7. A 5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine used as a Power Mover for our Wheel-Lines. This job, as a child was great, as non-manual labor jobs paid more on our farm. Equipment operator paid 50% more than manual labor jobs, and mechanic work paid 100% (or 2 times) manual labor jobs.
I can’t remember the exact list of items we needed that day. Most likely it was for sprockets, chains, cables and brakes. The normal wear and tear items that the sandy Eastern Washington desert takes its toll on.
But what excited me the most that day, ended up not being those moments spent, me and a young child with my father order parts like a big boy, but instead seeing the new FZR600 for the first time. Sure, it had been out now for almost a year, but this was my first time seeing it, and at 9 years old, everything always seems to stick out that was new to you.
It instantly became something I wanted. And at 9 years old, no matter how much your dad told you, that it was not a bike for a farm, or for the dirt and gravel roads. You still wanted it.
Of course, I never got it. But I remembered it from time to time as I got older. As I grew up, and went through several bikes, once in awhile my mind would drift back to that FZR. Oh how I wanted it as a child, and oh how I continued to want it as I aged, that is until like a lot of our childhood wants, and fantasy’s, it’s eventually forgotten.
Several years passed by, in fact, lets say 20. I had gone through my fair share of bikes by now. Multiple Dirt bikes, a cruiser, my Dual Sport was forgotten in the corner of a shed, I was no riding a 2007 Yamaha R6, while building another R6 for racing. Yup, the years came and went, and so did many bikes before me.
The FZR had been out of my mind now for as many years, as I had originally hung on to it. It seemed all lost and forgotten.
That is until one day at work, while talking of track riding with a co-worker. He piped up and said he had purchased a bike some years back to use on the track, but never got around to it. After much more discussion, I finally inquired what kind of bike it was.
At the words of FZR600, a rush of emotion swept over me, linking me back to my past, bringing out memories long thought forgotten of a cold wintry day in December. A now 28 year old’s mind linked with his past 9-year old self, standing in that show room, looking at the smooth curves of the body on a bike, unlike any bike he’d seen before.
I asked him if he wanted to sell it, and how much. He said he was willing, and would like to get what he originally paid for it.
So it would be, on a cool Saturday morning sometime in March, almost 20 years later, I took home with me in the back of my pickup, a not perfect, but functionally sound FZR600.
The ironic part of this story, is not that I purchased this FZR with the full intent of restoring it as soon as I finished “The Bike that Ebay Built”, but what would transpire next.
As I unloaded the bike at my parents in the storage shed, it would be at this point that I would look over and see my old XT225. With the FZR in my hands, I realized that I had neglected it over the years, and although I now had something I dreamed about owning as a child, I realized that it was time to first help out an old friend. And it is with that, that after the race season had ended in 2008, I decided to rebuild my XT, and give it a new life.