The Heart Of Racing: The 2010 Indy Mile
There is something beautiful to be found in a form of racing that's less about technology and TV rights than it is about simply trying to beat the other fellah with whatever you can afford to bring to the track. Sometimes the other fellah isn't a fellah at all, and sometimes he or she has better gear than you. But you do the best you can with what you brought and even if it takes a quick wrap of duct tape or a tie of bailing wire, you do your damnedest to make it to the next heat.
You don't lounge in a fancy RV between races, and your bike doesn't arrive in a shiny tractor-trailer and it doesn't plug into a computer. You drive yourself, or your dad or your cousin takes a turn, with your bike in the back of the van or on a flat bed trailer, and you sleep in a well-used sleeping bag that smells of solvent and dust.
If your bike gets stuck in third gear on the far side of the track, you may very well watch the next heat from that spot before anyone comes to help you out of the way. And if you come around Turn 2 at full stick and there's Jimmy pulled over off the racing line, you pretty much just get on with it.
You wonder how they old guys managed without tear offs, which fly around the track like ghosts of the legends of American motorcycle racing, men who tamed unholy machines that aren't really all that different from what you're riding when you get right down to it. And just like they did, you ignore the aches and pains born from the last time the machine got the upper hand and tossed you off and you bring the best you got at that moment.
Do you do it because it might lead to fame and fortune? Some of those legends rode a metal shoe right off the dirt and onto the world stage. Is that going to be you? Probably not. But you keep on loading up the van and heading out, season after season, not to state of the art facilities in exotic locations with spacious run off areas and umbrella girls, but to fairgrounds, where people just like you can back their own trucks up to the fence and watch you go round.
You keep on racing flat track because it's thrilling, it's fun, and there's no traction control or engine limits or testing bans. There's no place for the racing to get lost among the demands of profit. As the sun sets, there's just you, you bike and the other fellahs. Even if they aren't all fellahs, they sure as hell are all there for a race, and that's exactly what you give 'em.