Well, another WERA GNF is in the books. For me, this was my 4th consecutive GNF and 7th overall. As a business, Racing Performance Services had several riders that it had supported throughout the year at the GNF. Scott Beckley and Mark Delano were the main riders. Both had secured individual services outside RPS for this event, and this allowed me to ride. Throughout the weekend, I witnessed several things that just made me scratch my head…here are some thoughts:
Many riders do not prepare for an event like the Grand National Finals (or Race of Champions – CCS) properly. BEFORE you go to the GNF, HAVE A FREAKIN’ RESUME put together. It is the biggest grass roots event of the year and SPONSORS go to this event!!!
In case you crawled out from under a rock, the WERA GNF gets more exposure to high profile sponsors than any other event of its kind. I have witnessed many a rider come back from Daytona – ROC with multiple wins/podiums and never get more than a, “that’s nice” from potential sponsors. (NOTE: Daytona – ROC is nothing more than an expensive dyno-run). I find this Roadracing World press release indicative of what to expect from an exposure standpoint relative to the WERA GNF.
Several riders embarrassed themselves by telling themselves, “top-5 finishes were not what we came here for, I came here to win!!!” In the end, humility and appreciation of their competitors would have served these riders well.
I have to learn how to say “no” when I am racing. More importantly I have to stop racing events where there is a reasonable expectation of several racers (or more) asking for help at the same time. It does not matter who, what, where, or when, but people seem to figure out that my trailer/tool box is the most thoroughly put together in any paddock and if you need help racing, I have it. Unfortunately, I am not able to separate “help time” with “race time”. Even while I was suiting up for my races/practices, many felt it required to ask/solicit for help or ask any of several other questions while trying to get on my motorcycle. I enjoy what I do, and it is my job. I also (well at least used to…) enjoy actually racing. As a competitor, it frustrates me to no end when I am not able to meet my personal goals in my own racing program. I have to sort this out this off-season.
I really spent some time defining what I would like to see out of 2004’s sponsored riders at the GNF. In short, here is what I thought was the most important criteria based of observations of current and future RPS sponsored riders.
Commitment to an entire championship series
Humility and desire to improve all aspects of the riders track acumen. I am not going to fight riders who think they “know more” any longer. In the end it is a waste of my time to do so even though most figure out in the end they should have listened in the first place.
Desire to race an end of year venue. (i.e. Suzuki Cup/GNF)
Desire to race one or more nationals.
Professional attitude and presentation.
items listed in the last several points are generally consistently practiced
together, but the reward I get from my job is diminished greatly when I have
to compromise what I know to be true.
In the end, I had a great time, and I cannot thank my wife Renate enough for the tremendous help and support she has provided me in the 2003 season in starting up my business, as a racer, and as my wife.