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2005 Seattle 100 Charity Ride

Thursday, September 1, 2005
David Alan Grier follows suit and hams it up upon exiting the Hummer limo.
David Alan Grier provided some comic relief and loaned his services as celebrity auctioneer for the Seattle 100. He also did some laps around the track.
The third annual Seattle 100 charity trackday was a smashing success, as more than 100 riders raised over $90,000 for the NephCure Foundation.

Whether you have kids or not, the prospect of having your child afflicted with a mystery kidney disease that could turn deadly is a nightmare you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. For Brian Orton of 2Fast Trackdays, it was a bitter reality. In December of 1999 his son Christian was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, but rather than curl up into a ball and feel sorry for himself and his kid he decided to make a difference.

Orton started the NephCure Foundation in the hopes of finding a cure for his son and the thousands of other kids who are afflicted with this disease. "I started the organization from the ground up in 2000 with another parent on the East Coast," explains the fast philanthropist. "Today, while I am still VP and remain on the board, I have passed the baton on to others to run the show... and more or less focus on fundraising alone, since my annual Seattle 100 has been the largest grossing public fundraiser for NephCure to date."

For three years, 2Fast Trackdays has hosted the increasingly popular Seattle 100 at Pacific Raceway just outside of Seattle, Wa. The premise of the event is for motorcycle riders to get pledges from sponsors and then go out to Pacific Raceway and ride their brains out in the name of squelching this disease from existence. In addition to all the fun associated with turning laps on your favorite motorcycle, the Seattle 100 also attracts a host of celebrities, primarily racers from the AMA Superbike series and a few entertainers from the movie and television industry who are sympathetic to NephCure's plight.

The special guests at the 2005 Seattle 100 included Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo, American Honda's Jake Zemke, Attack Kawasaki's Josh Hayes, two-time AMA 750 Supersport champion Jimmy Moore, Lion Racing's Jake Holden, and local legend Mike Sullivan. The racers were also joined by comedian David Alan Grier and Speed TV's ambassador to the sport of motorcycling, Greg White. And, of course, MotorcycleUSA was there.

MCUSA owner Don Becklin, graphics-guru and fabled test rider Brian Chamberlain, and myself were joined by test rider Mike Mitchell for a day of turning laps on an assortment of cool machines. Tim Saunders, principle of the AMA Corona Extra Suzuki racing team, was kind enough to supply us with the 1999 WERA 24-Hour Endurance Race winning Hayabusa which was an absolute hoot, and Kawasaki stepped up and provided a 2005 Kawasaki ZX-6RR which we will be providing a test of in the near future.

Yamaha s Jason DiSalvo leads Honda s Jake Zemke during the exhibition lap.
Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo and Honda's Jake Zemke had some fun ripping around Pacific Raceway on stock streetbikes during their exhibition ride.
The event was held under perfect, if not a bit too hot, conditions. To get an idea for how many laps each rider might have turned you need to look no further than the inside competition between the pros. Each rider emptied their wallet and pooled together about 300 bucks which would be donated, in addition to their other donations, in the name of the rider who turned the most laps on the day. It was a close one but Jake Zemke came away with 114 laps recorded on his transponder, followed closely by local hero Jimmy Moore with 112.

According to a 2Fast press release issued after the event the rider tally was around 100 in addition to the speical guests. That means that there are a lot of behid the scene contributors who, unfortunately, will not get mentioned in this article though they deserve to be.

"Motorcycle USA was extremely pleased to participate in the Seattle 100 and contribute to The Nephcure Foundation," said MCUSA's Don Becklin. "Brian Orton and Team 2Fast did an outstanding job raising money and showcasing the charitable nature of motorcycle enthusiasts at what is now a national event. As the Seattle 100 grows, Motorcycle USA looks forward to continuing our involvement with The Nephcure Foundation in the fight against kidney disease."

For the hundreds of riders in attendance, the underlying theme was to turn as many laps as humanly possible, without crashing. Well, all but about four riders held up their end of the deal and completed the afternoon in one piece. The good news for MCUSA riders is that we all made it back intact despite turning as many laps as we could stomach on the fire-breathing Project 24-Hour EBSCO Corona Extra Suzuki Hayabusa. It's not often anyone gets a chance to ride the same bikes the pros get to ride, so as you can imagine we were both scared and giddy with anticipation at the prospect of riding this bad-boy. Well, it didn't disappoint. Sure, it was big compared to the ZX-6RR, and it wasn't as smooth as Becklin's CBR1000R, but it was damn fun to ride.

