Years ago I lived in California working a desk job as a network engineer for this giant homogenous software corporation. Each day the fluorescent light bulbs above my cube would suck my soul out through the eye sockets. In my spare time I would go out and shoot as many photos as I could or write for anyone who would publish my work. Some of my work was published in the BMX world but Motocross has always been my passion.
The annual Hangtown national in Sacramento was coming up so through the help of a friend I got in touch with Transworld MX mag. Their web editor from years back was called ______ Allen. Its been too long and too many concussions happened in the interim for me to remember his first name. He was really cool to me. Receptive, responsive and just plain helpful. There are so many wannabe Moto media guys out there the easiest solution is to just ignore us and believe me they will. Transworld Motocross was still relevant back then before they banked on sensationalist stories like Jason Lawrence and half naked girls with daddy issues draped over dirt bikes. Most of the talent left the magazine to form their own company and I don’t think it was ever quite been the same again.
I couldn’t get a media pass but I told Allen (who I think left the magazine to become a paramedic, sorry I can’t remember your name but will never forget your help) that I would work around it. My plan was to get some shots for their site and work the angle of having a spectators view of the race. I had been to the Hangtown race before so knew the layout and the drill. My buddy Shane had a small clothing company that the guys over at Fox Racing helped out by stocking his product in their stores. I used his stand as a base and roamed around. He later introduced me to several of the senior Fox guys who dropped by. “This is Lloyd, he used to race Grant Langston” said Shane. I just smiled and shook their hands. Sure I raced GL the one time and he lapped me probably twice. With RC retiring and Bubba crashing out Grant took the title that year. He looked good all day but I knew he could go faster and would pick up speed as the season went on.
This other guy who also had a clothing company across the way was getting all the foot traffic because he had his fitness model wife standing outside in a bikini. Another guy across from us working for some bike store ended up doing a whole bunch of meth later that night and they found him passed out in the swimming pool of our hotel. He hit Shane up for some Vicodin (or was it Percocet?) the next day. We had a laugh at the sheer Hunter S Thompsonish deal this guy had going. I crashed on the couch in Shane’s room next to what I am pretty sure was a giant bloodstain. I knew some of the local skateparks in Sacramento so we drove around showing them to Shane. Later we met up with my buddy Jeremy who was at college in Sactown. We rode BMX together and he was gnarly because he was missing most of his fingers yet killed it.
"Dude, Rickys right over there doing a signing. I just went and said whats up" said Shane so I went over to the Suzuki signing that did not seem to be advertised anywhere. There was the GOAT in person doing his thing for the fans. He was complaining that it was too hot and I realized what a shitty job if must be for a guy like that to sit in the sun and sign stuff for people. I asked if we could take a photo together and he was OK with that. The next week I emailed the photo of us to my old teammate from back when I raced and wrote: "How was your weekend? Anything exiting happen? Probably not. Ricky says hello".
The sun took turns beating me down while I walked around the track. I got to a good vantage point and while I waited for the next moto to start the hillbilly next to me asked for the track worker to spray her with the hose because she was hot. Huge drops of water arched in the sky and descended right for me and my camera equipment. I threw everything underneath me and covered it with my body. There is a reason someone waters a Motocross track for a living and someone else writes and takes photos. I stopped by the Transworld tent to meet Allen in person but he was nowhere to be found. The nice lady there gave me a free copy of their latest DVD back then.
I was sunburnt, tired and wanted to be quick on the draw with my photos so left after the first Moto. When you decide you want to cover a sport you no longer get to watch it. I said goodbye to Shane and drove 2 hours back home. Fired the images over to Allen who said he would use some as wallpapers. In the end none of my photos were ever used. They were probably not good enough quality to be honest but the effort was there.