Towards the end of 2008, I started thinking of riding again. I was now gainfully employed and the racing budget, although still small, was restored.
My friend, Brian Nelsen, was looking to sell this bike. Unlike the previous 450, I knew that it didn't have too many hours on it, and that any
motorcycle that Brian owned would be in top-notch mechanical condition.
It was ready to go except that it was sprung way too stiff for me. Looking back, the fact that it took me months to get those new springs
installed, and that I didnít race at all in 2008, was a sign of my growing disinterest in racing.
I was still quite active in off-the-track activities. 2008
was special for
the Straight Arrows, because we hosted a round of the national
Enduro series. I worked the event and submitted a story, "Straight Arrows Bring a National Enduro
back to Minnesota
". I don't think we made any money at all on
the event, but it was fun being involved in running it, and seeing the national level guys go so fast on trails they had never seen before.
The next year, 2009, I raced this bike once at the club race in Grantsburg, a few weeks later in Cambridge (which I won, an answer to a trivia
question that will never be asked), and then Elko.
The rider turn-out at all three tracks was way down compared to 2007. It just didn't seem all that fun to be racing with only 4 or so guys in
your class, and mixed in with a bunch of other classes. At Elko, a 450 C rider got all kinds of squirrelly when I was lapping him. I ended up
running off the track at one point, and was very fortunate not to hit anything (anyone who raced there knows exactly what I mean). I was also having
trouble with arm-pump, and just thought I'd take a little break. The little break lasted the rest of the year. I think I went riding once and
that was it.
That summer, another club member and friend, Ross Thompson
, had a fatal
heart attack. I was still active with the club, but it was never quite the same for me after Paul and Sheila died. Losing Ross added to that
feeling, and accelerated my inevitable path out of the club. The race reports for 2009
continued to dwindle. I also left the District 23 board, so I was really scaling back my other motorcycle involvement, not just racing.
The next spring, I did a trade for the next bike and cash. That ended up being a very bad deal.
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The last known photo of the author riding in competition. Grantsburg, early 2009.
Revised October 2017