By Daggit, from the DirtRider.com Forum.
I’ll get right to the point. I have Asperger’s Syndrome-a form of Autism. I am lucky in that I am what they call a high-functional and am almost un-diagnosable. I feel this gives me a responsibility to do what I can for those with Autism who are less fortunate. I also have a passion for racing, so it seemed only natural to get permission to form the Autism Speaks Racing Team and take it to the 2010 Baja 1000 to film the experience for an informational documentary for Autismspeaks.org.After putting together a team of desert racers I knew from the DirtRider.com message boards, we set our sights on racing throughout the year to gain sponsors and support for the Baja Experience. For our first big race we chose the 24-hour endurance race at Glen Helen raceway in San Bernardino, California. I had already attempted to ironman the 12-hour endurance race with humiliating results (I had to quit after only 6 hrs). I felt as if I had left something in the sands of Glen Helen, I had unfinished business there.When we informed the guys on the dirtrider.com forums that we were going to race the 24-hourr and that we needed a few riders to fill out the team I was shocked to find that almost everyone on the board wanted to come help out for the cause. In the end there were 12 riders that were able to take off work and make the trip. Riders were coming from near and far: Five came from California, two from Arizona, four from Michigan and even one from Canada. We had enough riders to make up two six-man teams: a 250 team and a 450/open team.Soon after getting the teams together I got a call from Karel Kramer. He asked what my bike needed for the race. I told him nothing. His response, “That is because you don’t know what you are missing”.He took my bike, and thanks to companies like Service Honda and Rocky Mountain MC, stripped it down to the frame and swing arm, then started to rebuild it with all new parts as an endurance racer, including a great set of AutismSpeaks graphics.To start the bike makeover I met Karel at Precision Concepts to have the suspension rebuilt. During lunch I asked Karel if he would like to race with us, the smile on his face reminded me of the smile the big guy in the movie The Longest Yard had on his face when Burt Reynolds asked him if he wanted to play football against the guards. Kramer replied, “Let me check my schedule”.At this point I was starting to think I had lost touch with reality. Not only am I racing the 24-hourr with two teams for Autism Speaks, but I was getting a complete bike makeover from Dirt Rider Magazine, and Karel Kramer was eating my french fries saying he was going to race with us. Then, as if to completely take this over the top, Kramer says he is bringing the long haul bikes out so we don’t have to use any of our personal bikes, except for my CR250 which had just been rebuilt for the occasion.We formed the two teams into one big pit. Next to us was the pit of the Dirt Rider team lead by Art Director Joe McKimmy. Across pit row was the pit of JCR Honda, they would win the pro class. The 250 team was running my 2001 CR250 and held a 2009 Yamaha WR250F as our backup bike. The 450 team ran a 2009 Yamaha WR450F and had a Service Honda CRAFX as a backup.The 450 team rode the WR the entire race. While the 250 team switched bikes just before dark from the CR250 to the WR250 as which had a better lighting system. We had no major damage to any of the bikes. The only mechanical problem was when the 450 lost its electric start. We were all pleasantly surprised at how well the stock WR lighting lit up the track. Just don’t stall the bike and lose your lights while going down a steep downhill.The track was a blend of different race disciplines: Logs, earthmover tires, steep up-hills and down-hills, silt, rocks, stream beds, black top, and miles of single track. It seemed that the more rutted the ground became the more rocks were exposed. And by midnight the whoops looked more like small doubles.Our objective was to keep the wheels rolling no matter what, and we were able to do just that. Even with an injury to the teams no one missed a rotation except when they took Brandon away in an ambulance, with a broken collarbone. I got the feeling if he had his way he would have stayed and rode a few more laps. We kept the wheel rolling. We persevered, We supported one another through the night, enduring. And we did finish both teams The 250 team finished 40 10-mile laps and claimed 3rd in their class. The 450 team did 39 laps but was running in a much larger class. The important thing is we finished and left nothing undone.We did have our share of bumps and bruises including the broken collarbone, a torn-up shoulder, and an unidentified illness. One rider also took a handlebar to the groin but came away with all of his original equipment intact.The people were the most interesting part of the experience. First, there was Kramer. I have spent time in the Army and the Marine Corps and I can tell a leader from someone that just thinks he is a leader. Kramer is a leader. I spent a lot of time watching Kramer as he prepped bikes, there is a lot to learn there.I also spent a lot of time watching the JCR pits and how they ran the their program. I can tell you this from watching the riders in the JCR pits: riding skills and table manners don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Maybe they were extra hungry from going warp-speed all night but they ate like they hadn’t seen food in days!There was only one female on our team, Courtney Sullivan. We told her she had nothing to prove, we lied. She knew she had to prove herself if only to herself. Her times said it all as they were as good or better than most of ours.And there was the one we call Spiderdad. When he arrived at Glen Helen and looked over the track, he was questioning if he had bitten off more than he could chew. The answer is yes, but that is why we do this, to push the envelope and to test ourselves. When we can’t chew what we have bitten off we swallow it whole, before it has time to digest we are addicted. See you next year, Spidey.Now, it seems we all have something to prove before we go to Baja. Yes, we can complete a “sprint” race such as the 24-hour but could we go the distance without a pit every 10 miles? Sounds like some ironman races are in our future.In the end Autism Speaks will receive a great number of photos and videos of the event to help draw attention to their website and cause. And hopefully more people will find the help, support and direction they need.250 team
Brandon Boyce450 team
Corey SullivanCheck out the story on Daggit’s Autism Speaks bike here: 2001 Honda CR250R.