Lieback’s Lounge: Scary Dream of Crashing at Valencia Proves Positive

2018 Ducati Panigale V4 for sale

I’m at full lean, heading through turn 13 at Jerez—that long left sweeper where the knee plants at triple-digit speeds. I hear the rider behind me, likely one piloting a Yamaha YZR-M1 due to unmistakable and magical sounds from that masterpiece of an engine.

The rider taps me on the inside of turn 14, the final left-handed corner of the circuit that is super tight and where races are won.

I don’t make it and slide off the right side of the track. The bike goes first, then me, but I don’t slide into the grass. Instead, I see my motorcycle disappear over the horizon, and I follow. Now I’m falling quickly through the sky, feeling like I was just tossed off a 747 at 35,000 feet somewhere over the Atlantic.

Lieback’s Lounge: Scary Dream of Crashing at Valencia Proves Positive
Riding the Panigale V4 S at Valencia during the press launch. This is where the original crashing dream likely began…

I fall and fall, then suddenly my leather’s speed hump extracts a parachute, and I’m floating across the sky and towards the ocean.

Then I awaken.

I’ve had this same dream about four times already, always awakening before landing in the ocean. Maybe I read too much Gabriel Márquez over the years? Regardless, I have no clue what these dreams mean if they say anything at all.

Regardless of meaning, the image popped into my head recently while riding with some friends on PA 87, the amazing stretch between PA 154 and U.S. Route 220. I rode my Ducati Multistrada 1200 there to help lead some rides at a Kawasaki ZRX1100 rally. The ZRX, built from 1997 through 2001, is the ultimate cult motorcycle and attracts a genuinely unique crowd.

The ZRX features that 1980s muscular naked styling—the kind of styling that Chuck Norris would approve. And, of course, the ZRX is Eddie Lawson approved.

Like most motorcycle-specific events, though, a rider’s taste changes throughout the years. The same group is present—some arriving from as far as Wisconsin—but many of the bikes were no longer ZRXs, though 90 percent Kawasaki. That tells you what a niche bike can do to support a brand, and that’s wise marketing if you ask me!

ZRX Rally Leading with Multistrada
The crew up north at a recent ZRX rally – Jay, Isaac and Author

This year only a few ZRXs were present, including my friend Isaac’s. He’s one of just two local friends that I trust to “truly” ride with on the streets. The other is Jay, who was also present at the rally with his new toy hauler and KTM 990 SM T.

Back to the dream. For some reason, the image of me sliding off that fictitious cliff at Valencia pops into my mind often, especially while riding a spirited pace.

This happened on a stupidly long right-hand sweeper. Fully focused and looking through the corner, the image from that dream surfaced and caused me to back off a bit. A second later, a rock about the size of a prescription drug bottle appeared. I was able just to miss it with my front, though my back hit it, and traction control performed its duty.

A few mph faster, and I’d be joining the Hunter S. Thompson “sausage creature” gang. It could have ended up badly, especially since a few cars were passing by in the opposing lane.

I’ve never debated the power of dreams. They’ve helped launch some of my coolest motorcycle journeys and business adventures, but I’ve always tried to forget about the scary ones, such as riding off a cliff while crashing at Valencia.

After that incident up north, though, my perspective has changed. Sometimes those scary dreams can produce positive results, such as me arriving home to see my son and wife in one piece.

Now, if I can only figure out how to make that dream of owning a Ducati V4R a reality…