Thread: Mike Follmer to retire
06-03-2011, 01:34 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Lake Havasu
Mike Follmer to retire
From the desk of Mike Follmer;
I have been involved in racing since I was young growing up in Arcadia, California and have been racing Personal Water Craft competitively in Offshore Endurance events for the past 20 years. At the age of 56, it has become evident to me that competing at the highest level in this sport will become even more difficult as the years progress, and therefore, I am announcing my retirement from all PWC Competition at end of my 2011 season August 6/7 Long Beach Marine Stadium will be my final race .
This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make, and I am very proud of the successes I have had. Not many people have an opportunity to spend 20 years of their life doing what they truly love to do while attaining the many individual accomplishments I have, and for that I can say that I have been blessed with a 20 year racing career far greater and more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
There are not many situations in life that can compare to the emotions, the competition and the preparation that go into a PWC Endurance race – it is a great, and competitive sport and I am extremely proud of the fact that I was able to compete and be a part of it for the past 20 years. I am going to miss it. I am going to miss the relationships I have built over the years with everyone involved in the sport. I am going to miss the fans. I am going to miss the great friends that I have made over this time, and all the good times we have had together. But most of all, I am going to miss the fierce competition.
After buying my first YAMAHA Wave Raider 701 from my friend Phil Pitman whose family owns Pitman Yamaha the importer in Australia I never would have dreamt that a trip, taken as a lark, to San Felipe, Mexico to enter an endurance race would have turned into the odyssey that ensued for the next 20 years. Having won numerous events and championships in both the IJSBA and APBA, I would not have been able to do so without a great deal of help along the way from my many sponsors and friends to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude and thanks. People like Greg Hogan of Beach Yamaha and Greg Beaver of Circuit Jet Sports who have been with me and behind me since the very beginning providing their expertise and resources and support freely all along the way. And to YAMAHA Motor Corporation USA with whom I have been a factory sponsored rider for 17 of my 20 years in the sport, I can’t begin to express my thanks for their support and for affording me the opportunity to test and develop their products and promote their brand and for their part in helping me to win races and championships while making YAMAHA a recognized leader in endurance racing. Being included in the YAMAHA family has truly been the opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t thank them enough for sharing with me. My Mom and Dad for all there love and support though out my entire career.
I am also honored and humbled to have made good friends out of sponsors like Bill Chapin and Glenn Dickinson of R&D Racing Products who have provided parts and guidance over the entire course of my career that has been invaluable to all of my successes. It is with great gratitude that I look back over the past 20 years and this association with Glenn and Bill as it has been one of the highlights of my career and a collection of memories that will last through eternity.
I have been privileged through my activism in the sport to have been instrumental in the resurgence of the Long Beach To Catalina and Back race that has been so popular over the years, and to start the Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300 6 hour endurance race and in tribute to my good friend Mark Hahn who was taken from the sport way too early. As a board member of the APBA and of the Southern California Speedboat Club I would like to thank my colleagues in both of these fine organizations for their support, friendship and exemplars of what it is to serve faithfully and with humility. I have grown immensely from all of their examples and guidance.
I have raced and met so many people through the sport and all of them have left an indelible mark in my memory. Too many to thank individually, so I will thank them all for all they have shared so generously with me.
And lastly, I would like to leave you with this thought. There is only ever one of each of us – we are unique. We are neither better nor less than anybody else but rather the best or least of ourselves. I am constantly working at finding the best of me. It is an exciting and on-going journey. Thank you all for being my traveling companions along a large and important part of my way. I am forever grateful for your stimulating company and the enormous collection of shared experiences indelibly printed on my mind.
God Bless and Thank you
Mike Follmer Specialties
17150 Newhope Street
Fountain Valley, Ca 92708
06-03-2011, 03:02 PM #2
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