People Are Crazy... and Everyone Is A Racer

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?And everyone is a racer. If you doubt that, you've obviously never driven in New York City during rush hour. Look closely at the driver of that Japanese luxury car. He's just as miffed as you the racer is at having to drive fifty-five miles per hour when the speedometer on the car clearly reads one hundred and fifty. Why can't we drive it at that speed if the car can come close to it. Man, just look at him fiddling with the knobs pretending to be tuning the radio into a station. We racers know what he is really doing is setting the frequency of his imaginary laser beam roadblock remover system. You know the ones; they make little bomb sounds as we pretend we are obliterating our foes on the drive home.

If you really want to annoy him, honk your horn, tailgate him for a few seconds then cut in front of him. When he reaches his boiling point, slam on your brakes and drive slower than you were both going previously. then apply your brakes and drive slower than you were driving before you cut him off. His typical response will be one of anger, an anger borne of the pent-up frustrations of living in a high tech world and being legislated into a low-tech existence. Our driver will invariably stab the gas pedal and swerve out of the lane in an attempt to pass you back. You, in turn, speed up, knowing that his intent is to block pass you at the first opportunity, then brake check you just so you get the message.

And so this high-speed game of "chicken" unfolds on any highway others will graciously move over to let the two road-warriors carry on with the spectacle. I've participated in a more than a few such duels myself though lately I choose to be a bystander to other people's road rage. This emotionally charged ego-tripping could be very dangerous to anyone near the scene.

Society says we should be punished for breaking their law of a maximum velocity of fifty-five miles per hour (in New York at least). Most racers will try to get away with as much as we can, just like on the track and usually have the skills to pull it off. The typical driver lacks all of the needed skills and courage to indulge themselves and so after one or more two hundred dollar speeding tickets, the potential racer's lust for life is usually squashed flatter than Spongebob in the Arizona desert. They usually go home more frustrated, angrier, and two bills poorer. I'm glad I race motorcycles; I'm glad I have a family of people who know and think and feel exactly as I do... we are fortunate to be real racers.

Drivers aren't the only ones who are acting crazy either. Anyone who has walked or driven in Manhattan can attest to the fact that the craziest of all humans is not "Checkered Cabbus-Weavus"; that honor belongs to "Pedestrius Al-sue-yerbutt", the dreaded New York City pedestrian.

No other form of life on the planet is capable of staring into the eyes of the errant tractor-trailer driver and then stepping nonchalantly into the path of his serpentine behemoth. If you've never seen eighteen thousand pounds of truck with all the wheels locked up you don't know what you're missing. The puff of blue smoke in the distance alerts one to the presence of "Pedestrius Al-su-yerbutt."

While the truck driver shakes uncontrollably, trying to bring his heartbeat back below the three hundred mark, "Pedestrius Al-su-yerbutt" flashes an ear to ear grin. And why shouldn't they, they've just looked fear and death in the face and walked away unscathed. Others can only look on in amazement; children will point in their direction with wonder and awe. They are momentarily idolized as they relish fifteen seconds worth of their fifteen minutes of fame. They will be on the tongues of everyone who saw their gutsy moves,

"Holy cripes, did you see that?"

I'm glad I race motorcycles; I'm glad I have a family of people who know and think and feel exactly as I do... we are fortunate to be real racers and have our outlet.

Before we forget that this is a moto-cross story, let me get to the heart of the matter. The point is simply how much we as off road riders and racers have to be grateful for. Unlike the road-rager and "Pedestrius Al-sue-yerbutt," we don't have to drive our cars at one hundred and twenty miles per hour, nor do we have to tempt fate by stepping in front of speeding trucks just to feel that surge of adrenaline. Thank God we are real racers... I do. We aren't as unlucky as the folks who live out the two examples of non-racers.

We are the normal; we can take out our frustrations on machines that were designed to be the healers of our pressures and frustrations. We have moto-cross and the woods to keep us sane. How lucky we are indeed. I'm glad I race motorcycles; I'm glad I have a family of people who know and think and feel exactly as I do... I am fortunate to be among real racers. So when next you are privy to witness any of the afore mentioned dramas, you'll know? people are crazy, and everyone is a racer.

Michael James

*7 years covering professional motocross racing for Cycle News,,, and *amateur motocross racer *screenwriter - seeking representation- *8 year columnist for several motocross papers and magazines

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