Jonathan Broom| e: jon styletank com| c: 214 763 6923| feed burner

long post: rough week so far....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

this has been a rough week.

not only did i get the bad and frustrating news about the job, but a fellow racer, Drew Lippolt, died at oak hill on sunday practicing for the race this weekend. i'll talk more about that in a second.

further aggrevating me is the weather outlook for the weekend. at the moment saturday looks like a low of 35º and a high of 45º with a 50% chance of rain. cold + rain + a bike i've never even sat on = nerves and fear of breaking bones. thats how i broke my collar bone a year and a half ago... racing in the rain. I'm still looking foward to it. my teamate for the weekend reminded me yesterday of the battle the two of us had racing against each other in the rain last year in denton and how fun it was. Looks like mom won't be coming up though due to weather and the dogs (no one to watch them and one is sick i guess). that means i can't bring ayden and i have to find someone to watch him for the day while i go race. taking away from my ayden time... depressing.

Back to Drew Lippolt:

I didn't know drew, but he's a fellow racer and we're all like family. theres a bond there that other people don't understand. it's also very nerve racking when something like this happens. Everytime somone i know gets injured or killed riding it makes you analize what you're doing again. you're afraid to tell people that it happend becuase you get the same look and speach that leads to you defending yourself. questioning these things that you love to do. the things that you think about all day while you're at work. fantasise about when driving home. analize your lines in your head for weeks before a race. can't sleep the night before a race from excitment.... it's worth it... right? sometimes it's hard to justify, sometimes it's not.

if people think i don't think about my son, my parents, my girlfriend everytime i get on the bike, or even think about racing big bikes... they're crazy. it goes through my mind all the time. i could die on the way to work today riding this machine. truth betold... my plan when i get a better paying job is to have track bikes only. i can't do it now becuase i can't afford a car payment or the gas to drive anything else besides my 55mpg bike. riding on the street is scary and i know my time will come. thats why i go by the statement "track bikes save lives".

for those that don't understand what we as amature and professional racers/riders think about... how we justify what we do, heres some quotes from the CMRA message boards about the situation. some of this hits the nail on the head, some of it i think won't quite come accross to the rest of the world like it was intended. but overall it helps us to get back into what we love, to quit second guessing ourselves, and to remember that if Drew could talk to us now, he'd tell us to race. not to quit.

I heard of his passing on Monday morning, and was immediately struck by the fact that this could very easily have been me instead of Drew. I feel the need to express to you why we follow this sport with such passion. We all know that death or injury is a risk of our sport, and we continue because we find it so rewarding that the danger is acceptable. I race motorcycles because it makes me feel so intensely alive. The way I felt when I exchanged vows with my wife and knew I’d found my soul mate. The way I felt when my son arrived screaming into this world to beat the band, and I didn’t sleep for two days from sheer excitement. It is a celebration of being human, and while there are other things in life that provide this exhilaration, they are few and far between, just like races are few and far between.

Drew and I never met, but I knew of him though many of our fellow racers. I feel that this is my loss; he was very well-respected and had been a member of our club for many years. I’ve been a member for three short years myself. I still feel like a new arrival at times, but I also feel like a valued member of the family. I would not have hesitated to help Drew with anything, and I would have felt free to ask him for help if I had a need as well. Such is the family that Drew was a part of through our sport, and we all feel his loss. He was one of our own.

Yup. When I ever get any stuff about how dangerous racing is, I ask them if they know how dangerous a bathroom at home is (injury/kill) or driving in a car to work every day.

We definately aren't the kind of people to sit at home hoping nothing bad would happen only to break a hip in the bathtub.

Those that just don't get it - never will.

Let them be boring honkies playing golf. Let them try not to do anything dangerous and then get in a horrible car wreck on the way to work. They take their lives for granted by NOT living life.

I never feel so much alive as when I'm on the track. I never feel the blood rushing through my veins as when I'm hunting down my next passing victim (or trying to keep up with someone who just passed me!).

Let them sit at home and waste their lives watching TV arteries clogging up with fat from potato chips and ice cream. Let them have heart attacks with sofa cushions grown into their buttocks.

Let us arrive to same place in death wishing they should have done more, and me regretting nothing.

And if my time comes doing something I love, so be it.

I've enjoyed so much more in life than the average American couch potato.

We racers live more in one weekend than most TV watching, golf playing, mall shopping Americans do in a life time.

Those that get it, do it. Those that don't get it watch the rest of us that do and say "I wish I could that."

Quote: (this ones long)
In Times of Qusestion…

After reading all of the posts concerning the loss of fellow racer Drew Lippolt, many thoughts were running through my mind. But there was one word in particular that lingered in my mind hours after logging off the mboard and continued to remain so loud that I couldn’t even sleep. The word was passion. Previously overlooked and under minded, upon further thought, this word was the answer to many questions I had about my own life. Here’s just some food for thought.

Passion…Passion is what drives you. Just to be able to partake in whatever you passion may be is your motivation to get out of bed and face the routine of everyday life. Your true passion is always on your mind, if not in full focus, then lingering in the back and providing you the willpower to get through the day. Passion will involve sacrifices in your everyday life, sacrifices that you wont even bat an eye at making because your passion (whatever it may be) means that much to you. I once heard someone ask John Haner how he could possibly crash in the infamous turn 8 during a sprint race at Texas World Speedway and then get back up and take a third place. His response, “ it’s the end of the month…I got rent.” That is passion. I’ve seen on countless occasions riders show up to the track without even enough money to make it back home. So much passion for the sport of road racing, it didn’t matter. Of course these riders won just enough money to make it home and back to the next race where they would show up in the same situation. That is passion.

