My career as a moto journalist, which many people have pointed out repeatedly is a dream job, I owe largely to Rob Harris.
Costa Mouzouris: Rob and I met 17 years ago at Mosport, where I was racing my Ducati, and he was racing a BMW for a story he was preparing for CMG. His wit, wide grin and jovial demeanour offset his tall, imposing stature. I, like everyone who got to know him, quickly figured out he was a good-natured, gentle, and really funny guy. We chatted, and when he’d heard I was a motorcycle mechanic and was also taking writing courses, he asked if I’d like to submit a story for CMG, which at that time had been online for just a couple of years.
That first writing gig Rob gave me led to more, and eventually to a career change. It also led to a friendship that I expected would last a lifetime. Unfortunately fate decided that the latter was not to be.
We also used to plan annual fall tours that included a variety of contributors, where for several days we’d ride test bikes in upstate New York, or one of Rob’s favourite riding areas, northern Pennsylvania. He’d always make it a point to find a motel within walking distance of a pub, where we’d spend a few post-ride hours just being friends. These are among my most memorable moments with Rob.
My heart still bleeds for Courtney, with whom Rob chose to settle down and start a family and the one who realigned his focus for the better, and for his daughters Chloe and Cate, who will grow up not knowing the great, warm human being who was their father.
I also feel deep sorrow for Jim Vernon, who was riding with Rob on that fateful Saturday last year. Having experienced a similar situation more than a dozen years ago when Piero Zambotti was killed while on a staff ride with Cycle Canada, I still can’t shake the feeling that we had abandoned a friend when we left his body behind at the hospital and rode home. I hope Jim has been spared such feelings of desolation.
I’m not sure if I ever told Rob just how grateful I was to him for taking me on so long ago, sticking with me over the years, and giving me work even when financially, times were tough for him.
I will forever miss Rob’s Yorkshire brogue, and the jubilant “Costaaa!” he’d greet me with every time we’d Skype in the morning to talk business. His loss remains hard to accept, and will be for many years to come.
Cheers mate. And thank you.