Are we lucky? Absolutely! But we’re also a well-rounded bunch that makes our own luck. As a group, we surpass the typical race-fan experience to make some incredible memories. Most notably Fuego, who retains infinite knowledge of the sport and can spot every racing legend for an autograph or photo. The Mrs. has the dedication and nerve to catch them at a moment’s notice. The Kid has that likeable quality that engages people. The Professor is our most astute videographer and is always keen to join in any adventure. Then there’s Derrick. He knows everyone and they know him right back.
Me? I read a lot and remember most of it. I can maintain an intelligent-sounding conversation about racing, but mostly I offer enthusiasm.
We’ve always enjoyed watching races, but over the last few years I’ve become increasingly appreciative of everyone involved in motorcycle racing. I’m also incredibly apprehensive about the dangers racers face and astounded by the temerity that comes with their recovery from an unfortunate racing incident. I attribute it mostly to following McGuinness and Hutchinson and seeing their determination to heal and ride again. Anyway, I decided that it was important to properly welcome Eugene Laverty back from his injuries. The Kid designed a banner wishing him well and we brought an Irish flag to support and encourage him.
Our racing fan antics unexpectedly resulted in one of the most fun weekends we’ve ever had at Laguna Seca.
A couple of truly kind and friendly Irishmen, Charlie and Sean, spotted their country’s flag waving and decided to park near us. We spent nearly the entire weekend with them, sharing food and drinks, while making new friends and memories. We met some more Irish folks down in the pit area, one of which got us into the Milwaukie Aprilia garage for photos and a pit lane, track-side view for the final races of the day.
Most importantly, Eugene saw our flag flying for him and earned a podium finish. He slowed and pointed at us on his cool-down lap and I cheered until I lost my voice. We also earned a thumb’s up from him during his press conference. I’m not familiar with being a fan and having superstitions, but now I can’t imagine ever attending a race and not bringing that flag for him. He was genuinely happy as he signed it and took celebratory photos with all of us.
I like to think that we shared a bit of our luck with him that day, and it sure was nice to see those Northern Irish eyes smiling.