My Favourite Riders #1 (in no particular order)

In my earliest days, of watching racing, it was the era of the late Barry Sheene.  I wasn’t a fan of Sheene, but my favourite rider was Ron Haslam.  I still remember the day I met Ron, vividly, I would only have been about seven or eight years old.

It must have been Transatlantic Trophy weekend, GB vs USA, and that day the meeting was held at Oulton Park.  By that time, Sheene was already World Champion and a huge crowd was surrounding his trailer, a converted flatbed truck.  Mother asked if I was interested, which I wasn’t and nor was she, so we carried on walking round the paddocks.  As we got closer, to the pits, we came across Ron Haslam’s Ford Transit.  Transit vans were a popular way of transporting bikes, in those days.

So we had a chat with Ron’s crew and they ended up giving us a couple of photographs, of Ron.  We were happy enough.  If I remember correctly, Ron had just raced, coming from the back of the grid and finished second. Mother said we should carry on, because Ron would be busy.  As we were about to leave, around comes Ron and asked if we wanted our photographs signing.  We were delighted and had a quick chat before continued having a look around.

The next person I remember talking with was a female racer, from the US. Women in GPs, then, was virtually unheard of, never mind racing. The lady in question was Gina Bovaird and she still holds the record as being the only one to race in the premier class.  It was 500cc two strokes in those days, now MotoGP.  The smell of a two stroke still reminds me of my childhood but they are a dying bread these days.

Ron carried on racing on some of the most iconic bikes.  I remember the hub steered Elf Honda and couldn’t get my head around it.  Even in the modern era, hub steered bikes are few and far between.  Then there was the JPS Norton rotary, a four stroke in principle, with a unique engine note.  The first thing I always recall, about Ron, was the iconic helmet design, originally pure white with the red initials R and H intertwined.


Fast Freddie, King Kenny and Rocket Ron

A New Season is Looming

So 2016 is here and I can’t wait for the testing to begin and then some serious racing.

Not far into the new year and already the powers that be, at Dorna, have already updated the ruling on penalty points and the consequences!  I wonder why?

The new system would see riders having to earn more points, on their licence, before being sanctioned.  But the penalty will be harsher.  No longer will a rider be booted to the back of the grid, a pit lane start beckons.  From now on, a rider needs to incur seven points, before being penalised.

So why does that cause concern?  I think back to that race, in Sepang, and it is still a hot topic.  So any rider could be deemed as riding outside of the rules and if he only does it once, incurs no other points, gets away with it!  Personally, I would like to see a F1 style  review, during the race.  Sure, most GPs last 40-45 minutes, leaving less time to finalise a decision.

But, you can penalise a rider, for exceeding track limits, during the race, even if they don’t gain any advantage?  I remember two incidents, from last season, where the penalty was so stupid, it confused the rider in question. “Drop back one positon,” when you are over five seconds in front of the nearest rider, is ridiculous.  Why not give the rider a time penalty, at the end of the race?

Asking the likes of Rossi and Marquez to start at the back of the grid, is not a penalty to them, more a hindrance.  When that happened, they ploughed through the field in next to no time.  Before the introduction, of Q1 and Q2, Rossi wasn’t the best of qualifiers, but it didn’t matter, he’s a Sunday man and always has been.

If Rossi was given a time penalty, at Sepang, after the race, I would have been satisfied.  The grid penalty was about as useless as Uccio telling his g/f where to park.  If that had happened and Valencia quali counted, then we would have seen proper racing.  What we got was Spain versus Italy, those riders concerned weren’t interested in racing, they were there to help their Yamaha rider.