Friends, fans and the motorcycle industry get together to help desert racing legend Destry Abbott.
Story and Photos By Mark Kariya
Since breaking the news last month about being diagnosed with leukemia, Destry Abbott has received an incredible amount of support. He’s currently undergoing aggressive chemo at a facility in Texas with the regimen expected to run five months after which the doctors will evaluate progress.
Naturally, insurance will cover only part of it and would bankrupt the family were it not for several fundraising efforts, the latest of which took place at Pole Position Raceway in Corona, California, June 21.
Pole Position Aceway is an indoor kart-racing track that’s hosted a number of fundraisers for injured racers over the years, which is no surprise as its founder and many of its investors are in the industry. Does the name Jeremy McGrath ring a bell? He’s one of the investors as is Chad Reed, NASCAR star Kurt Busch and several others.
Being in the SoCal heart of the motorcycle industry, it’s not surprising that a lot of Abbott’s longtime sponsors got behind the fundraiser in a big way. Kawasaki sent a crew with old race bikes to display and dozens of items to be auctioned off. FMF printed 1000 “DA8 Strong” T-shirts for the fundraiser’s volunteer staff as well as those who wished to purchase.
Most of the donations seemed to come from racers with signed jerseys the most common auction item, but there were other things as well: a helicopter flight for two over the Las Vegas strip, four tickets and post-concert backstage passes for a Lyle Lovett and His Large Band show, a set of handheld PCI Race Radios and a two-day desert shooting clinic furnished by a retired Navy SEAL.
Walking around Pole Position provided attendees to spin a few laps on the track, study the auction items (plus the beautiful KX500 that Destry himself built and is raffling off for $10 per ticket with the drawing held on July 13, Destry’s birthday) and chat with lots of like-minded moto family.
And family takes care of its own. At the end of the night, between the KX500 raffle, the general merchandise raffle, the silent auction and the live auction, Ken Faught of Pole Position estimated the event raised approximately $40,000. Purvines Racing Beta team owner Ron Purvines walked away with the most items, easily having spent the most money. (He bought $2000 in KX500 tickets alone.)
Why spend so much? It’s not because he wanted to warm up his credit card but because Abbott’s DA8 Training is one of his team’s sponsors and Purvines is in a position to be able to give back in that way. Further demonstrating that he wasn’t simply amassing a collection of moto-memorabilia all for himself, Purvines said, “I probably gave away a half-dozen things on my way out.” Among those items was the Lyle Lovett concert package, which he’d won after outbidding EnduroCross announcer Laurette Nicoll (a cancer survivor herself) who recalls him tapping her on the shoulder and saying, “This is for you.” Confused, she remained speechless for a few moments trying to process what was going on before she was could stammer, “Thank you!” It was a perfect summary of the night, one where getting was sort of an excuse for giving.
The fundraising for Abbott will continue on several fronts. There is the GoFundMe account at https://www.gofundme.com/24pwufw plus the KX500 raffle at www.road2recovery.com/da8kx500. Though no other fundraisers are planned at this time, a website to sell T-shirts and other merchandise is in the works. In addition, AMA District 37 plans to sell anything left over from the Pole Position fundraiser via eBay in the near future.