My Story About Shae Bentley

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1/7/2015 6:05 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/7/2015 6:07 PM

I've been wanting to share this story for quite a while, and I've finally found a bit of time to get this out there. Little history... I was born in '86, grew up around dirt bikes since I can remember, went to my first Supercross race in 1994 or 1995 at Anaheim, so I've grown up as a person always reminiscing about the 1990s of our sport.

Circa 1998, I vividly remember watching the Indy SX on TV. Shae Bentley (first-ever SX race) grabbed the holeshot in the main event and led for a lap or two aboard a #583 Tecate Kawasaki. I had no idea who he was, but I instantly dug his bent up levers and absurdly effortless riding style, which always reminded me of Robbie Reynard. For these reason, it was an instant super fan and was all about cheering on MC and Bentley. Heck, I even changed my number to 583 when I moved up to 80s and still run it to this day!

Fast-forward to the end of 1998 and Bentley signed with Mitch for the 1999 season. Vital member, MxJef, took me to the now defunct Chaparral SX Invitational at the Glen Helen SX track, and I was so dang excited that Bentley was racing as it'd be the first time I got to see him race in person. I remember him winning the 125 main event and then went on to win the 125/250 Shootout, beating MC and a slew of other big name dudes! I think that night I ended up making some sort of post on the old school Moto Drive forum about my experience watching him race, all of which led to his older brother, Brandon, finding the post and tracking down my e-mail and reaching out to me about Shae. Brandon asked for my home address and had Shae send me a jersey from his rookie season, a few signed posters, and a cool note appreciating the support!

What I experienced for the next few years is something I never expected, nor do I think anybody will ever experience in this day of dirt bike racing. For the next three or four years, Shae and I ended up writing each other monthly letters, he'd send me jerseys all the time, posters, pictures, etc. Being a 12-year-old kid or however old I was and receiving signed jerseys and such from a PC rider was mind-boggling, especially my favorite rider. And, even in the midst of his 2000 West Coast SX title campaign, Bentley always managed to send out a letter and cool memorabilia and share rad behind-the-scenes insight into what was going on away from the track, what it was like batting with Ping, and more. It was freakin' badass!

After Shae retired, we both got caught up with the daily grind of life and didn't speak quite as much. Though, thanks to today's technologies, we are still able to stay in contact via Facebook. But, the point of this story is that now working in this industry full time and having the opportunity to work with the best of the best, I've still never met a rider with the generosity and sincerity of Shae. Maybe I am wrong and I mean no disrespect to today's riders, but I couldn't name a single top rider of today that'd ever spend the time to send posters, jerseys, sit down and hand write a letter asking about your weekend racing results, girls, school, etc each month. I mean, the dude even made sure I received his number one jersey (signed) as soon as Thor sent them his way.

While his career didn't end up going in the direction he, or many thought it should've and could've because of injuries, he forever made a lasting impression on me. A true class act that went above and beyond for one dorky kid who was his number one fan, and dreamt of one day being at his level. We always forgot our past champions, especially when they have a career like Shae's, but he proved to me results and titles are not what matters... It's about being a truly good human and actually giving a crap about people around you and support you, and making a good lasting impression. For that, I say thank you, Shae.

I hope everybody has enjoyed this little read and appreciates what a great guy Bentley truly was. It's something I never expected, nor have I ever experienced since. I will forever be #583 with levers bent to the sky.

1998 Indy Main: Gate drop at 47:53

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1/7/2015 6:14 PM

Seriously, Kyle, that's badass! Sounds like Shae definitely appreciated the position he was in as a professional racer.

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1/7/2015 6:17 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/7/2015 6:17 PM

Kyle....I haven't read your whole thread yet ( I'll get to it ).....But I remember Shae being one awesome rider. Kind of just disappeared , but great rider none the less. Very cool you stay in touch with him.

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And there goes Jeffro. One of God's own prototypes. A super high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

Pimpin' Ho's , Rollin' fatty's......drinkin' beers , beers , beers!! ~ Ja

1/7/2015 6:17 PM

Very, very cool story! I love hearing about things like this. Very cool of shae, too!

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1/7/2015 6:27 PM

Very cool story, What an great example of a good Man.

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1/7/2015 6:31 PM

Wow, that is pretty awesome. Stand up cat.

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1/7/2015 6:31 PM

Kyle, I remember all that like it was yesterday!...Shae is definitely good people! I remember him taking the time at the races to talk with you and how stoked you were after!

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1/7/2015 6:36 PM

awesome story, i hope some younger pro's ready this, its a way to keep fans for life,

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1/7/2015 6:42 PM

Awesome story !

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1/7/2015 6:43 PM

That is unreal. Thanks for sharing.

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November 13th, Forever in our memories !!

1/7/2015 6:46 PM

Cool story bro! . . . seriously, good stuff man

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2015 KTM 250sx, WP 48mm CV Forks, WP Trax Shock, Bills Pipe
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1/7/2015 6:55 PM

very good read.

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1/7/2015 8:15 PM

After reading this post........I am now a Shae Bentley fan. Thanks Kyle. There are more good people than idiots. The idiots just make more noise.

