For those of you that don't know me, my name is Dave, aka "Hoopty".
I had the pleasure of racing with Gene for 3 years, the last 2 years on the same team.
When I first met him we were at Pueblo for the first race of the 2004 season.
I had noticed that he and I were running about the same lap times in practice.
I approached him and asked if we could follow each other around in the next session to try and pick up some speed.
He blushed a little and replied "I'm not that fast."
I laughed it off thinking to myself, well at least he's not stuck up.
We chatted a few more times before the first novice race on Sunday. Race time came and off we were.
I was in second place and on the guy's butt in front of me.
I had visions of my first race win and I knew I would be around this guy within the next few turns.
I was being patient though, I didn't want to screw up and lose it all.
Well what do you know, Gene comes by me on the brakes into turn 9.
As we exit the corner, Gene promptly gave me the one finger salute, that's right, he gave me the bird.
I laughed so hard, it was on!!! Well we both got around that guy and Gene ended up winning with me in 2nd place.
I couldn't have lost to a better guy.
From that time on Gene and I made it our goals to beat each other, and to make each other better.
It was hilarious, every track we went to, Gene could tell me my best lap time there, as well as his.
If I ran a better lap time, he had a bad weekend, if he was faster he had a great weekend.
Gene was someone that was always willing to give a helping hand. Most of the time you didn't even need to ask, he would already have offered if he saw someone in need. He would even put his bike on the line. During the second race weekend this year he let our teammate Joe ride his bike in a few classes. My bike was giving me problems and he told me to get out there and ride his too. Whenever anyone needed some help working on their bike, he would offer up his garage and time. I'll never forget when he came down to my place for dinner and motor. It was right before the season started he stayed up with me well past midnight helping me put a new motor in my bike, on a week night no less. Ashli had cooked up some spaghetti and he practically licked his plate clean. It was like he hadn't eaten all week. We played on the same hockey team too, and what do you know; Gene was there at 6AM on a weekday helping us new guys out with our lack of hockey skills.
I could go on all day about good times we had, and the numerous occasions he'd make me laugh. I'll never forget that goofy grin of his. Gene was always good for a laugh, that's for sure.
Gene, I want to thank you for being my friend, and for being there for me when I needed you. I also want to thank his parents, Anatoly and Tamara, for bringing such a great kid into this world. You truly could not have raised a better son. Gene, I love you man, you will be greatly missed by all of your friends and family.