By Tom Roderick
I hate being the nihilistic voice of MO, but when it comes to the state of American talent at world-level motorcycle road racing, we’re f*#ked. If the swirling rumors of Nicky Hayden‘s departure from MotoGP come to pass, it’ll be the first time since 1977 America’s been absent from competing at the world’s highest level of two-wheel racing. Truly sad – especially considering the U.S. hosts two MotoGP rounds.
Sure, I’m a Vale Rossi fan who’d love to see the old man reclaim his former glory in a last hurrah this season. But that doesn’t mean I’m not into supporting my fellow compatriot at his home rounds in Texas and Indy. Nicky’s not in contention for the championship, so there’s no reason I can’t cheer the guy in the middle of the pack as much as the guy at the front of the pack.
The real issue, though, isn’t the departure of Hayden from MotoGP, it’s the vacuum of American talent, the Mr. Nobody alternate, there to take his place. There’s scuttlebutt about Hayden maybe moving to World Superbike, which would make him the only American competing in that series. If, for some reason, a WSBK ride doesn’t materialize and Hayden retires from MotoGP, we’d be left with no Americans in either world-level series.
I don’t particularly care for pop country music. There’s no stars and stripes streaming from the back of my Japanese pick-up truck. You won’t find me espousing the unfounded virtues of American exceptionalism. But let’s put into perspective the role of American racers competing in both MotoGP/500cc and World Supers.
The competitiveness between fellow American racers Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz in the late ’80s and early ’90s is legendary.
|American MotoGP/500cc World Champions|
|2000||500cc||Kenny Roberts Jr||Suzuki|
|1984||500cc||Eddie …read more