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I lost my best friend some many years ago when he died on a transit in a European Championship Enduro in the Dolomites in Northern Italy, it was intended to be his last event out of country and the last thing he did before leaving for the drive to Italy was to stop in at the shop in Stockhom and get a huge bag of stickers and flyers to hand out to the crowds, and as I was limping from yet another knee operation he says while pulling out of the drive, "John, it's time to stop with this moto-cross silliness and start doing Enduros, waaaaaay more fun and waaaaay safer!!! See you Tuesday for club meeting and BEER!!! Bye!"

Crashed over a wall avoiding a car backing out of a farm driveway, bike stayed about 3 meters from the road, he stopped at about 30,dead by Saturday eve, we heard nothing till Tuesday morning.
More fun and safer were my friends last words to me, said with a big smile of encouragement at my limping.

I think of this little story when I think of the things we do on bikes and cars with the trees sometimes less than a foot away:
The Appointment in Samara
By Somerset Maugham
A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions.
A little while later, the servant returned looking white in the face. In a trembling voice he said, "Just now in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Mr. Death.
He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please lend me your horse, because I want to go to Samara where Mr. Death will not be able to find me."
The merchant agreed and lent the scared man his horse. The servant mounted the horse and rode away as fast as the animal could gallop.
Later that day, the merchant went down to the market place and saw Mr. Death standing in the crowd.
He approached him and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?"
"That was not a threatening gesture," said Mr. Death. "It was only a start of surprise.
I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara."

Our fate or our actions? Who can say?
Rest in Peace, boys.

John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

Black Rocket Rally Tires
http://www.blackrockettires.com/
 

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The aspect of this tragedy that really makes me pause and reflect is that these guys were *real* pros. Lovell drove RS200s for crying out loud.

If I or another similarly inexperienced competitor was to die at an event I doubt the effect would be as wide and as deep as it has been.

Of course the good nature and friendliness of those lost is also a factor.

On the other hand, you could be sitting at home knitting and die of congestive heart failure tomorrow, so who's to say what is really risky.....

Either way, be careful out there.

Glenn
 

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Once in a while, while playing in the woods, I'll have a scare, a moment. It slows me right down. I have signed a contract with myself, I know bad things can happen. But I forget, and concentrate on the road and car or trail and bike.

We are fragile. Try not to forget.
 

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Somebody passed a quote to me, reputedly from Mario Andretti...to the effect of...

Why worry about the past, it's history
Why worry about the future, there's no guarantee it's going to happen
The Present is the only place for living.

Add that to the basic lesson in almost any Sinclair Lewis novel (among others, I'm sure)...
failure to step up to the plate means you'll never strike out,
but you'll also never hit a home run.

The risks we take as rallyists should be evident to us all when we strap in. But it is our chosen way of feeling what it is to be alive. To shy away from it out of fear....to get on the horse to Samara....is to simply choose another (and more certain) form of death.

Thanks for the thoughts, JV. We've been thinking about this in our shop a lot lately.
 
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