My Manifesto: the racecar is the reward.

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The racecar is not my office. The racecar is my reward.

I’d hate to ever be a representative of the posturing “look at how cool I am” type.

Doing this means so much more than that to me.

Every opportunity I’ve had in the sport would have been impossible without persistence, self-belief, sacrifice, and an incredible group of people who have supported me over the years.

 

The Touchette Group is based out of Montreal, they distribute vehicle tires around Canada, and they’re the primary reason I still have this opportunity today.

I’m extremely humbled to be able to chase what I’ve dreamed of as a child.

I’m in a fantastic environment where I get to pass along information I’ve learned from my years in the sport to those who are looking to improve.

I’m happy I’ve not gone “practical”.

I gave up my regular job with the desire to work and learn what it takes to be at the top of the sport, wherever that may be.

 

Motorsports is a cruel mistress that crushes people every year.

Pursuing a career in the sport is not something I take for granted.

It’s also not something that I believe can be done well half-hearted.

I’ve been on the side where I’ve been crushed.

I’ve been, justifiably, not good enough.

I’ve been half-hearted for the sake of practicality.

But my practical side has also taken a beating.

What is the joy there?

What is the sacrifice of time and energy worth?

With that realization, I’ve come full circle and recommitted myself 100% to my lifelong passion.

What else would I rather be doing with my time for the next 20 or 30 years?

What if my best years in sport are at 30+ years of age?

Although I may not have made it into the “big leagues” at a young age (I'm 24), I believe my persistence and experience can be valuable.

 

I feel much more prepared than an 18-year-old flying by the seat of his pants trying to prove to everyone he can win, regardless of equipment or circumstances.

I’ve been in well over my head.

I’ve always raised my own funding to compete.

I’ve been forced to sit out races, take unnecessary risks, or worse – not been able to afford the risks attached to the dream I was chasing.

In dire straits, I’ve had unforeseen incidents that severely impacted my parents’ mortgage, knowing with all their good intentions, their struggles hinged on my passion.

 

I’ve sat myself down at 20 years-old and watched a half-million dollars of effort evaporate because of one reason or another.

I’ve had to sit down and tell people I didn’t do enough or didn’t have enough to keep going.

You work, and work, and work – and then it’s all gone – and you still have nothing.

But, it’s exactly the experience I needed.

It’s helped me grow as a person, and at this point, worth infinitely more than having it ever come easy.

 

 

I love the pressure.

I love the 9300+ people voting me into Race of Champions to compete against the best.

I love the fact that they took the time to give me their approval so I could chase my dream.

I love that I’ve faced opportunities where if I didn’t perform, it could have all been over.

 

At this point, I’m very far from having “made it”.

I’m still at the bottom of a large mountain.

I’m determined, more mature, and better prepared to take on whatever opportunity may present itself, and most importantly, I love the journey.

 

I still dream of competing on the biggest world stage.

I’d love to reach the people beyond our sport, in any walk of life.

I want to bring my hometown of Edmonton to the top of the world stage with me.

I want people to care and pay attention.

I want to make waves. I want to make people proud.

Because doing this is so much more than just our silly sport.

 

 

There’s people in every facet of life who are taking risks, challenging themselves, and not giving in to the way life is supposed to be.

Desiring more.

Working more.

If you’re one of those people, I’m your biggest fan.

 

 

On a macro level, working towards this dream is easy.

I have every opportunity in the world.

I don’t have a life altering disability like my brother, who would love to take on any opportunity I’ve ever had.

I’m not forced to flee my country and be a refugee with the hopes of a better quality of life and a new start, like my dad.

I’ve got it easy.

I won’t stop working.

 

-Stefan Rzadzinski

 

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Greg Moore was my superhero

Originally written: October 31, 2012

October 31, 1999 – I was 6 years old and I remember all that mattered to me very clearly from that day. It was one of the few very standout instances from childhood that will always stay with me.

I don’t recall a “moment” I fell in love with racing in my life, it doesn’t exist. From the moment I have any sort of memory, all I know is that my biggest love and passion was motorsports, especially Formula 1 and IndyCars.

