RIDERS

WORDS BY SCOTT BISHOP

Motocross is an image-driven sport and hobby. The need to look good is just as strong in many riders as the urge to go fast. Take a look around your local track and you’ll quickly see who are the urban surfers and the city cowboys. A good set of graphics and the latest jersey is half the battle for these guys.

At the other end of the scale, there are the guys who just don’t care about anything other than riding. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, how it goes or even what it does, they just want to ride. The show ponies are easy to spot; the hardcore, “zero f**k given” kinda guys aren’t.

So here are a few things to look out for when observing these crazy characters.

THE BIKE RACK

Is there anything that screams “I don’t give a crap!” louder than a bike rack on the back of a sedan? The rack bolted up to the towbar and the bike strapped in like an oversized couch on the back of the family sedan? No other racer can take that guy seriously when he rolls into the pits with his bike hanging off the back of the car like a reverse bull bar. It’s blatantly obvious he isn’t seriously trying to prove anything to himself or his racing mates. This guy is just happy to get there and get it done, regardless of his speed.

THE TRIPLE SWIRL

Some guys just don’t care how their bike looks. They might damage a rear guard or radiator shroud in a crash and, while not so tight as to just leave the plastic flapping like a fish out of water, they at least replace the plastic — but with whatever they can find at the local dealer. I’ve seen and even raced bikes that didn’t even have one piece of plastic the same as any other on the bike. I did a race overseas once and it was six different colours, including a strange purple. My years of experience told me it was a Suzuki but I’m still not 100 per cent convinced.

SEAL OOZE

Leaking fork seals are a common problem that everyone experiences at some time in their career, although it will soon be a thing of the past as air forks take over. Regardless, most riders get it fixed and get back out there but there is still a good percentage who don’t see a leaking seal as an issue and just keep on riding even though they’re dropping oil like a 1974-model Ford Falcon taxi. The silver rims are now speckled with fork oil while the front brakes barely work and squeal like a teenage girl at a 5SOS concert.

RIDING SOCKS

This one is pretty hard to spot but most riders run at least knee-length or even full-length socks for their knee guards or braces. The rider who just slaps his pants on and slips his boots over a pair of white ankle-length Bonds socks is a wild man, in my opinion. With nothing covering your knees, you’re almost guaranteed to end the day with no skin on your knees and the red marks of the straps imbedded on your calves. If you can’t afford riding socks, the least you can do is buy a couple of footy socks and keep the ankle socks for strutting around outside the gym.

GOGGLES ON HELMET

Any rider who takes their helmet off with the goggles on obviously doesn’t care about appearances, regardless of where said goggles are placed. It was cool in the 70s to have them strapped over the top but that fad passed quickly. Now, if you leave them either in the eye port or on the mouthpiece you’re just screaming, “I don’t care!” And you look like a goose.

THE CLAIMER

The guy who knows it all. You know the guy — he taught Dungey how to ride, he can build a 50hp 125, he showed Mitch Payton how to build pipes and, if it wasn’t for him, the Japanese would still be putting the wheels beside each other instead of one behind the other. To really show he doesn’t care, he often offers this information in a room full of people who really do know a thing or two about motorcycles. Every track or club has a guy like this. Time to put the glue down, pal!