Saturday March 13, 2010 My husband and I were out enjoying the weather since it had rained the 3 previous weekends. While riding side by side in the far right lane a SUV decides to pull out as soon as we approached. My husband veered to the left and I attempted to do the same, however the next thing I recall is flying in the air and hoping that it would all be over soon. After several flips on the asphalt I came to a rest and immediately noticed I had no feeling in my left knee. I ended up taking a field trip to the trauma center where I learned, to the amazement of all the doctors, all I ended with was a sprained knee. My ICON jacket & gloves were to thank!!! As a new lady rider I have truly been convinced of the importance of proper riding gear. From here on out I will remain dedicated to ICON.
Icon riders Nick Apex and Ernie Vigil just finished up their part of the 2010 Fall Icon Photoshoot. And like any good trip there is always the long ride home. That road feels twice as long when you're crammed into a overloaded Econovan with four guys, three stunt bikes, one clapped out 50, leaking fuel bottles, and loads of gear. These guys are the modern version of bull riders and their travel arrangements are no different.
Ernie takes comfort from the cold steel embrace of a leaking gas tank
Nick doing the Happy Dance while loading gear
Four bikes + four men + 1800 miles = good times & horrible smells
No amount of pillows can cushion the Fords blown out shocks
The following posts are the previously unpublished biographies and story line behind our 2009 Vegas photoshoot. Vegas was our first go at a scripted photoshoot following a singular theme. We wrote these back stories as a method of generating the final still photo to be used for the ad. It's a design methodology that is creatively intensive and time consuming - but we believe the end product is worth the effort. We thought you, the Icon faithful, might enjoy reading the full story behind the Vegas Outlaw Cup.
VEGAS OUTLAW CUP
Clearly it would be Vegas. Set in the City of Sin, the Outlaw Cup could be run unhindered by the strict societal rules that had plagued previous Cups. The recent disasters in Miami and Atlanta had eliminated half of the potential field and nearly netted the organizational committee federal stints. But Vegas, awash in it’s superficial decadence and drenched in crushed dreams would make the perfect backdrop. The contestants, most from the wrong side of the law, would feel comfortable here. During daylight the event location could be kept anonymous. Desolate enough to avoid detection by the fed’s cliche’ fleet of unmarked black helicopters, yet dangerous enough to test the determination of rider and worthiness of bike. Clearly the daylight sections would be challenging, but in no way complete. For after all, the Outlaw Cup was meant to be run on an urban circuit. For ‘The Cup’, as it was affectionately known by most riders, was as much about the race as it was about the venue. To take the victory checkers on a stretch of long deserted back roads, no cheering - no fans - no adulation, was akin to a third date handshake goodnight. All the work, none of the payoff. No - A proper victory only comes when their are spectators to witness it. When the story can be told and a legend born. Hence the need for a ‘city’ portion of the course. This would be the Outlaw Cup at it’s finest. Traffic, stop lights, blind intersections, random course hazards that would challenge the most honed of skills. The entrants knew the risks, most had been playing this game for a long time. Long enough to know that the house always wins.
His reputation on the streets is formidable, both as a rider and as an enforcer. As the founder and club President of the Busa Syndicate, Priest rules with an iron throttle hand. The Syndicate is involved in numerous activities at a street level, some make them neighborhood heroes others would get them twenty years of federal time. They live a shadowy life, difficult at times to distinguish victim from villain. But in the end the money must continue to flow. Debts must be collected and marks will be dealt. Priest, like the rest of his club, is in it for the money. It’s just that simple.
The recent slew of podium finishes are frequently relived and celebrated by Marcus, but his greatest achievement is winning the affection and blind loyalty of his fiancée, Heather. The arrogance of his youth prevents him from realizing the extent that Heather has made his life possible. But that’s not how he sees it. In fact, deep down he really believes that he is doing her the favor. What girl wouldn’t do anything to be with a motorcycle racer? And that’s what Marcus has set out to be. If they were older Heather might be considered a trophy wife, but to him she was more like a door prize. Marcus, the textbook squid, started out in life the same as everyone else. His choices were his alone to make. Perhaps the least wise of his decisions included running from Clevelands’ finest on his beloved Gixxer 1000. Marcus Sanchez got in deep. Deep in debt and even deeper into trouble with the law. With his license on permanent revocation and any hope of an affordable insurance policy gone, Marcus went native. Though still competing in some sanctioned race events, his focus had become the streets. Easy money for those willing to risk it all. Easy pickings for those with nothing to lose. Marcus is fast, perhaps the fastest rider in the Vegas Outlaw Cup, but the aggression and abandon with which he rides can not hold forever. Reckless velocity - his greatest strength - his greatest weakness.
Holly was a naturally gifted rider, probably the most proficient rider to ever compete in the Vegas Outlaw Cup. She had cut her teeth on the battered road courses of the Atlantic Mid-North circuit. She was no stranger to competing head-to-head with men. Internal combustion, she had found, was the great equalizer in the battle of the sexes. And what’s more - she didn’t care - not about men and not about women. She liked or perhaps disliked them equally. She had found sex, all of life for that matter, was really just a grey void between races. Sam had come into Holly’s life during a rather dark summer. Holly had had a spate of poor finishes and consequently lost a number of key sponsors. Without the financial backing of these critical accounts and the absence of any purse money, she was desperate. Racing, upon entering the blood stream, is the most virulent of diseases, only to be held in check with large sums of liquid cash. She toyed with the idea of dancing - a quick way to earn enough money for a few more races. It was never going to be anything more than a couple week endeavor in the anonymity of Vegas. Just enough to pay for some new rubber, a top end rebuild, and a little hi-test. Sam knew a thing or two about racing, second hand anecdotes mostly, gleaned from the drunken motosport clients her off-the-strip club attracted. Sam herself was not a racer, she was a hustler, and as a hustler she knew there was money to be made in racing or more specifically off of the backs of racers. Enter Holly. A cute girl with a naive air that could twist a throttle with the best of the boys. In Vegas, Lady Fate is fickle. But on rare occasions she’ll give a half smile, some brief eye contact, a quick brush back of the hair, and that, Sam had learned, was your only chance to beat that bitch. And so it was with Holly - with a little luck, a lot of manipulation, and handful of well planned lies Sam could ride the Holly train straight to the major payoff.
