Moto Friends, Part 2

This is the second half of my story about friends I’ve made through motorcycling. The first half was published on March 16, 2022.

Rev. Mark Merical

The only minister on this list, I met Mark at the PittRace MotoAmerica weekend in 2017 and got to know him years later while I was covering the AMA Road Race Grand Championship. Mark and his wife, Dawn, devoutly serve the spiritual needs of America’s motorcycle racing community, and it was a pleasure to write a story about their lives and ministry for this blog.

Michael Brock

Michael and I met years ago at a MotoAmerica round at VIRginia International Raceway. He’s a professional photographer who doesn’t shoot video – but he was shooting some that day for one of his clients. 

Michael gave me a big boost in attracting Marino Communications customers when I opened for business in 2018, but what I’ll remember the most are the good times we had racetracks up and down the East Coast. Brock’s an avid rider with a pretty slick MV Agusta track bike and a Triumph Tiger 800 for street duty. His advice on dog parenting has been invaluable with my girlfriend and my beagle-mix, Papi.

Jared & Heather Trees

I met Jared and Heather through the Ohio Mini Roadracing League, and Jared served as Gavin Anthony’s mechanic for his years racing in MotoAmerica Junior Cup. The couple both road race motorcycles and took turns competing in MotoAmerica Twins Cup last year aboard a built Suzuki SV650. I always enjoy talking with them about road racing, and I owe them one after they gifted my girlfriend and I their old chest freezer.

Bill Thom & the Eastern Pennsylvania MSTA Crew

When I joined the MSTA in 2014, Bill was the first person from the club to reach out to me. He invited me to a MSTA lunch meetup near Hersey, Pa., and I saw him and the rest of the EPA group (Doc Lane, Robert Balasco, Bill’s daughter and son-in-law, and more) at the monthly club meetups. I still need to get out to his homestead in central Pennsylvania, which I hope to do this summer.

The OMRL Crew

Shortly after I joined the 2 Wheel Power Hour cast of characters, I was assigned to cover the Ohio Mini Roadracing League. My first contact with the club was with then-president Kent Klawon, and I was a regular attendee of the club’s races at Circleville Raceway Park when I lived in Columbus. It was great seeing one of the club’s younger riders, Gavin Anthony, make his way into the MotoAmerica ranks for a couple years, as well as getting to know a bunch of the racers, including Brian Conrad, Andy Schaffnit, current president Travis Evans, Gavin’s dad Anthony, Dustin May, Morgan Hampton, Andrew Farkas and more.

The CBUS MSTA crew 

Another treat from living in Columbus was the first Sunday of the month breakfast meetups for the MSTA group. It was a morning of fun and informative conversation with the likes of Bryan Dunlap, Doug McPeek, Larry Watts, John Boyd and more. 

A few of those conversations that have really stuck with me. I’ll never forget John’s advice about riding in Alaska, “There’s nothing highway about the Denali Highway.”

John also told a story about a BMW rider’s process of purchasing a new motorcycle that I re-tell regularly. 

Bryan had me laughing with his joke, “You know what BMW stands for, right? Bring more wampum.”

Larry was especially helpful during my short stint as a Kawasaki Ninja 500 owner, as he’s spent years riding and racing them. I still miss my old Ninja 500 a little.

National MSTA

My MSTA membership has given me the pleasure of working with current President Pat Mogavero and vice president Norm Kern. Pat has given me the opportunity to serve as the club’s website editor, and Norm is a walking encyclopedia for the FJR and Garmin Basecamp.

Chris “Paco” Vasquez

I met Paco through a mutual friend and stored his first bike – a Yamaha Road Star Midnight 1600 – for a winter. Though the bike was a bit big for him, the Road Star’s carburetor was the first one I ever worked on. I also helped him find the SV650 he’d been wanting for years and gave him his first taste of motorcycle touring – though I’m not sure how much he enjoyed it.

Zach Ruch

Zach and I haven’t ridden together much, but it was him, Paco and myself who form the motorcycling contingent of my Columbus friends group. Zach worked at Iron Pony for a bit and is the proud owner of a Triumph Tiger 800 – a bike I’ve seen him ride very skillfully.

The Motoclectic Crew

I met Scott and Dan thanks to a phone call Scott made to a former employer looking to sell ads for the duo’s magazine, Motoclectic . I kept in touch with them and am happy to have written several articles for Motoclectic.

The Indy MotoGP crew

Larry and Roy weren’t the only members of the Greenfield hotel MotoGP crew. There also is Greg Sr. (whose friendly hello at IP inspired these articles) and Greg Jr., Chantel and Martin from Montreal, the late Bob Lyon, and more.

We had some great evenings of conversation for seven years. It was a weekend I looked forward to every year. I still see them at MotoAmerica rounds at NJMP and PittRace now and again.

We need to do a reunion.

One thought on “Moto Friends, Part 2

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