When you search my name in Google, the things that will probably pop up are articles about a professional motorcyclist from Australia. Images spanning from a headshot of a thirty-something to an acute angle of a bike caught in mid rubber burn. I usually look up myself when I am too drunk to realize how conceited it makes me seem. And because of this, I can become angry or annoyed or really just defeated. That race, with Wayne Maxwell and Suzuki motorbikes occurred eight years ago. And even if it sounds like it, I don’t dislike it.
Sometimes, I can imagine myself in that race back in 2013. Both hands concentrated on rubber handlebars and defying gravity. Turns so sharp that it’s difficult to keep the wheels touching ground. My heartbeat the only thing I can rely on. There is nothing that says death defying as speed and acceleration and crashes and explosive fires. The delicateness of the throttle. The moment before each swivel. The way God exists only when I am close to Him.
What it must feel like to use my name as a vehicle for speed and adrenaline and risk. He won many of his races, by the way. The only thing I could hope for someone. Losses here, wins there. A mixed bag–winning from Philip Island to runner up in the Australian Superbike Championship. And while neither of these things mean much to me, I can tell that he was driven. An expert in his field. Having two points of contact on the road must feel dangerous. Scary even. Two points of contact that soon could become none if the pavement doesn’t soak up the morning dew. And I don’t deny his skill–anything but.
My dad even had a Suzuki motorcycle when I was growing up. He was never able to get it to work, and so it stood covered in a tattered tarp in our garage for years. And whenever I went to toss the recycling or throw out the trash, I’d notice it. The shine of a white panel one Tuesday and the glint of its exhaust pipe the following week. Sometimes, I would imagine what he must’ve looked like in a leather jacket and a blacked-out visor. A passenger clasping their hands around his waist and the whistle of the wind tickling ears. Where had that bike gone? Sprinting along PCH. Reflecting the Seal Beach sun. The reverberations of its two cylinders along Washington forest corridors. Grappling with the ice and salt and gravel of my hometown.
I never asked him about it, mostly because I have never been a car guy. I can barely tell the difference between a Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. So, it sat there, untouched. Rust gathering at its tailpipe and fusing its engine. Forgotten, but not neglected.
Years later, my dad would sell it to a family friend for a discounted price. Attached to the removal of the motorcycle was a promise that it would work again. Revisiting the aggression of its horsepower. And that somehow, it would be able to find traction in the Alaskan snow. Gulping down loads of slush and spitting out steaming power. I don’t know what happened to that motorcycle. And sometimes, I don’t want to. If it’s anything but the treasure it could be, I’d be disappointed. Sometimes it’s better to be left in suspense. Because the reality would be too unfortunate to handle. Instead, I have decided that the self-taught mechanic had to have restored the beast’s purr.
I don’t want to believe that the motorcycle is sitting in the corrosive weather. Panels leeching back into the ground. The potential leaking from its fuel tank and collecting in the moss below it. Never to screech passed sedans and smoke rubber into pavement. There is a subtle sadness in things that aren’t able to exist as they were at their height.
When you search my name in Google, I want to be known as the motorcycle king. For as few races that Wayne Maxwell won, he was able to eke out just enough to be the best. I hope that when he searches himself up, he can smile at his own handiwork, and reassure himself that he was important enough to have a spot on the internet. Maybe someday, by sheer luck, I’ll be able to meet the guy, shake his hand, and confirm his significance. The two of us simply connected by a single name, holding two bodies in stasis.