every now and then i go hang out at some of the many bmx racing forums around the net. there's bmxmuseum.com, vintagebmx.com, oldschoolbmx.com...you know, the sites for old dudes like me who like to relive the old days now and then.
i came across a posting about the 1981 jag bmx world championships, held in indianapolis indiana. in those days, it was THE single day race, and it was held in a convention center with concrete floors and wooden jumps. later, it moved to las vegas and then to california, both on dirt tracks.
but the old world's were pretty special. there were so many riders at those early races, there was hardly room to breathe, and the tracks were so small and tight that breathing wrong meant you were last place.
i had only been racing for two years, but things were coming along pretty well. the race was held between christmas and new years, and just a few months before i had gotten my first national ranking in the nbl, number 4, and i had won a couple of national races in the process. and as a bonus, i landed my first real sponsor, jag bmx, who happened to be the sponsor of the race.
now make no mistake...mr. kakouris was in no mood to drive to indy in the ice and snow. it was only a phone call from renny roker himself (jag owner) that convinced dad that i needed to be at the worlds since jag sponsored them. so we went.
it was too much for me. only one lap of practice, thousands of riders, concrete track, new bike...i was a mess. but, somehow, i made it through my motos. that was a miracle. and much to my surprise, we had 4 rounds of eliminations (called semi's, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2) to get to the main event. i made it to the last semi, one of the last 16 guys. then, i lost out. looking back, i don't know how i made it that far. the guy who won my semi won the whole thing, so there is a little consolation.
anyway, snooping around on vintagebmx.com tonight, i found a thread about that race. and sure enough, the guy who won our class at the worlds kept the semi final moto sheets and he posted them in the thread...and there was my name.
mostly, i downplay my involvement in bmx because i never quite lived up to my own expectations. but every now and then, i get transported back to a short, intense period of my life (1979 to 1987) and i get that wicked little rush of emotions that i would get in those days...and i don't feel so bad about never being that good.
tonight i was one of those times, and it didn't even take a winning race memory to bring it back.