2018, The Ones We Lost.

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12/12/2018 10:19 AM

Had a good friend pass away a short while back, a lifetime dirt bike rider who made everyone else’s problems pale in comparison. Cancer survivor by age 20 in a time where the treatment probably caused more damage than cure. Fast forward through all the enduros, six days and desert racing, he found himself under the knife with heart issues a week after completing Baja. Eventually ended up on the transplant list and was supposed to stay within a 2 hour drive of the hospital in Houston. Of course I caught him cruising the pits at the 2007 Freestone National on his Ruckus, 4 hours from the hospital. That was a good year for him, he got a new heart Christmas Eve.

As the years passed and cancer issues returned he always planned his treatments and surgeries around the next race. Funny stuff to see him come into the pits and grab a Dr. Pepper and eat Skittles. He said that it was the only thing that tasted good at times and as long as he was eating something, the Dr. was happy. As body parts failed, he kept riding. Body parts were either repaired or removed altogether as long as it fit his race schedule. Recently matched with his wife of 38 years for a kidney transplant which for the most part went well. Other complications arose and things deteriorated quickly.

There was a thread here about a year ago about some bikes being stolen from a local bike shop. One of those bikes , a KTM200 belonged to Howard. Although he’s been gone a month, it appears he located his bike last week and directed the police to its location.smile

So here’s to good friends, good times and let’s not forget our Dr. Pepper and Skittles. I have mine...wink

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12/12/2018 10:28 AM

Nice read dude. Rip to your friend, I'm sure he's roosting away in Heaven

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12/12/2018 10:38 AM

life to short..get all of it can!
rip..Howard

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12/12/2018 3:04 PM

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Went through something similiar over the summer as I lost a good friend & fellow rider. In the mid 80's to mid 90's he raced CR500's while I was on CR250's. This past weekend while riding I was thinking of him & the good times we had when we rode together. It's difficult to understand sometimes why life turns out the way it does for some people.
Thnxz for sharing your story.

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Speak softly and carry a big stick.

12/12/2018 3:41 PM

Sounds like he had a great friend in you too, Joe.....RIP Howard.


Its amazing that the friends we make in this small sport can be impactful for a lifetime. Although we didn't lose him in 2018, in July 2016 we lost one of our racing circle. There were 6-7 of us back in the late 70's into the early 80's that all lived within a 10 mile radius of each other that all got our AMA Pro card roughly at the same time. We basically all travelled to the same Nationals together,local races and even spent a month living together while we were doing the Florida Winter-Ama series. Most of us had quit racing and/or riding by the mid 80's and somewhat lost touch with each other . Only one of us moved away (to SoCal and became a well-known stunt player,lol),but the rest of us stayed in western PA. When we heard Lynn passed away while riding his mountain bike with his son, it just rocked the rest of us. At his funeral ,all his old racing buddies were there and 3 of us got back together and decided to return to our roots after a basically 35 year layoff. It "kickstarted" our Vintage racing comebacks realizing that at 60+,any one of us could go next. Lynn was by far in the best shape of any of us and it was really an eyeopener. But the fact that there was at least 20 old District 5 guys at his funeral and that even though he became quite successful in his career,the funeral home was full of his old race jerseys,helmets ,photos, magazine/newspaper articles just kind of exemplify the friendships and bond we develop in the sport. We only lived 10 miles apart,but hadn't talked in probably 10-15 years and I wish I was able to have one last moto, benchracing session or been able to at least say goodbye. Rip AMA #857 Lynn Kirkland

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12/13/2018 4:07 AM

Holy shit dude, definitely shedding a tear reading this while at work. RIP to your friend, and of course to all the ones we've lost over the years.

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12/13/2018 6:38 AM

Sorry for your loss newmann, love his Will To Live rather than just exist. I'll have a Dr Pepper in his honor and RIP Howard.

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There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

12/14/2018 3:44 PM

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Twitter: @ftemoto
Instagram: @mstusiak

12/14/2018 4:20 PM

Just heard one of my old racing buddies passed. His older brother Tom and I raced and ran around together. Terry was several years younger and wanted to race. Their Mom was resistive but finally said he could go if I was going. Damned if the kid didn't break his foot. Tom and I were expecting to catch hell but she just shook her head and he got to go again once he healed up.

Terry has been living in Hawaii for years. Tom said he always figured he'd he end up lost at sea as he was always going out on the ocean fishing. Brain aneurysm at 62. In my mind he's still a skinny 15 year old, hopping into the house on one foot while we all avoided eye contact with his Mom.

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My wife calls you guys the Yahoos.

12/14/2018 7:51 PM

Good friends are rare. I think you were a good friend to him Newmann.

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12/14/2018 7:56 PM

Fragility of life and true connections, feel for you guys.

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vomiting equals disqualification.