people power

Jim and Shirley maintain a calm which helps Kevin keep his sanity as they deflect or absorb unwanted attention with a particularly Texan charm. Of course the pressure is greatest on Kevin but even he is unlikely to blow up over it even if he is completely fed up. "He just gets short," says Shirley," gives short answers and doesn't say much."

"He did throw his boot in the motorhome one time he broke his stereo cabinet. He didn't actually throw it across the room, he just took it off and threw it straight down and it bounced over and hit the glass front of the stereo."

"He doesn't come in ranting and raving though, not at all, He might use a bad word but its not often that he gets mad at all. He may get mad at himself, he never comes in blaming the team. He may say, damn it we can't get the bike right. This was worse in the early years, Kevin seems to have matured a lot concerning racing."

There was a reason for that though as Jim recalls. "That tended to be when the bike was good one place and they'd go to the next track and it didn't work at all. He got real frustrated then because there just didn't seem to be any reason for it."

"I think he has enough confidence now in his crew that if it's not working then its just not working and there is no one letting anyone down, it must be a genuine problem."

When things do get stressed there are the odd occasions when Jim and Shirley admit they just have to bite their tongues and keep their thoughts to themselves. Jim also admits that he holds back on the technical side. "A lot of times I would like to make some suggestions as far as the motorcycle is concerned but I don't know that I'm capable or that I might offend somebody by doing it."

Happy fans are they that get to talk to their hero and hopefully go away with an autograph.

"There's been very few times when I've ever said anything to Kevin. He had a little incident with the police in Spain one time. We were in a car and he kept nudging up close to a policeman and I finally said, 'Kevin believe me if that was me standing out there you would be in jail right now. I wouldn't put up with it for a second.' I've said some things like that but that's about it."

"Sometimes when he was drinking after a race he did some things that I didn't really like but I just kind of ignore it and put it off to drinking. We all do kind of silly things some time."

Shirley has not been impressed with the post race antics on occasion, they both enjoy the celebration parties but... "Well the whole team gets completely out of hand sometimes and I don't like that too much."

According to Jim that situation has improved. "They were a lot better in '92 and '93." Shirley says she knows why. "Stuart seems to have brought a maturity to the team that has helped a lot. He's been really good for Kevin."

Jim and Kevin working on one of the trucks in Texas. Jim works on the motorhomes there before shipping them to Europe.

That is true not only in the way that the team has been slightly quieter on a Sunday evening but more importantly at the race track as Jim points out. "Before Simon was replaced two years ago Kevin and I both said, We need experience and we need maturity in this team.' Stuart brought those ingredients."

Shirley says that. "Kevin needed someone with a lot of experience on the team, someone like Erv, Kenny or Kel, someone who had many years of experience, perhaps someone who has raced who could help Kevin with his riding. Maybe that is something that Kevin will want to do one day, he associated with the team and try to help the young riders coming up. To go out and watch young riders during practice and help them. Kevin has never had that."

However long Kevin races it seems unlikely that he will do so without his parents, there are remarkably few negative aspects to the situation partly because they try and give each other as much space as possible and in the off season they keep a little distance as Jim points out. "I think Kevin tends to want to keep away from us a bit when we are at home in Texas because he is with us so much the rest of the year. I think that's good, we could get fed up with each other otherwise."

Jim and Shirley never stop working though and most that they do is directed towards the racing effort. Shirley enjoys trading in antiques and collectables, she loves flea markets in Europe and the US but most of her time is spent organising racing associated activities. Jim spends time on the contracts or out on the ranch working the land and keeping the motocross track fettled for Kevin's training. He seems dedicated to keeping mechanical things in perfect running order and takes great care of a whole stable of machinery at the ranch. In the paddock he is famous for keeping the Wanderlodge motorhome in top condition mechanically and in concours condition visually.

When they buy a new motorhome Jim gives it a thorough going over before shipping it to Europe. Kevin regularly rides out at the Ranch so they see him enough. 'Sure he comes out here and I want him to come out any time he likes," says Jim. "But I don't want him to feel obliged to come over.

All in all the family situation works very well with Staci and her friend D'Ette Cole doing all the office work on the fan club, creating and distributing the newsletter 'T' shirts, badges, stickers etc. It is a year round mini industry.

I think we consider it not a job but a pleasure thing to do," says Shirley. 'We pretty much enjoy all aspects of it. In winter time its lot of hard work, phone calls, paper work, things like that. We still enjoy the travelling and seeing him do well and we hope that we help him through the ups and downs."

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