You better be comfortable and have some time, this one will take a while…
You better be comfortable and have some time, this one will take a while…
All for One?
I ended up peeling my eyelids open at 10am and checked my phone which had a text from Steve that said, “time to wake up and go to breakfast”. This immediately made me think of the movie Tommy Boy when Chris Farley is sleeping and David Spade is outside the door pretending to be the maid, so I texted him back, “Tommy need sleepy”. I was joking, I was getting up. So about 9 minutes later I text, “heading to shower”, which is met with, “We left u …lol.. Timmy and I decided”. Jerks; but I couldn’t blame them, I totally made it seem like I was out.
Friday was our relax and recharge day. I was finishing the 2-stroke video edit and Matthes was waiting on a shipment from X-Brand so he could get all his goggles built before we headed out from Timmy’s to the hotel we were staying at near Daytona. We were all hanging out by the pool while the cleaning lady spic ‘n span’d the house, I still hadn’t eaten by 1:30 and was starving but that’s just how I am when I’ve got a project Im working on. I either have to finish it or get to a point where the computer is crunching data before I can step away to eat.
Timmy took off for a bike ride in a sweet spandex suit, Matthes was debating Weege on the phone about something and I just added the last piece of flair to the Timmy video, the clip of James landing on JT. Timmy got back from his ride just as I was watching the rendered video and was loving it. His favorite parts were when he looks back at the camera after the solo practice start and JT’s comment about being landed on and the clip showing it. Matthes’ ears perked up when he realized we were watching it and says, “oh yeah, I don’t want to watch it or anything jerks”. So he came over and we started it again. When he saw the clip of Stewy landing on JT, he laughed and said, “yeah, that’s not gonna fly on RacerX”. So it was decided, we’d upload it to YouTube and release on Pulp.
Kids do the Darndest Things
My laptop battery was low so I had to go up to my room to plug it in while it uploaded to YouTube. Evan came up with me and wanted to watch the video so I started it. I was facing the window by the edge of the bed and Evan was behind me and about 2 minutes into the video, just like my son would be, he was distracted and began messing around near the foot of the bed. I didn’t see him but I heard a thud and knew he landed on his butt on the floor pretty hard. I jumped of the bed and could see he had the wind knocked out of him, his eyes were watering and he had that scared look on his face so I rubbed his back and said I knew he got the wind knocked out of him and to hold his arms up(it works for choking so I figured, run it), it would be ok and to just relax. After about 7 seconds I heard him take a deep breath, asked if he was ok and he said yeah. Just like my son when my friends are over, if he does something silly and gets hurt, I could tell Evan was really trying hard not to cry. I asked if he was ready to go downstairs, he said yes, so I headed for the stairs while he made a stop by the bathroom to check his eyes and make sure they were dry. Kids are so cute. I walked into the kitchen and told Timmy and Evie what happened and that Evan was ok and was coming right down. Matthes came in from outside and I explained what happened again and Timmy followed that with, “What’s up Matthes, you bring this guy to my house and he pushes my kid off the bed and knocks the wind out of him”. It was at that moment I knew Timmy and I were on the same page, this guy’s cool. Matthes says something like “yeah what a jerk”, then Evan walks into the room and Timmy says, “tell the truth Evan, Swizzle pushed you”, Evan said with a giggle “no he didn’t Dad”. It was quite funny.
I was just about to head out to get something to eat and Evie made me probably the best turkey and swiss sandwich of my life. They had this bread which had full grains in it, it was really like a food group in itself. Later, Matthes and Timmy went to Starbucks, again, and it was then that I posted the video to the PulpMX site and released it to the world. We ended up leaving Timmy’s house around 8:30pm to head to the hotel.
Daytona SX Fever
We meant to be on the road by 8am but those damn hotel beds are just so comfy we slept in. I sleep with earplugs and its a good thing, even though Matthes was 10 feet away in a different bed, I could still hear his snoring; it wasn’t loud, or a lot but without earplug, it would have kept me up. I remember him mentioning that he bear hugs one of his Bassets when he sleeps and as I walked to the shower I saw him substituting a pillow for his missing Basset, poor lil guy missing his pooch.
Before getting on the highway, we stopped at , you guessed it, Starbucks. I played it safe and got a breakfast baguette and a water. That baguette was freaking amazing! Whatever they do to the egg and cheese in those things, it’s special. The combination of them is perfection.
We had about a 45 minute drive to the track and we still had to get out credentials. The weather was perfect for racing and race watching, although I wish I would have thrown some Dr.Scholls Gellin in-soles in my shoes, my feet were worked from all the miles walked at the race.
