Some folks go to the races to see the personalities, Valentino Rossi or Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies or Mat Mladin, but a lot of us aren’t really interested in that part of the sport. We like motorcycles, we get a kick out of different engines, suspension setups and all of the other variables that make a motorcycle unique or maybe just a bit better than what the other guy has to offer.
Comments on the post announcing the Formula Xtreme rules change seem to touch on both sides of the story but this really is a class where the “my bike is better than yours” debate gets a decent shot at finding out who’s right. The old, “If this motorcycle was allowed to compete, it would win.” statement, might be true, then again, that bike, whatever it is, might get nowhere near the front.
When the rules of any class limit the diversity of machines with a realistic chance of winning to two or three, personalities or not, the race becomes less exciting. With Formula Xtreme, we might see a whole new series emerge with this new set of rules and I think Daytona next year will be something to look forward to.
Auto racing used to be a very company brand oriented sport, drag racing or stock cars, race cars were just highly modified versions of what you could buy from the showroom floor. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Now it seems to be all personalities and it’s lost a lot in the transition. What you see on the track isn’t remotely related to anything you can buy. I miss the old days and I bet some of the auto companies do, too.
With motorcycles, MotoGP is a personality driven high tech, high dollar world and, except for the new Ducati, you can’t get close to that sort of tech at your dealer. AMA Superbikes are closer to the showroom but still filled with exotic pieces and unobtainable part numbers. Superstock and Supersport just get the spectators confused.
Formula Xtreme might break the mold. Sure, there will be a lot of money spent getting bikes up to speed but you’ll recognize the bikes and know you could own one, maybe first thing Monday morning. If Buell would just sell the XBRR like all of their other bikes, the picture would be complete.
Everyone will have their favorites, the Buell guys will have high hopes and the Triumph crowd will predict big things. Ducati, BMW, who knows who might show up? Of course the Japanese brands will be there, but so will everyone else. Just think of a grid with all of the Japanese brands plus Ducati, Triumph, Buell, BMW and I have to look at what’s offered but how about Moto Guzzi or even KTM? Wow! It might take a while before the new guys get up to competitive speeds but they will, you can be sure of that. And I think we’ll see more people cheering on their favorite brands, whoever might be riding, and we haven’t seen that in quite a while.
The AMA made a good decision expanding the eligible machines, now let’s see who steps up.