Niall Mackenzie Column - Aug 10

Like many persons of advanced years, Mr Niall Mackenzie vicarioiusly enjoys the success of others for whom the clock ticks loudly. His support for dear old Max is truly touching...

Posted: 30 July 2010
by Niall Mackenzie

Don’t you find it amusing that Leon Haslam, Jonathan Rea, Cal Crutchlow and Leon Camier were just innocent primary school kids when Max Biaggi began racking up his tally of 42 GP wins in 1992? Who would have thought that these four young Brits would have been swapping paint with him at the sharp-end of a world championship 18 years down the line?

And with the immaculately preened 39-year-old Roman showing no signs of hanging up his boots we can look forward to plenty more Senior Biaggi action for the next few years at least. And what about Aussie hardman Troy Bayliss? He currently holds the record as the oldest WSB winner (race and championship). However, if this legend makes his much talked about comeback, we’ll soon have the average age of the WSB rostrum well into three figures. Old is fast becoming the new young so watch out for Whit and me at a racetrack near you soon!

I suppose even if they don’t like motorbikes we should all try to love our neighbours. That’s not always easy though when the said neighbours suddenly start telling you how to run your friggin’ life.

Every now and then six of us enjoy kicking up some dust round my friend’s field on some old TTR125s. We bang elbows for a few hours before drinking some Buds and barbecuing some Boerewors, a type of South African sausage (try it, it’s the business). Over the years the nearby villagers have never once complained and that’s because we’re having harmless fun while making less noise than a strimmer in any suburban back yard. That was until some intolerant ‘good life’ incomer decided she would pack her newly acquired small field with sheep (noisy 24/7 by the way) and then have a crack at banning our two-wheeled enjoyment.

We knew she was on a mission and of course feared the worst when a formal complaint was made to the Derbyshire council. Imagine our surprise when the powers that be came back to her with these words, ‘The use of land for not more than 14 days per calendar year can be for the holding of a market or Motor Car and Motorcycle racing including trials of speed and practising for these activities’. Motorbikes 1 Sheep 0. For once common sense has prevailed and there truly is a God! Oh, and bah ha Mrs Killjoy!

It’s best not to mention BMW if you happen to visit a Japanese sports bike dealer at the moment. Friends in the trade tell me the S1000RR is hurting 1000cc Japanese sports bikes sales big time, as the must have missile of 2010. And while no one can argue with its technical brilliance or escalating racing achievements, I feel some lucky timing has also played a part in this success story. With the exception of the much less powerful RSV4, there are very few new sports bikes to get excited about in 2010, as the usual competition isn’t out there. I’m sure when work on the S1000RR began five years ago even BMW couldn’t have predicted the recession ahead coupled with the major development cutbacks the Japanese would make.

The fickle racing world has also seen Superstock 1000 riders tripping over each other at BMW dealers, as the S1000RRs gradually fill podiums in the class where out of the box power means everything. With BMW laying down the gauntlet I’ll bet we’ll soon see 200bhp Blades and R1s with traction control in the not too distant future. Exciting times ahead methinks.

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