She’s got all the subtlety of a sawed-off shotgun.
Yeah, nothing says American badass like a Pro Twins bike.
Ya gotta be a fast hombre to make ‘The Main’ at a National.
It means you’re one of the elite sixteen.
The moments before ‘The Main’ always humble him.
Bright lights, TV cameras, and packed grandstands will do that.
He says he feels numb before the start,
that he is just cruising on autopilot until the ten-second board goes up.
James Monaco had dreamt of this moment since he was a kid,
now he is lining up with the best flat track racers in the world,
some of whose posters, like Bugs Pearson & Jake Johnson,
still grace his bedroom walls.

James Monaco down to it. [Tom Stein]
Heading out onto the warm-up lap,
he feels the electricity surging through his veins.
James is back on the third row but fortunate to be gridded on the groove.
He does slow pulls on the throttle before the start,
thinking back to those people who said he couldn’t.
Of all the long nights on lonely highways traveling,
the sacrifice and suffering for his dream,
the girlfriends who got tired of waiting.
A calm aggression comes over him as he watches the flagman.
The lights go green and all hell breaks loose.
The sound and fury,
the pack of the sixteen motorcycles charges toward the first corner.
Some of those not lucky to be on the groove,
spin up and slide down the banking,
they’re just on for the smoke show.
Through the dust and madness,
James surges forward and latches onto Bronson’s rear wheel.
He is off to a great start.
The roaring engine set the rhythm in this dance that is ‘The Main’.
James tells me ‘you gotta go slow to go fast here.’
How ‘you gotta chase it to find it.’
That sometimes ‘the biggest thing you can change is how you ride her.’

“The biggest thing you can change is how you ride her.” [James Monaco]
There is little money or glamour in the life of a privateer racer.
At home, he has no internet or television – just a coffee pot.
After being a rockstar cowboy on Saturday night, on Monday mornings
he is just a guy changing swimming pool filters
or helping out at the farm.

James Monaco with his extensive, factory-supplied development team, flown in every weekend in helicopters: one of the many lavish bonuses thrown at flat track racers. [James Monaco]
James is on his knees changing gearing,
as if praying to the gods of speed.
It’s after qualifying and as he works,
he tells me that he didn’t want to bump down to singles class,
how he dreamt his whole life to race the premier twins class.
Realizing there are only so many factory seats and motorcycle industry sponsorships,
he reached out of the box to find sponsorship help from the agricultural
industry, to a company named ‘Pure Crop’.
Which makes a natural plant-based biostimulant, insecticide and fungicide made
of food grade oil with zero OSHA rating, that is safe for children and pets.
James is a fourth generation almond farmer aware of what Pure Crop does.
I give James credit for chasing down a unique sponsor
to keep his dream alive. James knows he might not ever get rich racing but
he’s living a life others only dream of.

James Monaco is chasing his dreams. [James Monaco]


Michael Lawless [@electric_horseman], our ‘Poet of Packed Earth’, is the Flat Track Editor for, and has his own blog: Electric Horseman
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