The Greatest Gift

Any Parent can give a Child is their Time

 

 

____________ * ____________

 

The In-print of the Parents

Remains forever on the

Heart of the Child

 

As a Parent may your will be

Committed to train your Children

And may your Example be Clear

To Guide Them

 

____________ * ____________

 
                            

        My Parents   In 1942

        Bob & Olive Burgess

 

 

I was about 9 years old when my father, who had been a very dedicated work-orientated person, decided he needed to spend more time with my sister, mother & I as a family. We were at Emerson Park in Auburn when we first saw microds racing, It was then when my father first began to realize microding might be the family activity he was looking for. The brightly painted race cars whizzing around that small dirt oval track excited me. I began to dream about what it would be like to drive one. Many things had to happen for my sister & I, before we got the opportunity to race microds. At that time we lived in Lewiston N.Y., about two hours away from the closest microd club {Williamson} but that club raced on Thursday nights back in 1966. To long of a drive after a night of racing, then to have to turn around & get up at 5 am to go to work the next morning.  So my parents selected the Auburn Microd Club because they raced on Sundays, they also raced on Tuesday nights, we would miss those races. For the same work related reasons that made racing at Williamson impractical. This of course meant my sister & I would finish last & second to last in season points. This was of little concern to my father, his main focus was on  finding an activity we all could be involved in as a family. Another advantage to racing in Auburn, was my aunt & uncle on my mother’s side lived in Auburn and graciously allowed us to stay at their home every week there was a race, which was almost every week during the summer. The time finally came when our parents made the decision to purchase a microd. Sharon & I would have to take turns racing it, her one week, me the next, but at least I would get to drive a real race car I thought. My father saw a microd for sale in the Auburn pennysaver. When we went to look at it, it was not  what my father considered a good buy. I was disappointed when he would not buy it, by this time I was very excited about getting the chance to race microds. Several weeks later my father found the microd he considered a good buy, purchased it, & we began racing. Our car #240A was brightly painted yellow & blue with  Sunoco decals on the sides. The #240 stood for a blend of Sunoco gas, available at the time. The A after the number meant {the Auburn Microd Club} because that was where it had been raced previously. It looked sharp & my father often referred to it as the “Golden Rod”, because the yellow paint had a golden tone to it. It should be noted that Auburn was about a 4½ hour drive {one way} from our home in Lewiston.  Our parents faithfully made this trip every week for 4 microd seasons {1966-1969}.  Until in the early summer of 1970, when the news came, my father was laid-off from work. At this point, my parents could no longer afford to continue having Sharon & I race. Two years and a few months later, in Sept. of 1972 our family moved from Lewiston to Moravia about ½ hour from the Cortland Microd Track in Homer.  I raced a final season in 1973, then Sharon raced her final season the next year in 1974. My father continued to be involved with microding by attending NYSMA meetings & helping out any way he could, even after Sharon & I were no longer racing.  Whenever I wasn’t away at collage, I would attend with him. In 1976 he served as NYSMA president, after serving as vice president in 1975. Later during the 1989 & 1990 seasons, I too served as NYSMA president, while serving on the NYSMA board of directors from 1985-1993. After the construction of Little Wheels Speedways in 1988, my mother began running the tracks concession stand in 1989. She has managed & worked in our stand named “Mrs. B’s Backstretch Cafe” after her, for 11 Seasons (1989 - 1999). She Retired following the 1999 season and went to be with the lord in January 2007.

 

               

     Father & I in 1973                Sheri & Father in 1974

 

 

What I Remember Most.........

It’s been 25 years since my father’s passing, yet I can still recall those lessons he taught me, through the sport of microd racing. First and most important to him was, when you go out there to race, always do your best. Never approach anything half-hearted, always give it all you’ve got! He wasn’t concerned about finishing first or winning, just that you were trying as best you could. “You’re never be a loser if you give it your best” he used to say. He also taught us to always be willing to help others, even a competitor, because “Success doesn’t mean much if you can’t share it with others.”  Another strong memory I have is how he & I used to talk about, how to adjust the car {air pressure, carb. settings, etc.} allot of the time he would allow me to make the decision. The thing I remember most about that experience was, he cared what I thought, he wanted me involved. I was surprised to learn later, most of my friends dads made their changes without ever consulting their drivers! Most of all I remember the time we spent working together, as a team, working towards the same goal. He wanted me to understand how things worked, the cause & effect relationship of things. He wanted me to learn. He was always showing me things, then we’d discuss it, that way he made sure I understood. I feel really fortunate to have gotten to know my father as a person, not just as a authority figure or someone that paid the bills & inforced the rules.

 

Reflections.......

Now some 40 years later, I think the thing that stands out most, about  my parents was their willingness to make such a large commitment of time to my sister & I, to be together as a family. There aren’t  many parents that would drive 4 1/2 hrs., stay over-night, race the next day, then drive 4 1/2 hrs. home after the races. No question Sharon & I were very lucky to have two such dedicated parents, but also to have had an aunt & uncle that would allow us to stay with them, after their kids were grown up & gone, also holds special memory’s for both of us.

 

For my father microding was always about spending time with his family, and teaching Sharon & I all he could about life, getting us ready for the day we’d be on our own.  Oh! and YES having some fun too! I do think a point to often overlooked is “you don’t have to be winning all the time to have fun”. My father seldom spoke or talked about winning. Although as a young child, I admit I often times would dream about winning our club’s championship & “the big one” {the State Fair Race}.  He did at times mention, that microding as a whole would be better, if it had a “box stock class”. Where modified motors were not a factor, this would reduce the overall cost of racing for most, In turn making the opportunity to race microds available to more families. A class for the average “Joe” he called it. This idea lead to the stock 3hp & stock 6hp classes in the 70’s, and later in the 80’s “club motors” today used by 3 of the current 6 microd clubs!

 

Perhaps because of my parents example & willingness to be so committed to us, I found it so comfortable to become committed to the sport that taught me so much & gave me such great joy. Today so many of the goals I’ve set & achieved came from ideas my father first discussed with me as a young boy. I have found great comfort in his words, “To always be willing to help others” because it’s by helping others that we bring both meaning & joy to our own lives!

 

                                Sincerely,   A.J. Burgess

                                       Founder & President of

                                       The Finger Lake Microd Club

                                      (1983 – Present)

 

 

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