The GP came to Silverstone at the weekend and not having the time to go for the weekend, we decided to settle in at home for a day watching it live in marvellous HD. We had stocked up on cider and sweets and it was brilliant!
One thing struck me, watching those guys struggle round SIlverstone in the wet. “I know how that feels”.
Now, stop laughing. Clearly, I don’t have tens of thousands of people waving my race number from the grandstands. I don’t have a pit crew, don’t get paid and certainly don’t have a moto GP bike. And I most certainly don’t have half the talent that any one of those riders has.
But – watching them on the grid, watching the panic as the red flag was shown before the race started, the panic over tyres, their faces on the restart heading out for 20 laps in the sopping wet – I could sympathise with what they were going through. I have used the same garages, ridden the same track, come in the same pit lane. It all looked rather familiar.
Now let’s get real – we are clearly talking entirely different levels of everything here. But my point is that I have had a little taste of what those guys go through. I know what the paddock panic is like, I know the frustration of delayed starts and unclear direction. I know the increased levels of tension on a restart and the trepidation of waiting to race a valuable bike on a greasy track in poor visibility. And the very fact that I have had any sort of a taste of that at all is something I am incredibly grateful for.
I now watch the bikes on track and I can sense which riders may crash, which will finish the race just by body language. Jack Miller was a guaranteed crash – you could see the fact he was closing on the likes of Rossi was clouding his judgement. And I can sympathise, even though the last time I had to check myself for getting carried away was when I finished 6th in a clubmans race! But the fact I can relate at all is something that will always excite me.
One thing I will never relate to is Vale Rossi and his handful of true adversaries. The composure, the maturity, the level headedness, the vision, the indescribable skill. The world of the aliens will always be a wonderful mystery to me – and so it should.