“Tie downs?we don?t need no stinkin? tie downs!”

Remember when Mom eased you pain, while you were floating in a sea of your own miserable tears, with the age-old adage, “Don?t worry, honey, there?s a reason for everything and someday something better will come out of having to do without now.”

After all, I was in junior high school and still on a Honda 50 (yes, I am the epitome of meager beginnings) when all of my friends has brand new 80s, 100s, and 125s. I adorned “my little fifty that could” with its Team Honda red paint, wore the used jersey and boots, both two sizes too small, and wrote my last name in Marks-a-Lot across my yellow drawstring gardening gloves (a la the factory guys). At least in my head, I was Marty Smith.

Thank God for pity.

I putted up (pinned) that Saturday morning from my three-mile-plus journey through the streets (yes, it was the ?70s) to my friend?s house, where we were all to meet before continuing on our embarkation to “the canyon” nearby. I?ll never forget the “good grief” looks that always accompanied the eyes rolling into the back of their heads when I pulled up, in all my glory, on my Z-50 (we were pathetic). Nor could I forget the big sister, who always came our for a minute to taunt all of us, pointing directly down at me with one hand, and trying to cover her laughter with the other, saying, “Oh, how cute?” They say that things that do not kill you make you stronger. I must be stronger now.

Entering the chocolate factory.

I was single, successful guy and refused to enter high school on anything less that an XR-75 (I was desperate). The attacks on the neighboring lawns, delivered by my Briggs & Stratton an me, were without mercy. In time I upgraded (barely) from my Z-50, and talked my dad (whose only involvement with my dream was kicking those “damn bikes” off their stands onto the ground) into taking me and my new/used XR-75 to Indian Dunes. My day had arrived. I felt like I had found the golden chocolate bar!

“Tie downs? We don?t need no stinkin? tie downs!”

“NO! I don?t have a ramp. NO! I don?t have tie downs.” I wasn?t going to let him talk me out of it this time. So I straddled my steed in the back of dad?s gardening truck. I found the first thirty seconds of being wedged between the seat and the bed shell (in my attempt to hold her up during the embarkation) to be quite cozy?while rolling and crashing side-to-side during the thirty-mile rock-tumbling trip, the gardening equipment and gasoline unleashed a relentless attack on, around and, I?m convinced, in me?the likes of which I had never seen. Those of you whoa re subjected to my friendship now know why my right eye twitches. He dropped me off and picked me up at 10 p.m. Surprisingly, I was still alive.

A bike like no other.

Now, working at the local Honda shop, pre-delivering to their new owners all the new Elsinores that were way out of my $3.10-an-hour reach, I yearned more than ever. My fellow service department cohorts finally had enough and pitched in (I?m sure due to my pathetic desperation) and vowed to create a machine for me to race on like no other.

When we, my creation and I, pulled up to the gate six weeks later, under the blue light-filled haze that loomed over the International track in the warm summer night in ?81, staring up and down the line at the sea of riders and bikes towering over us, I came to a startling conclusion: my little bike was indeed like no other; a ?74 Elsinore with its metal tank, four inches of travel, and so-to-be-smashed-down pipe.

Ignorance is bliss.

Can you imagine the look on their helmets as this relic of a tin can short-shifted itself and all hundred and fifteen pounds of its clueless rider, pulling the hole shot and leading the race? One?nobody told me this was possible. Two?1981 was when most manufacturers were throwing out unproven water cooling and single-shock suspension to the masses for the first time, making most new 125s heavy and slow (excluding the RM 125, which would give some modern 125s a run for their money). Three?I had no idea what I was doing.

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

When I came upon the whoop section, still in the lead, I (for lack of a better description) exploded. The ground hit me so many times I was surrounded. When I was done creating new lucky charm pieces in my head, I gathered up myself and the accompanying shrapnel of what was once an Elsinore, and headed back to the pits. I was in hopes that the next moto would possibly bequeath to me a slightly lesser pummeling. Yes, I dazzled the already humored crowd with an identical repeat comedy act in the second moto. I am humorously delighted to say these sequences were, at the time, unfortunately true.

Mom was right.

Mom was right. Sometimes doing without leads to much sweeter and more enjoyable memories later. The following are a couple of my presently collected and restored byproducts of bittersweet memories. I hope you can reminisce and enjoy them as much as I do. Hell, I even own a set of tie downs now.


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