We’ve created a three ring circus for our MotoKids. And it’s all our fault.
I recently was saddened to read about the shuttering of long time midwestern and Iowa motocross staple, Riverside Raceway. A personal letter to all that have visited the track began to circulate the social media pages, and a final, formal post was made following. Below is that post:
“Riverside Raceway - Closed Indefinitely
A letter to the moto community:
Due to a variety of issues which have caused damage to the facility, damage to our patron’s property, and an overall lack of respect and appreciation we will be closing the gates. All Fall events will be cancelled and we will re-evaluate in the future on what will be done with the property.
A couple of days ago we made an announcement with more specific details of the events that transpired causing the closure. We wanted to set the record straight on some rumors and stories leading up to the closure. The goal of the letter was to enlighten the community on how actions that occur at the race track, comments made, or even social media posts may affect your local race track. It was a plea to the community to do better.
As the post began to spread many of the comments began to turn from a positive to a negative direction adversely affecting the MX community. People began making comments targeted personally. I know first-hand how that feels and wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The skewed letter and lack of support from the other tracks definitely hurt me personally and our race track, but equally as much the comments from other riders and people.
The letter and responses weren’t the only factors in closing the race track. A growing attitude of entitlement, disrespect, and overall lack of appreciation are why I no longer have the energy to give everyone a place to ride. We only open the gates if it’s going to be our best, and I need to be all-in to provide that experience. I’ve lost the motivation to do that due to the lack of respect and support.
Our goal was to help enlighten people to make things better, and we won’t be part of hurting the sport of motocross with social media bashing so we took down our original post.
We are not out to hurt other race tracks or people in our moto community. Yes, it absolutely sucks that our partners sat on the sidelines while our track and series were under attack; however, we didn’t ask you to not support other tracks or the series. In fact, I plan to load up my dirt bike and attend the Iowa Moto Series Round 5 this weekend. I love that track.
We all started riding dirt bikes to have fun. I encourage you to stop worrying about politics in the community or what isn’t perfect at the track. Go have a blast and be thankful we have sweet bikes to ride. Enjoy time with your friends, lend a hand to others, be a good ambassador for the sport, and respect the facilities we are lucky to have.
See you at the track -
Tony Wenck #44”
What’s this got to do with anything? Simple.
We, the parents, created this mess. I don’t just mean here in the midwest, I mean across our country we have lost track of what motocross is about, what family - both blood and by love - is about, and what community really is.
There’s events that have gone from finding the cream of the crop racers to who’s daddy has the deepest pockets or who is most willing to finance the farm, literally, to keep up with Jones’s, or the Deegan’s for that matter.
I’m about to drop some very uncomfortable truths, and as I say this, I acknowledge that I have to look at myself in the mirror and have told myself these very things. As such, I’m going to write these as though I am talking to myself. If you are reading this and it stings, don’t take it personal, but think about WHY it feels so pertinent to you.
You didn’t get your kids into motocross because you thought he would be the next Eli Tomac. You got in to motocross because it’s what you grew up in. The family you were raised in the and families you had thanksgiving dinners with, the ones you did the hayrides with, the friends you made across the country from the travels and the lessons that were taught - the work ethic to compete and to ready a family for the weekend. The work that went in. The joy and companionship and loyalty learned.
You took it too far. You were a dick to your kid when he didn’t perform to your expectations. Hell he didn’t likely know the expectations, and even if he did, they were far more than what he was capable of. You got there because of your own ego.
Your kid isn’t going to be a mega star. Your kid probably isn’t going to win any championships and might never qualify for Lorettas. That doesn’t mean you can’t chase the dream but if the dream because a nightmare, it’s time to revaluate.
Are you doing this for you, or for MotoKid? I talked with a teenage racer at a regional recently. He told me he was just there because his dad said he spent all his money on his racing and he has to. There’s some honor in sticking to commitments, but at what cost does the honor turn to horrors? “I’m so tired,” the teenager admittedly, sheepishly, “I’m not having fun anymore and this track is just sketchy and scary.” He didn’t qualify, however I’ve heard he’s headed to Tennessee as an alternate. I pray he is going because he wants to and is excited to. Not just because dad wants to brag about it at the local Thursday night practices.
To be in the sport, at all, you are extremely privileged. To afford a motorcycle at all, you are part of the upper echelon of society. To do that multiple times over, to have a truck, a camper, ALL THE THINGS to go racing - you are the top of the top. Do your kids know this? Do they use their extreme privilege to go through their exploits with kindness, respect and humbleness to all whom’s path they cross? Or do that have an attitude of “Do you know who I am?” DO YOU? I recently heard that a person I am acquainted with said this at a race last month. I scoffed, out loud, when I was told this. It’s disgusting. They’re disgusting. No, nobody knows, sweetheart. No body cares, either.
Are you leading by example? Do you thank the event promoter and track owner on your way out? Do you walk through the pit on the way to the trash and pick up strewn about tear offs, discarded water bottles, and bits that didn’t make it to the garbage - OR, do you toss the bag of your junk out of the side of the race van and murmur to your kid that you paid all this money for gate fees, they can pick the shit up?
Why are you here? Is it for a hobby, to drink some beverages with the pals, let the kids play on the pitters and have some laughs? Is it to weekend warrior the state series? Are you trying to get to the next level? Are these your goals or your MotoKid’s goals? Do you even know why your kid is here?
Your kid isn’t special. Neither are you. Everyone poops, it’s just harder to do it with moto boots on.
The circus is a circus. It needs to be recognized as such. All the Boom Chicka Rocks and World’s Greatest Races and Training Facilities of the Rich and Over Privileged are just that. They serve the purpose of see and be seen. They make great content on Instagram. If it brings you joy and your racer is growing by attendance, by all means, continue doing it, but never forget what it is: A traveling carnival of glitz and glam and all but few have little substance. Are you there because you support the organization or because they found a way to market you into giving them your money?
If you’re not using your time in sport to teach your child excellence as a human, what are you teaching them? That they can be obnoxious shits and I’m holier than thou because I have a platform that people read and some money in my pocket to get to the races on the newest model race bikes.
You don’t have to do any of this. You have the choice to be here. Your heartbeat quickens every time your MotoKid and MotoMan toss a leg over their bikes, so in the meantime, use your pulse wisely and choose kindness, humbleness and community over competition in the pit.
You’re doing just fine mama, and we can all do a little better.
See You Sunday,