I want to speak shortly on the tragic events of the past week.
As a Oklahoman I, as well as many others have weathered yet another very emotional week.
This past week we suffered a new link in a long chain of disasters that have taxed the the spirit and the soul. The horrific damage and losses left behind are our history… it will be remembered forever along with past like kind events. To be measured against, the tornado’s that swarmed our state this week have again become a new deadly benchmark. But it is not our legacy…
Oklahoman’s, our neighbors in north Texas who recently suffered as well and those other nearby states that are a part of the alley are very much in tune with our surroundings. The weather is always extreme. We never are really afforded a quiet springtime and the watch for dangerous storms is a continuous part of our lives.
But it seems for Oklahoma it seems we are given special opportunities to have our resolve and faith continually tested. The spirit of Oklahoma has always been one of persistence in the face of dire conditions. Whether they be natural or man made. As a relative newcomer, being a resident of the state for only 30 some odd years I have always been amazed at the grit and determination of this great states citizenry. It seems that the core of American ideology… freedom and independence are forged in steel here. But the hard edges of our existence are tempered by the kindness shown others in times of strife. When things look most bleak it’s a very emotional thing see how close Oklahoman’s will gather up, roll up the sleeves and do the dirty work together of straightening out the mess. When others suffer loss whether it be a loved one or be a home the states beauty shines brightest. It makes me proud to be a Sooner.
Yes, there is no doubting the same things can be said across the country. Time and time again the country has proved itself as a nation of quality when times are at their worst…. But to me it’s Oklahoma that shines brightest when the darkness is overwhelming. The events we witnessed this week are indelibly etched forever in our minds. I will never forget the devastation.. but I won’t let it obscure the beauty of Oklahoma… it’s my home.
Last weekend I was once again given the great chance to go watch and participate in a small way, the motorcycle races held by the CMRA. The races were held at Oklahoma’s very own Hallett Motor Racing Circuit near Jennings, Oklahoma.
Hallett is the only true road racing specific track in the state. It’s known by many to be a very tough, technical track. But those who race there have come to love the lovely rolling hills and turns nestled in the natural Oklahoma countryside. The track is well taken care of and gives riders the chance to really test themselves and the machines. The weekend of racing was perfect. The weather Saturday was spectacular and the mini endurance trials were quite exciting to watch. Riders in the Saturday mini sprints put on a great show and the CMRA’s newest format, the Team 60 gave a great preview to what was to become a record breaking Sunday sprint race series.
I was really thrilled to see the Jr Motards running at Hallett. Those youngsters really rode their hearts out and and it was so cool to see what is sure to become the future of the club getting a chance to learn the ropes, have some fun and ride the same asphalt as their heroes…
The big bike sprints on Sunday gave a heck of a show and it was of course what everyone came to see. The Formula 1 race did not disappoint and every class competed hard. Some awesome racing!
I was one of the lucky spectators to see the record breaking run of Danny Kelsey. The battle between him, the track and the other competitors was epic! For sure an event to be remembered…..
So today I was going through the many pictures I took that weekend. I have many great shots of the riders and bikes. I have photos of the bikes, the track and riders doing power wheelies off turn five hill…. I took shots of fast and hard competition through the sweeping turn six and the resulting drag race past seven! But one small group of shots I took for no apparent reason that on retrospection really brought it home… it’s just a few shots of a young boy and who I can only guess is his father. They were standing by the fence looking over the grass the man sitting on a bike while the boy stood watching the riders.
The pics really put the sport into perspective… why we come, what the club is really about. Those little motards out there running like mini MotoGP champs waiting their turn for the future… This youngster with stars in his eyes and rapt attention to the instructions or explanations the father was offering him. It reminded me of why we do what we do… love of racing. Love for our families…. And that special feeling we get when we can share it with others…
For me looking at those pictures melted away all the bad of the week…. They drew me back in time to the track, the racing and spending time with my lovely wife as we corner-worked, watched the racing and snapped some pics…. good times….. in Oklahoma
So the week is over and we go into the holiday. We’ll watch parades and B-B-cue. we will visit friends and family. Mostly we will heal up. It’s kind of like what Okies are good at…in good times and bad…