Don't get me wrong, I am as pro-American as the next guy, but having lived in Switzerland for 5 years, there are certainly things I miss as a motorcyclist and motorsports enthusiast.
In spite of generally ****ty weather (excluding the more southern regions), very high gas prices (not to mention higher costs for the bikes, parts and service), Europe is much more motorcycle friendly. For one thing, it seems that due to pecularieties of their license structure, a large percentage of people start out on 125s (or, in Germany, HP limited bikes) for several years before they are eligible for an auto license. That means that people driving cars are generally motorcyclists, former motorcyclists or are at least closely related to someone who is. Motorcyclists are mainstream, not a fringe element, and that is reflected in social, legal and practical ways.
Race coverage was great, as virtually every major race was covered live, with a choice of at least 5 different languages. Assuming that you are multi-lingual, you have a choice of announcers, and can switch bach and fourth to get different perspectives.
The fact is that in the US, motorsports have to compete with big time football, baseball, basketball and hockey, and motorsports in general, and especially motorcycling, will probably always be fringe sports to the general public. In this context, I am surprised that SpeedTV gives us the amount of air time we get.
Oh, by the way, according to attendence figures I saw on the roadracing world site, Assen is far from the biggest draw of the GP series, with Jerez and Catalonia having something over 140,000 and 200,000.
I'm not sure where his european base is, but he's from Ramona, CA and probably goes back to visit. So, Minime: Sounds like a good excuse to leave the office, ride the Ortega Hwy and Mt Palomar on your way to Ramona for the interview. You, Hackfu and JB could make it a comparo article and kill two birds with one stone. Let me know if you need help...
Interesting post. Thanks. There was a interview with the head of BMW motorcycles in this months Motorcyclist. It touched some of the things you mentioned in addition I was surprised to learn that Germany was such a big market for bikes not just Beemers.
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