The new riders of today have no idea how good they have it. With cellphones, laptops, texting, Facebook and so on, communication before, during and after the races is amazing compared to what it was like a couple of decades ago. I’m sure if youngsters Adrian St. Amand or Jordan Molnar could gather around the rocking chairs of grizzled veterans Chris Evans or John Parker, they would hear tales of how it was in the ‘old’ days.
Just picture Evans, all comfy in his chair with his slippers and his shawl, sharing stories of how things were much different back then. I can almost hear him now, talking about a road trip to somewhere in Ohio, uphill all the way, through blinding snow, oops I mean rain, only to find out the race had been rained out. Then, of course, you would have the dreaded eight hour uphill drive home. Oh, those flat track pioneers, they had it rough.
Switch to the modern day, where weather and track updates are a mere text away. Headed to Welland on a Saturday? A quick text to Shane Corbeil or one of the Gamms may put your mind at ease. Headed to Leamington for Thunderfest? Scott Buchan and Jay Pickle seem to have Mother Nature on speed dial and are always ready to share the latest info. On your way to Belleville? Starting a good three days before the race, Dave Gill will be giving constant updates regarding weather and track conditions.
Social media is also a great way to share instant results and info with friends and sponsors. There is nothing quite as speedy as winning a race and then having a shout out on Facebook to all your great sponsors within minutes. Looking for a sprocket for Wheatley? A text, tweet or Facebook post is sure to get results. Looking for somebody to split gas for a road trip ? Using social media you will usually find a partner in crime within the hour. At the first race of the season, Alex Olsen had a very nasty looking spill. Watching him leave in the ambulance had everybody fearing he had suffered some very serious injuries. Thankfully, after a few hours, Brian Olsen was on Facebook giving an update that other than being ‘banged up’, Alex was going to be fine.
Track photographers may utilize Facebook even more than the average twelve year old. Every racer in Canada knows that the day after a race, albums will start popping up so they can browse for their favourite pic. For some photographers this almost seems to be a race in itself as they try to be the first one to get their pics posted. Outlaw Productions is usually among the first, followed closely by Winston Grosse, PJ Biegger, David Dudley, Shelley Gamm, Karolina Pelc, and the list goes on.
Mia Moore is the Den Mother of flat track racing in the United States. With her on the job, it is almost impossible to NOT know what is going on in the racing world that day. From the biggest national to the smallest local race, she is updating Facebook constantly. It doesn’t even matter if she happens to be at the track that day; she still shares everything that is going on. She’s like Flat Track Santa, with a bunch of elves working for her, I guess.
Recently, young Hunter Bauer competed in the Amateur Grands in Illinois. Mia attended of course, and it was a non-stop flood of info on the races each day. Race lineups, results, photos, interviews, she had it all. Checking out all her posts was the next best thing to being there, and we gladly shared all the info with our appreciative friends here at home.
Next time you get a message that the races have been cancelled just as you are pulling out of your driveway, think of those early pioneers like Evans and Parker. The closest thing they had to social media back in the day was smoke signals off a burning Goodyear.