Update from Todd Marella on the Salem indoor winter series over in Salem.
Saturday at Salem was a pretty dreamy night for flat track, whether one was racing or spectating, or both, the sparsely attended night had no shortage of action. Skyler Goar put on a clinic in the vintage open class. He is so pure, watching him lulls you into a state of suspended disbelief. Standing just on the other side of the Jersey barrier from where back straight becomes turn three, Todd Hill (Michael’s dad) said while watching the big thumpers roar by said 'Your friend #34, is getting fast. He’ll beat everybody in the class if he keeps this up…' It was a significant compliment, as there is fast company in the Vintage open group. Michael Hill [ @_michaelhill23_ ] entered three classes, including 450 Open, and 450 Pro, and won all of them, winning six races in total (a heat race and main for each), by masterfully holding off a very fast Andrew Luker (regular AFT Singles contender). It must have been a long drive back to California for the national #11. Speaking of whom, there was an FTR with his plates on it displayed in front of his trailer…I don’t want to start any rumours, but…
Saturday was also a night of homecoming in the 250 vintage class, as both #161 Cory Churchill, and # 18Q Korry Fitzpatrick [ @k_fitzpatrick ] were there with their bikes. Unfortunately for everyone, the latter only teased us with his newly built Champion framed MX250, as it needed a few things sorted before calling it track ready. It’s stunning, and a rocket. Korry hasn’t ridden a motorcycle since he badly broke his leg at The One race last February. On top of being a wonderful guy, he’s a patient man with a great appreciation for vintage Yamahas, and I’ll leave it at that.
Churchill missed the last two races due to holiday travel, as both events were nestled right up close to Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively. His was a heck of a return, significantly besting the rest of the class in Vintage 250, with last week’s winner Landon Kearney #50 @landonkearney second, and #19 Erick Navetta [ @ethnic_foodwrap_aficionado ] completing the podium in third. I wish there was an actual podium…alas, we wouldn’t make it to El Padrino until about 2:00 am, if there was.
None of what you just read hurts, except for the possibility of bruised egos, but nothing new there. What does hurt is soft tissue, organ, and bone when twisted, squeezed, impacted, or broken. Saturday night yielded its share of spills and mishaps. There is talk of a couple of riders in different classes, who are beginners to the sport, and whom, by riding beyond their skill level, are making it dangerous for riders around them, as well as themselves. One of those riders went home with a broken arm Saturday night. The other caused a crash this week resulting in some bruises for those around him, and broken right side controls for Jarred DeArmas [ @jarreddearmas ], and slammed into another rider, Stace Richmond, fracturing the unsuspecting racer’s leg, last week. It’s racing, and you’re at the mercy of a bunch of people on heavy equipment all trying to go faster than anybody else at the same time, in the same space.. The laws of physics still apply.
After the racing was over for the night and all of the trophies were collected, we made it to our new favorite taco stand, brought our own beer (as we have so far without any objection from the staff) and swapped stories. Mine were limited to every little bit hurting, as in a weird “twist” of events, my racing ended very early and abruptly for the night. Feeling really good after practice heading into the first heat race (#4 in order for the night), I got a pretty crappy start, leaving me following the usual suspects up at the front of the pack out of turn two. I picked up my left foot rolling on the throttle, and landed it on the peg. It’s right about then, that the toe of my hot shoe caught the track surface. That frigid Salem clay so violently ripped my foot off of the peg, I thought my boot with my foot in it were laying on the track. I knew it wasn’t right. I managed to finish the race, in a bit of shock and a lot of agony.
For a split second I had visions of taping my ankle up with whatever anybody had, to make the main. It didn’t take long, and my boots, leathers, and padding were coming off for the night. I spent the rest of the weekend limping around repeating the adage in my head 'If it was broken, you wouldn’t be able to walk on it…'
X-rays at lunch today revealed a fractured fibula…on both sides of the bone. I see an orthopeadic specialist next week. Happy new year.
I listened to the Clash’s version of 'Every little bit hurts,' a Tamla Motown gem originally recorded in 1964 by Brenda Holloway, and covered by many over the years, including Aretha Franklin, The Small Faces and The Jam. It was part of outtakes during Sandinista recordings that Mick Jones asked Norman Watt-Roy (bass) and Mickey Gallagher (organ) if they knew the tune. Topper played drums, and the track ended up in a box set called 'Clash on Broadway'. It’s a break-up song, for sure, but it’ll serve anytime you’re laid up in your new apartment wrapping your swollen ankle in strips of brown paper bag soaked in hot vinegar, wondering if you’ll get to race again this season.
It could have been worse. Dig.