Post Classic Stigma

Ducati 450 single

The Far Island Fox Hunt: On the desire for a hell-for-leather 450 desmo.

I’ve been tempted by the idea of ‘Post Classic’ racing lately, a chance to get out and run hard on a machine not conforming to modern performance expectations.

Recently an old friend reminisced that my riding was not always best suited to the street. In fact, my friends had on occasion been a little “scared for me”.

Now I’m quite aware that sometimes I’ve pushed it too far. Just as I’m aware that I’ve ridden when I should have stopped to rest, or at least adjusted my attitude. But where I truly have been careful is in avoiding peers whenever I’ve been too far one way or the other.

Sure, that’s a questionable approach to personal safety. One reason why I eventually came clean: “Well hell yes, I’ve ridden under the influence of mild mania, and it’s freaking awesome. I’ve ridden while depressed too, and while I’ve had a couple of moments you gotta pay it that I’m still right side up.”

If you are already trying this at home, get on the phone right now and enlist some support from here or there.

That stuff is confidential and safe as houses. But in launching up the road toward full peer, public and work disclosure, I can tell you it quickly develops some unexpected twists and turns. Now, that’s your call and there is no need to take that road at all. However, many of us, for our own reasons, choose to do so. And if that road is in your peripheral vision it would be remiss of me not to alert you to a potential hazard.

The most apparent and immediate outcome of disclosure is that suddenly everyone is hyper focused upon your riding. Many positives come out of that for sure and in the comfort they provide it is easy to forget about another side. Make one line judgement error and there are those that will be wondering if you should be taken off the road, before you’ve even pulled out of the damn corner (having recovered nicely, might I add).

This just happened for me. In my mind I was performing just as I have done for as long as I can remember. I was normal, well, my normal. Sure, I was pushing redline down the straights, running hot into a few corners, bucking a bit and temperamental, I couldn’t idle at all, and I would occasionally stall on a low-speed turn. Normal. But all this it seems also made me a little well, undesirable.

And that got me thinking. Those same qualities in a Post Classic racing motorcycle would do nothing to erode its desirability. They’d probably even add to it. Forget stigma, that’s charisma. Who wouldn’t want a hell for leather 450 Desmo race bike in the family?

I reckon just about every desirable classic racer demonstrates some kind of mood disorder, but the Italians, those things are fantastically bipolar. Sometimes they just don’t want to play, but when they do, oh man. So I think I’ll take my stigma to the track and mix it with the other normal rides.

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