THE STORIES THAT DON’T MAKE THE HEADLINES
Words Scott Bishop
During the season there is so much happening that the media simply can’t cover all the big issues. Well, I have a few news flashes for you that didn’t get headlines in magazines or on moto websites but are well worth taking note off.
MECHANICS SHOULDN’T RIDE
There is a reason the riders ride and the mechanics … mechanic. It’s because they weren’t that good at riding. At a day during the course of 2013, the Yamaha crew had to run in some new bikes for the 2014 media launch. There were the Serco and GYTR Yamaha crews and a few of the helpers and 10 bikes that needed some break-in time before they were unveiled to the media.
Not long after firing up, Yamaha’s technical guru Darren Thompson lost the front end in a slow turn and hit the deck. He got up gingerly and looked like he was grabbing his wrist or arm. We watched as he walked in circles and tried to gather himself but we all feared a broken limb and the end of the day would come prematurely. As we walked over to console him, he was gasping for air, hunched over and saying, “I think I just ripped my penis off.”
So, we all walked over to the accident scene and began to search for the missing penis. No luck finding it and Thomo was in no mood for jokes as he was still struggling for air. The in-joke now when riding on the QMP natural terrain track is watch the entry into the last turn as Thomo’s penis is still there somewhere.
Same day and Michael Marty of Serco fame decides to get nasty and let the dog eat. Only the dog was his face and it tried to eat the ground. Marty looked like he’d sandpapered himself and was ready for painting. The fall was unsighted by many but Marty’s claims of cartwheeling bikes at high speed had some merit once his face was taken into account. Both have ridden, and yes, crashed since that day.
RIDERS SHOULDN’T MECHANIC
Riders like to think they are pretty handy on the tools. They like to have a go. Being handy, having a go and being qualified to work on a $15,000 motocross bike are entirely different things. A 10-minute tyre change can be an all-day training program for a rider these days.
What about the rider who was tyre testing and, after trying the wrong tyre on the wrong surface and ripping knobs from the carcass, tried to glue them back on? Not sure how long he thought the glue would hold for or if he even tried to stay with the same pattern, but there was glue, there were knobs and they were replaced on the tyre.
Or how about the rider who got a flat front tyre in his last ride before a race weekend and, instead of replacing the tube, he thought it would be easier to swap his spare wheel in? He throws the new wheel on, loads up the bike, cruises through machinery and is ready to race. It isn’t until he goes to ride off for practice and grabs a handful of front brake that he realises the spare wheel didn’t have a disc on it and the two brake pads touching together were never going to slow him down. A special mention must go to the machine examiner for his eagle eyes and crack attention to detail for not spotting the missing front disc.
For the most part, team managers are positive, nurturing people who try to get the best from their riders. But get them to look in the sky and the optimism nearly always turns to pessimism. One manager often can predict the weather months in advance and is quite vocal in saying that an event should be called off now as the forecast on said race weekend is a flood of biblical proportions and the global warming effect will all have us living in Atlantis by the turn of the century.
Problem is, every one of these disastrous races went ahead under brilliant sunshine, with dusty conditions and no rain within 500km of the track. Trucks weren’t axle deep in mud, riders weren’t drowning in the first turn and the gum boots remained inside the trucks. Our weatherman won’t discuss the weather on race day but continues to predict future forecasts with all the accuracy of a Balinese Rolex.
What about the rider who on a return flight sat next to a cute young lady and not long after takeoff both were happily chatting away? Our rider and his new lady friend chatted away for the entire flight and he felt a connection was made. As the plane reached the destination, he was ready to break into a Tom Cruise moment, leap on the seats and profess some love, or at the least some lust, only to then find out the female in question had a partner. A male partner — a person he raced on the weekend. Shut down!