What would you do if you had three nipples?
<Laughter> I guess this proves anything you say can come back to haunt you! I guess if I were blessed with a third nipple, I'd have to join the circus. That way, between sideshows, I could hang out and watch those athletic trapeze girls. I've always thought they must be pretty hot, and hey, you never know what kind of fun you could have with a chick who likes to swing from the ceiling!
Finish this sentence, I love off-road racing because...
Because my wife is always the trophy girl. Well, that, and the speed. I love to go fast, and I love the challenge of natural terrain, figuring out how to deal with obstacles as they develop or that you've never seen before is a rush. I grew up riding off-road, and it will always be in my blood. There's something about seeing a really fast guy charging out of the woods, or the desert, head forward and flyin', that just gives me the chills. Ever since I was small, I wanted to be that guy.
The biggest thrill of you life has been?
That's a tough one, because I've had so many. I consider myself fairly adventurous, and I've been lucky enough to have that appetite fulfilled on a regular basis. Honestly, I feel like every time I rider that it could be the biggest thrill ever, but I'm also entertained by simpler things, like a perfectly roaster marshmallow, or a good song. I guess I'm constantly on the verge of sensory overload.
Do you think the TCCRA races are an appropriate length right now, should they be longer or shorter?
I think the length we run is a good compromise. I feel like everybody is really getting as much track time as they want, and our races are a great values. I don't know where else you get to do so much organized riding for so little money.
What are your favorite things to do at the TCCRA races when you're not riding or racing?
I always seem to be pretty busy in one way or another, but I guess my favorite thing, in general, is the fellowship of my riding buddies. There's a bond there which we all share that I doubt most people in society ever get to experience. It's something special that comes from what we do, and I treasure it almost as the riding itself.
Do you have any motorcycle racers that you admire?
Right now I've got mad respect for David Vullemin and Shane Watts. These are both guys who just love to ride, and they've both come into established series as outsiders and just kicked ass. You have to respect not only their talent, but their sportsmanship and their respect for the sport. The all time hero, though, is Doug Henry. He personified skill, athleticism, sportsmanship, and a kind of dignity that most of us can only hope to achieve.
Do you have any non motorcycle related people that you admire?
I could think of a lot, but I'll just mention two that came to mind immediately. Gotta give major props to Warren Buffet. The man has made billions through careful analysis of the stock market and as insistence that the businesses he invests in have good fundamentals. He applies logic in an arena where it's too often missing, and he sets high standards. He's also humble, the man has been married to the same woman and living in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, for longer than I've been alive, yet he's the second richest man in America.
Another personal hero is a guy name John Paul Vann. He was an army colonel in Vietnam who saw that war on a completely different level than the politicians who ran it. He stood up for what he believed in and he made a difference in a few lives. He was a complicated, and not always very nice person, but he had tremendous compassion for his troops and for the people of Vietnam. He died tragically in a helicopter crash on his way back to the United States. You can read about him in a book called "A Bright and Shining Lie."
People tend to recognize you as having very high mechanical knowledge, how did you learn so much about motorcycles and motorcycle mechanics?
I guess I've always been mechanically inclined, whatever that means. I grew up on a farm, and before I finished the sixth grade my dad expected me to help work on equipment. Sometimes I was just handing wrenches or washing parts, but it had a big influence on me. I remember in my 7th grade small engines class, everybody else rebuilt the standard Briggs and Stratton 3.5 Horse-Power lawnmower engine. I rebuilt the engine out of a Honda CB350 twin! I thought I was going to build a small dune buggy around it, but that never happened. I cobbed together, like, half of the frame before I got overwhelmed by the technical challenges. I think that motor is still in my dad's barn.
What do you think of yourself as a rider?
<Laughter> Sometimes I try not to! I guess I consider myself to be pretty skilled, but I try to stay humble, because there are so many fast guys out there. I feel like I'm competitive off-road, but I want to get better, if I could be a decent AA rider by the time I'm 35 I'd feel pretty fulfilled. As far as motocross, I ride over 30 intermediate, but I'm totally inconsistent. I'll jump the 90' tabletop at Mosier all day, but then I'll make mistakes in corners. My lack of motocross experience definitely shows, but I just keep trying to get better.
Have you ever ridden overseas or in any exotic areas?
Yeah. I lived in Argentina for a while during college, and I hooked up with some cool guys down there that would take me riding. I was just in jeans, but it was better than nothing. I also did a trip to Mexico at the end of 1994. My brother had been going to Copper Canyon quite a bit and he decided he wanted to make a try for riding the whole length of it. Les French and a bunch of other old-timers said it couldn't be done, but we proved 'em wrong. It was a hell of a deal though. What was suppose to be a 6 or 7 day trek ended up being more like 10, and we had one stretch there where we only covered 25 miles in 3 days! We had an Indian guide who had all our packs on his burros, and he made better time than we did. We spent New Years Eve sleeping single file between the bikes on a trail about 2000 feet above the bottom of the canyon, and when we woke up, somebody was spouting off with a machine gun. We were all pretty freaked, because that is a major dope growing country, and we had already seen a few grim looking folks with automatic weapons. As it turned out, they were just celebrating the New Years day! It was a big adventure, and as far as I know, were the first and only ones to do it. The Indians we camped with along the way said they rarely saw white folks, and had never seen any bikes.
Do you have any comments?
Everyone should stop what they are doing occasionally, and have a popsicle.
Thanks a lot Will for that interesting and informative interview. Good luck in 2001. Check the interview section for more upcoming rider interviews.
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