The Speedfreak’s registration for the Vegas Outlaw Cup was bound to happen. The sight of his name in the books has a tendency to bring his competitors insecurities to the surface. Accusations fly that the race had been carelessly advertised, as if something like this could be kept quiet. The more disciplined competitors put him out of mind. The weaker ones, upon learning of his entrance, have already lost. While his back story is murky, the most common rumor is that he was an experimental pilot in the US Air Force. Not the best of the best, but still well above the curve in proficiency. This better than average, but expendable, status put him on the top of a very short list within the CIA for a top-secret bionic implant aviation program. The offer intrigued and flattered him. He believed that in joining the CIA he would become the future of combat aviation. Each time that Kyle underwent the knife he was both enhanced and reduced. Flesh was removed to accommodate the plastics and alloys. The butchering continued for two painful years but showed no significant achievement. Unfortunately for Kyle, the advent of non-piloted drone technology showed overwhelming potential. The CIA’s covert cyborg pilot program was discarded and forgotten, as was Kyle. The prototype implants were removed leaving horrific physical and unforeseen mental scarring. Several years later the Speedfreak emerged on the underground outlaw racing scene. He remains outside the community of contestants, hovering like a phantom. The Speedfreak is feared and respected, but in the way that one would fear and respect the ghost in the basement. Don’t mess with it, and hopefully it will be content to carry on with it’s purpose, which is known only to him.
Of all the teams competing in this years Vegas Outlaw Cup, Team Retro is the sentimental crowd favorite. Kelly has been in this game for many years and has taken more than his share of victories. He’s seen riders come and go. Watched as bikes became faster, stronger, and lighter. Witnessed the logarithmic growth of technology and its’ resulting spike on the dyno chart. Yet the steed he chooses, a 1990 GSXR750R - the special Canadian homologation version, remains his bike of choice. Though a technological marvel in its day, by modern standards it remains seriously down on power. The bike is grotesquely obese, possesing questionable aerodynamics at best. As if the air in the early 90’s was somehow thicker - requiring more of a blunt hammer shape to beat it into submission. A bike built for a different era - the first generation ‘Hyper’ bike. “Racing is more than just brute horsepower” Kelly states when questioned about his bike. “It involves a certain mechanized soul that can’t be documented on a dyno. The bike - the rider, when they’re in sync, when they’re both running at optimal levels, that’s a thing of beauty. Give me a bike that has the slightest ability to win, and I’ll put it on the podium every time.” And so it is with his beloved GSXR-R. A proven dinosaur from the days of American GP dominance. It’s a bike with a history and a soul. And when ridden well, with the craftiness and cunning of a seasoned vet, it stands more than an outside chance of taking the checkers.
Rebecca has lived a charmed life. Born to aristocratic parents in the former West Germany she was introduced to motorsports at an early age. Her father, an accomplished but largely unknown automobile racer, provided world renowned driving coach’s for Rebecca in hopes of producing the worlds first female F1 driver. Rebecca had other ideas. Perhaps it was the speed induced endorphin rushes at an early age. Perhaps it was the rigid society rules. Whatever the reason, Rebecca turned wild. This inherent recklessness combined with a lust for speed led her into the world of motorcycles - much to her father’s dismay. Largely self taught, she excelled in amateur road racing events throughout Europe. Yet with all her talent, all her drive, she failed to gain entrance into the male dominated MotoGP. And then there were the drugs. She loved ‘speed’ in more ways than one. Her penchant for narcotics started like most, in her teen years. Rebecca was able to keep the addiction under some amount of control. Unfortunately a large trust fund, a rebellious attitude, and a chip on the shoulder rarely combine into good results. Such has been the case with Rebecca. Banned from organized competition for numerous infractions, she has found refuge in the seedy underbelly of outlaw street racing. Like many competitors in such events the actual purse amount is irrelevant to Rebecca. She rides solely for the thrill.
She was built for straight line speed. Not the effortless speed so common in modern Japanese machinery, but the kind of speed that would exact a horrific price. Fast like the Millenium Falcon. Fast like a Stuka dive bomber. World record velocity or a flaming steel carnage. She was an all or nothing machine and he liked it that way. Polarization, Lance thought, was the absolute law of the universe. God’s true and most singularly important law. Either on or off, is or is not - Newton would understand this even if no else did. Of course polarization is not a theory he would ever discuss with Aluré. She believed in very few things, God the least of all. She was mechanical in both profession and emotion. With a wrench in her hands, manicure obliterated by grease, she was perfection. Her mind and hands synchronized flawlessly - caressing the motorcycle to life. Without the wrench she became something quite different. A boutique humanoid inflatable - so devoid of personality or feeling that one could almost imagine an air nipple to be located in the small of her back. ‘She too was the epitome of polarization - on or off - singular perfection’, Lance reflected over a long drag from his hand rolled cigarette. No matter, these were thoughts for another day, right now there was jetting to adjust and clutch baskets to rebuild. She would fix it and he would ride it - that was the agreement. And God or no God - the green flag would drop - and Death or Glory would get a chance to live up to it’s name.