I’ve had minimal involvement with racing since my injuries. I watch it on TV, I train and practise during the week and that’s about it. I knew It wouldn’t be easy to watch a whole SX season go by without wanting to race, but so far I’m handling that OK. My body just isn’t ready yet, period.
I have a lot to live for in my household now, being a new dad, and that’s something I’ve directed a lot of my time to. I’ve considered a lot of different racing options and put some attention into what I’d like to do after my professional racing career is done.
I’ve looked closely at a lot of past riders and how they moved into a new role within the sport or into something completely new. The choice is obviously all yours. I think my own desire level with the sport is high enough to stay involved somehow. To make it successfully seems to hinge on personality traits and taking on a positive, winning mentality.
I remember talking to Jeff Emig a few years ago about life after racing. He told me no matter what you do after racing, if you take the same outlook and mentality you have with your racing and apply it to your career after racing, you will have success because it takes so much to become successful in pro sports that you instinctively develop a high level of understanding of how to become successful and what it takes to get there (through analysis, team skills, communication, making improvements etc). I would guess that is the approach of guys like De Coster and Dack (to mention a couple) who have done that and had tremendous success after racing. The one thing I’ve always maintained and instilled in myself is to be focused on what I’m doing and do it wholeheartedly.
I’ve experienced a full circle of motocross. As a young kid, my hero was Jeff Leisk during his 500cc days (although Dad, through his Pommy background, always made sure we knew of Nicoll and Thorpe). I got to meet Jeff when I was six and I still have the photo from that day hanging in my garage.
Years later, I wanted to be like Stefan Everts — he was my man. I got to meet Stefan while racing in Indonesia when I was 13 at a GP and still have that picture and autograph. I’ve now ridden, conversed with and shared drunken stories of drumming and riding with Stefan at Motocross of Nations after-parties.
Then, of course, the king of SX, Jeremy McGrath: just an awesome dude. I’ve been lucky to spin laps with him on many occasions and talk with him.
My point to all this is I’ve had some times lately where I’ve experienced the steep drop-off from not being out there racing and the people you thought were friends don’t call any more. Then, all of a sudden, I was practising at a track recently on a complete stock bike – no graphics, wearing FLY apparel, M2R helmet and Sidi boots, with no name or number – and had some young kids recognise me from my style and come up and talk to me. Seeing their excitement just by saying «Hi» makes me realise how far I’ve taken my own career and what it’s given me. It also makes me realise the importance of good role models and how much they can mean. I remember those days looking at those guys and wanting to be like that — it doesn’t seem that long ago. Time flies.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and race motorcycles professionally since I was 16 (and the first pro team I rode for was run by Jeff Leisk). So I’ve been going for a good bit, but I still feel like there’s so much more I’ve yet to do with my racing. The biggest question I get now about racing isn’t about me; it’s the question: «Will Nash ride motorbikes?» At this point I don’t have an answer or any idea if I’d like him to or not. I do know that it’s a lot of fun and an addictive sport that sticks with you. Maybe he’ll like it; maybe not. That’ll be his choice, but I think I know what that answer will most likely be.
I just recently spent the last three weeks with my mum who came to visit us here in the USA. It’s always nice to have family come to visit. Of course that meant Nash got lots of attention, which is always cool, and some new Aussie pressies.
I feel like it’s a father’s duty to teach and advise a child while the mother nurtures and inspires. My mum still inspires me to this day, which has helped me through my own setbacks. Love you, Mum. From here out, it’s all about riding and racing because I choose to do it, if I can inspire people in the meantime, that’s what it’s all about and that’s just more inspiration for me, too. Ride hard, ride safe.