Kevin's taste for road racing started with the Aquafest but nothing could be further from the 500cc World Championship and still have tarmac on it. Run over closed public roads and a parking lot marked out with cones and straw bales, it never the less allowed Kevin to see that he might have at least as much fun road racing as he had riding dirt bikes. "I started talking to my dad about it, saying that I'd really like to go road racing, pestering him, can I do it, can I do it."
"So he let me take an FJ600 off the floor of the shop and I ordered leathers and so forth. I had to have all the proper gear. Everyone was just saying, why don't you just borrow Darryl's leathers like you used to. I was fed up with that and said, 'no way I'm going to go racing and I'm going to have my own leathers.' So I talked them into buying me a $750 or $800 set of leathers. They agreed to pay for all the stuff to prepare the bike out of the shop but the hotels, food, entry fees and that sort of thing had to come out of my money."
"That was a pretty good deal because the shop was paying for all the major bike expenses and tyres. I was racing pretty much every weekend and I'd ride four or five classes on the 600 and then two or three races into the season I bought myself an RZ350 so I could ride another two or three classes on that."
|So Kevin finally got to stop wearing second hand leathers. He got on with road racing right from the start, it was as though there was no learning to be done and he was having a ball right from the moment he started with the FJ600, racing a bike on tarmac full time. "It was just a whole lot of fun. They were just 8 lap races so I'd pretty much race all day, just have a really good time, it was fun and you weren't beat to death at the end of it. I quit riding motocross completely once I got into the roadracing."|
Physically it wasn't as tough but mentally it was a new and perhaps greater challenge. Kevin responded and immediately found success. Though he started winning just about from the word go he had also been successful at motocross. "I didn't really think anything much would come of my road racing but I started to win quite a few races. I was riding the 600 and 750 class on my 600 and winning those then I would also run in the bigger classes. If the track was pretty tight I could do well against the 1000s even though there were the local hot shoes running in that class. Some of those guys were doing OK at the Nationals on their superbikes. Then I started to think that maybe I could go out and do something."
It was not all plain sailing of course, instant stardom and no pain. At first the most important thing to Kevin was having a good time and even then it hurt a little along the way. "I fell off a few times in the early days, not very much at all really. I fell on the warm up lap at Daytona I fell off the RZ350 at the Grand National final at Road Atlanta One time at Savanna Georgia, I banged my head so hard I don't think I knew where I was. But I rode back to the pits, parked the bike next to the Suburban and trailer and was walking round and round. I must have walked round it about four times then my buddy came up and I said to him 'Hey where's the ice chest?' It was sitting there in the back of the truck but I hadn't seen it."
Irrespective of the odd bump and bruise those were great days. It may be that club racing is the most fun you can possibly have on a bike or perhaps it's those rose tinted retrospective spectacles. Kevin certainly has the fondest memories of his early days. "It would be nice just to go back to racing like that, throw a couple of bikes on the back of the truck and go racing for the weekend. It would be real fun to go club racing now, now that I have the time to prepare tbe bikes properly instead of having to work all week, prepare the bikes at night and haul ass at about three in the morning to get to the track in time to practice."
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