Ted Edwards Reveals the “Secret Sauce” to Road Dirt’s Uniqueness
I’ve noticed lately that the crew at Road Dirt is different. Not different because of who we know, the bikes we ride or the adventures we take. Different because at Road Dirt, we are all about relationships. Evidence of this is everywhere as we cross the country building relationships with motorcycling’s core.
The proof starts at the top with Road Dirt’s founder, editor, chief cook and bottle washer Rob Brooks. Rob loves people. As an example, Rob’s relationship with 3-time world champion and MotoAmerica president Wayne Rainey over the years shows genuine caring for the person behind the legend. You can see it in their many conversations. Which is why, despite Wayne’s busy schedule, he always makes time for Rob. Listen to Wayne and Rob’s discussions and it sounds like two good friends talking bikes and racing- which is exactly what it is. If you want to read about Wayne’s list of accomplishments, you can find those anywhere. But if you want to vicariously sit and spend time with the legend, you’re in the right place.
Phil Gauthier keeps the media tech working here and has written about the ride most of us unfortunately experience at some point: things are planned, then things go wrong. No high dollar rides, no remote locations, no fantasy trips that none of us can relate to. Just candid writing and riding about three months of planning for a ride that went wrong from the start. Yeah, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? I really appreciate Phil’s honesty, humility and helpfulness. The perfect associate editor- he works to help make all of us better.
Then there’s Road Dirt’s hotshot racer and photographer Ryan Nolan. It is debatable whether Ryan is a more accomplished road racer or photographer because he excels at both. MotoAmerica racer Jake Gagne joyfully made time for Ryan this year, chatting with him at the Road America and Lagua Seca race weekends. Listening to these two fast guys talking the racing language, you can sense the camaraderie. You can read Jake Gagne’s race resume anywhere, but his genuine kindness and sincerity are on display when he opens up to Ryan.
There’s Dean Phelps, photographer extraordinaire of all things racing, both road and dirt. Dean particularly loves flat track racing, loves to get up close and personal with the riders and their thundering machines. Because he has literally decades of experience around dirt track and road racing paddocks (he’s even worked as a crew member on race teams), he is known, trusted and welcomed in the private circles of the racing world, a place few of us are ever given access to.
There’s also Mike Boyd, photographer, drone wizard, and decorated Vietnam combat veteran. Mike flew Huey helicopters in ‘Nam, was shot while dropping in to rescue soldiers in a hot LZ, and is an unquestioned patriot. Mike maintains the coolest fleet of AMF/Aermacchi era Harley-Davidson Sprints, as well as half a dozen other motorbikes, and loves capturing bikes and rides through the camera lens, whether at ground level or 100 ft. In the sky. He may be a shade under 5’7” or so, but he’s 10 feet tall to us.
Then there’s me. I have no idea why they keep me around. I get recklessly caffeinated on our sponsor’s coffee (yes, this is my shameless plug for Phoenix Roasters), camp off my motorcycle for weeks at a time (ignoring my editor’s frequent text messages) and roam the west spreading the word about Road Dirt like a modern day Johnny Appleseed. And yes, there are some acts of immaturity that would have been prevented with proper adult supervision.
So given that, and in front of both of my readers, I hereby take full responsibility for the acts of shifter cart hooliganism after Sunday’s race concluded at Laguna Seca. If you were there, you know what I mean. I just didn’t stop to think that I was visible to the whole track. In my defense, I cannot be blamed for the magic duo of fresh asphalt and the power-to-weight ratio of a shifter kart. And again, I was left unsupervised.
The bonds I have made with the staff at Laguna Seca, World Superbike and the Colorado 500 could not be built with phone calls, e-mails or over social media. But that’s how it is with all of us at Road Dirt- it’s got to be personal.
The joy in the face-to-face conversations between Ryan Nolan and MotoAmerica rider Jake Gagne are honest. And legend Wayne Rainey always seems to give Rob Brooks just a little more time and conversation than some others. We are all about relationships.
So check in often, leave comments and say hello, because of all the special things we get to do, the bikes we test and great people we get to spend time with, the most important relationship is the one with you.