Dear Suter: One Man's Rant
Yesterday, Suter Racing‘s crack team of professionals started their retired MMX1 MotoGP racebike at the Swiss-Moto show. Its BMW inline-four and Akrapovic exhaust sounded crisp and impressive, but the Suter crew’s promotional angle made them look foolish.
You see, Suter decided to use a co-worker as a prop in a cheap ploy to pander to the crowd when they uncorked the noise. In doing so, they made their female co-worker look awkwardly incompetent, pinching the fingers of her left hand behind the clutch lever which was actually being operated by a man standing next to the bike. She reflexively recoiled and then placed her hands on the tank while the two men operated the clutch, starter and throttle. Clutch dork then grabbed poor Vivienne’s left hand and placed it back on the left grip as though she was a living doll (she showed remarkable patience throughout). Meanwhile over on the right side of the bike, the throttle man stood to the side and extended his arm to operate the throttle while Vivienne carefully placed her own right hand on the right switch cluster to assume something like a rider’s pose. “Rev-rev-rev” went the bike operated by two men. Sit-sit-sit did Vivienne atop the impressive sounding machine.
Sound awkward? You betcha! Sadly, such a display isn’t unique; similar vignettes regularly play out in the racing world. Meanwhile, real racers (females included) go about the business of, you know, actually being riders.
Suter Wasn’t Done.
In their infinite wisdom, they then proceeded to upload a video clip of the event to their ‘Suter 500’ Facebook page, making the brilliant decision to accompany the video with the text below:
“Our divine Vivienne starts the Suter BMW MotoGP, probabely (sic) the loudest bike of the show. The beauty and another beast. Pure culture.” (Click the image above to play video)
Dear Suter Racing, Eskil and his organization represent world class thinking and superb engineering. Suter Racing is authentic, respect-worthy, and credible in its field. However, Vivienne did not start anything in this video. She sat on a motorcycle while her co-workers started and revved it. This is some shame-worthy pandering on your part, and I’m simply embarrassed for poor Vivienne.
“Pure culture?” More like: Pure bullshit. Authenticity matters. Why insult your fans with this tripe?
"...poor Vivienne"? I agree, in theory, about this beautiful young woman being placed, figuratively-and-literally, on a pedestal, but all this hostility regarding her treatment? With her looks, she's likely to be on someone's pedestal for some time to come. From what I see, she doesn't appear to be insulted by all this attention (and I'm sure she get's lots, everywhere she goes). The fact that Danica Patrick can actually race competitively "with the guys," i.e., usually finishing ahead of many, hasn't seemed to lessen the male vitriol directed toward her from her Indycar start. If this young French woman was actually allowed to be - or more-fully simulate - a real rider, would that really change anything? Then, I can imagine all the insults directed toward HER ("She can't be a real rider!").
She's a grown woman, and has the agency to learn and do whatever the hell she pleases. If a guy were tasked with "posing" on top of a motorcycle, and he didn't know how to turn it on, or operate it on even the most basic level, he would be made a laughing stock. She is paid to loiter around motorcycles all day, yet the only clutch Vivienne understands is the type that holds money. That is her prerogative, and her choice. Nobody is responsible for spoon feeding her. So I don't understand why those guys are held to some higher moral standard where they have to teach poor Vivienne how to do the most basic tasks, and why she isn't held accountable?