There are those definable moments in life when you get that boost…just when you need it.
When someone encourages you at just the right time, when a deal comes through at the last minute or when someone believes in what you are doing, even though they may not even know you. Those moments seem to get etched in our minds, never to be erased, but retrieved multiple times throughout life, as part of a story that is told over and over again to anyone who will listen.
SCORE is the organization that puts on the Baja 1000 and they are not a small-time operation. They have been putting on the Baja 1000 race for almost 50 years now. They promote many others as well, but this one is the Granddaddy.
A movie came out in 1971 called “On Any Sunday”. I was 10 when that movie made it to the movie screen and my 28 year old brother Eric (Yup, I was NOT on the agenda) had begun racing motorcycles, an interest my 14 year older brother Mark had, before going to Vietnam. Mark’s death was still fresh after only three years, but I had the 2 wheel bug, just as Eric and Mark did. My dad and I didn’t do a whole lot together at that point in time, but he did take me to see On Any Sunday at the drive-in theatre. Now that was something special! And motorcycle fans know of the cult film I am talking about. It is beyond a classic.
…this one is the Granddaddy.
I still remember watching it like it was yesterday and I still remember the portion of the film that shot parts of the Baja 1000, only 3 years after the first official race was held. I was in awe of what it looked like and could never have believed that 46 years later, I would have raced in 7 of them and was now soloing one in my brother’s name. God knows what He is doing.
As this idea of creating The Mark Hodel Veteran’s Foundation and soloing the anticipated 1,300 mile course started to take some shape, I reached out to Jim Ryan at SCORE and let him know what I was doing. Let’s just say they get a LOT of requests similar to this and who was John Hodel anyway? He provided me a nice reply here and there, but I could hardly blame him for not giving me the attention I wanted. I would have done the same thing.
Then a couple of young men in their twenties shot the amazing video you see on the website today. Top Down Films provided me something that I was hoping would separate me from the crowd, and when it was edited, I sent it to Jim. I received an email back the next day. I think his words were, “Hey, you’re legitimate”. He still didn’t know me, but he took a chance and in a few weeks, Larry Saavedra called me for an interview.
In the July edition of the SCORE Journal, I was amazed that not only did they do a story, but it was 8 pages of pictures, video and an amazing summary of what this was all about. The SCORE Journal receives approximately 1.8 million unique views each month with an average read time of 31 minutes. SCORE was putting their reputation on the line for a guy they really didn’t know. That was a definable moment for me…and always will be.
You can read the featured article here. You can also view another article on their site regarding the feature here. And if you think SCORE is not a big deal, USA Today had their voters vote, and for the second year in a row, the Baja 1000 was voted as the best motorsports race in the world!
The three brothers will be together again, doing what they love.
Isn’t life crazy? Oh, and that older brother of mine?
Not only was he an amazingly good motocross and cross country racer for two decades, but he’ll be my Baja 1000 chase truck driver in the southern end of Baja. The three brothers will be together again, doing what they love.
Many decades have passed since the picture below was taken (Yup, I’m the ugly baby), but that’s the way life works…creating good through heartache, a movie, two wheels, the love of family and the hand of God directing it all. And even though Eric and I are the only ones left…it still feels like a family event.
I hope you like the article and hope you will pass this on to your friends and family. I hope you will find it in your hearts to donate at standforvets.org/donate and help those who desperately need help, who served their country as Mark did. It’s just too good of a story to waste and I don’t want this definable moment to pass with a whimper.
See you at the finish line!