I was so excited about seeing these films, I thought today would be the greatest day ever. Well, maybe not as good as a track day at Laguna Seca, but still good. Being in a theater packed with race fans was awesome, as was Fastest. But the most exciting part of TT3D was the ride home from the theater…
Fastest showed two sold-out screenings at the Downtown Independent, a theater I can walk to, always a plus. It was a great movie, as I’ve come to expect from director Mark Neale. He did an excellent job of showcasing Rossi’s talent, going into detail about certain accomplishments the American announcers on Speed TV really hadn’t conveyed. But it was also a sad film. Not just for all the interviews with Marco Simonicelli, but for what felt like the end of Rossi’s career. 2011 has been the worst year of his career, and when they showed him announcing his plans to move to Ducati, I screamed “Don’t Do it!” and the whole theater laughed. Yes, I love being with my people. We understand each other. I cried openly when they read a few lines from the goodbye letter he wrote to his Yamaha, just as I cried when I first read the translation.
We all make mistakes, but it’s so awful to see someone who was so perfect, so God-like, make one so massive as this move to Ducati. Yes, we can hope for a better 2012, and if he recovers from this year to be able to start winning races again, it will be Rossi as we knew him. He will be God again, and not the mere mortal his competitors want him to be. In the film, narrator Ewan MacGregor explained that the racers would rather have better front-end feel than more horsepower. That “feel” gives them confidence, knowing exactly how much grip their tires have at all times. When Mark Miller explained to me why my squared-off tires were really dangerous for cornering, I felt like I was listening to an Eskimo talk about snow. After a whole year of having a bike that cannot be trusted any more than an Italian Prime Minister, how will Rossi ever regain that confidence?
From there I lanesplit miles up 101 out to some god-forsaken corner of the Valley to see TT3D. I’d been warned it wasn’t actually in 3D, but figured it’d be exciting nonetheless. I was deeply disappointed. I went expecting tons of on-board camera footage, to take full advantage of the 3-D experience. What could be more exciting than mounting a 3-D GoPro onto the bike of a TT leader? Well, being that TT leader, sure, but most of us can only dream of having that much courage. There was not only no 3-D footage, there was very little on-board footage. The opening sequence was on-board footage from someone who couldn’t be bothered to check and properly adjust their camera first. Maybe exciting for someone who’s never operated a motor vehicle, but for the rest of us it was stupid. Nobody looks at the ground the whole time!
Because I’d also seen Charge, a film Mark Neale did about electric racing at Isle of Man, I felt a bit bored by this one. Partly because I’m an electric superbike geek, but also because I already saw a film about racers at Isle of Man. So, the fact that these racers were on gas bikes, and going much faster, wasn’t really enough to set this apart. I needed more drama. Perhaps it seemed anti-climatic because the racers were so cavalier about their injuries, which were horrific by most people’s standards. Racers shrug off broken bones the way most people shrug off a bad hair day. Not that I’d want them to be disingenuous, but I understand why reality shows choose to cast the biggest train wrecks- they keep you on the edge of your seat. Still, I can’t wait to finally go to Mecca next year and be with my people.
The film did do a good job of developing the character of Guy Martin, the star. We definitely got why he’s such a popular rider there. But he really needs English subtitles. The passion these racers have for their craft also came through really well. I’m the same way- riding is more important than anything. But honestly, the ride home was far more exciting than the film itself. I got all hopped up, imagining the wall dividing the NB/SB 101 was a wall on the TT course, and well, rode home much faster than I had in awhile. I knew it was wrong, as I was practically naked from the waist down, in jeans and stiletto boots. I knew my Dainese jacket couldn’t help me there. But it felt soooooo good to be fast again. Since I began cycling my “speed tolerance” has gone down. Meaning, 70mph on a motorcycle feels faster than it did before I started riding a bicycle at speeds up to 40mph. Which is good if you want to avoid getting speeding tickets, but bad if you want to race. So yeah, I really need to hit the track again. Soon…