"I was a little frightened when I first learned that I would be riding the Corona Hayabusa," explains MCUSA test rider Brian Chamberlain, "but once I was out on the track I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to ride. It was all worth it too, the event was very well organized, the weather was fantastic, and the track was very fun. Plus, a slew of factory riders were on hand and all were very friendly and personable. Most importantly, the event was to benefit a great cause. I will be back next year for sure."

To close out our 2005 Seattle 100 experience  President Becklin bid on and won this colorful MotoGP print.
David Alan Grier and event organizer Brian Orton, standing with son Christian, direct the bidding on this lovely MotoGP print purchased by MCUSA prez Don Becklin.
Right before the lunch break the participants were invited to watch the pros as they put on a demonstration of speed and skill that the majority of us normal humans will never be capable of reaching. The MCUSA crew took up position on the inside of the downhill Turn 3 along with about a hundred folks who knew this would be the hot spot. Sure enough, Zemke, DiSalvo, Holden and the crew were backing it in, sliding 100 feet with the bars at the locks and the rear tire hopping with their eyes bugging out of their heads and a big-ass grin on their faces.

We usually would never poke fun at anyone, but Two Wheel Tuesday host Greg White opted to not show off his sliding skills and instead chose to downshift into first gear and ride through the turns at 65,000 rpm on his poor little CBR600 - honking the horn. Oh Greggy-poo. you're lucky you're cute.

When it was all over and every bike was back in the paddock and being loaded into its respective truck or trailer, the 2Fast crew was organizing the final event of the day - the auction, to be followed by the riders BBQ dinner. 2Fast owner Brian Orton started things off with a heartfelt thank-you speech and an explanation of why this event is so important to him personally. He was joined on stage by his daughter and son Christian. who just happens to be the source of inspiration for the creation of the NephCure Foundation and the Seattle 100.

Brian explained how his life was turned upside down five years ago when he brought Christian to the hospital following a lingering illness only to be informed that his beloved child was afflicted with Nephrotic Syndrome. It was at this point that he started to get choked up and was unable to go on with the speech as he tried to hold back the tears while holding his kid's hand. About then I too could barely keep from shedding a tear as I thought about the possibility of one of my own kids being subjected to something like this. Once everyone got a handle on their emotions it was time for some much needed comic relief.

At that point Brian turned over speaking duties to current NephCure Foundation Executive Director, Henry Brehm. Brehm went on to explain in detail how NephCure works and how it has been instrumental for hundreds of families across the United States and how much our contributions are critical to the success of this foundation's effort.

Grier s DNA-infested Alpinestar Repsol-replica leathers were worth fighting for  apparently.
David Alan Grier and event organizer Brian Orton, standing with son Christian, direct the bidding on this lovely MotoGP print purchased by MCUSA prez Don Becklin.
Once Mr. Brehm was finished, comedian David Alan Grier stepped up, took control of the mic and assumed the role of auctioneer for the final event of the day - the auction. Prior to the auction the grand total of donations from the participants was $85K, already $15K more than was earned the previous year. The top individual fundraiser was Corey Rastetter who brought in more than $8000 in donations.

As you can imagine, Grier took the opportunity to put his true talents on full display as he went about improvising throughout the rest of the event, starting with the auction of his own Repsol-replica leathers, replete with gallons of his personal DNA embedded in the fabric, which ultimately went for an amazing 1500 bucks. MotorcycleUSA'scharitable owner Don Becklin also came out on top of the bidding war for a MotoGP print to cap off our contribution to the cause.

After a half hour of haggling with the attendees, Grier took the opportunity to poke a bit more fun at Greg White by proclaiming him 'Mr. First Gear' for his high-rpm exploits through Turn 3, much to the delight of the crowd. Being the good sport he is, White took it all in stride, although I thought we saw the comic being stuffed into the trunk of the SpeedTV rental car by Greg's camera-toting goons at the end of the day.

When all was said and done, $92,000 was raised for the NephCure Foundation by a small contingent of motorcyclists including 85 registered riders, MotorcycleUSA, the AMA pros and the 2Fast staff. All in all this was an amazing example of how things can be done right when you put your mind to it.

"I am extremely pleased with how this year's Renton Motorcycles Seattle 100 went," continues Mr. Orton. "We not only sold out the event, which was important from a fundraising standpoint, but we nearly hit our goal of $100,000, which we knew would be a stretch. What's even more exciting for me are our plans for next year's event: it will be bigger, better, and we expect even more celebs to hang out with us in 2006. I've got plans for 2006 that will make this year's event pale in comparison."

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