motorcycle racing

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

A motorcycle racer takes a break to relieve himself at Daytona. Photo by Brian Cleary
I was covering a pro-am motorcycle event at Daytona International Speedway many years ago. Stationed out at the chicane, which is a pretty remote location on Daytona's road course, out of sight of the spectators and kind of a pain to get to for photographer, I was the only person in the area, other than a few corner workers out at their station.

These events were a day-long succession of short sprint races filled with club racers who were not well known and whose skills were not on a level with the great racers who compete annually in the Daytona 200, so the racing wasn't always stellar.

These circumstances can combine to lull a photographer into a trance-like hypnotic state. It was in just such a stupor that I sat as I waited for the start of the next race. At these races, the riders circle the track once in there "sighting" or warm-up lap before returning to pit road the line up and start the race.

I watch as the group of riders approached my position on their warmup lap. Suddenly one bike slowed to a stop at the entrance to the chicane. The rider got off and leaned his motorcycle against the wall. Thinking that he must have some sort of mechanical problem, I was hoping that this would not delay the start of the race by too much. Then, I watched in interest as the rider turned to the wall and appeared to be unzipping his leathers. With his back to me, I watched as a stream of liquid appeared on the wall and ran down onto the racetrack (see photo above). Relieved, the rider re-zipped his suit, climbed back onto his bike and sped off to join the other riders on the grid for the start of the race.

I looked around the remote location and realized that I was the only witness to the unusual pit stop. I laughed to myself.

My amusement turned to amazement as the same recently relieved motorcycle rider smoked the field and won the race going away! Some people jokingly say that you should always bet on the dog in a dog race who relieves himself on the way to the starting gate, as that dog will be just a little bit lighter, and I guess the same theory must apply to motorcycle racing.

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