The pits at Daytona are nice though the security a pain in the ass. Since they only govern one SX race a year they really like to enforce the “check for credential” practice excessively. It’s a weird paradox of, “welcome to Daytona” and “don’t get all comfortable and feel welcome”. Like I tweeted, it makes you appreciate the structure and system Feld has developed, even though Feld has some “over-eager” figures at times also.
Our first stop came at the BBMX pit where Matthes fishes his riders’ goggles from his bag to make the deliveries. Who gets theirs first? Matt Boni, as he was pitted right next to BBMX, ironic? Next is Mike Alessi. He wasn’t around but Matthes leaves his hardware on his mechanics toolbox. Shorty was there though and he and Matthes talk for a bit, Matthes of course mentioning his days at KTM with Kelly Smith. Matthes introduces me to Shorty as Swizcore with a bit of explanation who I am. Andrew cuts him off saying “I know who Swizcore is”. That’s surprise one of the day for me. We talk with Shorty a few more minutes and are about to walk away when I have the idea of Matthes taking a photo of me and Shorty so I can text it to Moser to ruin his day. I do and then tell Moser it would be awesome if he could Photoshop his face on my body in the pic for his twitter pic for the day. It took the help of Mrs. Moser but it really couldn’t have turned out any better. See for yourself.
Moser helps me look more handsome and I help him get closer to his happy place.
We’re on the lookout for Vince Friese, no not because we hear he has now taken to pit take outs of media personnel but because he is, as far as we know, an X-Brand athlete and he needs his optics. Prior to this week he was part of the Motoconcepts team, a team which X-Brand sponsors. Shit happens and Vince is not with the team anymore but Matthes does the good guy thing and makes good on his goggle provision for Vince, if only we could find him.
We see Weege who has probably been working since about 2am and will not quit until wednesday morning. The guy is without question the most overworked man in MX media. That’s mostly his fault though because he continues to say yes and is in all senses of the word, a workaholic; Im the same way. Swap comes over and the discussion turns to whether or not any filming will be done at Daytona. All contracts state, “No filming of any kind”; yup some more of that Daytona irony in play. Swap says he thinks he’s gonna go for it, Weege is a little scared because RacerX gets called out on shit like that, while Transworld is inexplicably given a pass many times.
We talk to Weege a bit and then a man walks up who, I feel like I should recognize but don’t initially which is ridiculous because it’s David Izer of DMXS. We’ve tried multiple times to meet at races and either he ends up not making it out or I don’t and now here we are and we both need an introduction for it to “click”. Awesome guy, as if there were any doubt. Matthes snaps our pic and I make a completely unintentional gay-ish statement. Referring to the DMXS/PulpMXShow comparison I say something about “switching teams”. You see where that went (#nohomo).
The Dead Pulp MXer’s Society Show.
Next, who walks up but Kyle Chisholm, or “whisper” as I refer to him at Daytona. That intubation shit jacks up your throat and I imagine the holes in his chest don’t make the recovery any easier. It was good to see him up and about.
Next to join the discussion was John Knowles of Scott Motorsports but not a minute after he steps into the group Weege rudely and without warning disappears. He spotted Christophe Pourcel and like a thieving ferret approached the Frenchman in hopes of acquiring the latest scoop. Shockingly, 377 wasn’t dishing.
I see THE Vince Friese ride by on his race bike in street clothes and motion to Matthes that, “there goes your guy”. He’s apparently uninterested and continues the needless babble he’s accustomed to on race-day. “Scoops” I believe they call it.
The circle-pit of discussion we had breaks up and we are AGAIN on the hunt for #45(Friese). We peruse the pits up and down three times and don’t see him or his bike. We stop by the Valli pit where Matthes talks to Throttle and Nick Walks up from the semi. He looks subdued compared to his normal chipper self but I see a little spark in his eye when I ask what his favorite local track was from Michigan. He says Baja but when I remind him of Mustang Acres, he gets pumped and tells a great story of racing there on 80cc’s.
We grab a couple waters from the H&H coolers on our way toward the track where we run into Mr. Copy Machine Repairman, that’s Coy Gibbs to you non PulpMX Show listeners. We tag along with Coy who happens to be going to the infield press box where we pass through security, showing our credentials which will be in question shortly. We get to the outside seats of the press box where I get this shot of the track.
Click pic for bigger shot
We hang there for the first two full practices, many team managers hang there for a portion of the practices, one of whom I meet, Carey Hart. Just a quick “nice to meet you” and a handshake.