All to often to an outsider looking in on someone who has discovered their passion, words like insane, crazy, and even stupid are brought up. I feel sorry for that person because they obviously haven’t felt what true passion for something is.

It is a known fact that the human body requires the will to succeed, the will to improve and excel. Your true passion should allow you to do this, whatever the cost. The human race requires a passion to drive them, and it amazes me that there are people who live life every day lacking it. As sad as it is, there are those who leave this world without ever knowing what having a passion even feels like.

Your passion should fire you up. It should make day-to-day life into stepping-stones to get you from where you have to be to where you want to be. In this case the stepping stones may be that 8-5 Mon.-Fri. job that allows you to get in your truck at 5:15 on Friday afternoon, hook up to your trailer, crank up Call Me the Breeze by Lynard Skynard, and head off only to spend you weekend fulfilling your passion and hanging out with, by far, the coolest, most caring, but yet diverse group of people in the world.

All motorcycle riders have been called insane, at one time or another, for competing in such a dangerous sport and we all know that were risking our lives every time we flip down our visors and barrel toward turn one. In your true passion, you overcome these fears in order to succeed and improve. Your true passion will allow you to come out of a corner completely slidewayz, spinning the rear, sliding the front, knee on the ground, when everything you have ever known is telling you to back out of it, but you don’t. As puckered as you are…there is still that unexplainable smile on you face. That is passion. Willing to sacrifice all you know, including you life, for the simple fact that what your doing makes you smile. That is passion.

Passions may change or evolve over the course of your life, and that is ok. Friendly faces around the club will come and go, some more long term that others, and that is ok too. What I challenge you to do is chase your passions, whatever they may be, no matter how extreme. Listen to the advice provided by others, but most importantly listen to your heart. The mind has been known to mislead, but I assure you that your heart will never fail you. Follow and listen to it, and it will lead you to your passion, whatever it may be, and I assure you it will make life worth living. And when the end does come, and your looking back over you life, that unexplainable smile will still be on your face. And that is passion.

In times of question, perhaps brought on by the death of a fellow racer, your mind does crazy things. As stated earlier follow your heart. Sure, the consequences are always in the back of you mind, but in my years with the CMRA the good times have considerably outnumbered the bad. Don’t take for granted the abilities you have been blessed with. And as Yogi Berra once said, “it ain’t over till it’s over,” so discover your true passion and make the most out of life.


Someone asked me the other day what roadracing meant to me...

I told them that RoadRacing is my life. It gives me purpose. I am a better person for knowing the people that make up the field I compete in. I would do anything for anyone of them.

Even that statement seems to cheapen it's true meaning to me...

This has been a horrible week of reflection for me. We read of racers losing their lives all the time in RRW but when it comes home to your front porch things change. This event, combined with something I witnessed in Austin earlier in the week has shaken me to my core. I have asked myself time and time again if I should race. Am I doing the right thing? What about my family? My 4 year old daughter?

How can I justify this?

Then I read this post and now I know the answer. Passion. I race because of my passion for the sport and the people involved. I drive 1000 miles a week because of my passion for the students in this state. That passion is what drives me and makes my life complete. I could lose my life doing either one of these things. But because of that passion, it would be for a reason.

This is a message to the racers from Drews wife.

I wanted to thank you, Marcus, and thank Chris Kutalek as well, for being there as the first responders and doing all that you could. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must have been for you as fellow human beings, friends, and racers to perform the acts that you did. I do not even know racing well enough to know exactly what a high side is, but I am glad I don't really have the visual, and based on what I saw Tuesday when I finally got to spend time with Drew at the funeral home here in Austin ... I am glad he passed quickly. Had he survived this incident, it is clear to me - from the few visual clues that my own EMT training has taught me - that it would not at all have been the kind of life he would have wanted to lead. I am so grateful that he is truly in a better place.

Jason, you are Superman. This loss hurts you acutely, and yet you continue - and will continue - to spend time and effort to remember Drew, to assist me, and to help all of your fellow racers in the CMRA family grieve and eventually to move on. (Or, should I write, race on? [wink]) Drew loved each of his Relic Racing teammates for different reasons, and he shared those reasons and love with me. You all truly were like brothers, and again ... even as I bear my own pain, I do not forget that you are hurting as well and so your efforts on behalf of Drew and me are all that more astonishing. Thank you, thank you.

And Coyne, I do not know how you possibly had the strength to do what you did on Sunday, to drive to Drew's and my home, and tell me of his passing in person. You were so perfectly decent. I so very much wanted there to be more time for Drew to continue to get to know you, for you and he to continue to learn from each other regarding adventures both on and off the track. I was truly thankful that your efforts of the past year allowed my husband to reengage in a more committed racing schedule. If nothing else, it helped keep him out of the house. [wink]

Whether base jumping, motorcycle racing, or solo climbing ... it doesn't matter what I as an individual think of any particular passion that carries great risk with it, and therefore, great rewards ... the point is, as a wife, I loved the fact that my husband loved a particular passion. And there was no doubt that in Drew's case, it was two wheeled machines that could cover asphalt, dirt, or sand as fast as he could make them move. Whether it was the Armstrong in 1998 or the streamliner at Bonneville, Drew loved racing. He loved it just as he loved me: without limits and without fear.

I hope each of you continue to love hard and ride fast, just as Drew did. Cherish your loved ones, respect your fellow racers, and honor all of your passions. You never know when your time here on Earth will end to do so.


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