Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ive been watching the Isle of Man TT for the last few weeks (As anyone who has a pulse should be) and Ive noticed a few things. The classes at the TT are basically the same as the rest of International Motor Racing, but they are confusing even to someone who follows it as closely as I do. Bottom line, whats the difference to a spectator between the Supersports, and the Superbikes when they look exactly the same, sound exactly the same, have the exact same riders, and lap within a few seconds of each other even on a course as large as the IOM? Basically I feel like Ive watched the same race 5 times. I do know the technical differences, and I believe in superbikes as unlimited PRODUCTION BASED motorcycles (as opposed to the Prototype concept employed by GP racing) but the difference between superstock and superbike is so narrow right now, that its just silly. Its as bad as Daytona, when you used to care who won the Daytona 200, and saying "Oh well he won Daytona" meant that YOU WON THE RACE AT DAYTONA. Now you have to respond to that with "which class?" on "which bike?". Probably seven people can say they won Daytona this year, and the same would apply to IOM if Bruce Anstey hadn't won everything. Number of race win records are falling left and right when a man can compete in 9 classes at the same track. I hate to reference NASCAR but they had this problem a few years ago when drivers were racing both Busch and Winston in the same weekend. Ultimately they limited participation in classes to keep the two distinct. I understand the the group of cempetitors in the IOM is small due to the danger, and there is a financial incentive to compete in as many classes as possible because these guys arent wealthy factory riders, this is a once or twice a year gig for them, but it will be come a no time a year gig if more people dont come to watch it. I saw a post on superbikeplanet the other day showing a stunt rider (whose name I dont know) with a caption that said "Sadly, more riders today know this guy than Kenny Roberts and Eddie Lawson".

Racing is ultimately a spectator driven event, and if you confuse the CASUAL spectator, the enthusiast base isnt big enough to make up for it anymore.