In this edition of ‘Gloves Off’, we talk with Bernie exclusively about admiration and the inspiration of people over the years. In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, we often overlook the important role of ‘inspiration’.
(TG = Trials Guru; BS = Bernie Schreiber)
TG – Did you admire or inspire from people over the years?
BS – Yes! But don’t forget that everyone you admire was once a beginner.
Let me explain, admiration is when certain qualities in someone or about something attracts you a lot and you are unable to stop yourself from thinking about it.
Inspiration, on the other hand, makes you actually do something after you admire some attribute or quality about someone or something.
One can say that admiration leads to inspiration, and inspiration constitutes admiration at some point.
For some, it’s their parents, be that Mom; Dad; care-takers; relatives; siblings from whom they get or seek inspiration.
Inspirational people are important through our life. They help us become the person we want to be and make a difference in our life. To be like someone, you have to work hard. It all depends on what interests you and what you want to be in your life.
TG – How important is ‘Character’ in those people?
BS – Character is what makes a person. It defines who you are and what you would become – whether to be a commendable inspiration for others to follow or a disappointment. We often hear moving stories about inspirational people we look up to, apart from our parents.
What made them truly notable are their distinct qualities. Inspirational people are often characterized as believers of themselves and of others.
With all those qualities of inspirational people, we learn everyday – from our own experience or from others.
TG – Are there people who marked your life?
BS – Of course, the key inspirational and important people of my life were Mom and Dad, who showed me the way.
There are people you meet in life that mark you forever. The reasons they mark you might be personal or inspiring actions taken, the impact they had on others, or the ways they changed the world or industry. Sometimes we admire people because they overcome a limitation or barriers unknown to us.
Some say that we live in an age without heroes. Do you think that is true? Well, even if it is – even if we no longer have people who walk among us who seem larger than life – we surely have not lost the ability to admire others.
Over the last fifty years I’ve had a chance to meet, speak and work with some amazing individuals from all walks of life. Many were highly educated or successful or becoming someone to be very proud of forever, but often you might wonder how did it happen and what’s the difference between them and others. Why are they unique, famous, rich, humble or achievers? We might not like them, but respect them for their accomplishments at a moment in time.
TG – Can you share experiences that inspired you?
BS – The list is long, but these four individuals brought admiration that led to inspiration in some way, shape or form over the years. They are all different with unique qualities, but they marked me in different ways. They are heroes, legends and role models of accomplishment. They share a common mindset to conquer and achieve not only with results, but breaking records to be first, developing new ways to innovate and challenge the status quo that inspired so many around the world.
#1 – MALCOLM SMITH
Malcolm Smith is one of the world’s pre-eminent off-road racers, he primarily raced motorcycles but in the 1970s while recovering from a broken leg, he built his own off-road racing buggy and competed in both the Baja 1000 and the Baja 500. The list of Malcolm Smith’s accomplishments is long, he won 8 gold medals between 1966 and 1976 in the International Six Day Trial. He’s a six-time winner of the Baja 1000 (three times on a motorcycle and three times in a buggy), he won the Baja 500 four times (twice on a bike and twice in a buggy), he took two wins in the Mint 400, he won the Roof of Africa Rallye, competed in the Paris Dakar Rally twice, and he won the Atlas Rallye in the mountains of Morocco. When not racing, Malcolm could be seen in films and documentaries, he famously had a starring role in Bruce Brown’s Academy Award nominated classic motorcycle documentary ‘On Any Sunday’, with Steve McQueen and Mert Lawwill.
The Facts: Bernie was inspired by Malcolm the first time he’d seen him on the big screen in the movie ‘On Any Sunday’. He wanted to be a motorcycle rider like him. Later in life, Bernie had a chance to work in Europe for Malcolm Smith Products in 1989 and 1990. It provided him a vision that you can be a motorcycle rider and run a successful business as well. It was his first real job outside of riding Trials for a living.
Bernie: “I was so fortunate to meet and work with Malcolm and his team over those two years. It was a dream come true and my admiration for this man continues to grow over time. He is the off-road KING of motorcycling.”
#2 – VALENTINO ROSSI – The Doctor
Valentino Rossi is an Italian former professional motorcycle road racer and nine-time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion. He won World Championships with both Honda and Yamaha. Nicknamed The Doctor, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name, seven of which were in the premier 500cc/MotoGP class. He is also the only road racer to have competed in 400 or more Grands Prix, and rode with the number 46 for his entire career.
The Facts: Bernie was exposed to MotoGP in 2002 when working with Tissot Watches of Switzerland. Tissot became a major sponsor and timekeeper of MotoGP. During the next eight years he would develop the partnership with many awards and riders.
Bernie: “Vale was magical in an era of motorcycling the world had never seen. He was a marketing genius, communicator, thrill seeker and touched the hearts of so many in motorsports. Vale was MotoGP and became respected by everyone in the paddock, almost everyone. He inspired so many young riders over the years and I had the chance to present him dozens of Pole Position watches during the years. One day at the press conference he was asked, what do you do with all the watches? He smiled and said, I’m thinking about opening a watch store. A true Champion and legend.”
#3 – GREG NORMAN
Gregory John Norman is an Australian entrepreneur and retired professional golfer who spent 331 weeks as the world’s Number 1 Official World Golf Rankings ranked golfer in the 1980s and 1990s. He won 89 professional tournaments, including twenty PGA Tour tournaments and two majors: The Open Championships in 1986 and 1993. Norman also earned thirty top-ten finishes and was the runner-up eight times in majors throughout his career. In a reference to his blond hair, size, aggressive golf style and his birthplace’s native coastal animal, Norman’s nickname is “The Great White Shark”, which he earned after his play at the 1981 Masters.
The Facts: Bernie joined Omega Watches of Switzerland in 2012 and moved to Florida after a contract was signed with the PGA of America. Greg Norman was a Brand Ambassador for Omega, so Bernie based himself out of Greg’s office for the next three years to develop Omega’s golf initiatives in America.
Bernie: “Time spent close to Greg and his team was a real learning experience in Sports Marketing. The nickname SHARK was not by accident and doing deals, building partnerships and making money while growing the game is something Greg has been successful doing for decades. The uniqueness of the Norman brand can be felt throughout the world from golf course design, wine, clothing and real estate. After three years working together, I’m fortunate to say Greg is a friend and he inspired me to see things differently and always attack life.”
#4 – CAPTAIN GENE CERNAN
Eugene Andrew Cernan was an American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot. During the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became the eleventh human being to walk on the Moon. Cernan, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, left his mark on the history of exploration by flying three times in space, twice to the moon. He also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface.
The Facts: Bernie spent a day with Gene Cernan at the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament just outside his hometown Chicago. Gene, one of Omega’s ambassadors who wore the Omega watch during his moon landing.
Bernie: “I had the privilege of taking Gene around the Medinah golf course in a buggy one day and we talked about golf, watches and time on the moon. September 29th, 2012 is a day with a man I’ll never forget. An extraordinary life of service and risk unknown to most people. Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt were walking and singing on the Moon in December 1972, some 50 years ago. When we talk about people who you can admire or be inspired from, Gene’s conversations are unbelievable and unforgettable. The last hero, legend and man on the moon. May your last steps never be forgotten.” God Speed R.I.P.
Article worldwide copyright: Bernard Schreiber/Trials Guru 2022
Photos: Copyright of individual photographers.