When I was just a few months old, the story goes that I woke up for my early morning feedings at 6AM, and on Sundays, it was dad’s turn to take care of me at that hour. As only a good dad would, we watched racing in the early morning from Formula 1 over in Europe, and then tuned in to IndyCar racing later in the day.

I grew up around that, and over the course of the years, that pattern is what resonates with me up until now. Motorsports is all I ever truly cared about as a kid, and being a driver was the only job I ever wanted. Auto, Polish for car (just in case you didn’t figure it out) was my first word, and the obsession carried on from there. I was in a go-kart when I was 3 years old in a local indoor track with blocks on my feet and a pillow at my back; I just wanted to be like Greg Moore.

It didn’t stop there. In the very early grades, I was the kid who had car posters that I attached, detached, and re-attached every single morning to my school desk.

But looking back on it now, the only racing I remember clearly from those days was of the #99 Player’s Forsythe car. Even though I spent countless Sundays watching racing with my dad for years, it was the few Greg Moore moments from those early years that stay with me. The details might be hazy, but the battles for his wins with Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vasser at races in Rio and Homestead always come to mind. I also reminiscence on his miraculous win in Detroit when the two cars in front ran out of fuel on the final lap, it was just meant to be.

I can remember being absolutely enthralled by his driving style, the way he raced others, and the person he was with his helmet off. I sat there on our grey couch, which was perpendicular to the television, and watched Greg Moore do spectacular things time and time again in those few short years.

I never met Greg Moore. Looking back on it 13 years later, everything seems to make a bit more sense now.

I watched Saturday morning cartoons, but I was never completely sold on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Spiderman, and all the rest. They were entertaining, but none were as exciting as Greg Moore. Sunday was when the real hero was at action. It’s only now that I’m realizing he was the reason everything else just was not as appealing to me.

My entire life, I’ve told people that I want to be a race car driver. There was never a moment of flip-flopping between being Spiderman, a fire truck, policeman, or whatever others may have had in mind. From the moment I can remember, I just wanted to do everything I could to be like Greg Moore.

I will never forget that Halloween Day in 1999. I was sitting on my grey couch, perpendicular to the television, and I saw it happen in front of me. The details are not hazy, I almost wish they were.

I remember knowing that he had a bit of an injury going into that race in Fontana. There was some tension from the television commentators, from my family, and as well as through me. However, his start was brilliant and he was flying through the field without any issues whatsoever. However, 10 laps in, disaster struck. That day, I saw my superhero disappear.

Take away any hero for a 6-year old kid, whoever they may be, fiction or non-fiction, and I’m positive that child won’t be the same anymore. Personally, I think that’s what happened to me.

Initially, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I cried for hours, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The concept was too great for me to fully comprehend, but I did understand Greg Moore was gone forever. There was no explanation needed.

Not knowing how to deal with it, I remember asking my dad if we could go to the store and get some Pokémon cards. I enjoyed them at the time, and it was the only thing I could try to do to take my mind off of what had taken place. It was too big of an event for me to just forget and continue living a care-free 6 year-old life for quite a while.

After that day, everything else gets hazy. I continued to watch races with my dad, and even began competing in go-karts myself in 2001. However, none of the races I watched throughout those few years ever really stuck with me. There were no “wow” moments for me by watching anymore, there was no Greg Moore.

Since then, new favourite drivers have come along but I was always very apprehensive when answering the “who’s your favourite?” question. Sure, I had new drivers I cheered for and enjoyed watching, but only Greg Moore stood out.

I’ve been lucky to meet people who were close to Greg, and I’ve even had a chance to hold one of the helmets he drove with, which was very special. All of the stories, articles, interviews, and old race videos of Greg I look upon fondly now. I have a huge amount of respect for a driver and person who really was as good as I thought he was.

I never met Greg Moore. Looking back on it 13 years later, maybe it was the best thing for me. Heroes are inspirational, dare I say, too good to be real. Greg Moore was my inspiration, and since having him taken away, it has intensified how badly I've wanted to become a racecar driver. If I could somehow compete with all of his heart, and even just a fraction of his talent and courage, I would feel as though I did my best to be just like Greg Moore. To me, he was just that great.

Greg Moore was, and still is, my superhero.

I never met you, but thanks for everything, Greg. Red Gloves Rule.