Last month in Whatever (okay, last three-weeks-ago, and feel free to take it up with the management if you think that’s too often), I went slightly negative again, complaining about the AMA banning young Danny Eslick from attempting to be the first guy ever to win three Daytona 200s in a row, and thus metaphorically man’s inhumanity to man in general. In the Whatever before that, I probably did the same negative thing since that’s how five decades living with the hobnailed boot of the Man on one’s neck tends to influence one’s worldview, but who can remember six weeks ago? Certainly not Google or MO’s own search engine.
This month, we’re going to change it up with a completely positive column! First off, large congratulations to Wayne Rainey, Paul Carruthers, and all the other people at MotoAmerica for getting American roadracing back where it belongs, on live TV. The longer you live, the more all the old truisms make sense, such as “out of sight, out of mind,” and though I’m sure good racing never left the building, without a convenient way to watch it, it might as well have. Now it’s on the beIN sports network, right along with MotoGP and World Superbike. I was just about to cut my cable when that deal happened. (And if you already have, I think you can just buy an online beIN subscription and watch through one of those Chrome doohickeys.) Sorry, but I am not going to leave stately Burns manor to suffer the slings and arrows of commercial aviation to watch the MotoAmerica series, especially when it’s broadcast back-to-back with MotoGP, World Superbike, or both, and my home refrigerator is mere steps away.
Whether American racing has become a stagnant backwater or not, watching Roger Hayden suddenly step up his game on the old Yoshimura GSX-R1000 in an attempt to keep up with temp-hire Toni Elias on the other Yosh bike (rumor has it Yosh boss Sakakura picked him up out front of a Home Depot when he was looking for men to hang drywall) was a lot of fun to watch, especially since I believe this was the first American superbike race in about 56 years not won by a Yamaha.
Elias, the 2010 Moto2 champ and winner of the 2006 Portugal MotoGP, seems to be just what was needed to relight the fire under Roger and the other Americans, as well as provide a graphic demonstration why immigration is a good thing. Now that Rog has beat Josh Hayes and those other kids, maybe he’ll want to do it again? Maybe they won’t want him to, and a right old ding-dong battle might ensue like in the good old days when AMA Superbike was a big deal?
Speaking of ding-dong battles, kudos also to Greg White and Jason Pridmore for providing almost entirely cogent, oftentimes really interesting commentary, with none of the shrill over-the-top histrionics or non-stop blather barrage of their international colleagues. All I can ask for now is an occasional Lap of Silence, in honor of the brave men and women who build GoPro cameras and exhaust systems. This could be my contribution to motorcycle broadcasting.
Meanwhile in the also-live-televised 600 Supersport (which will be combined with 600 Superstock this coming weekend from the classic venue Road Atlanta), the Yamaha factory children went at it even harder, Garrett Gerloff just beating out 2015 champ JD Beach – complete with more up-and-comers hot on their heels. I hate to go all xenophobe, but something about watching our home-grown sprogs does something for me that Motos 2 and 3 just don’t quite. Like, other people’s kids (hint: foreigners) just aren’t as cute as your own. Seeing them on TV after all these years away has me coming over all Ronald Reagan; it’s morning in America again!
Maybe our Home Equity Line of Credit has crawled far enough back up the chart for a whole new crop of people to buy their kids shiny new KTM RC390s? Really what needs to happen is for somebody to invent a tire that will last for a race weekend; a guy I met at a recent press event told me he goes through six sets (6!) of Dunlop GP-As in a typical 600 Superstock race weekend. Is there a cartel?
In other good Morning-in-America news, Erik Buell is at least semi-back in business, and maybe even ready to start building some new models. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if I want to see Buell succeed because I greatly admire the man and love a few of his motorcycles, or because I like to see the poo-pooers eat their words. Again. (Not that I might not be eating mine this time next week.) If you caught our April 1 scoop about GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump entering into a partnership with Buell and MV Agusta to make motorcycling great again, you might be interested to learn that Erik Buell actually received some nasty mail as a result of our little joke, the gist of which was good! You two bankrupt losers deserve each other!
The good news is MO didn’t get any nasty feedback. Erik laughed it off as usual, but what’s more important than his feelings are my own: All the thousands of commenters who posted after that story (okay, 17) actually got it and joined into the spirit of the thing – the only slight unpleasantness coming after Gabe Ets-Hokin suggested the best part would be that Trump would make Mexico pay for it all; anynamedontcare (probably not his real name) then suggested the real best part would be when the Mexicans take turns on Gabe’s ass.
The level of discourse here on MO, in other words, has risen to a far higher plane than ever before, which also gives me hope for the future. In fact the last time prison rape surfaced in the comments following something I wrote, at least one right-thinking person jumped in to insist there’s nothing the least bit funny about the topic. I agree, there’s not. “Jesus Loves You” is not necessarily a nice thing to hear when you’re in a predominantly Spanish-speaking prison.
Finally, score one more victory for rational discourse. Just because some obnoxious youth who calls himself Snowcatxx87 on Youtube has half a million followers doesn’t seem to mean there are half a million video watchers who agree with his hostile attitude toward other road users; more likely they are just hanging around waiting to see the guy get his comeuppance. When industry veteran ex-motojournalist and one of the swiftest/safest riders I know, Ken Vreeke, grew weary of being behind the unpredictable Snowcat on Mulholland Highway and passed him (on the outside in a curve!!), the clueless youth’s attempt at dressing down poor Ken only made Snowbird himself look like an angry child, as borne out by all the comments on MO and on his own Youtube site. Before you go around videoing and nastily critiquing the rest of the world, it’s a good idea to learn to ride first yourself, and to ask yourself what it’s like to roll a mile in the other man’s tires. You might be successful for a while describing yourself as a “professional hater” like Snowcat does, but it can’t last. It takes a village, people, and ours is a really good one of which I am proud to be a citizen. Now, does somebody have $20 I can borrow?