Ben Spies, the 3-time AMA Superbike Champion, WSBK rookie sensation (and 2009 Champion), is now entering the fray of the vaunted realm of MotoGP. It’s been a long, arduous journey and through it all, his mother Mary Spies has been there.
Mary doesn’t know how her son’s fascination and obsession with motorcycles began. There were no tactile, practical two-wheel influences around him when, at age three, he became hooked. Little Ben had to wait a few more years before he got on a 50cc. A little less than a year after that he entered his first race. At the end of that inaugural competition (even though he didn’t win), Ben knew this is what he wanted to do. It’s been one hell of a ride since then.
Despite the enormous celebrity Spies now enjoys as one of only a handful of international premiere MotoGP class riders, the years of struggle and sacrifice getting to this point are still very fresh in her mind. The early years, as Mary worked to keep her son’s racing dream alive, were tough. She recalls the great financial burden inherent with racing. "There were many times I wondered if I can afford to keep this going… I worried night and day about it," said Mary.
She is quick to point out that the long years of struggle are what have given Ben his determination to always give 110% of himself whenever he throws a leg over a motorcycle. This is why, whenever Mary reads in the press any insinuation that her son-or any of the racers that make up the grid-doesn’t appreciate what he has, she gets understandably frustrated and is quick to defend, offering, "All of them had to give-up a lot."
With regard to dealing with the world press Mary says that since the second race in Australia at the start of the 2009 WSBK season, it’s been non-stop, adding, "They won’t let go of him (Ben)." When asked how Europeans tend to respond to her personage as a Texan she says, "They still expect me to show up in my cowgirl boots and 10-gallon hat."
Of course dealing with the press is a two-edge sword. One question that surfaces time and again is if she is in fact Ben’s manager. To which she responds, "I’m Ben’s right hand man for all his personal things. I’m his personal assistant." After a moment she adds, "I’m definitely Ben’s mom."
Stay posted here at Ultimate MotorCycling for more conversations with Mary Spies.