Wake up and smell the rose-tinted spectacles!
Remember when a Mars Bar was 10p, a gallon of petrol 20p and all new bikes came with a centrestand as standard?
The older you get, the better the ‘old days’ seem. That’s why so many of hark back to 350LCS or VFR750S (see page 36) or such like. Truth is, ride one of these bikes now and in comparison to the latest machines they’re not really that good – not in terms of power and handling anyway.
Maybe to judge such things in these empirical terms is missing the point. It’s not about how they perform in the modern day, it’s how they feel, sound and smell. Those emotions are stirred and our brain takes us back to when things seemed better. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Racing is also often denigrated these days as being soul-less and without larger-thanlife characters. With this year being the 40th anniversary of Barry Sheene’s stunning first World 500 GP title it’s understandable that parallels are drawn between our own cheeky chappie’s epic one- liners and the Pr-conscious robots we often see on TV today. Only that’s not really true is it? With the Valentino Rossi v Spain show we had last year and accusations of his team-mate lacking the ‘ balls’ to join Ducati, things are rarely dull in Motogp.
WSB fans will remember Pierfrancesco Chili having a pop at Foggy while sporting a dressing gown after coming second best during a clash at Assen in 1998. Personalities don’t get much bigger than those pair! More recently we’ve had Chris Walker in BSB and John Mcguinness and Guy Martin at the TT.
Things weren’t better in the ‘old days’ they were just different, and most of us probably remember the past more fondly because the bad bits fade with time. Things have changed and big-money deals do make racers more wary of what they say and how they behave, but there are still strong characters entertaining us. And modern bikes go and handle better than their forebears. Mind you, it is a shame about the lack of a centrestand coming as standard on new bikes!