La Castellet, France – Earlier this year I was introduced to Neate Racing, a father and sons’ racing team. John, pictured on the bike is the father of Steven and Sam (the two in leathers right by his side). He is the owner, manager, mechanic, and rider with over 35 years of experience in all types of racing. Both Steven and Sam have raced in British, European, and World Championships. All three of them make up my new favorite race team: NEATE RACING. They build, work on and race bikes. They recently started competing in the FIM European Classic Series. The first race of the year was held on April 16th at Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France. A total of four hours in length, each rider can be on the track for no longer than 45 minutes at a time, minimum of two riders.
My job: hold a sign, try not to get hit and get the rider’s attention. To be completely honest, it was hectic, a”hurry up and wait” type of environment. This was my first time being a part of any pit crew and my first endurance race. I kept calm by keeping their lap times and calculating their next pit stop (just for my own fun). John’s wife Amanda, was actually in charge of bringing them in and way more qualified than my cracked iPhone stopwatch skills. The experience was so different than anything I’ve witnessed in the states. The atmosphere was intense and one of pure racing. The garage can be intense but also full of laughter and joy. I was part of team again. Something I have missed since graduating from UCLA and leaving the competitive softball world over 10 years ago.
It also reminded me of my own family, of home and the countless tailgates we have put on for football games. Amanda is like my mother. She is the heartbeat. She makes sure everyone is fed and kept warm with a nice cup of tea. She sits in the box with Susanna, Steven’s wife, and keeps the boys on the track. Likewise, my mother kept score of every single game I ever played and kept me on the field. There are still scorebooks stacked in my parent’s garage, particularly of the Batbuster years.
At the end of the day I have come to the realization that every experience is tied to one simple thing: family. The medium of sport brings people of all walks of life together. Whether it is softball or motorcycle racing. It’s all the same. Show up for your family. Whether it is your blood or race family. Show up and enjoy the ride.
Results: Neate Racing placed 2nd overall and 1st in the Legend’s Class. Their highest finish to date!!!
1979 Harris Magnum MK1 Honda RSC 1000
* European Classic Endurance race bike
* 1127cc RSC motor
* Dry clutch
* Stainless steel race exhaust system
* Genuine period 18″ Dymag wheels, etc.
All photos from the very talented Morgan Mathurin.