Since my most recent race a week ago with WERA West at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, I’ve been looking at photos and watching videos sent to me by friends. Most of those photos and videos involve a battle that was hard-fought in Turn 5 and Turn 6.
A friend asked me one day last week what I get out of racing. I answered by sharing one of my race/pit/learning stories. When I saw these photos I recognized them as a great answer to that question: What do you get out of racing?
The first photo is somewhere in the middle of a six-lap F-Superstock race involving Kawasaki Ninja 250Rs and Honda CBR250Rs. Ruben Casarez is way out in front of us on his Kawasaki, and I’m racing two other kids in a battle over second place. The guy running off the track in the background is Al “The Mayor” Garcia on his Suzuki SV650 in the combined, multi-class, multi-wave race. Garcia is working his way back into racing after some time off, and when he noticed that he was holding up the small bike battle behind him he let us by and followed to see what he could re-learn. A mechanical problem put him out of the race and he is shown running straight here. Garcia was riding as fast as he could and thinking at the same time. I love playing chess at 100 mph! Racing makes our brains sharper.
Number 97 is Ezra Beaubier, yes, that guy’s younger brother. Beaubier was stuck on my outside while braking for Turn 5. I was thinking, “I’m Ed Sorbo, nobody is going to ride around the outside of me.” About the middle of the turn I realized, “This kid has no idea who Ed Sorbo is.” Racing makes us humble.
The exit of Turn 6 is a little skinnier than the entrance of Turn 5. It would be easy for the rider on the inside to go to the outside edge of the track and force anyone out there to back off. I knew Beaubier was there on my outside so I held a tight-enough line to leave him room. Racing gives us a chance to share.
I have found that you can’t hide your true nature on the track. In the outside world, assholes can fool you for a long time but on the track we can all recognize a jerk in one lap. Racing strips away all disguises.
My opinion of Beaubier was high because of his on-track behavior. Turns out he was pitted just a few garages away from me so I walked over to talk to him and his dad Jeff. I then recognized them from a track conversation some time ago. Racing builds good relationships.
The other kid who was involved in our battle is named Johnny Semroska. The combined ages of both Semroska and Beaubier does not equal mine. Racing builds generational bridges.
I could go on and on like this.
Which is another reason why, I love racing!