The late Tom White (left), Jody Weisel (center) and Doug Dubach (right) reminisce about the episode of the “Howdy Doody Show” where Clarabelle ate Buffalo Bob’s hat.


By Jody Weisel

When I was a young motocross racer, and the sport was young also, I made fun of the very small handful of older riders who used to hack around the tracks back before Vet racing became the cause celeb of the sport. Yes, I knew that someday I’d be old like them, but the blissful ignorance of youth is not all that clear on the time/space continuum. I was pretty sure that I’d never be that old or that slow. So, now that I am that old and even slower…you’d think that I would be more respectful of our senior citizens…and by that I mean riders over the age of 30. Nope! I think that newly minted Vet riders need to be warned that someday they’ll be as old as all the people on this page…although maybe not slower. Plus, I want to leave them with a few tidbits of wisdom about what being a Vet rider is all about.

Jeremy McGrath.

(1) The greatest race stories coming out of World Vet Championship always involved a battle between “what’s his name, you know who I mean, and what’s his face” at a track “that will come to me in a minute.”

(2) If your doctor tells you that a man of 40 shouldn’t be racing motorcycles, take heart. You’ll be 50 soon enough and can start again.

(3) It is better to be 65 and slow than 25 and into comic books.

(4) The Roman numeral for 40 isn’t XL by mistake.

(5) You lose 100 percent of the races you never enter.

(6) I would do anything to be the racer I was at 20 years old, except exercise, eat in moderation or stay up past 9:00 p.m.

Ron Lechien.

(7) In the future the World Vet Championships won’t divide the classes by age, but instead by pant size. Even simpler, World Vet classes should line up according to the year they think that music took a turn for the worse.

(8) When a racer is young, he remembers everything that happens. As he get older, he remembers things that never happened.

(9) Older riders love the sport and want to do the best they can. Sadly, many young riders are just in it to be cool. They don’t want to put it all on the line—if they were Michelangelo, they would have painted the Sistine Chapel’s floor.

(10) The crux moment in a motocrosser’s life is the exact moment when he realizes that he wants to jump the big double, but is too smart to try.

(11) Vets are the guys who complain that the motos are too short, yet die two laps into a four-lap moto.

Mike Brown.

(12) Nothing is greater than having a former National Champion line up next to you on the gate at the World Vet Championship. They have seen it all, done it all and can’t remember any of it.

(13) Vets are old enough to remember when “loud” described a rider’s silencer not his pants.

(14) Vet racers don’t worry about getting hurt racing a motorcycle; they show up hurting already.

Jim O’Neal.

(15) Back in 1972, bikes cost too much, the AMA was inept, the water truck was broken, the purses were a joke, the trophies were smaller than hood ornaments, sanctioning bodies lied about their attendance, people were mis-scored, tracks were one-lined, there were lots of cherry-pickers and cheater bikes filled the starting lines. Thankfully, none of that is true today.

Trey Jorski 2_Glen Helen World Vet 2019
Trey Jorski.

(16) You know you are a real Vet motocrosser when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

(17) Time heal all wounds…except knee injuries.

(18) You can only be young once, but you can be stupid forever.

Dennis Stapleton.

(19) Don’t think of yourself as a 40-year-old racer; think of yourself as a 16-year-old racer with 24 years of experience.

(20) Motocross is a sport where the riders spend all morning trying to kill each other, all afternoon denying it and all night bragging about it.

(21) We can all live to be 100 years old, if we stop doing the things we love.

Lars Larsson (27) & Jody Weisel (192).

(22) Because older riders have the money to fulfill their dreams, lots of their bikes looked like it have been magnetized before being dragged through their local shop’s parts bin. If a company milled it, anodized it and charged a lot of money for it, a Vet bought it.

(23) The years may fly past, but then so do the other riders.

Bones and Debbie Bacon.

(24) Minicycle racers are so excited about getting older that they tell people that they are ten and a half years old. You never hear a Vet at sign-up say that he’s 42 and a half. However, if he’s 29, 39, 49 or 59, he always throws the “and a half” back in.

(25) In the Over-50 Novice class they still wave yellow flags at a crash site, but they do so out of courtesy—because everybody seems to have slowed down already.

(26) No matter how big the double, it can be cleared with the judicious application of well-placed high explosives.

