Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP - Tony Carter

Hello and wel­come to this lat­est is­sue of Classic Racer –I sin­cerely hope you en­joy it. There is change in them there rac­ing worlds. And we’re wit­ness­ing what could end up be­ing the start of some­thing pretty spe­cial. I’m talk­ing about our rac­ing world and how it’s start­ing to be viewed by the wider, less spe­cial­ist au­di­ence. ‘Modern’ classic rac­ing is now, sud­denly, be­ing granted the lust­ful eyes of those who wouldn’t have turned to­wards such things be­fore. Take two re­cent rac­ing meet­ings at the same venue. One week­end saw the En­durance Legends lads hold their big out­ing at Donington with plenty of in­ter­est both on and off-track. Spec­ta­tors turned up, preevent pub­lic­ity was high and a very good day was had by a lot of peo­ple (James Whitham in­cluded – de­spite the tip-off). You can read more about what hap­pened there in our re­port which starts on page 74. There was a gen­uine buzz about the place. A real taste for the ex­cite­ment about to un­furl as var­i­ous classic ma­chines headed out in com­par­a­tive anger. It was good, it was ex­cit­ing and it had some­thing that a lot of modern rac­ing doesn’t seem to have. The hu­man touch – and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. Which brings me on to the sec­ond race meet­ing at the Le­ices­ter­shire cir­cuit a cou­ple of weeks later, World Su­per­bikes. Now, there’s no deny­ing the skill and pace of the fac­tory ma­chines and the modern rac­ers who race the bikes that make up the WSB world. That’s a given. But the point I’m reach­ing for here is that, with all the pre-event back-and-forth that I see for both of the above cham­pi­onships, the En­durance Legends event was the one that grabbed the imag­i­na­tion of the gen­eral pub­lic in a far more di­rect and ef­fec­tive way than the WSB camp did. Where WSB is flashy but dis­tant, and clearly fail­ing to en­gage with large num­bers track­side (have you seen how many peo­ple turn out to watch the races com­pared to where it was in the 1990s?), the En­durance Legends event was un­der­stand­able, out­wardly it didn’t take it­self too se­ri­ously and if you were plan­ning on go­ing along to watch it then you re­ally felt like you’d have a great time. The rac­ing is al­ways im­por­tant but the at­mos­phere that sur­rounds it at an event is, ar­guably, even more so. We’re very, very lucky in that with classic rac­ing in gen­eral – and the En­durance Legends in par­tic­u­lar – we’ve now got some­thing that speaks to a largely un­con­nected group of rac­ing fans who might have over­looked classic rac­ing be­fore. More fans, more peo­ple and more in­ter­est could re­ally open things up for us in gen­eral and with some en­cour­age­ment lead to more events hap­pen­ing. What do you think? Would that be a good thing?

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