people power

Staci now has an extremely famous brother and there are pluses associated with that. "Getting to travel, to see him race in different places. He bought me a house, so that's pretty nice. Those are the good things"

But there is a down side. "Not having a lot of time for him just to Sit around and be himself."

Staci normally travels to a couple of Grand Prix each year and sees him in the pressure situation. "I guess he's different. It seems like here at home he's more himself, more relaxed, less uptight about things."

Not that he blows up every time there is a moment of stress. "I think he's pretty good at controlling that unless things are going really badly then he doesn't try and control it. I don't think its a complete stress thing the whole time he's over there, he enjoys it."

The success has changed her brother. "I think it's given him more self confidence. In some ways though I think he's still not terribly confident even though I think that sounds weird to people because he seems very self confident. It has taught him a lot. It's taught him to be comfortable around people he doesn't know. Its changed him as far as confidence goes."

Like her parents Staci did not imagine Kevin would become an international celebrity. "No, when he first started racing I had a boyfriend that raced and we went to some races all of us together. He would win now and then, he did well but even then at the beginning I never considered anything would come of it."

"When he started racing superbikes here then everyone else started acting as though something great was happening. Then he won Daytona and that sort of thing then it was obvious things were happening. Then his first few races in Europe that we went over for, we met Barry Sheene and it seemed like a lot of people that knew a lot were starting to he impressed with him."

Other than the increase in confidence Staci sees most of the changes that have been wrought by the success as purely external. "His life changed a bit as far as having money, buying cars and all of that, but as far as his personality and stuff, he didn't change. He hasn't changed but the time apart has effected us in that it is hard to have a relationship when you just don't get to spend much time together."


Staci certainly is not jealous of her brother's position. "I don't think fame would be a fun thing and I think that sometimes he feels like that too. I think that it's a really really good thing that he's not famous here and he can come back here and he can just be normal and do normal things. It must be such a strange sensation that every time he gets out of the motorhome to walk somewhere people are all looking at him. When he walks by people all turn and look. I wouldn't like that and I think he's glad it doesn't happen here."

When she is at the races Staci also feels a certain pressure. "I enjoy the racing. I don't know that I enjoy the whole week leading up to it, trying to stay out of the way because everyone has a job to do but I still find the racing very exciting."

Of course she is concerned about her brother's safety. "I don't worry too much, if I'm at a race it makes me nervous, I just like to watch the video tapes back home because then I already know the outcome and I don't have to worry."

And as for winning the World Championship, "I felt really good for him. I knew he had wanted it for a long time and I think he wondered if he would ever get it."

D'Ette Cole works with Staci on the 'Schwantz Racing Club', they share a house which is also the office. The club started in 1992 and there are some 1600 members from all over the world, from countries as far apart as Slovenia, Gibraltar, Argentina, Mexico and Greece. "We had a letter from Russia in 1992 and the guy was telling us just how little a rouble bought and how many roubles it took to make up the membership. A lot of people write with information about themselves and they send photos, some show themselves in their Schwantz racing club 'T' shirt or their collection of Schwantz posters or whatever. At the end of '93 someone wrote in to say that they wanted to write to other members of the fan club. So we started a pen pals section in the newsletter for those who want to have their addresses published."

"Members get three newsletters during the season, the club kit also includes the 'T' shirt, cap, signed photo, key tag, pen, stickers. In November we start designing and ordering the new products and in February and March, we are busy making boxes, folding shirts and making sticker kits and getting everything put in the package. We always try to mail the first group in March."

"We spend a lot of time during the season compiling the newsletters but it is great to be able to work from home. There is a schedule that we try and keep to but it is our own schedule, there is a lot of letters coming in all year that have to be answered but it is great to hear from all these people."

"We've had letters from all sorts of people, from a pensioner in Australia to people who send us photographs of their newborn babies who they have named Kevin."

"He has the nicest fans in the world. They send him get well cards, birthday cards, gifts, invitations to visit and one fan even named his bakery after Kevin. After I had my cardiac arrest and heart transplant in 1993 I also received many cards and faxes wishing me well from concerned fans and that meant a lot to me."

The one request we get quite often is for paddock passes. We are really sorry that we cannot help with this but I think the fans understand. It's really fun to have a job where people are so happy to be part of Kevin's racing career.

There are hundreds of thousands of racing fans all over the World who simply enjoy the sport from a distance. A few get to meet the stars and a very few get further than that.

 

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