By Jody Weisel
I’m one of those people who doesn’t remember last week’s race. Even worse, I have very little memory of what happened in a moto once I pull
off the track. Human memory is quirky, complicated
and unreliable. Even people who pride themselves on
remembering everything accurately are probably coloring
the events with past experiences. I don’t have this
problem, and if I do, I don’t remember having it. Don’t
ask me the names of my high school friends, the name
of my college professor or even the name of the street
my family lived on. I have no clue.
Psychologists say that the brain records significant
events, and the more significant the event, the longer
the memory lasts. I’m only guessing here, but my
threshold for what I consider to be significant must
be higher than the average person’s. Thus, I don’t
store what I consider to be mundane. Since I
have raced over 2000 events in my life, I don’t
find the circumstances of any given race to
be all that different from the hundreds that
I am a little better at recalling the events leading
up to a big crash. I think this happens because I can
visualize the events and store them as though I saw
them from a remote camera—instead of from the saddle.
In lots of ways this remote-camera approach to memory
is better than the scab, bruise and broken bone system
that many people use.
I really don’t have any recollections of my early days
of racing. I’ve raced all across the USA and in Europe,
but when people ask me what it was like to race at
Finland’s Ruskeasanta track, I am forced to admit that
I don’t remember, but I do recall that they sold pickled
fried herring at the concession stand. I’m probably the
only American motocross racer who ever went to Europe
and remembers more about the hotel rooms and
restaurants than the racetracks.
One time when I came back from a trip to the
Husqvarna factory in Sweden, Lovely Louella asked me
to show her the snapshots I took while I was abroad.
“Let me see the photos of your trip to Sweden,” she
said. I handed her a pack of 4x5 Kodak prints.
“What’s this a photo of?” she asked while thumbing
through the photos.
“Oh,” I said, “that’s the door lock on my hotel room. I
shot a photo of it because it lifted the door out of a slot
in the ground.”
“And this one?” she asked.
“Those are the elevator buttons. I’d never seen buttons
arranged in that manner,” I said.
“Do you have any scenic photos of Stockholm?” she
“Here’s one of the bidet in my hotel in Vimmerby,” I
“No,” said Louella. “Didn’t you shoot any photos of the
“Yes, I did,” I said. “See this photo of the farmer
shearing a sheep that I shot out the window of the
train I was taking from Linkoping to Uppsala? That’s
the countryside in the background. It’s a little blurry
because we were doing 100 kilometers per hour.”
“What about photos of the track you raced at? Do you
have any of those?” she asked.
“No,” I said.
“Why not?” she asked. “Isn’t that what you went to
Sweden to do?”
“If you’ve seen one racetrack, you’ve seen them all,” I
“Didn’t you want some memories of your trip?” she
“I have lots of memories,” I said. “Didn’t you see the
photo of the door lock?”
“Okay, I’m going to ask you one more question, and
you better think hard about the answer,” said Louella.
“When is our anniversary?”
I can tell you this, I’ll never forget that moment. ❏