Saturday afternoon watching Free Practice.
It's Moto GP from Barcelona, and the commentator mentions Rossi first winning a 125 race here in 1997. Eighteen years later and he's still running at the front! Not just making up numbers, actually able to run with the best in the world; that's a certain kind of special. World champions have come through the ranks since, long after him, and retired while he's still enjoying and lapping up every minute. Still able to win - no lack of motivation.
It's an example to anyone, no matter what they do, whatever walk of life, and it got me thinking (oh-oh!).
Where does it come from?
The dictionary definition for motivation: enthusiasm for doing something.
Two-wheeled, self-propelled frames seem to have the uncanny knack of sucking people in and changing their lives, maybe their souls, for good. From the highest level of sport, to the youngster pulling back the throttle for the first time, there's something in there, something great, that doesn't seem to let go.
For me, it happened in December '87. Dad bought a 1961 Triumph Thunderbird to restore - relive his youth maybe - and that was it for me, I was lost. A few months later and I had my first bike, a 1980 CR80R. I wasn't fast, still ain't, was never gonna race, but it didn't matter; I couldn't, and can't, get away from bikes. Love them, old or new, riding or repairing, on or off-road. I have my opinions, who doesn't, but I'll never be without bikes (while I have a say).
So, a racer that's been out there years, and still gives it his all at the highest level is one thing, but what about the person that toddles off out to the shed on a cold, dreary day to carry on with their restoration? Not just fixing something up because it's their only transport, but getting pleasure from being with the bike. That's enthusiasm. Of course, novelty plays its part at the beginning, ripping the bike to pieces to see what needs doing is a lot of fun. But it's the ability to find that something inside when other things get in the way.
What about the times when you just can't be arsed to go for a ride? Bike's ready to go, just needs you to kit up and get on, but it all seems too hard when the sofa's so comfy. Then you push on and get out anyway, and it all comes good, wondering why you ever thought about it in the first place. The feel-good factor of riding motivates. Being at one with a machine, immersed in nature and the elements, the speed, the balance, the excitement, the adrenaline, that fine line we think we reach between life and death. Hmm, we've probably all been there.
No, not comedy genius putdowns, but coming back from a bad place, a time where everything looked a little bleak. Rossi's doing it now after two years of riding a Ducati, he's found something that's made him stronger and, by the look of it, faster than he was in the last year of riding a Yamaha. At his age it's nothing short of incredible, and the motivation to win is obviously still strong.
But probably the greatest comeback of all must go to Mike Hailwood. After an eleven year gap from bike racing, he gets bored with his retirement, returns to the Isle of Man TT in '78, and bloody wins it! This will never be achieved again, ever.
Winning a TT is ridiculously hard; it needs guts, ability and motivation in spades. To do that, after being out of the sport for eleven years, is beyond my comprehension. It shouldn't be possible, and must have been pretty humbling for the other racers. They were bound to be questioning what it was they were actually doing out there.
Where does yours come from?
Sometimes we all need a kick up the motivational ass to keep on doing what we love to keep doing when life isn't getting in the way of everything. Yeah, things get in the way, and we can't always be arsed to work on them, or ride them but, as long as they're still in your life, it'll always be back. That's bikes for ya.
Time to go down in the garage I guess...