The cool thing about motor sports, when compared to other professional sports, is that most of us drive a motorized vehicle. We might not get to face a 90-mph fastball every day, put on a helmet and pads and tackle someone, or check some poor sap into a plexiglass wall, but we can regularly get behind the wheel of a car, truck or motorcycle.
We can drag race in a one-on-one duel at a stopped intersection. We can set out on a high-speed quest to outmaneuver traffic on a crowded freeway. None of this is legal, of course, but we can do it. It’s empowering on some level.
Check that – it’s empowering on every level.
The adrenaline factor is quadrupled when you’re riding a motorcycle. Out of this supreme rush of energy is born this report, released yeseterday, that shows you just how empowering a speed rush can be. Before you try to absorb the statistics, just think about it: How often do you get passed on the freeway by a performance-driven motorcycle? Not one of those ball-crunching, headache-inducing, status-screaming hogs, but one of those lithe shiny bikes that zips past you through its own jetstream, dilithium crystals burning somewhere beneath its seat? Once a week? Once a month?
Turns out those sleek little Japanese balls of fury account for 25 percent of all motorcycle fatalities, despite comprising less than 10 percent of all bikes on the road. They’re built on a racing platform, then adjusted to street-legal specs before leaving the factory. Unlike the “stock cars” in NASCAR that resemble their street-legal counterparts in name only, these bikes have all the outer workings of their AMA Superbike counterparts. It’s the inner workings that differ greatly, but no one has to know that when you’re gliding past a family van at 100 mph.
I can’t help but think of Diego Corrales, the boxer who was killed when his 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 crashed near Las Vegas in May. Dude could box. Now he’s just a statistic.
I’d caution y’all to slow down, but that would ruin the whole experience, now wouldn’t it?