Y’know that little flutter your heart does when you get a message or phone call from a loved one? I get something similar when one of my childhood heroes rings or texts too.
Admittedly, most of the time it’s some work-related kind of bollocking I’m due but a bollocking from someone absolutely magnificent like Dave Thorpe still makes me happy that I must be worthy of his attention somehow – *swoon*, *gush* etc…
This time though it had nowt to do with misinforming the British MX public about a Buildbase Honda rider/team exploit and the flutter was caused by one of my other childhood heroes, instead – Mr Jack Burnicle (people do call him sir but while I’m in the realm of getting things right let’s stick with solid facts).
The unexpected correspondence came in the form of an SMS sent at 9pm on Sunday night that simply read ‘Epic MXGP that Sutty!’. Having watched Eurosport’s coverage of the Swedish Grand Prix hours earlier (that Jack had voiced commentary for) I had to agree – the racing was pretty damn good!
I’d already formed an opinion as to why I thought it was a winner in terms of TV entertainment and without downplaying the efforts of the riders themselves – who give 100 per cent week in week out – pointed my fickle finger of pleasure (I also have a fickle finger of displeasure in case you were wondering) in the direction of the track build/layout/prep.
To be fair it looked somewhat sketchy with untidy surroundings but the fact that it was hardpack – but still loose and slippery on top – and the corners weren’t a Scalextric-style slot after slot after slot after slot after you get the idea, then it meant that instead of 10 or 15 lines through a turn there were now literally limitless opportunities.
On top of that was the fact that there were several jumps (and one downhill launch) that favoured the brave and unlike most modern circuits that have a landing for every takeoff it was up to the riders how far or short they flew – again, limitless opportunities.
So in my mind it wasn’t the high availability of flat-pack pine furniture outlets in the general vicinity of the circuit, or the number of Volvos in the car park, or even that tangy Lingonberry sauce that they put on the meatballs in the VIP tent that made the Swedish GP so great – it was a circuit that allowed motocross riders to do what they do best and not have their lines dictated to them by ruts and downslopes…
And now I’m gonna contradict myself by waxing lyrical about an event that had no corners (ruts or not) and its success being critical on a rider’s ability to nail those downslopes perfectly and scrub the bejesus out of every lump, jump n’ clump.
In case you missed it (or ICYMI for those of you with a short attention span) I’m on about the MX Nationals Straight Rhythm event that ran at Cusses Gorse on Saturday night and featured eight professional MX1 riders, eight MX2 stars and the UK’s own version of everyone’s favourite redneck – Ronnie Jack on his Screamin’ Eagle (other Super Evo 250 two-strokes are available).
From what I can gather the short, sharp race programme was thoroughly enjoyable both to watch and compete in (for the lucky 16 anyway) and would be a big hit if they were to run it again next year – fingers crossed they do!
Fresh on the back of that success, the Nationals crew finally announced where the final round of their 2019 series will be with one of the most Jim Bowen-esque PR statements of all time that teases where the finale might have been before dropping a does of reality.
So in case you’re wondering the final round will now be held at Foxhill on September 15/16 – but look at what you could have won…
On the subject of Matterley Basin, our buddy Adam Wheeler at OTOR reckons Steve Dixon is considering running a pre-season international with some tacked on pre-season testing for the top teams at Matterley next year if he doesn’t get a GP.
Apparently there’s still a small hope that he might but that also has to fit in with Winchester council’s scheduling.
For a sport that’s basically all about racing dirty motorbikes in a muddy field, things sure are complicated…
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