On a night when the legends helped celebrate 40 years of Supercross, and the evergreen Chad Reed added to his own legendary status with a win, the stuff of future legends played out in the pits even before the races started.
Thanks to the kindness of a neighbor, a sick little boy and his family enjoyed a day at the second round of Anaheim Supercross as the special guests of the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Ricky Carmichael, Carey Hart and the entire RCH Racing team.
Three-year-old Valentino “Valen” Ricciotti from nearby Dana Point, CA suffers from OMS, a rare auto-immune disorder that makes it tough for him to enjoy life. RCH Racing Soaring Eagle was able to put a smile on little Valen’s face … and introduce some new words into his vocabulary.
Knowing that Valen loves motorcycles, neighbor Kyle Gryzanoski reached out to Shiela Howe from Sycuan Casino which resulted in Valen becoming an official member of the RCH Racing Soaring Eagle team at the Anaheim 2 Supercross.
As a fully fledged team member, he received a personalized VALEN Fox/RCH racing jersey, an RCH team helmet, his name in lights on the scoreboard and a chance to walk the track. Of course, no factory ride is complete without a bike. Strider stepped up with a pair of “works” RCH Striders for Valen and his big sister.
But perhaps the greatest part of being on the team was a chance to get some tips from Ricky Carmichael and Carey Hart. He isn’t saying what secrets the RCH Racing superstars passed along, but little Valen was beaming … and so were the big guys. “Thanks for the chance to hang out with Valen,” said team principal, Carey Hart afterward. “Such an awesome little kid. He and his family are great people. Positive thoughts for you lil’ man!”
“Thank you so much,” added Valen’s mom Shandi in a post-race tweet. “You have no idea how awesome our day was … Valen fell asleep hugging his helmet tight … Great to have a day where Valen never stopped smiling!”
Little Valen doesn’t talk much, but after his day as an honorary RCH Racing team member, he has added, “Vroom, vroom” and “Ricky” to his repertoire.
OMS is a rare childhood disease where the immune system tries to battle a neuroblastoma (cancer) and instead attacks the brain. Left untreated, OMS will cause a life of agony for the child. The organization was founded on the principles of raising awareness of OMS and helping those researchers looking for a cure.
Unlike the well-known diseases that afflict thousands of people, OMS has difficulty getting attention in the research circles and research funding is extremely limited. The OMSLife Foundation’s mission is to ensure that research is done on this terrible disease. Get more details at: http://omslifefoundation.org.
In a case of good karma, Valen’s RCH teammate Josh Hill went on to win his heat race that night. Thanks to Fox, Sycuan, Strider, Feld Entertainment and Valen’s neighbor, Kyle Gryzanoski, for making this day the stuff of future legends!