From Dirt Rider Editor Jimmy Lewis' Jimmy - Rigged column in the August 2010 issue.
"Every time you see the words 'dirt bike' or 'motorcycle,' mentally replace them with 'ATV' or 'side-by-side' and it will speak volumes." - Thad Josey
Halfway through reading this, when you're so pissed off and can't stand me anymore, go look in the mirror and see who you should really be mad at. I was once told the characteristics that irritate you the most are often the ones you possess so greatly. And if you are laughing, give this column to the guy it reminds you of the most, have them write me a letter. Then laugh some more.
And it goes like this: If you are such a good dirt bike rider, then how come you don't race? The racetrack or other competitive events are the places for you to show everyone your skills. Here, they will be watching, taking lap times, keeping score and tabulating points-a perfect venue for you to show off what you do. You shouldn't be racing on a trail ride, roosting past campsites, revving around hikers or popping wheelies through people's neighborhoods or along the side of the road to show off. If you do this stuff, you are a Richard Cranium.
Just stop and ask anyone who isn't on a motorcycle-and even a lot of people who are (if they will tell you the truth)-if you're not convinced. And along with the crown of idiocy you are wearing while racing hell-bent for nothing, you are dragging the image of dirt bike riders in general down the drain with you. It's amazing how tough it is to beat this logic into the head of a 12-year-old or anyone who acts that age, but whatever.
So you like racing on the trails? Well, here's why you shouldn't do that, even if no one can see you, hear you or knows you are there. Racing beats the crap out of trails. Go race and see most of the crap areas you get to do this on. There is no way to avoid them getting rutted, whooped, rerouted, bogged, chopped and generally torn up from all the wheel spinning, roosting, skidding and passing. There is nothing wrong with all of this stuff in the right place. You know, where they have races. But don't wreck nice trails for people who don't want to race trails. If you like to race on the trails, do it at a race. If you're still not getting it, please spend a day working on trail maintenance; you know, to pay your trail race fee back in some way. A day of cutting downed trees, moving rocks, creating water bars (that you likely spun your wheel right through last week!), trimming brush or even blocking off the shortcuts that you used to take (because you are such a good rider) will have you thinking a second time about your actions on the ground.
If you are such a good rider, why is your bike so loud? Do you need it to be faster? Because if you are so superior, you should be able to whip everybody's butt on a bike with less power, right? And that is what quiet bikes are, right? Slow and weak? Well, you're wrong again. Most quiet bikes can actually produce more power on the top-end. And since I know you have your throttle pegged all the time this is good for you. But what about regular guys, you ask? Hey, even with a quiet bike they can just turn the throttle farther if they need more power, you know. Maybe lead by example?
Since you are so fast at the track, was that slow guy really so hard for you to pass that he deserved to be stuffed? I mean, with all your advanced skill (Intermediate is almost like Pro and all) you certainly could have snuck by him. I know you don't move up a class because of all your sponsors, but that guy you just punted over the berm might have looked up to you at some time-but not anymore. And he may not buy stuff from your sponsor's shop or maybe he'll even drop some of your sponsors an e-mail about your character, not your speed.
One time you're going to do that to the wrong guy who actually knows what a block pass and getting stuffed are-big difference. I learned from a couple of guys named Gary Jones and Rex Staten when I was a fast young guy and I didn't know (or care at the time) who they were. I now pass that lesson along in more ways than just writing about it-for the kids, of course.
And the best one, and this is really the pot calling the kettle black here, is that *** really good rider who, like some guy known for "Squid Filters," has taken groups of lesser riders on rides that just plain punishes them. I used to do it right off the bat to trim the fat before the real ego crushing started. But the difference between me and a lot of other guys who do this is I take the reputation we achieve with these death marches seriously along with the responsibility of the broken bodies it could create, the destroyed bikes it makes and the destruction to trails less skilled riders tend to do when they get in over their head. I'm also prepared for what the contestants in the non-contest now think of me. Make sure you are, too.
I've done all of the above at some time in my riding and racing career; lately I've been working on my penance. If you are such a good rider, then you need to know that your actions speak volumes about the rider you really are, not just the speed, noise and destruction you leave in your wake.