One of the greatest aspects of Mazda Motorsports is the diversity of people who race with us. We invited Robert Hess to share his story…. and what a title; hear him out…
I’m a late arrival to the world of autocross, although I did briefly participate in autocross with my Porsche 911E when I was stationed in Germany in the 1970s.
But let’s flash forward to 2004 when I became an accidental prostate cancer survivor after a very lucky diagnosis and successful treatment. I spent a career in the US Army and the Army way is to leave no one behind. So, my giveback to society became helping men survive prostate cancer (almost 28,000 men die every year from prostate cancer) through prevention and early detection. That was the genesis of the Cancer Journeys Foundation.
Since 2004, I’ve created prostate cancer awareness events in the bicycling and motorcycling communities, but I’ve always wanted to find a way to reach the huge auto enthusiast market. Enter Mazda and Dean Case.
In 2015, I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the pre-LA Auto Show press days allowing me to wander around without the normal crush of people. One of the cars that caught my attention was the brand new MX-5 Cup car. Dean let me sit in it and I was hooked. I mean hooked!
A new MX-5 Cup car (even at the bargain price of $58,900) wasn’t in my budget, so I sold my Harley-Davidson Low Rider, emptied my piggy bank, and headed over to Car Max. I wound up with a 2010 PRHT that I wrapped on our Foundation colors and raced during the 2016 season.
I could write a long article on why I love the MX-5, but everyone already knows how good and fun these cars are.
But more than fun, my MX-5 is a key element in our Foundation’s cancer awareness programs. I both race my MX-5 and use it as a daily driver. It’s a rolling advertisement for prostate cancer early detection.
I have two dreams. The first is to develop an army of men and women aged 40-60 racing autocross with Prostate Cancer Awareness Project decals on their cars and talking with men at the track about prostate cancer risk and what they can do about it. What a great way to pay it forward and help stop cancer in its tracks!
And here’s where the mid-life crisis fits in. Getting into SCCA autocross is the perfect escape from what can seem like a boring period of life. Guys and gals can get into a new MX-5 ND for less (actually way less) than $40,000 and be on the track racing within a few weeks. What a thrilling and affordable way to beat the “mid-live blues.” Even better, they also can join the Cancer Journeys Foundation Racing Community and begin helping us kick prostate cancer’s butt!
My second dream is to have a MX-5 Cup car or a MX-5 ND Club to campaign because the ND’s are killing my NC in C Street!
So, calling all racers that want to help stop cancer. Grab that MX-5 you’ve been wanting and join our racing community at www.CancerJourneysFoundation.org/autocross. But If you just want to drive your Mazda over some fun roads, taste some great wine, and help us raise cancer survivors, visit www.TourdeUSA.events for the first ever “Wine Rally.”
Want to join me in my 2017 campaign? I’ll be racing at the Tire Rack ProSolo event in April at El Toro Airfield in Irvine, California and at ProSolo Nationals at Lincoln, Nebraska in September. Get in touch and we’ll get you some decals for your car.
PS: We’re working on a Cancer Journeys Foundation trophy. Stayed tuned!