I read yesterday I read that the Ray Price Racing team is retiring... I was sad but not surprised. Immediately I thought back to the times I got to see Ray Price, his bike and the racing team.
I got in to motorcycling too late to actually see Ray at the throttle. But where the race or the bike, you could be sure to see Ray there, actively involved in all aspects of the race.
The first time was in 2005 at the AHDRA (now defunct) in Rockingham. I rode with the Raleigh HOG club and the race was quite an experience. I remember sitting on the concrete seats, listening to the deafening noise as the bikes took off and the stands shook. I never realized those bikes could produce so much noise and power. Amazing.
During events at the Capital City Bikefest, Ray and his crew would fire up the nitro bike. In downtown Raleigh you could feel the building shake for blocks around. Before firing up the bike, the crew would carefully inspect and prepare the bike. Ray was very focused on making sure everything was in place before having the bike fired up.
But when he wasn't occupied the the bike or racing, Ray would take the time to talk to you about anything you wanted. The race team, the bike, motorcycles, anything under the sun. He was never too busy to say hi. And he always had a smile.
Not sure if I'll go to another drag race, Ray Price was my big reason to go. If I do, I know it will be impossible to watch without thinking of Ray and his team...