|Team Hillbilly/No Worries
By Martin Hackworth
anyone who knows me will tell you I am competitive. I’ll race
you to the bathroom.
Given that my career in academia involves a lot of murky judgments on
good and what’s not I appreciate the purity of racing.
It’s clean. Everyone
knows who’s skilled and who isn’t. Cheating is
despised. But best of all is the
camaraderie. It’s common to see rivals working together
before a race. Though you
may get run over once the flag drops competitors tend to be supportive
off the course. Honor, integrity, the pursuit of excellence and
something in racing. In the rest of the world, I don’t know
– maybe not so
As my son, JR has developed an interest in motorcycles through the years I’ve played down racing. But as JR got his first taste of organized competition in Campfire Flag Football last summer he started asking about it. So for his eighth birthday I promised that I would take him to a peewee MX race and let him compete. Grandpa Moon came up with an old Honda XR70R that JR and I spent much of the summer restoring to life. Finally, on his birthday, JR and I went to an open track day at Cache Valley MX near Preston so that he could get a feel for what a race might be like.
is an improved
version of me and
as he’s grown up I’ve had the opportunity to relive
much of my own childhood
through him. He, like me, is a very tactile learner. JR is generally
when he’s exploring something new but when he finally gets it
he’s solid. So I
understood how tentative he was as I followed him around the track for
first time. All of the noise and the bikes zipping by are a lot of
input for a
kid to process. At the end of the day it was obvious that
he’d had a lot of fun
but he was a little worried about his first race the next weekend. On
home he put it to me. “Dad,” he said
“I’ll race next weekend if you will.”
Five years ago, upon waking up in an ambulance speeding toward a California hospital, it occurred to me that I’d probably completed my last race lap on a motorcycle. I was lucky that the worst I got from a 100+ mph road racing get off was my bell rung, prodigious bruises and some torn rib cartilage. My two teammates also experienced terrible mishaps on the same day and the final outcome was a colossal hospital bill, several destroyed motorcycles, the financial collapse of our sponsor, a divorce and bankruptcy. It just didn’t seem worth it anymore for the occasional twenty dollar wood and plastic trophy I’d earned.
JR threw down
the gauntlet I found myself in the middle of a conundrum. As a
addict I’d sworn off racing as impractical and expensive and
come to terms with
it as my personal opiate. Beyond that, at the age of 54 that ground is
to look mighty hard from the height of a motorcycle seat. Left to my
devices I’m pretty sure I’d have been satisfied
with racing stories (of which I
have no shortage). But I got called out by an eight-year old. What are
going to do?
So JR and I slapped numbers on our bikes and headed down to Cache Valley last weekend for their annual Grand Prix. And son of a gun if JR didn’t go out in his very first race and bring home a first place trophy – soundly trouncing his old man who maintained a solid grip on last place in his class. Dad - the experienced racer on a fully-built CRF450X - got spanked by an eight-year old on a hand-me-down XR70R who didn't even shift up into third gear. Humiliations galore.
from the fact
that I now have to listen to an endless stream of race advice from an
year old - with exactly three laps of competition under his belt (my
“You know dad, they don’t hand out speeding tickets
out there.”) - I am pretty amped
about this whole change of affairs. Watching JR walk up at the awards
and claim his trophy was far and away my most rewarding experience in
Beyond that I’d forgotten
how much I enjoy the smell of race gas, the scream of an engine near
and the bucking and twisting of a bike being thoroughly wrung out. Dirt
is much cheaper than road racing and my new teammate is my son. It just
get any better than that. So Team Hillbilly/No Worries Racing is back.
off to Rock
Creek MX this weekend for our
Plus I have to win back my favorite pit chair from JR – the rocker.
Hillbilly/No Worries Racing 2010:
Cache Valley MX Grand Prix: JR 1st 7-8 Peewee, Martin 7th Ironman.
Rock Creek MX/IMXBones Grand Prix: JR 4th Peewee, Martin 3rd 50+
Idaho Falls Noise Park/IMXBones Grand Prix: JR 4th Peewee, Martin 1st 50+ (photos)
Cache Valley MX