Jeremy Higgins (No. 82) is one of four AFT rider who were involved in serious crashes during the last month of the AFT season. Jeremy Higgins (No. 82) is one of four AFT rider who were involved in serious crashes during the last month of the AFT season. Photo: Taylor Vallee

The Vallee Report - Family

Written by  Todd Vallee on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 11:12

If you live in the world of motorcycles you are part of a special group. Whether you are a serious racer, two wheel commuter, or just enjoy playing around the trails or the farm, if you ride a motorcycle you are part of something that is greater than just a motorcycle and its rider. The feeling of community, camaraderie and family is second to none in the motorcycle world. I have yet to see a gaggle of Pontiac Sunfires leading the parade out of a funeral home parking lot. I have however seen lots of instances where a bunch of Harleys, sport bikes or whatever two wheeled creations lead the pack out of the parking lot as one last salute to their lost riding buddy. Also I should point out that I’m really starting to feel like a fool when I’m driving my wife’s Corolla and shoot the peace sign out the window to another Corolla driver, only to be greeted by a blank stare instead of the friendly hand gesture I was expecting in return. Are we not doing this? Was there a memo?

Flat track racing is my passion and I’ve found the feeling of family in this little world to be second to none. Riders will lend gear, parts, and in many cases complete race bikes to ensure their competitors make it out on the track. In one of those cases where a rider gets hurt, the pits will suddenly resemble an ant hill as everybody within shouting distance scurries around the injured riders pit to make sure everything is packed up safe and secure.

It breaks my heart to say it but the last month of the AFT season was horrific as four riders sustained very serious, and life changing injuries while competing in the sport that they love.

While all of us in the flat track world were rattled by what happened, it was hard not to be impressed by the immediate reaction in the community to raise money for the injured. One AFT rider, who himself suffered life changing injuries in a crash in April, even donated $1000 of the money that was supposed to be going to him to another injured rider. Thank you, Jeremy Werner. That is the classiest, most selfless, most badass thing I have ever heard, and it brings tears to my eyes as I type this. It would be impossible to name everybody involved in raising funds for the injured riders but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Charlie Roberts and the Class of ’79. What they do to help injured riders is amazing.

Despite the injured riders being American, fundraising started here in Canada right away as well in the hopes of helping any little way we could. Maybe it is because three of the riders have participated in our racing series but I really don’t think so. Welland County Speedway passed around a helmet on a race night and gathered a good amount of cash and just a couple of weeks later many of the same people that donated were handing me cash as I raffled off a little craft that I had made.

Now my daughter Taylor is working on a raffle and to see some of the prizes that are rolling in is impressive. Again, keep in mind she has been contacting people looking for prizes to benefit riders from another country that most of these people wouldn’t even know. While some that are donating are involved in our racing series such as Parts Canada, others like KW Honda are not but still just as willing to jump in for the cause. This is just another case of our community coming together to help riders in need.

So as the raffle shapes up I would like to say thanks to the following: On The Gas Photos, Klair Farrington, Royal Distributing, Parts Canada, Flat Track Canada, KW Honda, Cory Texter, James Downie, Brodie Buchan, Vortex Racing, Hudson Motorcycles and SPH Motorsports. Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart. You all rock!

While I am crushed at the damage suffered by the injured riders, I still feel pride at the way the motorcycle family pulls together. Clayton Isherwood was talking to the father of one of the injured riders and might have summed it up best when he said, “This thing we call a border will never separate us as a family.”

Well said Clayton. Well said.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 11:35
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