There are long stories and there are the short versions of them. I suppose I could tell you the long story, but maybe you only have the patience for the short one. Maybe I can hit something in between.
I’m at Fontana Village this weekend, where the MOA is holding one of its 12 Getaways this year. (You may have heard of the BMW MOA before – they’re one of the two title sponsors for Chasing the Horizon – the other is Dunlop Motorcycle Tires.)
I love coming to events like this, where everybody gets to ride and have fun and talk about motorcycles. We’ve been incorporating some podcast discussions into some of the Getaways this year. The first was in Alabama, where I spoke with AMA Hall of Famer and Barber Museum legend Brian Slark for our sister podcast, 200 Miles Before Breakfast. Tonight, I sat down with MOA President Wes Fitzer, or as I like to call him, “Other Wes.” His episode of 200 Miles will be out in May as part of our rally prep month.
At any rate, I got up at 5 AM and drove to far western North Carolina – and yes, I drove because I have to transport a small PA system back with me (small being relative – too big for a motorcycle, but small enough for a car). I was tired, so I laid down for a quick 30-minute nap…
…two and a half hours later, I woke with a start, realizing that at 6.30 PM, all 160 attendees would be queueing up to fill their plates and I was late, late, late. Needless to say, I managed to squeak through with only a small delay of the evening’s schedule,
BUT NOW I AM SO AWAKE IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY.
“I know what I’ll do,” I thought. “I’ll get that Travis Wyman episode of Chasing the Horizon done. Then I won’t have to do it on Saturday and I can go have some fun, because I’m sure not going to have time to do it on Sunday, when I have to drive home.”
It’s an exciting Friday night, friends, let me tell you that.
My guest on Episode 49 is Travis Wyman, a young man who races Stock 1000 superbikes in MotoAmerica. I won’t explain what Stock 1000 means here, you can check out the episode to hear the expert (Travis) explain it all. We don’t just talk about racing, though – or his race bike, a BMW S 1000 RR. We chat about performance cars – Travis is an instructor for both car and motorcycle performance schools. He works with the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School and the California Superbike School. Travis talks extensively about how important race fans and his team are to not just his success, but the success of every racer that hits the track.
Be sure to check out the CSS schedule, as they hold classes at the tracks where MotoAmerica races, sometimes in the three or four days right after race weekends, which is exactly what’s happening at Virginia International Raceway(commonly known as VIR) about a week after this episode comes out. (Photos of Travis used here were shot by Michael Brock, Tony Brown and Aditya Bedre.)
Much like with my conversation with American Flat Track racer Jesse Janisch back in Episode 41, one of the things that really impressed me with Travis is his absolute no-nonsense approach to racing. He sounds like a get-it-done young man, and I couldn’t be more impressed with his drive and commitment to the discipline of motorcycle racing. I can’t wait to see him in action on the track, and I hope all of you will try to get out to a race this season as well and support him.
The News in this episode kicks off with some gloomy news. The Dakar Rally is abandoning South America for at least five years and heading to Saudi Arabia, a nation not particularly well-known for a great human rights record. I mean, they just executed 37 people last week in a mass beheading following a quick and suspicious trial. I don’t usually get into stuff like this on the show, but if the kingdom is trying to use the Dakar Rally to gloss over its terrible human rights record, I think that’s a reprehensible thing for Rally organizers to allow to happen no matter how much money SA is throwing at them.
From there we head on to Harley-Davidson’s dismal Q1 earnings, labor woes and surprising stock performance. (Bonus links: Don’t forget that Harley is set to close its Kansas City plant in May and will soon open their plant in Thailand, which they are opening specifically to avoid escalating tariffs being imposed by the European Union and some Asian nations.) Following that is better stuff – fun news about electric motorcycles from Curtiss and Energica.
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