I was a motor cop with the California HIghway Patrol for almost 21 years. I started out on a Kawasaki KZ1000, then moved to the BMW R1100, R1150, and, finally, the big R1200. Being a motor cop is the best job in CHP as far as I’m concerned. I rode for more than 20 years without an accident, and I always tried to give riders a break. I’m one of them, after all.
I was a motorcyclist before I was a cop. There were no public trackdays back then, so you went racing if you wanted to go fast. I started racing with the AFM in 1985 on an ’84 Yamaha FJ1100. Then I got an ’86 FZ750 and began running at Willow Springs with the ARRA, in addition to the AFM stuff up north.
My current bike is a ’98 Yamaha YZF-R1. I bought the bike new in ’98, but I crashed at Laguna Seca and rashed the red-and-white bodywork. It was pretty beat up, so I turned it into a track bike and thought it would be cool to paint it to look like my CHP BMW. My captain was okay with it, so I had the bodywork and my helmet painted to match my work bike, and Helimot made leathers that looked just like my uniform.
Folks at the track thought it was great. By that time I was an instructor for AFM and working at the DP Safety School, and everyone thought it was so cool to go out there and dice with a cop. Everyone wanted a picture taken with me “chasing” them!
The bike’s been made even more unusual by some special autographs. I started collecting them in 2000, when I got Kenny Roberts Sr. to sign the right frame spar. Then I got Eddie Lawson’s and Wayne Rainey’s autographs. I’ve since gotten Kenny Roberts Jr., Nicky Hayden, and Kevin Schwantz on the right side of the bike. All I need is Freddie Spencer’s autograph, and I’ll have all seven American world champions. Once I have Freddie’s signature, I’ll be ready to retire the bike and park it in my living room!