THE BEST OF JODY’S BOX: “SOMEBODY HAS TO BE IN RACE SEVEN—THIS WEEK IT’S YOU”

BY JODY WEISEL

“What was all the yelling in there?” asked Monte Floyd as I came scurrying out of sign-up with my tail between my legs.

“Nothing,” I said. “They are in a foul mood in there. When I asked them to move three guys up to a faster class so that my life would be easier, they threw me out. Whatever you do, don’t ask them any questions when they are setting up the day’s races. They get very testy.”

“So, I guess this isn’t a good time to go in and ask Myra how many points I have so far this year?” asked Monte.

“Not unless you have one of those bear suits that allows you to be batted around like a tetherball by a grizzly,” I replied.

Monte and I kept talking while the race promoter was explaining the safety flags. When Jimmy Mac came over to where we were chatting, he looked agitated.

“WHAT RACE ARE YOU IN?” ASKED JIMMY MAC, LOUD ENOUGH TO CAUSE THE PROMOTER TO GLARE IN HIS DIRECTION. THIS IS THE MOST COMMON FORM OF RIDER-TO-RIDER COMMUNICATION ON RACE-DAY MORNING.”

“What race are you in?” asked Jimmy Mac, loud enough to cause the promoter to glare in his direction. This is the most common form of rider-to-rider communication on race-day morning. It ranks right up there with, “Did you bring any extra boots? I forgot mine.”

“Race three, second gate. Why? When are you?” I asked.

“Race seven, first gate,” he said with a sour look on his face.

“Somebody has to be in seven,” I said. “This week it’s you.”

“It was me last week too. My class hasn’t been near the front of the program in a month. I thought that they rotated the classes every week so that you moved forward every race,” he said.

To me, it seemed that he was asking for moral support, or maybe moral courage. I knew his pain. My class had spent four weeks in the back of the schedule a few months ago, and it’s depressing to know that someone else is getting a smooth, moist track while you are doomed to bumpy, rutted and dry conditions. So, I said to Jimmy Mac, “You’re right! You should go into the sign-up booth and tell Myra that she made a mistake. She probably didn’t realize that your class was so far back last week. And, while you’re in there, see if she has any plans to move Crazy Dave, Bill What’s-His-Name and that number 17 guy up a class.”

“I’ll be right back,” Jimmy said, as he stomped through the door of the sign-up booth.

“That was cruel,” said Monte. “I wish I could hear what happens, but I don’t want to be around when Jimmy Mac comes out of there.” So, Monte and I hightailed it back to our pits to get ready for the races to start. I still had a lot of work to do on my bike before race three.

It wasn’t long before Jimmy Mac came walking back through the pits. “That was a dirty trick,” he said as he stopped where Monte and I were parked. “She almost bit my head off when I suggested that perhaps she had made a mistake on the race program. She told me that I was lucky I wasn’t in race eight.”

“What did she say about moving those sandbaggers out of my class?” I asked.

“She went ballistic when I told her that you wanted me to ask her about them,” replied Jimmy.

“What did she say?” I asked again.

“Wait for it,” said Jimmy Mac.

“‘Wait for it?’ What does that mean?” I asked. Just then, the loudspeaker crackled with a 13th-Floor Elevator’s squeal, and I heard the announcer say, “There has been a change to the race program. Race seven will now be race three, and race three will move to race eight.”

 

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