Sunday, June 17, 2007

Impressed, humbled and why wasn't there track days when I was 16?


Here I am, just turned 45 (and no, my age doesn't bother me) and I have one of the coolest jobs on the planet, and meet some of the most down to earth, real people in the world. Every weekend I go to a race track to document the skills and antics of these ever-so talented men and women (yeah I know there are more men THAN women in the AMA but it will change) and every time I get on the plane to come home I feel energized and infused and rejuvenated. Take the last round of the AMA Superbike Series at Road America, nr Lake Elkhart in Wisconsin.

As we all know, the weather can play a factor in the events here. The track is one of the longest in the US and for me, feels like an American version of Spa Francorchamps (it's about the same length). The track has long straights, sweeping corners and corners that tighten up. It also has the ability to have two or three different "weathers" going on across it's entire length.

It's a challenge.

However, this weekend I was reminded of how lucky I am, and how any people that I capture affect my own day to day life. Take Aaron Yates. Gritty racer, skillful, explosive personality with charm and eloquence. Watching Aaron work his race craft thrills me. His bike management skills are impressive, and his willingness to push the envelope remind me of how I'd be a mad arse on the road back in the UK. In fact how stupid that was might be a better reflection. But watching his riding style in the rain, on the start finish straight at Road America reminded me of how one would ride a horse. Off the pegs, perched forward over the withers...and for me, stupid as I was on the top of the control tower in a lightning storm, I was pleased I was able to capture it...

One other rider who embodies how I felt when I was his age is Danny Eslick. Talented, entertaining, charming and an all round good kid, I watch him ride and see how I rode a bike when I was his age. Danny is a talented young man, charming, and very determined. I hope that in grand scale of things he does well. He has talent. I always look forward to meeting up with Danny, as does my wife.
I love what I do. I hate being away from my wife. So when the weekend goes well, the racing is good and the riders look like they're enjoying themselves. It all works.