John Hensley’s ‘Chronicles of a Club Racer III’

December 13, 2012
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

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John Hensley gets back on the bike at Fontana, but is distracted. The demands of life are many and varied, and sometimes keeping your head straight takes a little encouragement from the sidelines. See Hensley in action in “Chronicles of a Club Racer Episode 3: Friends, Fontana and a little thing called Fear.”

Imagine daylight breaking over the horizon of the grandstand, crisp air intensifying the nervous excitement already coursing like an electric current through your body – a charge brought on by the knowledge that in a few short hours, the race will be on. John Hensley revels in the prospect, promise and potential of the “morning before,” as he coins it in “CCRacer Episode 3: Friends, Fontana and a little thing called Fear;” that time during pre-practice prep when the whole world, seemingly, lies within an arm’s reach. Times like these make up the cosmos of the track, broadening that unique camaraderie felt with others in your paddock, your competitors, with the facility itself, with nature with life and with risk.

Hensley’s journey thus far has been marked by inward reflection and metaphysical searching. In Episode 1 Hensley made the difficult decision to try to recover a lost aspect of self, one that had been overwhelmed by the myriad demands of life off the bike. By returning to the racetrack, Hensley found some of the “joy without motive” that had eluded him for so long. In Episode 2, Hensley took a step outside himself to consider the artistry inherent in racing. To do so, he spoke to some of the top riders on track during a dual AMA Pro Racing/World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park: Carlos Checa, Jonathan Rea, Jake Zemke and Chaz Davies. Witnessing these riders on track confirmed what Hensley believed to be true; these men, while piloting a race bike on track were tantamount to artists and their works were fleeting, sensuous examples of perfected movement bordering on madness.

CCRacer Episode 3.

In Episode 3 Hensley returns to the track himself at Fontana, but is distracted. Spending the time necessary to achieve success on track invariably means losing time in other areas, and worry doesn’t often translate to positive results on the leaderboard. Episode 3 delves into the mental aspect of racing as Hensley struggles to find his pace and demonstrates that a lapse in focus can yield a genuinely spine-tingling confrontation with fear. He’s ultimately rewarded for his fortitude but not with a podium finish, finding that sometimes the time spent after the race, cooking steaks on a travel grill outside the trailer, is as gratifying as a first-place finish.

As part of his club racing journey, Hensley has put together a website that has pictures, a blog and links to Twitter and Facebook so you can stay connected to his progress. also accepts your stories about anything to do with two-wheels and may even post as a guest blog entry. Hit up the site to see “CCRacer Episode 3: Friends, Fontana and a little thing called Fear,” in crystal-clear high definition for the ultimate club-racing experience.