The YZ 250 sold much more suddenly than I thought it would, and I was without a race bike briefly. At some point, I finally decided to stop
bucking the four-stroke trend, and join the world of valves and cams. This particular bike was in pretty rough shape, and with my riding budget
being limited during this stretch of my life, it wasn't until several months later that I actually rode it for the first time. Its race debut would
wait until 2007.
This bike was way better for me than my previous four-stroke, the YZ426. It handled well, once I lowered the back end (a change
Honda made the next year), and it ran great once I put in fresh piston and rings. I could definitely feel the added weight compared to a
250 two-stroke, especially when heaving the bike onto the stand. I ended up getting a jack-stand (and No, I didn't want jack fries with that)
so I wouldn't wrench my back.
One issue I had with this bike was that the head pipe would quickly run red hot on idle. It would get so hot, my boot and leathers melted where
they would occasionally contact it. I used the exhaust tape that boat and car mechanics typically use, and fashioned a wrapper for it. I got a
few less than encouraging remarks about how it looked, so besides keeping my gear from being ruined, that ad-hoc modification played into my
sleeper bike strategy. At this point, this bike was 5 years old. Other than the wrap, I purposely kept it plain looking. It may have looked a
bit old and worn, but I kept the tires and everything that mattered, nice and fresh.
2007 was last year that I raced close to a full season. From a results point of view, it was my best year in either era, by far, but away from the
races, it was probably one of the worst years of my life. The tone was set early when, towards the end of winter, a friend from the Straight Arrows,
Paul Spears, committed suicide. He was a really fun guy, and for me anyway, it was a complete shock. The first of many as it would turn out.
Since I didnít race much in the last two years, and didn't exactly set A or B class on fire, the district board approved my request to return to
B class. Unlike 40+ that had separate B and C classes, 45+ was a mixed B/C class, so I got to go against C guys for the first time in seven years.
That ended up helping my results much more than I anticipated.
Thinking that this may be my chance to do well, I had Points Fever before the season even started. Rain or shine, I was on my way to a race almost
every Sunday. The big difference between this season and when I was finishing my way to Senior A awards, was that I was placing well, in trophy
range nearly every week. I got so many that I started taking the alternate awards. With my first "Open" bike since
, nearly 21 years earlier, I became a holeshot machine. I would start nearly every race in the top three.
By mid-summer, I was fighting for the year-end championship, but then the bottom dropped out. My dad had been looking ill, but even though I saw
him often, somehow I totally missed it at first. His sister, Bess, is the one that said he didnít look well, and that I should get him to a doctor.
That spring, we started the rather arduous process of getting a diagnosis from the VA Hospital system. The next appointment was for a PET scan to
see if there were any tumors showing.
About a week before that appointment came more terrible news. Another member of the club, Sheila Brunsberg, passed away suddenly of a heart attack,
again totally unexpected. Her funeral was scheduled the same day as my dad's doctor appointment, so I missed it. After the seeing that the PET scan
showed multiple tumors spread all over my dad's body, I still had time to make it to the reception. That was not a good day.
My dad had decided to go immediately into hospice care, because he was no longer going to be receiving curative care. That's the definition, and from
that point on, he was eligible for all that hospice care entailed. The next day, my focus shifted to the home hospice situation, and assuming the
role of primary caregiver. He was still well enough to drive, but his rate of decline was rather rapid.
In just a few days, racing suddenly became unimportant. I only went to a few races after that, more or less conceding the 45+ championship. I'm not
even sure why I even went to enough races to insure second, but I did. So Second Place, or First Loser as some would call it, is my best placing
ever in a District 23 series.
With everything that happened, I did not submit many stories in 2007
Supercross the Movie was so much of a disappointment that I felt
compelled to take the time to give it a scathing review
My dadís passing late that year, and all the other loss, was the inspiration for the
section of the web site.
There you can find out more about all the wonderful people that I have mentioned in this story.
For most of 2008, I was again underemployed, and with everything that happened the previous year, racing was off my radar completely. I rode a few
times, and then the bike sat idle. I donít remember who I sold it to, but like many of the others, probably some stranger who gave me less than
I was hoping.
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This shot is from Berm Benders Raceway aka Mora. This photo is a preview image. The actual ones from
MNRacing.com were 100 times this quality.
Revised October 2017