Ride in Peace, Modern Day Heroes!

I can remember at least four professional riders who lost their lives this year, and I am positive their ranks are unfortunately bigger. Learning about the death of Kurt Caselli in the Baja 1000 rally made me wonder again if riding is really worth dying.
This is one of the questions I keep on hearing from people who don't ride, and to whom motorcycles are an unnecessary evil mankind could do without just fine. Skipping their prejudice, which naturally occurs from the very fact that they don't ride, another question pops into mind: what can a fellow do in case he or she CAN'T live without riding?

Some might be as stubborn and say that motorcycling is by no means a thing people can't abandon... and at the same time be so wrong. I look at fellows the likes of Suart Gunn, Alan Kempster, Chris Mitchell, Bill Baxter, and so many others like them and reply: who would dare ask them whether quitting was not a better idea, somehow?

What do you say to these guys in case you're too narrow-minded to pat them on the back, congratulate them, and maybe even ask whether you could do something for them?

Can the author of such a silly and mindless question bear to see the look in their eyes? I really doubt this. These fellows, along with all the professional riders out there, know what they're doing, and more so, know the risks they face and the fact that they ride in the wake of deadly danger.

Does anyone believe Yoshi Matsushita didn't know what could happen when things go wrong on the Snaefell? I bet he knew this tenfold better than me or you could ever imagine.

Was he less of an amazing rider than any of the winners in the Isle of Man? By all means he wasn't, just like Caselli differs from Despres or Coma by the fact that he only rode the Dakar once... and he beat Cyril twice in stages of his maiden Dakar.

These chaps, winners, runner-ups, and big losers, alive or dead, are not the punks who pop wheelies in traffic. These are men and women who have chosen a path in life few dare to tread, and I'm not saying that the whole planet should go racing so I could be happy.

What kind of unnerved me after Kurt's untimely death was the attitude of some people who obviously have never thrown a leg over any kind of motorcycle and who were rather quick to judge his death.

ALL those who are involved in professional motorsport live with danger as their middle name, regardless of whether they are doing their job on two or more wheels.

In a way, they have already forfeited their lives, and they keep on doing so each morning when they get up and not give up. However, it is deeply saddening when one of these guys finally meets his or her end, and seeing this happen during a race is not helping at all.

The same fellows who say nobody should race because it's dangerous will try to mend their misguided assertions and add the invariable “at least they died while doing what the loved to do” cliché.

These fellows, my dear non-riding brethren and sisters, were at work, carefully aiming at glory. They were just like you are, making a living, but on the dangerous side of life, making the lives of motorsport fans better and nicer, sometimes bringing tears of joy to their eyes, other times causing them to sigh in frustration, but in any case, changing the lives for the better with each mile they rode or drove.

Rally riders and drivers, Dakar and Isle of Man racers, MX and stunters, and pretty much all those involved in motorsport racing are to me equal, regardless of winning or not, living to compete another day or laying six feet under: they are modern-day heroes.

Ride in peace Kurt Caselli, Yoshinari Matsushita, Thomas Bourgin, Andrea Antonelli, and all those who have paid with their lives for the amazing choice they made, the choice of taking racing performance one step further!
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