“I should head into Europe in the spring and go to a few races!”; that is what I’ve been saying to myself for several weeks now. The only problem is, I don’t have the funds to carry out such an adventure.
And so, herein lies my problem. I love to write, I like to watch motorcycle races, and I love to travel. You would think that blending these elements can lead to a pretty good way to make a living, but alas, the path is not easy. The first thing is, you need to get noticed as a writer. To write well, especially about travel and motorcycle racing, means that you have to travel and watch motorcycle races. Only by immersing yourself in the journey and the event that you have chosen to visit, can you begin to soak up what it means to be at a race. The sights, the sounds and the smells all melt together and give you fuel for your writing.
In my case, some of my best writing has come from visits to race tracks across the world. Let me give you an example. When you watch the Italian MotoGP race at Mugello on TV, you get some vague sense of the energy in the crowd. Only by being in the town of Scarperia e San Piero, will you begin to understand the passion of the Italian fans. By taking a walk to the circuit through the meadows, listening to the hustle and bustle of excited Valentino Rossi Tifosi, the smell of food cooking on barbeques and in street food vendor’s carts, the unmistakable scent of high-octane race fuel and hearing the sound of racing motorcycles at full throttle. All of this before you have even set foot inside the circuit.
Once through the gates on race day, everything gets turned up to 11. The crowds, the heat of the sun, the dust being kicked up by feet and tyres, the smell of stale alcohol, the sight of beautiful women wearing bikini tops and combat trousers, the Germans, the Dutch, the French and the Italians, all eating and drinking together, waiting for the racing to begin.
How then, can you possibly understand the tears when a favourite rider crashes, or the joy when he wins? To be embedded in this world is the fuel for my writing, and it will always be a better experience for you, dear reader. I don’t want to write about just the race, the stats and the championship points tables. I’m all about trying something new. I want to inject some of the passion that the die-hard fans bring to the circuit into my writing.
I’ve thought long and hard about trying to get a writing gig with one of the prominent publications. That would, at least, pay for my travel expenses and give me some regular income. The difficulty with this is that my style of writing doesn’t easily fit in with the editorial norms for my chosen subject. I would imagine that most of the copy that I submit would be cut or re-written, diluting my words to the point that they end up sounding like every other “writer” out there. Well, fuck that!
So, until I’m approached by a publication that gives me all of the editorial freedoms that I am after, I will find a way to get myself to and from races. In the past, I have been helped out by patrons and like-minded people, friends of mine that hope to see me achieve what I set out to do as a writer. I will continue to make plans for visits to races, and planning does make the whole thing do-able. Some of what I will write about is the journey, the people that I meet and the places that I stay.
I want to take a drive down to Spain next week for the British Superbike tests. I’m happy to sofa-surf, eat baguettes with cream cheese out of a tube for a week, or sleep in a tent, if it will get me there and into the story. I just needed cash for fuel and ferry crossings, but I’m afraid it is too late for me on this occasion. Instead, I will now focus on getting to Spain for the first of the MotoGP races in Europe and to Assen for some World Superbike action.
Until next time, adieu.