It's one of the more familiar scenes in sports: There are the race drivers up on the victory stand, looking suitably oil-stained and rumpled, amid a great gushing of champagne (except at the Indy 500, where the victory drink is milk, which is nice, but just not the same. Milk?) No matter how many times one sees this tableau, it imparts the same warm sense of triumph over adversity. And it's even better when one of the drivers is someone we know—in this case, Associate Writer Sam Moses.
What's more, Moses' making it to a victory stand was all in the line of duty, because driving race cars is part of a long-term project that should result in a story for SI in a year or so. Last March Moses went to the British School of Motor Racing in Riverside, Calif. He has now completed 10 races, driving mostly Formula Fords. His first race, however, was in the VW Rabbit above, and he crossed the finish line backward in a slide. He has since had one first, three seconds and four thirds. Then at Riverside International Raceway a couple of weekends ago Moses finished second in the Media Challenge at the North American Formula Ford Festival, and got the spritz of champagne on the victory stand. Next season: more races in more muscular cars, possibly a turbocharged Porsche 935.
All this motoring comes between Moses' regular assignments covering news events and doing profiles, such as his piece on Indy driver Rick Mears, which begins on page 52. Moses is determined to live two lives, as writer and racer, for as long as it takes to get the story. Well, really more like three lives, because when he's not occupied by his two main pursuits, he's just your average Key West citizen, with a windsurfer ready for the beach and a gloriously sinister old black bicycle he keeps in the hall. For more dressy occasions, he wheels around town in a dented 1977 Chevy pickup. And Moses shares his apartment with a Key West cat, about which more in a moment.
Determination to get the story more or less marks Moses' career with SI. In 1977, he helped set a world record as one of a four-man motorcycle team that averaged a stunning 188.49 km per hour in a 24-hour run at the Daytona Speedway. In 1980 he went on an expedition to the Carstensz Pyramid in New Guinea, climbing a 16,023-foot mountain, guided by erstwhile cannibals (SI, March 2 and 9, 1981). Then he crewed aboard the good ketch Natoma in the 1981 TransPac race. Last winter Moses went after bobcat with a trapper in the wilds of northern Maine.
November 15, 1982
Which brings us back to the cat. This kitten was cruelly flung from a speeding car in front of the Full Moon Saloon in Key West, which Moses just happened to have chosen for his first date with his girl friend, Debbie Schoneck. Debbie wanted that cat, which they promptly named Moon, and Moses invested about $100 in veterinary fees to put him back in running condition. Moon subsequently lost the tip of his tail to a cabinet door and most of his meow to a raging lung infection. Now recovered, he speaks to Sam in something of a rasp. Still, they understand each other. As folks do who live more than one life.