Photos & Musings: Early Days

Go Back Go Back

Practising on my TM125

This photo is from 1977 and I guess that I had been riding just a few weeks at this point. In fact it may even have been taken before I started racing judging by the jacket I'm wearing and the Wellington boots!

What I do remember is the incredible excitement that I experienced with anything to do with motocross back then. Just the sheer thrill of being a 14/15 year old kid and riding a proper motocross bike was amazing.

I have often said that the most fun I ever had with motocross was those first few weeks and months of riding. Nothing else mattered to me. I so looked forward to going racing and if ever there wasn't a race on the coming weekend I felt like I had nothing to live for!

When I rode back then I had no expectations, no pressure and no worries. Riding was 100% fun. However what I came to find was that as soon as I had posted a result - be it 25th in the schoolboy seniors or whatever - the curse of being competitive started to kick in. I had inadvertently set myself a benchmark and wanted to do better than that next time. If I didn't then I would inevitably be disappointed.

I don't know whether other riders felt that same way but it certainly was the case for me.

I don't remember any such feelings before motocross came along. I think I was a rather unremarkable and not very ambitious boy. But when I started racing the competitive streak appeared and stays with me to today, unfortunately.

I say 'unfortunately' because for me, being competitive was, and is, a bit of a curse. Having to do something better than I did previously is a race with oneself, where you never reach the chequered flag.

I do sometimes envy people who can take part in a pastime without personal expectations affecting their enjoyment.

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