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I have been asked, with my professional background in racing, to answer a few questions about racing. What seem to be simple answers at first glance soon turn in to a whole universe of possibilities!
First off the easy one... What is the goal of racing? Why race? To win! is the quick answer but to look deeper into why we race, we need to look at a brief history of racing.
A long time ago, I imagine the first racing occurred when homosapiens raced back to the cave to escape being eaten by monsters of unusual size. Whoever won, lived. Ya!
Then, once our ancestors began using animals as transport, a new era in racing took off and with it, a need to make bets. Ouch.
Once we harnessed the power of the first machines, well then an even newer era of racing was born! One manufacturer raced their machines against the other to see whose machine was the fastest and the best. And so the adage ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ became real. This machine power race got us to where we are today and because the weight of racing bikes keeps going down, speed keeps going up and so technology extends our reach for greater speed with every iteration.
But why do we race as a people? Why must we be in constant state of battle to be first? Could it be because the feeling of number one, even for a fleeting moment is exhilarating? Then, zoom someone faster comes along and the race starts all over again! Ego is an incredible must for racers. It’s an element we see in all racers, even the ones that try to hide it. Ego drives you to race and it drives you to win.
We all want to win, we all want to be first! What’s more, when we manage to finish just a little bit better with each race the ego is fed like there’s no tomorrow. With that, add in a large rush of adrenalin and your set for life; or so it feels like.
So the main reason we race for ourselves is the feeling we get from it!
It’s impossible to describe the racing “rush” to a non-racer. But over the years that I’ve raced, I’ve learned that the feeling is also about control. Working with the machine, using all it’s got, and being in total sink with the motorcycle, means a great day! Now, if you can beat the racer in front of you, doing the same thing, feeling the same way, well then you’re on top of the world! Even if it's just at Sharonville! Shannonville Motorsport Race Track
To race or not to race comes to most people in a moment of questioning or revelation. I can tell you the exact second it happened for me. Mine was a revelation; my ego jumped right out of my skin within the first week of owning a road bike! I saw a video playing at a dealership. It was the 1986 Match Races (a springboard to the GP scene) from England and a very young brand new Kevin Schwantz was doing things on a motorcycle that looked amazing! The thought of motorcycle racing entered my head and I blurted out loud: “I COULD DO THAT!” And so it began.