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5 Seconds of Madness

I’ve been meaning to transcribe this for the blog ever since I read it, and pretty soon the book has to go back to the library, so WTF?  No time like the present.

Let’s say that you’re in the closing stages of the British GP [Donington Park circuit outside London] and you’re rocketing into the first turn at Redgate, there’s someone to the left of you and someone to the right, the guy on the right has just barged past and nicked your line, brakes squealing, suspension juddering, tyres chattering as he ricochets off your bike and nearly rips your right hand off the ‘bars.  Your front tyre is tucking, pushing and sliding as you tip into the turn, so you’re thrusting your right knee deep into the tarmac to keep some weight off the over-worn tyre, at the same time as you’re thinking about getting on the throttle.  You crack the throttle a fraction, just to get the revs building and take some more weight off the front, then you open it some more, until you can feel the rear tyre loading up, then you open it some more till you feel the revs rise and the tyre getting all greasy and breaking loose, so you ease off and push like a bastard on the outside footpeg until the rubber regains some traction, which you immediately eat up by getting back on the throttle, which pushes the bike wide until you’re on the rumble strip, so you ease off again as the tyre jumps, spins, and kicks back across the kerb.  Now you’re pushing back in the seat to get more weight on that rear tyre and weighting the ‘pegs to complete the cornering arc to the right, which takes you back on to the tarmac where the rear tyre grips and kicks the front wheel into the air, so you pull your weight over the front of the bike, easing the throttle for a millisecond, trying to get the front back on the tarmac as you head down toward Craner curves, your hands, feet, backside and brain in some kind of a St. Vitus dance of a balancing act as you lean hard right at 130 mph, all of three feet behind the guy who’s just overtaken you.

That’s one breathless snapshot of maybe five seconds in a GP that lasts forty-five minutes.

–From Valentino Rossi:  Motogenius by Mat Oxley.

Yep.  I love this sport.


2 Responses

  1. Oof. And, sweet. And, oof.

    I’ve always maintained that Moto GP must be EXHAUSTING to the riders. I got tired just reading that.

    Once upon a time there was some sort of argument on ESPN.com’s Page 2 section about whether or not NASCAR should be considered a “sport.” Opinion was split. Personally, I say yes, auto racing is a sport, but when it comes to athletic ability, motorcycle racing is OODLES ahead of car racing. Yowza it’s hard on a body!

  2. This, to me, I think is the rush. It isn’t just the speed or the bike or the speed or the corners or the speed…

    It’s the constant motion and reaction of mind, body, and machine together that MUST occur in every single split second in order to perform at all, let alone perform well. That totality of commitment that, if you have a gift for riding as well, transforms itself into an ephemeral meld of the three until there is nothing else that exists while you are on the bike.

    For someone who doesn’t ride, you described it perfectly.

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