If you are a motocross fan you might have seen this clip of a blind guy doing a jump on a motorcycle. If not I suggest you check it out immediately, right here.
You probably already guessed that that guy is me! Because I have been training in California with Micky Dymond for our ‘Making the jump’ project, it is mostly American fans who know about me at the moment, although I’m British! The best way to change that is of course to go out and meet people.
Through an introduction of a Belgian MX fan I was introduced to Honda and the LS Honda Racing team. They found out aboutmy story and liked what I did. Because I ride Honda and regularly spend time in Belgium for my work –I’m a professional musician- we had an instant connection. Together with Youthstream, who run the motocross World Championship, LS Honda Racing invited me to come over and visit my first Grand Prix in Valkenswaard. Not only was it my first GP, Valkenswaard was also the opener of the 2012 World Championship. And having studied in The Hague as a young guy I always like to go to Holland anyway. So what more could I ask for?
Open Gallery3 Images
Admittedly, the weather was way too cold for the time of year but my first race as a spectator turned out to be a great experience. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that some people had already noticed ‘Making the jump’! It’s always funny to me to hear how differently people react. Some are very enthusiastic about my crazy stunt, they call it brave, others are speechless or can not believe that I did or that I am truly blind as a bat! Actually I never intended to turn my jumping a motocross bike into a stunt. Hollywood stunt men and women can rest assured I won’t quit my day time job! Making the jump is about challenging yourself and pushing the boundaries. That’s also what a lot of the guys and girls did in Valkenswaard… And will do for the rest of the season, no doubt.
During the weekend I learned a lot about the sport and how driven and committed these riders are. Just like anything in life, whether it’s playing an instrument or excelling in sports, it takes a lot of practice and dedication to reach the highest level. Take the MX1 World Champion for example. Antonio Cairoli has five world titles, but his desire to win is still as great as ever before. Or the home favourite, Jeffrey Herlings who had the weight of the world on his shoulders and still pulled through. I guess it’s very similar to playing a high-profile concert, where all eyes and ears are on you! For Jonathan Barragan and the Honda riders the weekend was generally not as good as they wanted but I’m sure they’ll be back on the gas this weekend in Bulgaria. I was happy to learn that Jonathan did well in France this weekend and I look forward to meeting him next time. Valkenswaard was so busy that I didn’t even get the chance to speak to him!
In general I found that motocross folks are very warm and approachable. It’s definitely a family sport and that’s definitely something I took away from Valkenswaard. For someone who can’t see I can understand why you might think it’s weird for me to visit a motocross race. As you know people who are born without sight or who have lost their vision see in a different way. So if we say “see” it just refers to the collective use of all our other senses, which help to paint a picture inside our head.
Let me assure you, motocross is definitely a great spectacle to witness, in every sense! As a musician and rider I get excited by the sound of the bikes. It’s also something I talked about a lot with my friend and riding coach Micky. Than you have the shifting, getting on the throttle, the squeaks of the brakes, the compression of the suspension (you needed some serious guts to jump that triple!). You have the different smells, fourstroke and twostroke, Belgian fries and hamburgers and of course the general atmosphere! And you could tell on both days people were really getting into the racing. With some
personal commentary I was able to get a good idea of what was going on, but if my schedule permits I would like to visit the British GP in Matterly Basin and that should even be better. Especially because it allows me to appreciate the live commentary in my native language!
I met a lot of great people in Holland and the list of people to thank is long. But I would like to start with Steven Lettani from LS Honda Racing and Marionna, the Youthstream press officer. They really made me feel welcome. In Valkenswaard I was talking to a lot of media people, journalists and photographers about ‘Making the jump’ and on top of that I had some nice chats with very different personalities. About their passion for motorcycles but also about music –I even learned about some riders playing an instrument- and taking chances. I even had the opportunity to say hello to Mr. Giuseppe Luongo who is
the president of Youthstream. Of course I checked out the awesome LS Honda race bike of Jonathan Barragan, with lots of carbon parts and obviously more trick to it than my own trusty CRF450R. Next time I would like to see the factory Honda bike, which is I’m told even more special! One of the coolest meetings I had was with Kevin Wouts who had just won the MX3 GP. That was his first ever Grand Prix victory! Kevin was over the moon and it was a very emotional moment for him. He showed me his huge trophy and I can imagine how proud he must have been on top of the podium!
As for my motocross riding. we are currently planning and thinking about what I could do next. The more I think about the more I would like to get on the bike again. I think riding a motorcycle or bike is something that stays with you forever. As a kid I rode a pitbike in a field behind our house and that’s something I will never forget. In terms of performances I’m preparing for a very busy and spectacular summer so I have to be careful about my planning. But I will definitely keep an eye on the results for the coming GPs and you can be sure to hear more about ‘Making the jump’ in the months to come! As they say watch this space.
Thank you for reading my megalong first post! If you want to know more about Making the jump, please visit www.makingthejump.com. And if you want to learn more about my music and listen to some pieces check out http://matthewwadsworth.com/
Keep it safe!