When I had originally planned this weeks articles this last weekend, I had made plans to write about my new BelStaff Jacket and Pants, to write about my new top box and RotoPax and my new TCX Infinity Gore-Tex boots.
I had planned to write some positive’s, some negatives, and update a couple of my “Rider Review” articles.
Instead, I’m going to take a moment, and write about something else that has been on my mind since Sunday.
While I may have mentioned it once or twice in the past, another passion of mine that I enjoy in the world of Motorcycle’s is Road Racing.
I’m not just talking about watching it, I mean I enjoy doing it.
I have enjoyed competition motor sports since I was a youngen, and I still enjoy it. I enjoy the adrenaline rush one gets when the light goes out, and the madness that follows. It’s an insanity that keeps a rare breed of us sane.
I haven’t spoke a whole lot about it this year, mainly because I had to make the decision early on if I was going to compete this year, or if I was going to take all of my vacation days off instead to do a trip I have been planning for several years.
I chose the trip.
With my 30th birthday soon coming close (End of July), I realized that I needed to be able to obtain one of my goals before I turned 30, and a trip of a lifetime was it.
This last weekend was the opening weekend for the 2010 Road Racing season for WMRRA, Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association.
Like with any club, organization, business, school, etc, you eventually find a group you relate to within it, and you garner great friendships.
And just like any other group of people that meets regularly, you eventually get to know most, if not all of the rest of them.
Racing is unique, in that over the years I have noticed all organizations are pretty much the same. People typically put on a tough face during the day, but as soon as that last flag drops, you see a different person. People are, well, people. They have their own lives, they have their own personalities.
You get to know many of great people in this organizations. You hear many of great stories, and share many great experiences with a wide range of individuals not segregated in any way.
Eventually, you realize that it all runs like a big family, and eventually you keep in touch, and friendships are made, and people are thought of, outside of just your routine monthly meet ups.
This year I have the honor of managing a team, a team of a few really great people. They are hard working, caring, thankful people.
They are friends, they are brothers, they are apart of family. And every time one of them rolls on to that track, I pray for their safe return, however knowing that crashing is inevitable.
We all eventually do it, we all experience different injuries. Sometimes we are lucky and get off with a few minor aches and pains, bruises or scratches. Other times we are rushed to the hospital for broken bones, bruised internals, or other complexities that I couldn’t even start to go into.
Most often than not though, we get right back on, knowing the ultimate cost of our adrenaline rush induced high, but never spoke of.
This weekend, our club, our WMRRA family, experienced that first hand.
At 1:02pm, Sunday the 4th of April, Claud Jinks, our WMRRA Racer #314, passed away due to complications encountered from a crash during the mornings practice.
Claud was our Chief Tech Inspector, a member of the WMRRA Board, and a friend and mentor to many.
He will be remembered by his stories, stories he always seemed to want to share with the world. It really didn’t matter where you were, what you were doing, chances are Claud had a story to tell, regardless if it was related to the situation or not.
I will remember my second race weekend, going through tech with an arm full of my safety gear. Boots, gloves, helmet and my one piece suit. Claud was going through, checking it all out, giving me a hard time about my “Flimsy” Knox back protector, rambling on some story I wish I paid more attention to listening to, but after he had finished checking my gear, and moved on to the next person, I picked up my gear, and he continued on his story.
Not wanting to be rude, I just stood there, waiting for him to finish, adjusting the gear in my arms, trying to keep a grasp on it, wanting to really just get my bike through tech so I could finish setting up my pits and get ready for the mornings practice.
Now, I wish I had paid attention, I wish I remembered what that story was about, and that I took more time to listen to his stories, as he was known as a great story teller.
It is events like this however, that remind us of our own mortality. It reminds us of how even small things, can effect you several years later, and make you recount the time between, wanting to make sure what is remembered, stays so.
It is events like this, that make people strong, make groups come together, and make people put aside their indifference’s of each other, and instead, as one, salvage together their similarities, and realizing we are all pretty much all the same.
I’ve pondered, over the last several days what my plans are for the following year. Wondering how this effects me, how it brings light to our own mortality.
I sat on it for several hours, it kept me up at night as I lay in bed until the early morning hours staring at the ceiling.
I realized, above all else, that the world of today, is still, even with all of our crazy sports and activities, much safer than it was 100 years ago.
I realize, that Claud left this plain of existence doing what he loved. I realize that I put myself in direct harm every day as I make my commute to work, every time I take off up into the mountains, especially when I do it on my own, miles from cell phone coverage, miles from help, miles from the next soul.
I realize, as tragic as it is, nobody in this sport regrets what they did, what they do.
With what conversation I have had with Claud over the years, and the times we spoke, I would like to believe that he wouldn’t want us to look at it as him leaving us too soon.
Instead, I imagine he is standing around somewhere, impatiently waiting for the rest of us slacking behind.
RIP Big Guy