THE BEST OF JODY’S BOX: ADVICE IS CHEAP, THAT’S WHY I GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE
I keep the phone numbers of my friends who have died in my phone. That way when I’m scrolling through and see Rich Eierstedt’s, Phil Alderton’s, Danny Chandler’s, Feets Minert’s and Laroy Montgomery’s numbers I think about giving them a call. In a moment I realize that I can’t, but I feel good knowing that I wanted to.
I didn’t start racing motorcycles because I saw it as a lucrative career—just the opposite. I started racing motocross in 1968 because no one knew what it was, how it was done or what it was all about. The appeal was in its rebellious nature. The fact that it turned out to be a lucrative career didn’t add anything to what I love about it.
I went to college for nine years while working on my Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees. Don’t think of me as an overachiever. Going to college was the best way I had to keep racing, because my parents paid for my education and I could schedule my classes so that I could travel to the races over the weekends. It was a sweet deal and is in stark contrast to the current crop of pseudo home-schooled racers. I don’t blame young kids for sacrificing their futures in hopes of grabbing the golden ring of motocross stardom, but I’m appalled by their parents shortsightedness. Who would want to be home schooled by parents stupid enough to trade their child’s future for a slim chance at motocross success?
I DON’T WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE IN FRONT OF THE MORONS ON THE INTERNET. NO OFFENSE IF THAT’S YOU, IT JUST ISN’T ME.
I don’t Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or Facebook. It’s not that I’m computer illiterate because during the Y2K hysteria I was contacted because I am well versed in both Cobal and Fortran programming from my years in college—it’s just that I don’t want to live my life in front of the morons on the internet. No offense if that’s you, it just isn’t me.
You may think that modern motocross bikes are magnificent technological wonders. I don’t. They are bloated leviathans. How are we better off with 245-pound, complex, expensive and impossible to work on 450cc four-strokes than we were with lightweight, affordable, repairable, simple, 218-pound, 250cc two-strokes? What has 20-years of four-stroke dominance gotten us? Forks you can’t work on, $9500 price tags, electronics that require a degree in Fortran to repair and exhaust pipes that cost $1000. Welcome to the brave new world and its high admission price.
The other day I overheard a stranger say that MXA was much better before I took over. That is a strong possibility. The reality check is that I took over in December of 1976. How old is this guy? That was 45 years ago. What do you remember about 1976? Peter Frampton was the biggest pop star, Bruce Jenner won the Olympic Decathlon, Apple was in its garage stage, Jimmy Carter was the “Man of the Year,” the Dow Jones Index was at 1004, gasoline cost $0.59 cents a gallon, Mao Tse-Tung assumed room temperature and I started destroying MXA.
I had a close friend who wanted his son to become a professional motorcycle racer. The kid was 14 and a decent 250 Novice. He wanted my advice on how to turn his kid into the next Eli Tomac. Here was my advice to him, “Pray that your kid never gets any faster than he is today. Novices can race motocross for the rest of their lives, happy in their ignorance and slowness. Not so for a Pro. A Pro is constantly worried about his place in the pecking order. He is paralyzed with fear that he will get beat by some guy that is lower in the hierarchy than he. Over time, Pro racers have to quit racing because they can’t take the pressure of having to be fast. Being fast is a burden, not a blessing. If your kid makes it to the Pro ranks he will be unhappy, he will think that he got cheated, that the good rides went to someone else and he will quit racing by the time he is 22 years old. If you want to do something to help your kid’s motocross career, buy a bike and start racing the Vet class. Spending time with him is the greatest gift you can give him.” Sadly, his kid got fast, but not fast enough, and quit at 20 because the pressure was too great.
On the subject of advice, here is the best counsel that I have ever handed down from Mount Jody. Break new boots in one at a time. Wear your new left boot with your old right boot for a couple rides and then phase in the new right boot. It’s better to miss the shifter than the miss the brake and the shifter at the same time.