Shaman performing storm-stopping ritual becomes bizarre Indonesian MotoGP star

MotoGP has a new weapon in the fight against bad weather in this stern-looking shaman who we can credit for ensuring the Indonesian MotoGP went ahead

Shaman lady, rain handler, Indonesian MotoGP

A shaman ‘tasked’ with performing a ritual while walking through the pit-lane at the Mandalika Circuit to ward off the rain that threatened to stop the Indonesian MotoGP from going ahead has been nominated our (entirely unofficial) Star Wearing a Helmet of the Day prize.

Yes, Miguel Oliveira might have sploshed his way to a commanding victory once action eventually did get underway some 1hr 15mins behind schedule, but for us only one person deserved to top the podium and celebrate a home soil success in front of thousands of soggy Indonesian fans.

Now, before this article spins off into seeming like a tabloid-style ‘point and laugh’ dig at alternative cultures, it must be said moments like these are a (sometimes bizarre) treat the MotoGP paddock hasn’t been exposed to for a couple of years thanks to COVID-19. 

Indeed, the MotoGP riders certainly felt like they were a world away from the largely European-dominated schedules of 2020 and 2021 when they arrived in Indonesia… albeit not for the notion of coconut cocktails being sipped under palm trees on the beaches of Lombok Island, but for Indonesia’s occasionally biblical turns of climate that lashed the venue between the Moto2 and MotoGP races.

So aggressive it turned out to be that it led to this rather shocking moment when lightning struck the circuit in a spectacular fashion, giving rise to a fear of riders not so much being at risk of retirement from loss of power, but getting all of it at once.

Fearing a repeat of the inaugural WorldSBK event at the Mandalika Circuit where rain forced one race to be cancelled and another to be tiptoed carefully, local promoters resorted to some divine inspiration in an effort to persuade Mother Nature to ease up the intensity.

The result was this woman with a most stern expression on her face suddenly walking with purpose down the pit-lane bellowing rituals and occasionally slapping a bowl with what looks a bit like a curtain tassel… or a whip. She’s also wearing a hard hat for reasons that are very unclear.

What you see here is a ‘Rain Handler’, a shaman customary in Indonesia often wheeled out at big ceremonies - like weddings - to ward off the chances of bad weather ruining a big day. We’d say it was fun, but she is clearly taking it very seriously… that or someone had mightily pissed her off beforehand. Or she is a big Marc Marquez fan…

Riders and teams members emerged out of the garages to watch in a mix of confusion and awe, partly because she was performing this in driving rain, which raised questions about whether she lied on her CV.

Fortunately, - either by forces of faith or simply nature - the rain did stop soon afterwards and the event race get underway. As far as we are concerned, this angry/determined Rain Handler was the sole reason for the rain stopping and absolutely nothing else, thus must be protected at all costs.

We assume Dorna has hired her in a high-ranking position to wheel out at all future events - if not, someone should get on the phone to Wimbledon…