Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 20 May 19

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 103 of 105

VOLUME 57 ISSUE 19 MAY 19, 2020 P103 the true values of life. And of racing. Then he went and spoiled it all by signing up for the next one at not-Misano. Perhaps I need to question my disdain. Is play-play-station grand prix racing really so odi- ous, or is the smell coming off me? You have to ask: what is the value of racing? Or start at the other end. What is the value of virtual racing? It's to get around a made-up track with algorithm-controlled adhesion and so on faster than anyone else, without hurting your thumb on the controller. Real racing is not that differ- ent: it's to get around a real but originally made-up track faster than anyone else. At worst, or even in essence, it's juvenile "I-can-pee-further-than-you-can" stuff. That's at worst. The difference, and it is of crucial importance, has to do with hurting your thumb. Real racing involves real risk. Spectacular crashes are com- mon in not-racing, then you just stand up and jog over to restart your miraculously undamaged bike. Hmmm. Perhaps it would be fairer if qualified medical staff were standing behind the participants, ready to administer appropriate injuries. Bruises and gravel-rash most of the time, but another random algorithm could de- termine when and whether a hammer blow to the knee, a scaphoid-crushing wrench to the wrist and elbow, or a shattered collarbone might punish a low- side, while a block-and-tackle lift-and-drop can go some way toward simulating a high-side. Virtual stewards could exam- ine the sporting legalities and apply penalties and suspen- sions, and there'd need to be some virtual bike damage as well. But it's not injuries that add value to racing. Getting randomly hurt is a downside, not an intrin- sic part of the fun. So, if it's not the danger, then it must be the athletic skill, light- ning reflexes that makes racing worthwhile. It's not that hard to ride a motorcycle, but it takes years of practice and special hand-eye-bottom coordination to take a very powerful one to its outer limits. Okay, but there are skills also in play-play-station racing. Just different ones. That doesn't nec- essarily make them less enviable or admirable. Just, compared with real racing, less interesting. But these are real racing heroes doing this not-racing. Should that not be interesting in itself? Sorry, but no. They have earned our respect for riding motorcycles, and in some cases for being amusing. But their main strength is not as person- alities. Nor electronic thumb- jockeys. Back to the technical. Racing is interesting because motor- bikes are interesting. There is also the potential of valuable ad- vances in the science of internal- combustion engines. But if there is one single factor that turns these virtual GPs into a distasteful, trivializing and de- meaning mockery of the sport, it is to do with courage. That is what ennobles bike racing. And the lack of this requirement is what turns virtual MotoGP into a mockery. CN WHEN VIRTUAL NONSENSE TAKES A CONTROLLING HAND IN THE REAL WORLD, SOMETHING HAS GONE BADLY WRONG.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cycle News - Cycle News 2020 Issue 20 May 19