Wake up and smell the rose-tinted spec­ta­cles!

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - Gareth Ashman, 01733-468118

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!

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