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Lone Wolf and the blame game

Although we might subscribe to the truism that everything in life is temporary, i.e. all good things come to an end, we get comfort from a sort of naive belief that it will never happen to us. Well, it does as Jerry Burgess found out at the final MotoGP of the season.

After many years of service, including 14 Honda world titles, he was unceremoniously dumped, sacked or, as those who can't bear to use such brutal but truthful terms might put it, let go by Valentino Rossi and in the most badly-handled of circumstances after a member of The Doctor's Tavullia inner-circle let it slip to local media.

But should we be shocked by all this? Saddened maybe, but not shocked. It happens all the time. When top performers are fading or just going through a bad patch they have to find someone to blame. And it's rarely them...


Top golfers or tennis players who are past their sell-by date routinely fire their caddies or coaches. This ow include crew chiefs. It is a confidence thing. Facing up to brutal truth is difficult for any of us. For stars it is impossible.

The saintly Valentino has been outed as a normal member of the human race, unable to confront reality. So racing's most famous wrench since Nobby Clark got the elbow. Did he see it coming? Probably not. But the amiable Aussie is a phlegmatic character who would rationalise it as a great period in his life which inevitably came to an end.

It is racing, and Rossi, who are the poorer.


Ian Hutchinson has rightly been acclaimed for his determination and bravery in returning to racing following an accident which came as close to ending his career as you an get. Winning the Macau GP was an amazing feat even for a sport which throws up this sort of heroism on a regular basis. Think of Stuart Easton, Simon Andrews, Conor Cummins and even Jorge Lorenzo, whose mid-practice flight to get his shoulder pinned and then a return to race was indeed the stuff of champions

The only sport which seems to come close is horse racing, of the national hunt variety, ie over the jumps, where jockeys fall to earth pretty regularly. Fatal accidents are rare, except for the horses, but the champion jockey, Tony McCoy, winner of a mind-boggling 4000 races over 20 years, has broken most of the bones in his body and is carted off to hospital two or three times a season. It is the one sport where an ambulance follows each race!

Leon Haslam is no stranger to the operating theatre as, in Bikesport News, his honest assessment of the 2013 season reveals. Making the right choice of surgeon seems all important, even if it means decamping from one hospital, or even one country, to another.

What is to be concluded from this, other that these are all remarkable sportsmen, especially when set beside footballers who fall writhing to the pitch with a mere tap on the leg. One is that because 'modern' circuits are safer, riders are prepared to take more risks, fall off more often and break more bones. And, without referring to the above-named, whether medical tests are sufficiently rigorous in deciding whether riders are truly fit to race following injury.

It is certainly the case that riders, such is their determination, are the least best judges. A human condition which too often allows heart to overrule head.



Mystery continues to surround the future of two famous racing circuits. While the 850 acre Silverstone site has been taken over by a development company which builds business and leisure parks, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, the events company, has still to conclude a deal with Lloyds Development Capital.

Negotiations have been in progress for almost six months with no official announcement. All that is known is that Silverstone will not be holding a World Superbike event on 2014, the contract for MotoGP ends after next year's event but that F1 is ever-present for many years to come.

It might be concluded that the issue is one of valuation - paying £20m for F1 or £5m for MotoGP is not easily recoverable from just gate receipts - but deals that are there to be done usually get done quicker.


Meanwhile, little news is emerging from Mallory Park. No news is sometimes good news but for the famous circuit to survive with fewer track and race days, a rent cut from the landlord seemed to be the only solution.

An interesting letter on the Mallory saga appeared in the trade magazine British Dealer News. Claiming to be a spectator and competitor, Dan Roe of Moto Studio Ltd, Nottingham, wrote "The management of the circuit and its total disregard for many of the residents, some of whom are marshals at the track, has caused much anger in the village.

"I have spent many fantastic days competing and spectating at Mallory but when you are faced with this total disregard for the residents and the council you would have to be totally apathetic to the world at large not to voice your anger and frustration."

It is highly likely that the circuit management would not agree with that opinion. It certainly would agree that noise restrictions pose a continuing and increasing threat to many racing venues, both on and off road. Economic benefit to the area remains one of the important answers.

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