(27) Modern advances in medicine allow people to live longer, motocross allows them to enjoy the extra time.

(28) You can’t always tell a young motocross racer from an old one—until around 9:00 p.m.

Josh Coppins.

(29) If you want to know the true age of a racer in your class, don’t ask him; instead, ask his wife. She would never lie about someone else’s age.

(30) In dog years, every racer at last year’s World Vet Championship has been dead for a long time.

(31) The best reason for a Vet racer to keep all of his trophies is so that his kids will have something to remember him by when they drive to the dump.

(32) In their 40s a woman’s hair magically turns from gray to black, while a man’s hair goes from thinning to under a Fox hat.

(33) The government needs to fund a study on changes in the Earth’s gravitational pull over the last 30 years because I swear I could jump a lot farther when I was 20.

Lars Larsson and Birgitta Berlin were founders of  Thor Racing with Torsten Hallman.

(34) The wife of a Vet racer knows to bring something to read while waiting for her husband to come around…on the next lap.

(35) Racing experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

(36) A factory riders’ life is bracketed by the first time he wins a Supercross and the first time he’s invited to an old timer’s banquet.

Josh Grant_Glen Helen World Vet 2019
Josh Grant.

(37) Wisdom doesn’t come with age. It shows up the tenth time that you come up short on a double.

(38) Motocrossers can be optimists or pessimists; the optimists invented the motocross bike; the pessimists the helmet.

Travis Preston.

(39) A Vet racer can afford all the hop-up parts he wanted as a kid, but can’t use them anymore.

(40) Son, you’re going to have to make up your mind about growing up or becoming a motocross racer. You can’t do both.

(41) Rules for Vets to live by: Before each race, make sure that your bladder is empty and your gas tank is full.

(42) A 34 waist is the ultimate size. Why? The young are headed for it and the old dream of it.

(43) Everybody gets slower as they get older, except for the lucky ones who were slow when they were young.

Tom White.

(44) All Vet racers want their classes to be early in the race program so that they won’t miss the early bird special at Applebee’s.

(45) Old people were a lot funnier when we were young.

(46) Doctors advise that taking short naps during the course of the day can prolong life, unless you take them during your first moto.

(47) He who demands everything that his bike can give him is a true professional; he that demands one iota more out of it is a fool.

(48) The most dangerous part of the day for a Vet is bending over to buckle his boots—unless he is smart enough to have his 33-year-old kid do it for him.

Doug Dubach.

(49) I have great respect for anyone who throws a leg over a racing motorcycles. Even more for a rider who’s leg gradually creeps up and over the seat and then says “Ahhh” once he’s on the bike.

(50) As young racers, we wanted to change the world. As Vet racers, we wonder what moron changed the world.

(51) Thirty-year-old racers are the oldsters of the young crowd; 40-year-old racers are the youngsters of the old crowd.

Kurt Nicoll.

(52) Vet riders know the joy of having seen their children grow up…especially now that the kids are old enough to help unload the bikes.

(53) If a Vet racer needs to stand up, he waits for a bump to come along and bounce him up to his feet.

Pete DeGraff.

(54) Talk is cheap, except when the AMA does it.

(55) A true Vet racer knows what the words “Maico-Breako,” “Ker-Clunk” or “Seize-Easy” are referring to.

(56) Vets are the only racers who see an attractive young girl by the side the track and wonder what her mother looks like.

(57) In professional motocross, there are two dangers; throwing a chain and throwing a valve. In Vet racing, you have to worry about throwing a lung.

Andy Jefferson.

(58) Vets aren’t internet savvy, which means that they are uninformed, which is better than browsing the internet and being misinformed.

(59) Only Over-40 racers still wear “leathers.”

(60) A Vet racer’s wife doesn’t care if he spends every weekend at the track, as long as she doesn’t have to go along.

(61) A word to the young. Enjoy the stupidity of youth. Never mind that you don’t know how stupid you are. Trust me, in ten years, you’ll look back at the things you did, positions you took, tattoos you got and things you said and wonder why more people didn’t pick up a bike stand and smack you across the forehead. On the plus side, stupidity fades as you get older—just like those tattoos.

(62) Some things never change. Age doesn’t diminish the disappointment of getting passed on the last lap.

(63) If a guy really claims to have been racing since 1970 shouldn’t he have a rope burn on his neck from a rubber band start?




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