A pretty big chunk of my little downtime these past few weeks has been spent watching some amazing races via my Duke DVD collection.
And whilst I’m watching the thrills and spills of childhood heroes like Anton Mang, Ruggia, Spencer, Gardner et al, I find myself questioning what we’ve lost in terms of the modern racing scene to (now) make me appreciate what we had a few decades ago – and appreciate what we have right now in the classic scene.
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I think that it’s a factor of openness. Back in time we had the racers happy to say what they meant – what they really meant – without a PR man in sight. There was no ‘team representation’ when the hard men of GP stopped for a natter with whoever they chose.
I like that. I like that about the modern classic scene too. In this world a spade is a spade and that’s pretty much how it should be. The majority of people who are interested in the heroes and machines of yesteryear appreciate a bit of honesty and can’t be doing with this weird middle-management talk that insidiously infects post-race interviews of the everyday Sunday modern racing.
This factor alone is going to stand us, in the classic racing world, in good stead as what we enjoy grows further and becomes more visible to the larger racing world. Have you tried to get into a GP paddock recently? Big fences, screened-off areas that ordinary race fans can’t even see into, super-exclusive areas that cost an arm and a leg to access.
What a farce. Despite what the inner workings of the modern racing world might think, on a global scale even the top flight racing is a mere drop in the ocean of Sunday entertainments like football, F1, tennis etc. so where this inflated sense of self-aggrandisement has come from puzzles me.
Thankfully, us race fans have the classic and modern classic worlds to rely on for the real reason for racing. The fun. The accessibility. The machines. The people. All of which are unlikely to disappear up their own tail pipe.