Demons, most of us have them. I am not talking about the Exorcist type of demons, but the type that we carry around with us from time to time. Although I do know a few people that are haunted by their demons constantly. My demon du jour was Mammoth. Last year I got t-boned in the first turn at the start of the second moto on Saturday. It was the worst crash I have had in a while, and it ruined my annual vacation to Mammoth. Not only that, it also hurt like hell. And to top it off I really didn’t do anything to deserve it. Just wrong place wrong time. But, as they say that’s racing. The problem was I had way too much time to think about it. And frankly it spooked me. I said all the usual rhetoric, I’m never going there again, I’m quitting, these guys are idiots, etc. etc. etc. My all knowing wife just shook her head and said yeah right. But it really did spook me. And I really did not plan on going back. Until the entries opened, and then the thought of not being there set in. I managed to secure an entry at the last minute, but I still wasn’t sure about going. I literally made up my mind to go at the last possible moment. To make a long story short, I raced, or at least rode around Mammoth. I did not hit the ground all week, no one took me out. I was however far from competitive. But by going back and facing what I thought at the time was the end of my racing days I beat the demon that has been sitting on my shoulder for the past year. And I will say that it felt really good to get that bastard out of my head. I hate to admit it but I was reading one of the motocross chat sites last week and was amazed at all the hullaballoo going on over a comment by Jody in MXA. He basically said that he had more respect for the slowest beginner than the fastest practice racer. I agree, racing is the ultimate experience. It is what these machines were designed for. And to race you have to challenge yourself in ways you never imagined. That being said if you want to just be a rider, someone who does not race, good for you. At least you are doing something besides sitting on the couch drinking beer, watching a stick and ball sport on the tube. You are buying bikes and equipment that keep our industry going. But, don’t ever think that riding on the weekend is the same as racing. Over the years REM has promoted nearly 1000 events, I have watched every moto, been there for every race, I have been to hundreds of other races, and raced thousands of laps. There is something about racing that is night and day from just riding. Many racers put in practice laps during the week, you test your equipment, you test yourself, to see if you are ready for “the race’’. Racing is unlike anything else. I have seen seasoned pro’s heaving their guts out before a race, nearly all racers get nervous stomachs, the nervous tics and habits but everyone gets butterflies no matter how many hundreds of starts you have had. It is not about fear, anxiety maybe but not fear. What makes it worth all the work, sweat and expense is the high you have during and after the race. The ultimate thrill to racing is the challenge to your body, mind, and soul. It is all about facing your demons, and kicking their asses. And you just don’t get that from being a practice rider. If that offends you that means you don’t get it and you never will unless you become a racer.