6:30 AM Saturday Morning. Hung over. Rain pouring down in Concord. I stumble in the general direction of the computer to refresh the weather underground radar. If the wind was blowing the way the wind always blows, there would be two days of racing for me to shoot. Mother Nature, however, is a whore.
I’ve been walking around in a bit of a daze for the better part of the evening trying to figure out how I’m going to write up this little “race report,” for lack of better words.
Should I write it like I normally would trying to make jokes and being happy-go-lucky? Should I talk about what some of you already know happened? While I’m still sitting here, pondering on it, I sometimes think it’s best to speak of things (or write them) as you think them…so that’s what I’m doing now.
First of all, I want to mention that a WERA racer passed away yesterday in a solo accident during his race. His name was Joe. He was a Salinas Police Officer. He had a wife. He had children.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen someone lose their life at the racetrack. A few years ago, I saw Allen Rice hit a k-wall at Infineon, never to breathe again. He was a good friend of people that I know. I didn’t know him personally, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget his name. Or what he looked like as he lay there.
Yesterday, I watched, with my 400mm lens, Joseph Pusateri crash his motorcycle, ending his life. I watched his wife run out onto the track crying and trying to fight her way past the corner workers who were trying to hold her back. At that moment, I felt somewhat removed from the situation as I’ve learned to do over the years; watching people crash…some harder than others. Usually they just get up. Or they twitch…or move…at least after a few seconds, there’s SOME type of tell-tale sign of life.
You sorta become immune to it. There’s no more adrenaline rush like I used to get when someone would crash right in front of me… There’s no more tightening of the chest in a sort of empathetic physical reaction like there used to be…There’s nothing more than simply being a robot who documents things that unfold in front of him. Yesterday, while bursting off a sequence of photos of Joe crashing, was no different. It didn’t even seem that severe, to be honest. I fully expected him to get up and limp around a bit and maybe punch the air a few times in dissapointment. He didn’t move. I assumed maybe he was knocked out. He wasn’t.
I’ve seen friends and family members hop fences to try to tend to their loved ones in the past. I simply watched Joe’s wife crossing the track while speculating on what the extent of Joe’s injuries might have been.
It wasn’t until about an hour later that I’d learned the Joe passed away. Suddenly, as I was being told, the image of Joe’s wife flashed through my head. It hit me hard. I don’t even know how to explain it. Suddenly all this emotion that I’ve learned to put to the side to do the job I do hit me hard. I can’t even begin to imagine what’s she’s going through right now. What Joe’s family is having to deal with right now.
I can’t help but to selfishly think about my own family and my accident from 2 years ago.
I really don’t know where I’m going with this right now…I’ve just been typing as I think. All I know is that a complete stranger to me passed away yesterday doing something that he loved, that I loved, that everyone at that racetrack loved, and I’m pretty torn up about it all. I wish I could turn back time and simply tell him not to race that race, and he’d have gone back home with his wife to Salinas.
Rest in Peace, Joe. I’m so very sorry to all the family and offer my deepest condolences.
Reference: Accident lawyer in Round Rock.
so, i’ve just barely started going through the pics from this weekend… there’s a lot. i wanted to do things differently, so i tried a buncha different stuff than normal.. i’m so sick of all the same shots over and over and over…
hulk-smash laptimes! rawr!
So, I expected hellish June temperatures…but instead, all weekend, we were treated to March-like weather… what gives? Is the world going to implode next week? Is global warming a myth afterall? Is it really global cooling we have to be worried about? OMG, should I dig a bunker in my back yard?!?
//me runs and hides
Anyhow, I arrived with my trio of dastardly feinds mid morning on Saturday only to find that the dates on my calendar musta been wrong, cause the paddock seemed nearly empty compared to rounds in the past. It looked more like a trackday than a race weekend…but no matter, all the fun and excitement was still there. Code 4 brought back some of the Saturday night love. The fast guys were still fast. The racing was still awesome.
Here’s some pics…
ball in hand
I knew two young brothers once, separated only by three years. One dove head first into water, the other was terrified of sand. One gently handed you his teddy bear, the other threw it to you from the top of the stairs. Although they were both my blood, and both my buddies, I had a special connection with the younger one. We shared something no one else in my family understood. If born into an American Indian tribe, neither of us would be chosen as Chief. Nor would we become the wise old feathered man chanting words of wisdom from the dark corner of a smoke filled tepee. The two of us shared the curious look of adventure. Not only the want to climb from the safety of our crib into the darkness of night, but the need to. Not only the will to run, but the desire to sprint. We shared the blood of warriors. And choice had little to do with it.
Round two at Infineon was my best weekend so far, finishing 2nd in F40 and back-to-back wins in both 450SB and 500T.
We signed up for Friday practice with PTT, which turned out to be a waste of time. The groups were crowded with street riders, and with AFM riders out there trying to get their scorch on, the carnage was massive. Every session was either red-flagged or cut short due to pile-ups. I don’t understand why track day providers don’t warn their customers when dates are preceding and AFM event.