I was just looking at some of the old photos of my motocross-racing days, and I began to recall in my own mind, how I operated in a scrum.  I was not the best rider out there, and in fact, I am certain that some people would refer to my cornering technique as downright dirty.  We were racing, pal, and the object was for me to get ahead!

I used to ride a beautiful Penton 125.  It was one of the finest, most well-balanced, and certainly the most responsive motorcycles I ever rode.

The bike's weight, and my own body weight, were a match made in heaven.  I could throw that pig around on the track!  And believe me when I tell you, that my pig loved being thrown around!  I had equipped it with a set of 48-inch swept handlebars, that made even an awkward rider like me have such control.  I had so much confidence in my motorcycle, I could do anything.

Cornering was my specialty.  I really can't say why, but it had to do with mastering my fear of cornering, I can tell you that. Cornering is the tricky part, especially when you are entering said corner at full speed.  You might have a 60 degree corner here, and your opponent may be 18 inches away from you, at full speed also! 

It is at that point, that one must have a technique.  One must pass his opponent in the corner, for there shall be scarce opportunity for passing on the open track.  Motorcycles are FAST!

What I would do is "track" my opponent's front tire.  Within limits, because I had to maintain control over my bike, but where he pointed his front tire, that's where I pointed my front tire.  One of us was going to get through the corner, and I damn well intended for it to be me.  Sort of like playing "chicken" at full throttle.  Whew!

I pissed off a lot of my fellow riders with my "bullying" technique, but I won a lot of races, too.  Usually, in discussing things after the race, my opponents would agree with my technique.  It's about getting to the flag first: "I love you, but eat rocks and dirt!"  Ha!

There was one guy, however, that I could not ever, and did not ever outrun.  He was a brutal bastard, a man without fear, and he would match me, tire-for-tire in any corner.  He is the one rider I have never gotten low on, and blown him out of the saddle.  He could match my technique, but perhaps he had a bit more gonads at the time.  He would corner or die.  But, he wasn't about to let his younger brother beat him in a race!

My hat is off to Tony, my big brother, who set an example of how to win, and he used to love to make me eat rocks.


When my brother and I were young, we used to compete in all kinds of motorcycle events.  My personal favorite was the enduro, where I just rode, checked in at the checkpoints, and then rode on.  It was more like a cool cruise through the countryside than a competitive event.

My second favorite event was cross-country racing.  The course was laid out, and we had to follow the flags, but it was go as fast as you can racing!  I blasted my way through the countryside, but even at that speed, one can take in the beauty of the countryside.

It was so cool to be riding through some sandy canyon, then climbing an impossible hill, then blasting the hell out of there, and negotiating the impossible twists and turns upon the trail that the sadistic course engineers had laid out for us.

I never won any event, and I always placed low.  But, I always won in the sense that I had the rich experience of traveling through the countryside, competing with my own countrymen, riding with my fellows, and ending up at the finish line, where we had much camaraderie, and we poked fun at each other's screw-ups.

I love the cross-country races!

Now, motocross was very different.  This is an extremely competitive sport, and I don't care who you are, you will get your butt kicked in motocross!  Everyone does.  A man sets about the endeavor of competing in a motocross race, then he finds out just what it is all about.

Until that gate falls, my friends, you will never know or comprehend the intensity of this sport.  It is absolutely brutal, the competition.  You think you are a hot-rod?  You think you have biking skills?  Go on, hammerhead, and give motocross a try!

I found out!  I found out through relentless attempts at getting back up, through unending attempts at trying to beat the competition, that I was out - and I mean WAY out - of my league.

Consider the worst ass-kicking you have ever taken in your entire life, and then consider that if you get on that bike, you are about to relive that nightmare. 

I quit motocross because I couldn't do motocross.  I had great skills as a biker, but motocross requires exceptional skills.  It ain't for the weekend biker.  Hear my testimony and spare your bones!

Anyway, I had a crazy youth, and I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything; my life has been rich, let me assure you!
Mike's Musings...
The Art of Motorcycle Riding
Penton Motrocycle
Motocross Cornering
Cross Country Racing
"You think you are a hot-rod?  You think you have biking skills?  Go on, hammerhead, and give motocross a try!"