2001, the year I graduated from elementary school.
I had grown up around motor-sport, my father a former rally racer and life long Formula One fanatic, would wake me up at 4 am most Sundays to watch racing live. I had for a couple years longed after a dirt bike which never appeared...fuck you dad, lusted after my uncles Moto-Guzzi, and gone bananas when he let me rev the piss out of his new Buell S1 Lightening. But these were far from sport bikes, which would become my obsession. The Buell was more an impressionist take on sport standard machine rather than a sport bike, those are the kindest words I can write about that hunk of shit.
That May, something life changing happened, like had happened to so many 12 year old boys before me, things were about to get very different. I saw a motorbike race. It was on Speed Vision, right after the Formula One race, I cant be sure if it was on tape delay or live, but it was certainly at Monza. The fact it was at Monza was far from insignificant, this was a track I knew from Formula One, one of the greatest in the world, and undoubtedly the fastest on the circuit. The race was one of the best I had ever seen, far closer and far more exciting than what Formula One had on offer in 2001. The standouts were Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards. I immediately took to CE, and more importantly his bike. The Honda SP1, known in North America as the RC-51.
That summer my uncle was killed in a plane crash, his bikes sit in the garage right were he left them to this day. My plan had been for him to teach me to ride, but with this out of the picture I was left to sort it out on my own. Surely my mum and dad were not going to pay for it. Now that riding for myself had been relegated to the back burner I became a super fan of racing. Taping races, reading magazines and most importantly of all covering my locker with magazine photos. Two wheel tuesday hosted by Greg White was must see TV. The star was the Honda RC51. Both Nicky Hayden and CE were dominating their respective series, AMA and WSBK aboard them. It was the bike I dreamed of owning.
When I graduated high school in 2006, I bought a 2005 SV650 from Atlanta Georgia sight unseen. Had it shipped to Seattle, drove down and picked it up. I had no fucking idea how to ride a motorbike, but I owned one! I did the right thing and took a school, which my dear sweet mummy paid for, and the rest is history, just like my love of the RC51.
Until one of these big red pigs started to seduce me. That is a story, next week.