Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MotoGP - Rossi's Rally

Valentino Rossi's 2nd World Rally event was more impressive than the 1st. His previous outing in Wales had seen him slide off the road on day 1. Last weekend in New Zealand he took it very easy for the first day, getting used to the fast gravel roads, before speeding up and setting a few top-10 stage times. His 11th place finish proved that he has potential.
Not used to being an amateur mechanic, Rossi made changing his own tyres look like hard work. (Alex at the Pure Motorcycle Passion blog has posted some of the videos of Rossi at Rally NZ.) It would be interesting to see Rossi perform some of the real "bush mechanic" tasks I've seen rally drivers do, such as fixing a bent suspension strut by taking it off the car and repeatedly dropping a large rock on it, or trying to bung up a damaged sump by stuffing a t-shirt in the hole.
Still, the world of the World Rally Championship seems to suit Vale. Competing against the clock, like one big qualifying lap, is very different to sitting in a line of F1 cars waiting for the pit-stops so you can overtake. Rossi just doesn't strike me as an F1 type of person, with the stifling publicity and the boring races. Rallying is more friendly, and a little bit crazy. Most people seem to think that Valentino will move to rallying after he stops racing motorcycles, as his father did.
Rossi drew the largest cheers from the Kiwi crowds, proving that there would be massive sponsor interest in having him in the WRC. (Having said that, the WRC has a habit of shooting itself in the foot in this respect, with rule changes effectively forcing megastar Colin McRae to retire early as he couldn't find a top drive.)
It would be fantastic to still see Valentino Rossi in a top race series when he leaves MotoGP. One where drivers are expected to be friendly and eccentric, and where the constantly-sideways cars are exciting to watch. Here's hoping we see the number 46 appearing on our screens for many more years.


Alessandro Matteucci said...

your screens ... because in the States rally is not followed at all by the media and most of people do not have any idea of what it's about. Maybe there is something on TV with Speed Chanel at 12:00 AM during the week because the the rest day is dedicated to NASCAR

Jimmy said...

Maybe they would show rallying if Rossi joined, then at least there would be a name that was recognized by some Americans.