Everything Happens for a Reason
by Tom Long #20B
“And they say everything happens for a reason" I tend to agree. As time passes, and life seemingly gets harder, it never ceases to amaze me how valuable my escape of VMX is. I often wonder if other guys get this much return. Doubtful. This winter I have found myself going into the shop at least four times a day! Can't believe looking at golf clubs is as Zen as a garage full of CZ's' Buls and Ossa's.
And the there is the support cast. The people who are equally or more so into VMX. The people who gladly share their enthusiasm. This takes me to my story of how I met two individuals who make VMX a great thing. That would be Jim Diebert and Bruce Rounsaville.
It started at a Honda parts counter; I hadn't found a bike yet. So on a whim I decided to stop on the way home and ask the parts guy if he knew of any old MX bikes. He was untypically friendly, and said that he had just sold his Falta bike to a guy named Bruce. He also said that I should try to get in touch with this other guy who he couldn't think of his name. But that he was a Snap-On guy, into CZ's in a major way. That sounded like it shouldn't be to hard to find him.
I had decided in early 2001 to get back on a MX bike after 25 years and was looking to find other sordid individuals who may be doing the same. Not being from the central NJ-PA area that I live in, I was on a quest to find a CZ and some fellow racers.
I managed to put a 380 CZ together and on the day before 911 got hurt trying to start the beast up, still hurts. A new baby at home, a broken ankle and the stark reality of 911. Can you say "it's the end of the world as you know it".
I was still driving into NYC to work and had decided it wasn't where I wanted to be. On a cold Feb. night after working a long day at Lincoln Center on a Met Opera radio broadcast, I drove out to Scranton, PA. for the AHRMA awards event.
In the meantime I had asked every Snap-On guy I saw if they knew any MX guys, No, even wrote to the regional office... Had been told more than a few times when chasing down CZ's that a guy named Bruce had already bought it. Over a year and still no luck. I arrived at the hotel to be greeted by the ambassador of VMX, Tim Rounsaville, who invited me to sit at a table with his brother and some friends. His brother, Bruce, received about every other award they were giving away. Seated next to me was a guy, who in the course of the evening asked me what kind of bike I had. I said CZ, he said me too.
That was Jim Diebert, and Bruce Rounsaville was the guy hours ahead of me scooping up every CZ in the area. I visited Jim's shop with a problematic CZ - motoplat. Worked 1 day and not the next... I pushed and kicked that sucker around with little progress. I needed help. Sure I could bolt a CZ together and even get it to run but throw in an iffy Motoplat and the tail chasing begins. Jim as it turned out lived 10 miles from me, had the most impressive collection of CZ's and parts. With Bridgeport in basement and parts from Suanders Cycle, even bench notes on porting and reeding CZ's. Remember the guy holding the light 250 CZ over his head, well that's not Jim ,but that guy dated Jims sister. Wow. I had found the CZ guru of the N.E.
We became friends and were to attend the 2004 Rausch Creek-Lackey MX School on a Friday. Instead Jim went to intensive care with low blood pressure from walking pneumonia. I went alone, took the school, first time on a real track with a 250 CZ jetted way lean. Bruce was there with jets and kindly transformed the CZ into the perfect 4-speed, reed 250 CZ. All of a sudden the force was with me. I was very much afraid, very sore but made it thru the day to race the following day.
Got Bad Brad to sign a shirt and book wishing Jim well, went to hospital, and frankly Jim didn't look so good. You should have seen him beaming upon receiving the swag. He gained emotional strength and has commented how it helped him think positively.
Bruce's help made the whiny CZ into a grunting wheelie machine. Lackey tried the bike and dubbed it " the sweetest 250 he had ever rode". That was the first MX race since 75, had a blast, overcame my fear of track, I was in. Four seasons latter still racing, have received various awards that seem comical for various reasons.
Knowing I wouldn't have gotten very far without the help and countless hours riding at Bruce’s track makes me very grateful. Jim has built just about every CZ motor racing in the N.E. Bruce has become a National Champion. Wow.
The point in life is to grow. Having VMX as a sidebar to everyday life beats anything I've seen. It's a portal, a obsession with a twist of self improvement and humility. It has helped me thru some trying times with the reward being going to another race with my friends.