He doesn’t really want to keep
racing. He’s made a million-zillion
dollars over his career, but he
couldn’t turn down an offer that
paid him a lot more than the final
year on his American Kawasaki
contract, which he wasn’t going to
live up to anyway.
In the pits and on the track,
nationality matters little. Bobryshev
may be a Russian, but in the eyes of
Cairoli, Desalle or Villopoto, he’s just
a guy on a red bike. Whatever the
politics of their home governments,
the racers are capitalists to the core.
And if they can beat the American,
who might well be paid twice as
much as any other GP racer, they
could ask for a bigger piece of the
pie from Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki,
Kawasaki or KTM.
In a less politicized world, there is
no huge divide between American
motocross fans and Italian tifosi. We
root for our guy; they root for theirs.
Americans and Italians both know
what it’s like to not be world motocross powers—we were the weak link
in the world chain from 1968 to 1980,
and the Italians suffered decades
of humiliation until Michele Rinaldi
brought them respect.
But whether there is a winning
rider who speaks your language or
a losing one, it doesn’t matter to the
hard-core fan, especially in the USA
where the fans are all racers themselves. We cheer for our favorite
riders and against the ones we dislike, whatever their nationality. It’s
not hard to see that American fans
are just like Dutch ones.
Motocrossers know that the ability
to go fast does not come from the
cradle of civilization; it’s less important than that. It is imbued in the
single man who works the hardest,
rides the fastest and makes the best
decisions while at speed. At times
he’s French, other times German, or
maybe American. Perhaps the man
who will dominate motocross in the
future is just throwing his leg over a
50cc play bike in Nigeria.
Then, Youthstream can begin to
feed the fires of anti-Africanism in
Europe. Good luck with that. ❏