In Hopes for Growth
Growing up in Montreal, every kid wanted a GSXR 750 emulating our racing hero, Michael Mercier. Westwood was a track we all heard of where riders like Steve Crevier, Tom Walthers and a meat eating Steve Dick honed their skills. We hated these Anglophones from the West Coast. Why? They were a little too good for our comfort, that’s why.
My first experience with Westwood / WMRC was quite a positive one. It was WMRC’s first track day at Mission Raceway, the atmosphere was one filled with optimism and hope. Hope of growth our beloved sport…the club was finally riding again. In the mist of urban sprawl, we’re simply just happy to have a venue to stretch our legs. The word famine comes to mind; in those first years, riders looked like a homeless person with a first class seat at Morton’s Steakhouse. That first bite… was a lap mixed of emotions. Some riders were nervous, anxious, joyous and excited. The track wrapped each screaming banshee with a statement of, “Welcome home…this is where you belong.”
Things have changed over the years, some for the better and some for the worst. Naturally, it’s very easy to point fingers in hind sight and point out where things went wrong. The WMRC board has seen numerous changes over the years, but the common denominator we least forget is the fact they’re all volunteers. I have never volunteered to be part of that board, because I knew that I would neither have the time or energy to take on such a daunting task.
Admittedly, I selfishly ran off to WMRRA to get my kicks with absolute anonymity. Reasoning with a Bernie Ryan, I believed that the I-5 was the best route to avoid the fragile science of human dynamics (HD). It certainly can get messy. It’s been two years in pit row and I got to know a few riders stateside and dawn on me that the dread HD exists in every club. When you cram that many personalities into one club, you can’t expect everyone to see eye to eye, unless we were an Amish community.
After running a business for the last 13 years, I soon realize (and continue to realize) that you simply can’t please everyone. Figure I call some veterans to get some advice on handling such matters. Reg Pridmore who runs CLASS riding school in California states; ”Mate, there’s always someone who going to complain that the ‘dish’ is not hot enough, not fast enough, portions are too big or too small.” So whether it’s WMRC, WMRRA or the AMA it’s the same old story...HD is here to stay. With each and every unique individual comes a different set of standards. We can only hope by casting a net do we cover majority of peoples needs and for those that falls outside of this net; either work with the club to stretch that net a little further or leave. It’s how we deal with it; do we try to move on or do we let it destroy the club. Even the “glorious” AMA had a change of guard when John Ulrich of Road Racing Magazine promoted a campaign called “Taking Back the AMA.” Bottom line, volunteers are trying their best regardless of their decisions. Thank you, Al.
Walking through Mission’s pit lane for the first time in a number of years, I was amazed with the talent and personalities. In place of the Westwood’s old guard, stood new leathers brandishing names like Jervis, Kramer, Schmidt, Dick, James, Shires, Ludwig, Jones, Rimes, and Benias the makings of our very own UFC. Despite being only a practice day, I was sadden to see the spectator stands sprinkled with a few token fans.
Rivalry has it place in motorsport, the red and white Marlboro Yamaha charging hard against the blue and white Rothmans Honda … classic. To fill those stands we (club, racers, shops and manufacturers) have to come up to the plate and help WMRC promoters fill those stands. Working together to give the public a more polished product on the track, showcasing our stars on “factory like rides” leaving fans polarized to the green and white Jervis or the Yellow and Black Kramer. To watch color matching teammates on the Orange and Blue Yamaha R6 team colors left me reminiscing the days of old. Team Citrus Cleaning’s effort should be applauded in making WMRC’s job easier…we need more collaborations like this. Whether it is possible or not may be a whole different issue, just one possible idea. In 2006, I’ll help anyway I can.
With our fan base the way it is I wonder how much longer can WMRC continue. I hope that day never comes when we don’t have a place to race. Some kid in Quebec needs to remind that we’re still producing champions.
I hope we can all help Joe and crew in 2006.
In Hopes for Growth.
Just some thoughts…my Jerry Macguire Moment.