holeshot_book_cover2I was reorganizing all my old motorcycle books and magazines today and came across this old book from one of my hometown racers – Kyle Kilgore. Kyle was a couple of years older than me but his brother Kevin and I were in the same HS class. Other than Gary Bailey and Carl Shipman’s 1974 “How to Win Motocross” it’s one of the few books I owned on racing technique from back in those days.

But Holeshot was a unique book (published 1982 by American Ventures Marketing.) It was all about the mental game. In fact, it’s completely about the mental game. The first chapter is titled “Mind Over Motorcycle”. I don’t know of any other book that ever took this approach to the sport. There’s one chapter on basic physical training, circa 1980, but the rest is all about the head game. Other chapters cover looking within yourself, finding internal drive, persistence, mental targeting, and training your mind to win. Looking back, it’s cool to see how far ahead this little “nobody” book really was.

Today, mental imaging is taken for granted but we call it visualization and sports psychology. Here’s a (dreadfully hard to read) paper from Vanderbilt University on the topic. It’s not talked about much among MX racers, but I’ll wager Eldon Baker (formerly Ricky Carmichael’s trainer and now working with James Stewart) knows plenty about it. It’s kinda cool to look back and realize one of my high school cohorts was this far ahead of the game.

holeshot_photo_sm2Here’s a trivia question for you East Texas readers: Who’s the guy in these pics? I don’t know him. But he has to be from among our same motley crew of East Texas racers in the late-’70s to early-’80s. It’s not Kyle, and it’s not Kevin. So who can name this hard-training racer with all the trophies behind him? Post your answers in the comments and the first person to name him wins an all-expense paid dinner for one at Taco Bell. Click the photo for a bigger pic.

motorcycle_workshopOne of my favorite things to do at big races is walk through the pits. Not to see the bikes – they all look the same – or even the racers. No, my favorite thing to see is the factory rigs and the pit setups. I love seeing what sort of cool, labor-saving jigs and tools and setups they have. It’s the next best thing to seeing inside a professional race shop, which I have never done. I am always looking for things to do to my own shop or trailer to make them more efficient. So when I ran across this book from White Horse Press I bought it right away even though I didn’t expect much (I find low expectations are a great way to avoid disappointment.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find the book is nice a collection of reviews of different shops – ranging from small, personal workspaces all the way up to the Yoshimura Racing facility. The author, C. G. Masi, does a great job describing the shop, the work done in it, and the various trade-offs the owner made for space, layout, etc. There are lots of pictures and plenty of helpful advice for anyone looking to revamp a shop, build a new one, or just rearrange the garage. It’s chok-full of tips for cheap storage, effective layout, and guidelines for things like compressed air plumbing. If you like to plan things out before you start renovating you’ll probably like this book a lot. Add it to the list of things someone can get you for a birthday. You’ll both be happy.