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Perspectives Of Races

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I have watched racing on TV but have never actually watched a race in person. I have always known that I have been missing out on a lot.


A friend of mine will be racing this weekend and I decided to tag along to help out and learn more in the process. I figured it would be fun to post about this since likely I'll probably understand some more things seeing a race from a different perspective.


Some more details about the race here.




I'll come back after this weekend and let you guys know what I learned.






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Was back last night but still absorbing the experience. AHRMA is an amazing organization. Seeing bikes from vintage race Harley's all the way to the newest and latest Superbikes all on one place was super cool. I'm sure all of the clubs are just as amazing in other ways.


I have to say that I think the best place to watch a race is in a pit crew. Being able to understand all the challenges and issues going on for one competitor and realizing that all those same challenges and issues are going on for other bikes on the grid is a unique perspective you don't get anywhere else. If you have a friend who races you really should consider pitching in sometime so you can watch the race from that perspective. You gain some amazing riding and wrenching tips in the pit.


What also struck me was the sportsmanship between the racers and the crews. People who had won or lost against one another on the track were best of friends in the paddock loaning one another tools and even providing information to one another that could adversely affect their advantages against one another. The battle was on during the race of course but nobody took anything personally.


On track from what I observed from the sidelines the sportsmanship was amazing. Riders when they had the option left a ton of room. The sense of purpose they had to win kept passing distances reasonable when it was possible. Their only motivation was to get by as safely as possible. None of them were counting how many bikes they buzzed to feed their egos like you sometimes see at track days. One would think that things would be more aggressive with the competition but the riders showed great restraint and maturity. You could tell their thought process was "you can't finish a race on a bike you just crashed". Speaking of crashes. One crash for the entire weekend and that was during a practice on Friday. Only one other incident all weekend which was an electric bike that caught fire.


The sense of energy even during the practice sessions was amazing as well. People were up against the fences watching nearly the entire time a bike was on the track and it was a mix of Racers, Pit crew and fans. When the races were on that sense of energy became a sense of excitement.


This one is hard to describe and put into words but it's worth mentioning. Even for people who did not win and who ended up as back markers their efforts were universally recognized by everyone. They went out and did their best. Even the slowest guy out on the track (there were a few) were applauded for their efforts and no matter where they finished even if it was dead last. I was lucky enough to know a few people I had met at track days who were competing. One of them blew an engine on a race start and one of them stalled a race start. They were still walking on cloud 9 because they went out and did their best. The lady that stalled during the race start did not let that get her down. She caught up and despite the bad start finished rather respectably considering the half a lap she lost. The guy that blew his engine had a peek inside to see if he could fix things. Even though it was a horrible mess inside he was still glad to be there and overall a happy camper. Everyone took away a "win" of learning and improving something.


Even though I have a lot of work to do in my riding to even consider racing I have to say seeing it in the manner I did really started a bit of a spark for me. I never really understood a lot of things that I do now. One of these days you may see me out there even if it's as a back marker. It's a lot of fun no matter where you are. From the fans to the guys like myself putting bikes on warmers and checking pressures it's an amazing ride! For the riders I can only imagine what an amazing ride it is for them. Every last one of them from the 1st place finishers to the guy that finished dead last was smiling from ear to ear. That's nothing short of amazing!

If I had to summarize the philosophy it would be as follows "Do your best and have a great time everyone win's in the game of racing".

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Great perspective. Not sure it's that way for all racing, but for sure I do think motorcycle riders are a pretty extraordinary group.


Here is a quick statistic: in the 36 years we've been doing schools, we aren't aware of anything being stolen, and people leave all kinds of stuff lying around (happens at races too).


Nice commentary on motorcycle riders!



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I agree with you on the idea that racing groups are likely all different. The culture of the group and what's at stake has a lot to do with what you will see. Some of the core concepts I'm guessing would probably be similar. I'll probably do the pit crew thing again and explore a few other places. I know one thing for sure is it's a lot of fun.


Even the most budget minded rider has thousands of dollars worth of stuff to ride on the track from warmers, stands, bikes and protective gear. It's amazing being able to leave that stuff laying around and not under lock and key. What's even more amazing is riders you don't even know will watch out for your stuff without you even asking.


It goes even beyond your stuff as well. Years ago I lost my footing in a gravel pull off area on the side of a mountain. A group of riders came over immediately to help me get up and dust me off and get the bike off the ground. Perfect strangers motivated only by the desire to help a fellow rider who was having a bad day. :)

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Nice, another good story about riders, love hearing them. I like to listen to the news to know what's going on, but not enough good news gets included!



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You left your wallet in the bathroom? How did you do that? :)


If you think a wallet is bad I lost something much worse. Normally I leave everything unlocked but I was doing the School at Barber and it was during an event with a lot of extra people around. I decided to be a bit more careful "just in case" and I was riding a brand new bike with only 600 miles on it. I had the key to my car and the key to my bike on the same key ring on a wrist band. When I would leave the car I would lock the keys to the trailer, my wallet and my phone inside and lock the trailer and ride. I figured this would be a great way to keep things a bit more secure. Plus I was just paranoid about my new bike. Yes I was polishing it between sessions too! :)


This worked great until of course I suddenly could not find the keys. I looked EVERYWHERE! I was in an absolute panic because we would be going out on track soon and I had no bike or car or hotel keys or wallet or anything other than my leathers. I took a moment and went into one of the wonderfully air conditioned Barber bathrooms to cool off for a moment and calm down to retrace my steps. When I pulled the top of my leathers down to get some more air I realized that my keys had moved up my wrist onto my arm and were in my leathers the entire time. Then I heard my group being called. You can't imagine how relieved I was.


The really funny thing is my bike and car and stuff were all just fine there. My next door neighbor was riding a brand new HP4 Competition with the keys in it the whole day with her car unlocked too. I was paranoid about a standard RR when any self respecting BMW thief would have walked right by my bike and went for the HP4.




These days I don't lock things up anymore. There's a slightly darker element of why track riders often leave things unlocked that I never understood until I gained a bit more experience and started pitching in for a track day org I ride with. If you get into a crash and end up leaving via ambulance at any trackday or race very kind random strangers will pitch in to carefully pack your stuff. Someone will then get in contact with your family to let them know and to make arrangements for your things. I have witnessed strangers driving hundreds of miles just to deliver bikes, gear and vehicles to a safe place for an injured rider.


This is one of those unwritten rules that makes our sport so amazing. Where else do you see this level of kindness among strangers?

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I lost my wallet during a lunch break, after I went to the food kiosk and then passed by the bathroom before the next session. At that time I was keeping my suit on all day, opening up the chest zip during the breaks and carrying keys and wallet in the inside pocket.


This problem of the car keys and wallet (especially car keys) puzzled me for a while. Where do all these riders leave their keys when they go on track? Now I care less knowing the risk of somebody picking them up is very low. I guess everybody leaves them unattended in their garage space.


As for the care after a crash, I noticed exactly the same thing. I think it's something with extreme sports, where life acquires a whole different meaning. Before I never understood people climbing mountains for days or rowing across the ocean, now I see why somebody would pursue that goal, repeatedly. It's not just for the pleasure of climbing.

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