By Jody Weisel
I like to think that I am unique, one of a kind, different, special and lots of other things that my mother told me I was when I was still in knickers. I’m sure that you feel the same about yourself, but just to make sure that we aren’t “mind melding,” here is a simple list of things things that I’ll never do. I can’t hazard a guess about what you’ll never do!
I never called any AMA National class “Motocross” or “Motocross Lites.” First of all, motocross is the name of the sport, not a class name, and Lites is uninventive, demeaning to the riders and just plain stupid. I just stuck with “450” and “250” until the AMA came to its senses. If and when the displacements change to “volts” and “amps,” I’ll probably just scratch my head. I can’t get behind any name that is chosen because the AMA could “own it.”
I’ll never take seriously any rider with a Supercross-only contract. I know, and you know also, that the most important championship is the outdoor one. Supercross, bless its artificial little soul, is a junk sport. It’s a spin-off of the real thing. It’s the real “Motocross Lite” class. Something’s seriously rotten in the state of Denmark when a 15-minute jump-a-thon takes precedence over the hard-core sport it was borrowed from. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to watch it—I just don’t want to do it.
I’ll never do business with Giuseppe Luongo. I’m always amazed that Luongo is considered the savior of the FIM World Championships when, in my opinion, he’s the guy who ruined them. When I designed the USGP tracks, I did it for my friends at Glen Helen, not for Luongo. I refused every invitation he proffered for lunch, dinner or meetings and over the two USGP’s never spoke a word to him. No one would need to save the GPs if not for Luongo’s questionable three-moto system, followed by his one-moto system, his no-purse concept and his greed. What the GP’s really need is a savior to save them from their savior.
I’ll never win the AMA number-one plate, but if I had, I wouldn’t need an AMA rule requiring me to run the number one on my bike. In truth, I’d prefer that the AMA return to the earned National number system. It was based on merit. The AMA’s permanent numbering system is just another marketing scheme gone awry. Letting Ricky Carmichael run 4 on his bike so he could sell plastic toys was a waste of time, because it turns out that in nine out of his last ten years he would have run number 1 anyway. To my way of thinking, 1 is more memorable than 4. Plus, the AMA only set aside eight one-digit numbers for past champions, only to discover that there are 12 past champions still racing. Good planning!
I’LL NEVER LET ANYONE CONVINCE ME TO JUMP A DOUBLE JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE AS FAST AS I AM DID. I WANT SOMEONE MUCH SLOWER THAN I AM TO JUMP IT BEFORE I’LL EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
I’ll never let anyone convince me to jump a double just because someone as fast as I am did. I want someone much slower than I am to jump it before I’ll even think about it. On the stopwatch, I could save a second a lap by jumping the big double. On the calendar, I could lose six months in plaster if I failed to clear it. The way I figure it, I save five months, 29 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds every time I chicken out. That’s a fast lap time.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Bruce Brown’s “On Any Sunday.” I had already been racing motorcycles for a few years, but in 1970 I walked out of that Corpus Christi movie house a changed man. I wasn’t just a motorcycle racer anymore. I was a part of something important.
I’ll never race a vintage bike. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love to look at them and some of my old race bikes are in museums. They hold special memories for me; memories that I don’t want to ruin by actually throwing a leg over them. I didn’t want to race my 1972 CZ in 1973, I definitely don’t want to race it in 2023.
I’d never home school my kid so he can have more time to practice in hopes of becoming a professional motorcycle racer. It would be smarter to blow his college fund on lottery tickets than to risk his education on some pie-in-the-sky dream of a factory ride. Even though I have postgraduate degrees, not to mention teaching credentials, I would want my kid to know more than I do—not the same amount.
IF MOTOCROSS AND SPACE TRAVEL WERE NO MORE DANGEROUS THAN TAKING A CROSS-TOWN BUS, BUS DRIVERS WOULD BE ON THE COVERS OF MAGAZINES INSTEAD OF RACERS AND ASTRONAUTS.
I’ll never downplay the danger involved in being a motorcycle racer. This is not golf, basketball, billiards, tennis or tiddlywinks. Motocross is a great sport, but it has real risks. Buy the best gear possible, never ride faster than your talent and invest in medical insurance. If motocross and space travel were no more dangerous than taking a cross-town bus, bus drivers would be on the covers of magazines instead of racers and astronauts.
I’ll never whine about a track I’m racing. I don’t care if it’s a one-line slot car track, a dust bowl, a muddy swamp or a series of death-defying doubles connected by life-ending triples. I’d race it to the limits of my enthusiasm, keep my mouth shut, grit my teeth and go home at the end of the day. Then, I’d give Lovely Louella an earful.
I’ll never be disappointed by the behavior, attitudes or work ethics of professional motocross stars. I learned long ago that the motocross community is no different than Junior High School. Out of all the students in the school, you like ten people, hate ten people and could care less about the other 100. And I may be optimistic about the numbers.
I’ll never get my name tattooed across my back, although if I did, all the ambulance guys would have to do is roll me over to find out who I was.
I’ll never use “slow” and “fast” as measures of human worth. A fast spree killer is not someone we should idolize.
I’ll never quit racing motocross to become a car racer, then quit car racing to form a rock band, only to quit the rock band to become an actor, give up acting to adopt needy African children, finally giving up humanitarian work to run for political office.