An Unforgettable Evening with Colin Edwards, Josh Hayes, Jason Pridmore, Rich Oliver and Mike Sullivan.
Last night Dat Louie and Action Motorcycle School held a charity event in Vancouver. BC with the proceeds going towards the Children's Cancer Foundation. The event was billed as a "Safe Riding Clinic" with time graciously donated by some of motorcycle Roadracing's biggest Superstars. Guests included Colin Edwards (Two-Time World Superbike Champion and Yamaha MotoGp Rider); Jason Pridmore (2002 AMA Formula Extreme Champion,1997 Supersport Champion, World Endurance Champion); Rich Oliver (2003 AMA 250 GP Champion); Richie Alexander (1999 AMA Supersport Champion); Josh Hayes (Attack Racing); Mike Sullivan (2004 WMRRA Superbike Champion); Steve Dick (2004 WMRC Champion), Mark Kruger (2003 WMRC Champion).
The sold out 3 hour event took place in a small ballroom at a hotel conference center, where 300 enthusiasts packed in to hear what their riding heroes would have to say. The preplanned evening began smoothly, but it quickly became apparent to everyone in the room, including the MC's Bernie Ryan and Dagmar Midcap, that things were not going as expected. The evening began to take on a life of it's own.
As the hosts desperately tried to steer the guests to stay on topic, the audience was instead treated to something they would rarely, or more truthfully never experience. Safe riding became a side issue as a few of the speakers inhibitions, relaxed by a little bit of "brown Canadian Honesty" (otherwise known as beer), opened up and shared with the crowd the inside secrets of the track, their racing careers and their honest (extremely honest) opinions about the sport and the machines they ride.
It quickly became clear to everyone that we now had the chance to be a fly on the wall for a session of "bench racing" and "smack talk" between good friends, rather than a controlled and prepared press release or media question and answer session. Surprisingly, or thankfully, the rider's PR firms and "image police" were nowhere to be found. This certainly helped contribute to the open and relaxed atmosphere.
It was such a unique, intimate and "unplugged" event that it was more akin to "hanging out with the guys in the pub" or even in your living room, than anything else. The speakers blurted out numerous memorable quotes. We wont say who said them, out of respect (what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so to speak) however comments like "The (insert make of bike)?? It was a hunk of shit!!!" ... or "When he came on the scene I used to call him (insert name) cuz he's such an asshole" ... are seldom heard as headlines in industry news. Licking your finger and sticking it in another rider's ear is generally not done in public, or seen on TV ...
The chatty Josh Hayes, in his southern drawl, shared his story about his first bike as a Christmas present, and kept the audience entertained, laughing and glued to their seats. When Colin Edwards told his story about his bike catching on fire and being doused in flames and race fuel, it was difficult to tell if we were listening to Colin or watching a stand up routine by Chris Rock. As Colin put it, "Fire makes you do crazy things! Really crazy things... Like. when you see fire... your like.. I'm out of there!!!"...
The night did have a very serious undertone, and that was the charity it supported. After all of the bench racing and kidding was over, Colin Edwards took the time to sum it up for everyone, and made sure that everyone knew why they were there.
"I do a lot of work with the pediatric brain tumor foundation in Texas, and we're here for a reason, we're here for a cause, which is to bring people happiness and solitude and support.
And, it sounds good... it's all ya know "oh yeah, we're here! We're supportive!" . ....but when you see these kids.... these kids have no idea. Okay.. they are 5, 6, 7 years old, they are bald, they've had all the treatment and when you see them they're like normal kids and they're flat out, they're in sixth gear, pinned... yet they have no idea they're gonna be sick... 3 months later you find out they died... that's the problem... and that's why were here.... Were here to support the cause of curing this"
Hats off to Dat Louie for bringing all of us together to share such a wonderful, personal and intimate evening.