K T M
now for something completely different.
cold Thanksgiving wind blew through Texas Stadium the day
the Packers came to do battle with the Dallas Ca..."
!!" "CUT !!" "Now I think you know
that aint right" "Again,...from the top"
racinggg' take two" ( SNAP ! )
Down in Texas a cold October wind blew through the trees
outside of Dallas."
brisk morning air tingled with excitement as the morning
sun glinted off the tops of the hundreds of Winnebagos,
box vans, & trailers, that had been collecting on this
hilltop since Friday night.
all over Texas they came. From Dallas, Ft.Worth, Austin,
& Killeen. Some even came from as far away as
Louisiana, & Oklahoma.
was LCS Racing, with their huge following down in the
valley. On the ridge was the shiny box van of DFW Honda.
The KTM boys had taken up position by the water hole. The
local squads from Suzuki,& Yamaha, were here in force
as well. And the formidable Kawasaki team, with their
nicely roped off paddocks, & bright green machinery
were hidden in the treeline.
& hundreds of them. Young & old. Male &
female. All here for the same purpose. All here to do
Battle on the Ridge.
These were the rough boys of off road racing. Led by guys
like, P1, Clay Hoenshell, & David Culpepper, P11.
These are the men & women of the Texas Cross Country
And today is the season opener at Rocky Ridge Cycle Park
in north Texas.
Along with the occasional whiff of frying bacon from
someone's campstove, comes the unmistakable aroma of bean
oil, & the metallic rapport of a passing CR500. The
unknown rider, clad, as though out of some futuristic
science fiction thriller, in hi-tec body armor, Carbon
fiber helmet, & plastic boots, appears strangely
robotic with his mirrored goggles & aggressive stance.
I was there on that day , & like the rest, I too
planed on "takin' care of some bidnis" in the
over thirty expert class. My ATK was runnin' great, as
always, & I was feeling very positive about the whole
My friend Mike was there too, with his new KTM 550, &
we had parked together in the big field up by the house.
I had just gotten back from an early morning practice lap,
& noticed that Mike wasn't dressed ( for the race )
yet. After gettin a drink of green Gatorade, (my favorite
kind ) I Strolled over to his van ( we both have Ford
" Hey man, what're you doin'"? Silence. I went
on," We need to get to the startin' line, we're goin'
in fifteen minutes "!! I looked at his wife, &
she at me & we at him.
"What"? I demanded. His new bike lying on it's
side, also said nothing.
"It won't start" he whined.
"The kickstart gear's sheared"
"Are ya sure" ? I asked. ( at this point I'm of
course, trying to show as much concern as I can
muster...you see, my friend Mike rides the same class as
me. aww too bad... there's one down.. I smile inwardly )
In an attempt to show the futility of his situation, &
therefore cause me to feel sorry for him, & thus ruin
my positive mood, in hopes that I'll then crash out, &
DNF just like him, he grabbed the kickstart lever &
spun it around like Vanna White spins the Wheel of
Fortune...making about the same sound.
Then he delivers the Coup de Grace, He looks up from his
shiny new scoot, with a tear in his eye, &
says.."Well, I guess I'm out"
Oh gotdammit, now I do feel sorry for him, & I am
loosing my positive mood, & I probably will crash
" OK" I said, "here's whatcha do", (
now I wanted him to race so I wouldn't feel so bad )
"The Pros are gonna start any minute" I said.
" So go get dressed, & after the pros start, get
this thing rollin' down yon hill, bump start it, ride
over, get yer card punched, & join me on the startin
line just in time for the green flag." " If ya
don't stall it durin' the race ( ha ha ) you'll get to
race & we'll fix it later"
We decided it was a plan, & off he went to suit up,
& off I went to gas up.
Now, here's where it gets interesting.
The KTM 550, if you'll recall, is 550cc of rompin',
stompin', fire breathin' two stroke racer, certainly a
handful for even a big burly guy like myself, let alone a
skinny, spindly, wisp of a guy like Mike. Make no mistake,
he can ride it...but without a moments notice it could
easily ride him.
As I was pullin' my helmet on, I saw him runnin' along
side of his orange pumpkin...he's up to speed...there's
the hop to the saddle...and....nothin'. The back tire
scraped up more dirt than a front end loader, but didn't
turn an inch...the racers down on the line were startin
I ( stupidly ) ran down & told him that he
didn't have enough ass to fire a man's machine like this,
& ( stupidly ) offered to start it for him...with the
same results. The Pros were Starting.
him ) had the Idea of tying a strap to the handlebars,
& pulling it behind the great White Aerostar van, with
me bringing my considerable weight to bear on the rear
wheel forcing it to get traction, & thus start.
so, with confidence that we were going to make it in time,
we affixed the necessary towing device to the bike &
the Great White Aerostar van. We also decided for
communication purposes, that we would leave the rear
hatchback type door open.
got in. I got On. Off we went. I could hear the AA class
the rear door open we could easily talk back & forth,
he said "Is this fast enough"? I answered by
dumping the clutch.
happened. Just a violent jerk on the handlebars. He
dragged me along, rear tire scraping, for a few yards
& I could see, in the rearview mirror, a look of
disbelief in his eyes, & I'm sure he saw the same in
I decided to jump up in the air as far as I could, &
with tire still scraping, pound my butt down on the seat,
surly driving the tire into the ground.
so I did. "Did it start" you ask? Yes it did. It
started alright. Remember the violent jerk on the
handlebars, I mentioned a minute ago? Seems the tow strap
had pulled something other than the handlebars, yes it
did. Namely the throttle cable, all the way out, & the
kill switch wires...all the way out. And yes it started,
and yes it was at full throttle, and yes I was terrified!!
what seemed like plenty of tow strap, shrank up just like
my Johnson, & suddenly I found myself rocketing, in a
wheelie, into the ( if you'll remember ) open back door of
the Great White Aerostar van.
once again, just for an instant, I saw in the rearview
mirror, a look of disbelief in Mikes eyes...or was it
terror. All I remember is that the mirror was very
big...and it was filled with my friends wide open eyes !!
of course you can't really fault Mike for what happened
next, 'cause it would be anyone's natural reaction to slam
on the brakes, & sure enough...that's what he did
...the bike didn't care one little bit.
Alright, so, we got this 550cc of rompin', stompin', fire
breathin' two stroke racer, screamin', wide open, me on
it's back also screamin' wide open, trying to pack itself
( & me ) into the back of a mini-van. ( stop laughin'
Well, lucky for us all, the bike wouldn't really fit into
the Great White Aerostar van, & that's when we came to
the sudden & horrible, realization that not only could
neither of us switch it off, but it was now tied to a
ever see what happens to the end of a waterhose when ya
got it wide open, with a nozzle on it, & it gets away
after a moment it fell over on its side, & Mike,
thinking quickly ripped off the gas line...moments later
it died...I already had.
of course the bike was beat up, the van was beat up, after
Mike got finished with me I was beat up...
sure enough...I crashed out & DNFed Just like Mike.