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1/7/2015 9:53 PM

Thanks for sharing that! I wasn't following the sport as much during those years, but I definitely know who he is. I'll check out the video you posted. Good stuff!

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1/7/2015 10:00 PM

The video where he won the championship is awesome. They were unsure right after the race and DC told him he won the title and he goes crazy its really cool.
Great story, what an awesome thing for Shae to do, befriend a young fan. Thanks for sharing

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1/7/2015 10:15 PM

Hey that is cool that a rider would take the time to reach out a fan and be that generous.

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1/7/2015 10:16 PM

Very cool story... The only SB stories I have are of him blowing by me in pratice like I was pulling the titanic behind me.... He was super fast, wish his career would have lasted longer...

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www.bettercallsaul.com
Die Antwoord

1/7/2015 10:31 PM

Well said Elmo and well done Shae.
You both stand taller in my own eyes....and yes it matters.

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1/7/2015 10:42 PM

Shae scared the shit out of my wife one time. We were camped near Bell mountain and went on a trail ride to the now closed VMC. They let us ride in the front gate to check it out and we went around the parking lot/pits and wound up stopping to check things out. Remember when they had that FMX course I guess you'd call it ? 3 GIANT doubles in a row, U-turn then back the other way ? I hear a bike get on the gas hard, look around and heard my wife scream like she saw a ghost, I turned around just in time to look up and see some dude upside down and sideways looking at us from 3 stories up, he landed perfect and proceeded to blow us away for about 10 minutes. She had never seen anyone on a bike that high before and he looked all out of shape (or so it seemed) and she thought it was a huge mistake and she was going to watch him die right in front of us haha. Cinqmars was with him and they were absolutely killing it.

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1/8/2015 2:17 AM

That's a cool story Elmo, and reminds me of the days when I was in frequent contact with Stephane Roncada from 2001 onwards via his message board. He was kind enough to give me advice when I first started racing at 17 years old, and told me to run his old racing number 112, which I still have to this day.

Knowing I was on the other side of the world he posted a signed jersey and some goodies out to me here in the UK which meant more to me than words could describe, and converted me into a huge fan of his for life.

I guess riders do make an effort for their fans more than you think, except we don't know about the relationship between the two parties until the fans share their experience with the world, like you just did!

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1/8/2015 4:20 AM

Wow good stuff!!

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1/8/2015 5:26 AM

When my 2 kids just started riding about 6 years ago I knew nothing about the sport so I thought they should get some training to learn the right techniques right from the start. I heard about a 4 day training camp with some guy named Shae Bentley that sounded good so I signed them up. It was a great experience for them and Shae is definitely one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I remember my son was making some excuse that his 5 year old 85 didn't have enough power to do something that Shae was asking him to do. Shae asked if he could check it out, hops on the old 85 set up for an 80 lb rider, and proceded to run a lap faster than I had seen anybody run on any bike. He pulled back up to my son, gave him back his bike, and said "now you see what the bike can do, so lets work on getting you to the point you can use what your bike has to offer." Even though we didn't continue training with him, we still see him at races and he always makes a point of coming over to say hello and asking how their riding is going.

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1/8/2015 6:44 AM

Great story -

Got to know Shae pretty well some years back. Spent time at LL hanging out and telling stories.
Funny thing ......one of the guys that worked for us noticed shae and I laughing about things several times throughout the week. He asked "who is that guy ? "...........I told him his name and he said " THAT Shae Bentley....like PC rider ?" I explained that we shared a few common friends from back in the 90's blah blah blah........ even my wife said "what a funny guy".

Glad to hear that the difficult times that followed the end of his racing are behind him.

Super likeable guy and has stories for days. What's not to like about that ??

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1/8/2015 6:56 AM

I have that movie "Life Behind Bars" from '99 and there's a shot in there when Shae gets his number one plate and the expression on his face is truly priceless. He is stoked out of his mind. You can practically feel the emotion in your living room. He definitely appreciated the success he had. I can almost respect a guy like that more than a guy that wins a lot.

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Osama Bin Mixin - Head of the 2-stroke Taliban

1/8/2015 7:10 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/8/2015 7:11 AM

Isn't Shae the guy who jumped on a KX-100 and busted out a 90 foot triple during a media day segment with a local newscaster at one of the Anaheim SX's? Maybe not such a big deal today, but back then it seemed pretty spectacular. He was a full blown PC rider at the time.

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1/8/2015 7:14 AM

Very, very cool!

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1/8/2015 7:15 AM

I am an even bigger fan of his now and you as well elmo. Great read. Love hearing those stories and people like you and Shae that truly appreciate it. Good times.

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I don't have to be as smart as you hope to be some day anymore.

1/8/2015 8:39 AM

Great story Elmo, Shae has been the same since day one. A damn great person.

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1/8/2015 8:40 AM

RACERX69 wrote:

Isn't Shae the guy who jumped on a KX-100 and busted out a 90 foot triple during a media day segment with a local newscaster at one of the Anaheim SX's? Maybe not such a big deal today, but back then it seemed pretty spectacular. He was a full blown PC rider at the time.

Yep.

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1/8/2015 9:45 AM

Thanks for sharing!

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