The following pictures are copies of photographs I gave to my nephews Luke and Cole. Jimmy passed away back in 2008 and Luke and Cole recently visited us here in Chicago. The pictures below are the ones I gave to them that had to do with Jimmy and motorcycles. Motocross was his passion when he was a teen.
The picture of all three of us was taken up above Central City, Colorado. When I was young we would always go up there to ride motorcycles, shoot guns, have campfires etc. It was fun. This was back in the 1980s. So this was well before the gambling came in. The bike I was riding with the number 2 on the front was a Honda MR 50. I believe it was a 1972. This was not only the bike I learned on but it was also Jimmy’s bike when he was younger. Kelly was riding her bike with no helmet because she didn’t want to mess her hair up. Luckily, she didn’t get her that day because I am pretty sure that is also the day she crashed and the ligaments in her knee were torn. Jimmy was riding the Suzuki. This was before Jimmy started racing. I’m guessing I was 7 or 8 which dates this picture around 1983 or 1984.
The picture that shows Jimmy leaning on the bike with the 113 plate crossed out was taken in Benkelman, Nebraska. He was racing his first and only enduro. He taped up his bike so that it was less likely to get send and water into it while he raced through all the streams and mud holes. I believe the race was four laps with each lap being 25 miles. During the last lap Jimmy folks working the race and keeping track of who was leading showed that Jimmy was in first place. He was racing through trees, not knowing he was leading the race, when his throttle stuck wide open. He ended up crashing really badly while jumping off his bike. He landed in a bunch of tree stumps. His lower back was injured and he was out of commission for a few weeks. The folks keeping track of the race were waiting for Jimmy to cross the finish line but he never made it. There were hundreds of people in the race including a nationally ranked guy that traveled the circuit named Fritz Cadillac.
The picture of him standing next to the table with the cake was the party my mom held for him when he graduated from Bear Creek high school. The cake featured several items that showcased his interests during high school. His senior picture is on the table and there are also some of his racing trophies behind the cake. This picture was taken in the kitchen of my parent’s house in Morrison.
The picture of him standing next to the bike with the yellow plates that read 113 was taken in Morrison, Colorado on the back porch of my parent’s house. The yellow plate with black writing showed that he was an amateur in the Colorado racing circuit. The classes, according to skill, were novice, then amateur followed by pro. Later the year this picture was taken Jimmy turned pro.
Jimmy dressed all in red sitting on the bike with the black plate and white numbers listed 344 show him in his first year of racing. He was a novice in this picture. It was taken at one of the several tracks in the Colorado circuit. He was great at getting holeshots. In fact, his first race ever was at the Trinidad track and he got the holeshot that day in one of the heats.
When you walked into my mom and dad’s house the first thing you would see was Jimmy’s trophies. Jimmy’s racing skills were my father’s pride and joy. For several years, the trophies were on display. Jimmy and Dad spent virtually 100% of their free time on his racing career.
The last picture was taken in the same room as the trophies. Jimmy is showing his racing shirt. The brace on his left hand was almost certainly there due to some racing injury he had.
In closing, I always enjoyed riding motorcycles when I was younger. The older I got the more I grew out of them. Now I have no desire for myself nor my children to ever ride any bikes. Perhaps this is because I saw my brother injured so terribly on so many different occasions. In fact, the last time I was on a bike was with Jimmy and his friend Dave Newell somewhere outside of Denver. That day Jimmy rendered himself unconscious, broke his back and also ripped his bottom lip away from his jaw bone down to the bottom of his chin. I was one of the first people to get to him that day after the crash. He had dried brown grass stuck to his face and he was more or less convulsing. Lucky for him, he wasn’t paralyzed. That was summer of 1991 and well after his racing career. He stopped riding for a long time but wasn’t finished completely. When he was in his 30s he bought a bike had one more surgery and three more hospital stays. Boy, saying all that, I can see why I have no desire to ride.
Until next time.