Those credentials? Yeah, security approaches us and asks how we got up there, we show them the credentials and they say no dice. Weird, they haven’t changed since they got us passed security to get into the press box but apparently now they’re “credential non-grata”. Whatever, we were hungry and I wanted to shoot some pics of the third practice.
Matthes finally see’s Mr. Friese. He approaches him with his optics and Vince politely informs Matthes that he’s all taken care of because at his departure from MC he was “told”, “go ahead and do your own deal”. At least Matthes will sleep well knowing he made every effort to provide for all his X-Brand athletes.
We made our way back to the H&H pit for some R&R where in years past there may be some S&M going on, ok enough with that joke. We each grabbed a Coke from the cooler and sat at a table which had a nice spread of cold cuts and snacks. The perfect follow up to the BBMX dog. Matthes was talking it up with a gentleman who was at the table, with the way they were carrying on, you would have thought they’d known one another for years but I just IM’d him and he is either playing dumb or really doesn’t know the guys name. I’m calling the former which is odd because the boss doesn’t usually keep secrets from tight lipped Swizzle.
The KDUB Encounter
The Oh Gee K-Dub makes his way to the H&H pit and I see Matthes look over my shoulder toward him. I know its Kenny without even looking based on the “come hither” look Matthes is aiming his way. That look turns to an “I’m sorry, this has gone on long enough” look. When that doesn’t lure Kenny, Matthes says “come here, I want you to meet somebody”. Kenny strolls over looking at me like he would some dude who he assumes is going to try to bang his daughter. He reaches his hand out, I do as well, we shake. Matthes says, “this is Swizcore”. Kenny looks deep into my eyes and says, “you’re and idiot” and walks back by the bikes. I laugh. It is quite literally how I imagined our introduction would go. I’m not sure where Kenny got his impression of who I am but I assumed he was aware that I was the guy who pulled all the drops used in Steve’s sneak attack during his last appearance on the Pulp Show. He then used the term, “internet idiot”. I just use that as evidence of how simple Kenny categorizes things in his head since I feel I’m pretty straight with my contributions in all forms online. In Kenny’s head an online voice simply equates to idiocy. Maybe he’s onto something?
This was right around the time I heard someone yell from the crowd, “hey K-Dub, look on more!!”. Without missing a beat, Kenny’s expression never changed, he didn’t even turn to see who said it, he just raised his alligator arm in the air and flipped the dude off. Text book.
We headed out to rider seating where Matthes was watching practice from the top of the bleachers and I was shooting pics around staging. Matthes was tweeting as he usually does on race day and haphazardly released a rogue tweet. It was rogue because it was a bit misinformed and a rider texted him to let him know the error in his ways. After practice we went to the Kawi truck where Matthes was doing his best to get us fed before the racing started. RV gave Matthes some more shit then he retreated for some rest before the race. After eating we went to the Kawi pit where Red Dog was showing Fisher the 2 stroke video. This was pretty cool to me because following the video, Fisher said, “that’s really cool, good job”. Usually Fisher just ignores me, not even ignores me, just kind of looks right through me.
Timmy sharing the joy with Kawi Team Manager Mike Fisher.
By now it was getting close to race time and the big teams were packing up their pit stalls and since Kawi fed me and let me use the john, I figured the least I could do is help stack some chairs.
Monster is Suite
We weren’t real sure where we would watch the race from but we didn’t want to sit in rider seating and the embankment of the speedway didn’t look very inviting. We sat in the front row of general seating through the national anthem and knew that spot sucked so we ventured toward the press box. We took the elevator up a few floors and the elevator attendant told us the press box was closed. Sweet. We got off at the suite level and while the attendant was questioning the move and we took a stab at walking a corridor into the seats right outside a suite. Yahtzee! It was apparently some sort of Monster party which was perfect because although there were raffles and giveaways going on, it was kind of expected that not everybody knew everybody else. We fit right in. The guy doing the raffles was classic! He was so amped, way more amped than even the people winning the giveaways. This guy went to “11” if you know what I mean. Matthes was feeling his excitement, I even heard him go,”woooo” once. The viewing from these seats was incredible as you can see here.
