India Bike Week that will be held on November 24 and November 25 will be hosting the legendary motorcyclist Freddie Spencer. Popularly and fondly called Fast Freddie, Spencer, an expert in racing has won many international accolades, some even exclusive to hold his prestige. He is the only racer in the world to have won the 250-cc and 500-cc world championships in the same year. He talks to NT BUZZ about racing, his life and his book ‘Feel My Story’
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
- Tell us what got you into bike racing.
I grew up in an environment where racing was in the family. My brother, my sister and my dad were always racing go-karts before I was born, which was in the late 1950s; and when I was born in the 1960s my brother and my dad started racing motorcycles locally in Texas. They would go to the races and I would go along. When I was four years old, on a Friday night I was on the track in Dallas, Texas they decided to let us little brothers go out and race four laps and that’s how I got started, that was my first experience bike racing.
- Describe the thrill of being in racing, yet knowing that should an accident occur, you could lose your life?
I believe one of the things that we are given is the characteristic of wanting to strive to achieve. For me riding a motorcycle is an instrument or a tool on my path to learning about life. I know the danger part of it is an aspect that we certainly have to deal with, and because of that risk we have to achieve a higher level of awareness and focus. It is just part of it (bike racing) and we have to deal with the danger.
- Tell us about your book ‘Feel My Story’.
My book ‘Feel My Story’ is about what I have learnt and what I have experienced in life through motorcycling, my racing career and it is a life time that I have shared through ‘Feel My Story’. It is a unique opportunity we’re given both spiritually and physically in this life, to have positive things that we have achieved through effort, determination and the gift of ability, but also when we suffer and experience things that aren’t so good, there are things that we have learnt and had to struggle and keep going. However, those are opportunities to grow, achieve and learn. I have shared all that through ‘Feel My Story’.
- You mentioned in your book that riding the bike gave you hope. Can you explain this please?
Yes, I talked about it in my book ‘Feel My Story’ that riding a motorcycle as a young boy gave me hope because I fell into a leaf fire and I dealt with the pain in my left hand and when I was five years old, I was riding in my yard and it was a way of therapy, and I think as I got older, riding a motorcycle gave me the opportunity to hone my skills. It opened my thoughts to believe that it was possible, what I could accomplish in a little town and help me see the world. With the seven skin grafts that I had because I burnt my hands, my parents were told that I would lose my hand by the time of 4-5 years. Motorcycle racing gave me relief from the pain and hope for all the things that I can do in life.
- How do you spend your time now after having retired from racing?
Motorcycling, there is one reason why I care so much about it, besides the skills I have been able to develop it has helped me see the world and to share all that I have learnt in life through motorcycling with others. That is what I enjoy doing, after I have retired racing in 1995, I was able to move from Louisiana to Las Vegas Nevada. I opened a Freddy Spence High Performance Riding School in 1997 and for the next 11 years, the motorcycle riding school that I have built gave me a chance to understand that I love to teach and to share with others what I have learnt through motorcycling and life. That is what I do today; I go around the world and do class events like the show this week in India.
- How happy are you to be invited at the India Bike Week and what’s it that you’re looking forward to?
I am looking forward to it; I have never been to India before. This is my first time, and it is such an incredible emerging market in motorcycling and it is an exciting opportunity to see not only a new part of the world but also to meet new people. I believe we have been given the opportunity in this life through our diversity and differences to share moments and opportunities to gain not only to learn new things but also enlighten. I am really looking forward to this trip to India to meet new people and to talk about motorcycling.
- Had you not been a racer, how different would your life be now?
I certainly think I will always be curious, to strive to learn, but again as I said in the world of motorcycling has given me a chance to share a moment with Soichiro Honda and with that first award, he gave me my dream and gave me the opportunity to give his dream. The very powerful and important part of my life is motorcycling. If I wasn’t racing, maybe I would have strived to become an engineer but a job where I can give something to others. I think that is a very deep part of my personality and is part of what I try to do, which is to share and help others in their path to what their life.
- India has a high accident rate, and most of the ones who die in such accidents are erring youngsters – drunken riding/driving, over speeding, using phones, etc. what would be your advice to them?
My advice to them is judgement. When I opened up the motorcycling school I not only give them the tools to go faster, but also to ride safer and have good judgement. In my opinion, riding a motorcycle is a privilege, it is an opportunity to expand and to live the gift of life to a higher level through what we sense and feel. Through that perspective and in my way of saying thank you for being given the opportunity I think it should deserve a higher level of appreciation. Therefore, that comes with a responsibility; to act and to use good judgement and I think we all as motorcycle racers have that responsibility.
- Most of the times, parents are against motorsport or bike racing. How did you overcome this obstacle and what’s your message to parents?
Yes, I grew up in a very conservative environment in Louisiana; I was and still am the only person in motorcycling in the Louisiana state, sports hall of fame. I grew up in an environment where motorcycling is not a well-known or a very high respected as a sport or way of life. I know how many people feel about and look at motorcycling. I feel that is unfortunate because I have been in the motorcycling world for over 50 years and the people we meet with through the opportunity of motorcycling and the diversity and open-mindedness and people of incredible character drive and determination is very unique. I try to share that so that people will change their opinion and to have a broader, open-minded manner to motorcycling and the people involved.