Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: elbows out, go for it

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.


It is a quarter of a century (ouch) since I visited my first United States Grand Prix in April 1988. That Laguna Seca event was historic because it was the first US GP since the 1965 races at Daytona. It was also historical because pit lane was nothing more than a row of flimsy tents, fluttering in the Monterey breeze, the timing sheets were cutely handwritten and the catering consisted of some nicely baked cakes, courtesy of a local women’s institute.

Behind the tents was a row of shipping containers, providing secure storage for team equipment. I seem to remember interviewing renowned tuner Erv Kanemoto while we were stood in the stifling heat in one of the containers. He may even have had a computer with him. Holy moly, a computer in the pitlane…

The Circuit of the Americas – venue for Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas – is a very different thing to 1980s Laguna: a gleaming, 21st century facility that probably spent more on toilet facilities than Laguna did on the entire race track.

So too were the riders very different at COTA. That 1988 US GP was dominated by homegrown heroes: Wayne Rainey took the 500 pole; Eddie Lawson won the race. John Kocinski took the 250 pole; Jim Filice won the race. I recall a slightly dazed Filice atop the podium – he was only there as a last-minute replacement for injured factory Honda rider Masahiro Shimizu – taking a crumpled piece of paper from inside his leathers and carefully thanking his sponsors, one by one, like an Oscar winner on an Oscar’s night, though without the tears.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

Comments

rossi

his comment says it all

Total votes: 62

Amen to that...

"dancing with delight on the very edge of disaster"

Watching FP1 - 3, QP and Warm Up, I was on the edge of my chair, jaw hanging low as I watched what felt like the longest horror movie of my life! Like a girl, I was peeking between my fingers wondering if MM93 was going to do the JL99 Moon Walk next time around. That he didn't is amazing, but I can't help but worry/feel that physics will ultimately get the best of him at some point. I hope it is painless and that he walks away unfazed. I also hope he forgets about it the next time out on track and remains unjaded.

He is something special. A coworker looking at my computer screen had to put his eyes back in his head when he saw MM with his forearm on the ground!

Total votes: 58

Something else alright

Yep I just watched a replay of the race and my wife walked into the room just as 93 was doing his thing, she stopped what she was saying and just watched intently (she rides too) then asked who it was.

Rossi's comment was fantastically Rossi :) Love his view of the world. Fack!

Total votes: 56

Nice words from Oxley

Who always writes stuff worth reading. However, I'm sure that Marquez doesn't need such valid commendation, have just been given the attention of one of the most revered figures in motoGp history, Dean Adams: (from: http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2013/Apr/130423mm93.htm )

"Marquez was relaxed, one leg crossed over the other, wearing shorts. He looked like a colt that just learned to run that day. He was still laughing with his friends as he tolerated our intrusion. Suddenly the area opened and it was me standing in front of Marquez in the dimming Austin sun.

I have a son the same age as Marquez. I slapped the calf of his crossed leg to get his attention. We locked eyes.

"You," I said pointing at him. "Never forget that you're a rider. Don't let anything distract you. Don't get a radio show, buy a restaurant or worry about which sunglasses you should wear. Ride. Win. Win everything. Anything is possible now, but don't forget that you're a rider."

Now, some (me included) might say that Adams is an opinionated, self-important poisonous dwarf whose frustration that he will probably never bear Kevin Schwantz's child is palpable. However, I'm almost as sure as presumably Marquez would have been that those wise words will help shape Marquez's career and he will look back on that moment as an epiphany that helped him break through his self-doubt and succeed where else he might have failed. I'm even more sure that Adams believes this.

It's probably a good thing that Adams has (I assume) inadequate Spanish-language skills to translate the phrase 'who was THAT arsehole?' - otherwise he probably wouldn't have written the article.

Total votes: 56

if rossi is saying it..

.. then it's for real. And I'm sure he was smiling when he said it, he seems to like MM.

Total votes: 48

Adams' Commendation

Having been alerted to Dean Adam's short item on Marquez by Oscar, I clicked the link and read it - and was left wondering if it wasn't an oblique shot at Ben Spies, who some say nowadays seems more interested in his restaurant, his cycle racing team and his eye shades than he is in racing... Any thoughts?

Total votes: 49

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