One of my friends is always in amazement that I don’t go to every Supercross, National, and other big event. I know that I haven’t seen everything in the moto world but I’ve seen most of it. And I doubt I am going to miss much anymore that hasn’t already happened. I am going to guess that I have watched in the neighborhood of 12 thousand hours of actual racing. Not including practices, testing, track prep, track clean up, etc. If you know me, or you race REM every week you noticed that I don’t spend a lot of time in the pits on race day. I am on the track doing everything I can to make the races better. I’ve watched just about every lap of our now over 1000 races. Over the years there has been more than one racer who didn’t realize that I own REM. For months, they thought I was just another worker bee on the course, flagging, watering, picking up racers, working on the track, starting the races or separating racers acting badly.
I started remembering some of the notable and notorious things I’ve seen over the years. I was on the infield the night that Mike Fisher led the San Diego Supercross for several laps only to throw it away just feet from where I was standing. I was there when Magoo won the USGP at Carlsbad. I was there when Marty Moates won it as well. I remember Magoo doing the Magoo double at Saddleback and watching Hannah and Howerton go at it. I was only inches away from Heikki Mikkola’s careening Husky when he tried a last lap last corner do or die try to wrest the win from Gerrit Wolsink at one of the USGP’s at Carlsbad. I saw the infamous Bradshaw-Chicken takeout at the Vegas SX actually I was only about 10’ from it. I was there when Stanton beat Bradshaw at the last SX of the year, I shot a picture of Bayle, Bradshaw, Stanton, and many other of the top guys that day awaiting to be called down from the peristyle for opening ceremonies, they looked like any other group of guys sitting around waiting for the races except they were all on factory bikes. I watched DeCoster and Wolsink eat lemons at the Lake Whitney Trans Am race in 75. For months after that I tried lemons on race day only to figure out it was a purely Euro thing.
I was sitting about as close to James Marshall when he was hurt as you could get. I remember the sick feeling I had, and how I wanted to leave. I drove my pickup onto the track to pick up an injured Damon Bradshaw when he hurt himself during his first comeback attempt at an REM race at Carlsbad. Unfortunately I have watched friends die, friends be hurt, and the darkest of moments that you can imagine.
It seems like just yesterday that Jeremy McGrath, Brian Deegan, Larry Linkogle, Ryan Hughes, Travis Pastrana, raced 80’s at REM races at Carlsbad. I remember the first time I saw Ryan Villopoto and Josh Grant race an REM race at Glen Helen. It was before either was a factory racer. You could just tell they were going to make the cut. The only time Donny Schmitt raced with us was at Commotion by the Ocean when he was going for the 4 stroke National Championship. I remember what a truly nice guy he was. I was on the floor when they booed Carmichael, for what I still don’t know. I was there when RJ won the last USGP at Carlsbad. And I will forever be in his debt when he told me that I could use his image to promote REM any time I wanted. I was at the start gate when we dropped it before Rex Staten was ready, he did not talk to me for 5 years. I watched Roger DeCoster, Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Mike Bell, Troy Lee, Larry Brooks watch their sons race at REM. I got to watch Larry Brooks lead Rick Johnson at Commotion until his chain came off and watched as he struggled to get it back on. I watched Jean Michel Bayle race his first race in America at Commotion 2. He battled back after tossing it away on the first lap to almost take the win away from a very fast Mike Healy. I was standing with my back to the finish line when Deegan ghost rode his 125 over the finish line jump after winning his first Supercross, I did see the bike careening down the track though. I was there when McGrath threw down his first nac nac. I got to see the infamous Alessi-Tedesco fiasco at Glen Helen from about 20’ away. I’ve been there to witness all kinds of bad behavior from AMA officials, promoters, team managers, mechanics, riders, sponsors, tv crews, and spectators. I’ve gotten to see, meet, and watch nearly all of the top racers from the early 70’s to today race an event at REM.
I have experienced a lot in the 41 years I have been racing, promoting and photographing motocross races. But, to be honest, I have way more fun and would rather hang out with Dr. John, Randy, Ken, Gary, Jody, Alan, Ray, Big Gary, Marc, Nort, and a bunch of guys you never heard of than to ever go to a big race again.