After the heats were over, Matthes was seriously in need of a good charging for his Crapberry if he was going to provide semi-accurate coverage via twitter. Even though the race was live, apparently some people still read tweets while watching live racing. Weird. We took a chance at leaving our seats in search of an electrical outlet. What are the chances? We found ourselves in another suite with even more equally cool people who couldn’t care less that we were in their digs uninvited. As a matter of fact, we weren’t in there more than 1 minute before Matthes was plugged in, charging and approached by a PulpMX super-fan. The guy was super nice, had a good idea of what was going on with the current PulpMX Show “status” and was VERY talkative. I stood by the suite door which exited to the seating area to assure we wouldn’t be missing any racing. When Matthes’ phone had sufficient charge and the super-fan had gone outside, Matthes noticed Bruce Sternstrom outside the suite and went and chatted with him. I have no doubt he was thanking him for running such a cool company and for the juice for his phone.
We gambled and headed back to our prime seating from the heats. Like we had never left we resumed watching the mains from the seats. If the tweets from the races were any faster or better this week, you can thank me for feeding him updates at 2x speed. If they were worse, slower, or wrong, I retract my previous statement.
Following the race Matthes decided he didn’t want to do interviews because of the 2.5hr drive back to Timmy’s. Trust me, Pulp fans, I advised against it but he wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t driving so who would I be to name call and give him a hard time. I wasn’t going to volunteer to drive either cause I was damn tired(though I was a good passenger and stayed up for the drive).
We got back to the pits to collect goggles and ran into Danielle (Mike Alessi’s fiance) who informed us of what that ambulance was doing over by rider seating. This was right after the race when details were sketchy and the rumors were very scary in the pits. Our last stop before heading for the exits was back to the Kawi truck where Steve Cox, Monster Tom and Tony Gardea where chatting. It was an interesting discussion on riders and public relations. RV arrived back at the truck from the post race presser and even the site of RV couldn’t change Matthes’ resolve to get out and get home. We were outta there.
I was pretty amazed throughout the day at how many people Matthes introduced to me as Swizcore and they were like, oh yeah I know who Swizcore is. Never have I been so simultaneously honored to be known and so embarrassed to be known by my internet moniker.
How to wrap this week up? Incredible, exhausting, fun, memorable.
It was incredible because as I told Matthes when this trip was confirmed, if I had a bucket list, I wouldn’t even include this on it because it would seem so beyond possible, why bother? The people I met were the highlight of the week no doubt. At the risk of sounding like Matthes, Timmy is a great guy who I wouldn’t hesitate to call a friend. Evie likewise, the whole family is just awesome, I really couldn’t have imagined a better stay than how the week went.
Exhausting because I worked my ass off shooting photos and videos, then editing that content for delivery. Never in bed before 1:30am and usually closer to 3am. Thanks to the Ferry’s for the plethora of pillows on my bed, I still awoke each day refreshed and ready to get after it.
Fun. Do I really need to define why this trip was so much fun?! Let’s see:
1. All expenses paid!
2. Great weather
3. Shoot(pics/vid) two of the top 3 SX’ers in the series in their private facilities
4. Shoot a bad ass .50cal revolver
5. Get to know the Ferry’s (I know I’m pushing it)
6. Go to Daytona SX
7. Hang out with the Cat all week.
Of course the things which made this trip so much fun are the very things which make it memorable but there are some other things that weren’t exactly fun that add to the memories. There was the speeding ticket Matthes got when we left RV’s, the absurd wait time at the rental car desk, the near ejection from the Rhino with Reed blitzing the whoops, the ENORMOUS hit Reed did at the end of the day, crashing the suite at the SX and one of the coolest things I got from this trip is the fact that everyone I was around all week felt comfortable speaking openly and freely with me around. Maybe they just assume that since Im with Matthes they can trust I will exercise the same discretion as him with the info I am privy to? Matthes has seen over time that I don’t spill privileged info and I’m sure that’s got a lot to do with why he was comfortable offering me this opportunity.
As far as Matthes and I go, I’d say we got along famously. We both had a unified idea of what I was to do on the trip and I think we killed it in terms of bringing unique content to Pulp fans from the week. Of course we crap talked each other a lot but we also debated, theorized and pondered the current state and future of moto.
Hope everyone enjoyed this week of words, I for one am glad its over. It was a real bear writing this much in a week when Im used to just writing a simple Swizcorner for Pulp each week. I told Matthes if we don’t do this again next year I’ll quit, I’m pretty serious about that too. The boss has raised the bar and lowering it isn’t an option.
Thanks to everyone who made the week what it was, most importantly:
Steve Matthes for making it possible, my wife Traci for being so willingly understanding, Tim and Evie Ferry for their generosity and Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto for allowing me to document their private facilities.
And thanks to anyone who read these daily accounts of my amazing week, you’re a real trooper.